Texas Instruments USB 3.0 controller has four ports


— 10:45 AM on September 30, 2010

Add Texas Instruments to the growing list of companies developing USB 3.0 controllers. SemiAccurate caught a glimpse of several SuperSpeed devices during IDF, including a USB-to-SATA bridge chip, a four-port hub, and a PCI Express card with four ports of its own. The latter is particularly interesting because it uses a single chip, the TUSB7340, to offer double the number of ports available on the NEC SuperSpeed controller that dominates the market.

The TUSB7340 only has a one-lane PCI Express 2.0 interface, so don't expect to have all its ports running at full speed. A single USB 3.0 connection has peak theoretical bandwidth of 600MB/s, but PCIe 2.0 only offers 500MB/s in each direction. Texas Instruments also has a TUSB7320 with the same interface and only two USB ports.

Earlier this month, DigiTimes revealed that several alternatives to NEC's stranglehold on the USB 3.0 market are still not certified by the USB-IF. SemiAccurate suggests that Texas Instruments' controller could be certified soon, so we may see it pop up on Sandy Bridge motherboards due early next year. I certainly wouldn't mind having four USB 3.0 ports on a motherboard instead of only two, but it would be nice if at least one solution offered the next-gen interface more bandwidth than a single PCI Express lane.

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