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NEC makes world's first USB 3.0 controller

updated 04:45 pm EDT, Mon May 18, 2009

NEC USB 3 Controller

NEC claimed a minor record on Monday by becoming the first company to produce a hardware controller that supports the new USB 3.0 standard. The µPD720200 will let computers and other devices talk to USB 3.0 peripherals and theoretically allows for the peak 5Gbps transfers of the format, or roughly 10 times the speed of USB 2.0. The Japanese chipset nonetheless remains backwards compatible with both the 2.0 spec as well as 1.1 devices, although USB 3.0 ports themselves won't support 1.x.

In launching the technology, NEC says its hardware should be particularly useful for external hard drives and particularly solid-state drives, many of whom can transfer data at speeds far faster than USB 2.0 can handle and need the extra speed. These would also typically overwhelm FireWire 800 connections.

Test versions of the NEC chips will be made available to companies building USB 3.0-aware devices next month and should cost those companies $15 per part. When the first products will carry the chipset aren't mentioned, but hipments should climb to 1 million per month in September and will see the largest wave of companies start using USB 3.0 by the later half of 2010. [via Everything USB]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. rytc

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2001


    Same plug

    I hope it has the same plug as USB 2.0 and 1.x, this is what I hate about firewire 400 and 800.

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    Hmmm .... so I guess in practical real-world tests, it's just about caught up to FW400 !!!

    These funky figures like 480Mb/s or 5Gb/s are bogus, because USB is highly dependent on the host CPU, which basically means that you'll never know how fast it transfers, because it depends on what your machine is doing.

    FireWire was the best Ad hoc Serial Bus standard. Too bad its inventor killed its own baby.

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