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Monday, January 04, 2010

VIA joins USB3 hub battle

VIA VL810 SuperSpeed USB hub controller allows a single USB port to be used by up to four high-bandwidth USB 3.0 devices simultaneously

VIA Technologies has developed an integrated single chip for USB3.0. Developed by wholly owned subsidiary company VIA Labs, the VIA VL810 expands a PC’s USB capability by allowing more than one device to be connected to each host port. One upstream port and four downstream ports support not just SuperSpeed transfer, but are also backwards compatible with previous USB specifications and offer support for Hi-Speed (480Mbps), Full-Speed (12Mbps), and Low-Speed (1.5Mbps) traffic.
Although VIA claims this to be the world's first, NEC has been shipping USB3.0 hub controller through 2009 (see below). This launch does however provide more credibility to USB3.0 as VIA is a major supplier to the Taiwanese motherboard makers.

“The growing emphasis on high-definition multimedia content is placing increasing demands on current data transfer technologies,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing of 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.”

Along with power management features that include the ability for devices to communicate latency tolerance to the host and for links to enter progressively lower power states when link partners are idle, VIA claims the VL810 is unique in that it is the first USB hub controller to use 80nm CMOS technology, further lowering the chip’s power usage.

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