Perhaps no PC interface is in more dire need of an upgrade than USB. USB 3.0 has come to the rescue, but it's thus far only been available courtesy of a controller chip from NEC. Neither AMD nor Intel have added SuperSpeed connectivity to their core-logic chipsets, and although rumors suggest that the latter will embrace the new standard on its Cougar Point reference motherboard design, it's unclear who will be providing the silicon.
According DigiTimes' sources at Taiwanese motherboard makers, Intel's options may be limited. Eton, Via, and Asus subsidiary ASMedia are each developing USB 3.0 controllers, but none of the designs have been certified by the USB Implementers Forum, or USB-IF. These chips were expected to start popping up in motherboards before the end of the year. However, samples being tested by motherboard makers reportedly still have issues that need to be ironed out. DigiTimes suggests that "technical difficulty" with the hardware and the additional burden of writing USB 3.0 drivers for Windows 7, which lacks native support for the interface, are responsible for the delays.
Rumors have suggested that Intel is developing a stand-alone USB 3.0 controller of its own. That could be the device providing SuperSpeed connectivity on the Cougar Point reference motherboard. Given the lack of officially certified competition, there's certainly seems to be an opportunity for Intel to carve out a nice slice of the USB 3.0 controller market.
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