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AMD, Intel to launch USB 3.0 chips in 2012

Posted: 18 Feb 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:USB 3.0 interface  USB 3.0 chipsets  USB 3.0 host controllers  USB 2.0 

USB 3.0 interface chips that were originally scheduled for production in 2010 may now make an appearance in 2012 as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel Corp. gear up for production. 2012 will be a transition year for the PC market as AMD and Intel start production of their PC chipsets. As a result, 2013 will see as many as 90 per cent of all systems supporting USB 3.0.

Official word on the AMD and Intel chips could come as early as March 9. That's when the USB Implementers Forum holds a developers conference in Amsterdam and is expected to release news about USB 3.0.

Multiple sources said the chips have already appeared in an early form at plugfests hosted by the USB-IF where vendors conduct interoperability testing. One source said the Intel chipsets were implemented in FPGAs, and other sources said AMD is ahead with sample chips now in the process of getting certification.

Intel originally planned to sample chipsets supporting USB 3.0 in early 2010 but pushed out its plans, disappointing many companies banking on a fast uptake of the interface. USB 3.0 revs the 480Mbit/s USB 2.0 spec up a theoretical maximum data rate of 5GTransfers/s.

Both AMD and Intel declined to comment on the reports.

The emergence of PC chipsets supporting the USB 3.0 specification will seed a broad market for peripheral devices supporting the spec. To date, the market has moved relatively slowly due to the need for separate discrete USB host controllers, an added cost that PC makers sometimes avoid.

To date, only two companies are shipping USB 3.0 host controllers certified by the USB IF. Renesas is by far the leader, shipping a two-port chip. Fresco Logic is shipping a single-port host and has a dual-port host in the certification process.

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