VIA Announces New SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Hub Controller

VIA-largeSuperSpeed USB 3.0 has been making a lot of news lately, and is expected to be supported by many new products that will be unveiled at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The updated interface features 5Gbps of bandwidth (technically 4.8Gbps), and is fully backward compatible with previous versions of the Universal Serial Bus.
USB 2.0 is currently rated at 480Mbps, but real world throughput is rarely above 35MB/s due to protocol overhead.

 This is now a major problem as many devices such as keyboards and monitors now feature built-in USB hubs, which provide additional downstream USB ports. However, bandwidth is still limited by the single upstream connection to the computer.

This may not be a critical issue for rarely used devices, but it is a major concern for those who depend on USB connections for headsets, webcams, and data transfers. Many new motherboards now come with USB 3.0 ports, but limited PCIe bandwidth on the motherboards mean that there are usually only a few SuperSpeed ports, leaving early adopters in the cold.

VIA Technologies has unveiled its VL810 SuperSpeed Hub Controller, the industry’s first integrated single chip USB 3.0 hub that support one upstream and four downstream ports. It is built on a 80nm process, which is not unexpected considering many USB 2.0 hubs are built on a 180 or 130 nm process. Expect the new chip to be used in next generation computer monitors and keyboards.

“The growing emphasis on high-definition multimedia content is placing increasing demands on current data transfer technologies,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing for  VIA Technologies. “SuperSpeed USB not only makes transferring HD video files, high pixel count digital photos, and backing up hard drives quick and easy, but VIA’s new hub controller allows consumers to get the most out of the technology by expanding the capacity of PC systems.”

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