Intel to launch standalone USB 3.0 controller this year?

By on March 23, 2010, 1:51 PM
Although dozens of SuperSpeed USB-equipped products have already stormed out of the gates, the interface's adoption rate has been partially restricted by a lack of native support from Intel. Rumors stretching back to last year suggested that the company wouldn't build chipsets with integrated USB 3.0 support until 2011 or later -- but what about a standalone controller? Industry sources cited by DigiTimes say that the chipmaker plans to launch precisely that, and it should arrive this year.

NEC has been the primary supplier of USB 3.0 controllers, having started volume shipments last September, while companies like VIA and ASMedia have recently joined the market. With Intel entering the picture, USB 3.0 driver ICs should fall in price and the transition should speed up, according to the sources.

Of the 60-plus devices currently outfitted with the latest USB spec, many of them are motherboards, and they're selling pretty well. For instance, Gigabyte has reportedly shipped one million mainboards with USB 3.0, accounting for a third of NEC's controller sales. Have you purchased any SuperSpeed USB-enabled hardware yet?




User Comments: 12

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's a mystery as to why Intel is so slow to jump on the 3.0 bandwagon. Obviously there is a slew of support from dozens of manufacturers. And of course the public is definitely ready for it. No clue as to why they're dragging their feet on this.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

They may be dragging their feet because of Light Peak.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You hit the nail on the head, SNGX1275... They don't want to encourage an early competitive option to their LightPeak interface, so it's not a steep uphill battle to encourage adoption of their proprietary system. However, I believe they are starting to feel some industry and consumer backlash from not offering the basic new industry standardized interface for USB 3.0, so this standalone unit is a stop-gap measure. I'm sure when their LightPeak stuff is finalized, suddenly all the new Intel chipsets will have it integrated, and you'll still have to kludge on a USB interface separately.

levar said:

Haven't got my hands on a SuperSpeed PCI yet still on USB 2.0 but I definitely know I'm getting a controller from Gigabyte! I also need to get a USB 3.0 device :3

Neojt said:

if they haven't jumped in wet they must have a sweet trick up their sleeve intel dosent just sit there and watch from the side line.

And the good part is that people with older PC will be able to benefit USB3 by adding a stand alone upgrade

Regenweald said:

I see it as a profit tactic. They held off on usb3 hoping that they could get traction with lightpeak, but lo and behold, NEC is making a killing. So rather than do what they should have in the first place and include it in their chipset they follow on the coat tails of NEC and release a standalone controller and sell that. PROFIT. then they include it in a new generation chipset. PROFIT. Such is business.

Guest said:

I am registered but on this lappy I am adding quickly this as anonymous. I priced the add on cards at MicroCenter here, all of them are roughly $60USD I am out of work and this is pretty dang steep for someone with no money, I want it, I think a standard need be adopted. I also feel the Cardbus successor offers nothing exciting as of yet, so an ExpressCard USB 3.0 makes more sense as a laptop owner. That's what I hope to buy. Now, why not Expresscard accessories like PCI Express video upgrade for laptops using this new slot for cards? Can't that be done??

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

SNGX1275 said:

They may be dragging their feet because of Light Peak.

Good call. The only problem is we will have to either buy motherboards with both, by addon cards or wait for a couple years before one standard wins out to buy a motherboard with standard support. I like some of the aspects of Light Peak, but i would like to have a better idea of its arrival timeline. They are obviously trying to tread a thin line here with demand for USB3 vs competition for their own standard. that said i think they have underestimated the demand for new systems with USB3. who would want a new system today that doesn't have USB3 support? It is backwards compatible with Zillions of USB2 devices, and will provide much higher data rates for new devices that are already coming on the market. I don't see Light Peak providing the backwards compatibility , so they are going to have to include it anyway.

UT66 said:

usb something something > ligth pep

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

$60 for USB 3 add on cards does seem steep, I remember back in 98 I had a computer that only had USB 1.1 ports on it and after a while I bought a 4+1 USB 2.0 card, I don't think it was more than $30. I think USB 2 was still pretty new in about late 98-99 so it wasn't a price drop with time. And while I'm complaining about prices, PCIe SATA controller cards are too expensive too.

Thompson said:

Still on USB 2.0, not really going to see an advantage for a while IMO, plus, what about taking a 3.0 stick to school and the school's computers not having 3.0? Does that make them unusable or just work at 2.0 speed? Either way, it's pointless.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Just works at USB 2 speeds, its backwards compatible.

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