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VR-Zone talks with ASMedia at Computex

We’re still far from the end of ASMedia’s line-up of products as surprising as it might seem, although we’re nearly at the end of their USB 3.0 products. The last of the USB 3.0 products is ASMedia’s SATA to USB 3.0 bridge chips and the company currently has four different products in retail, of which the ASM1051E is the most interesting one as it supports SATA 6Gbps. The ASM1051E as well as the ASM1051U and ASM1054 also support UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) which helps boost the performance for sequential read and writes, as well as some other benefits such as command queuing and better handling of concurrent reads and writes.

As a side note, the ASM1054 is ASMedia’s smallest SATA to USB 3.0 bridge chip at a mere 5x5mm and it’s possible the smallest of its kind in the market. In the picture below you can compare the performance with and without USAP, but do note that the ASMedia and Renesas host controllers are using different SSD’s, so the results aren’t comparable controller to controller, instead you have to look at the performance improvement per controller.

ASMedia is also making a few products that aren’t USB 3.0 related, such as a range of PCI Express to PCI bridge chips, but more interestingly, the company has also recently launched a SATA 6Gbps controller. The ASM1061 is ASMedia’s first SATA 6Gbps controller and although the test numbers in the picture above aren’t that impressive at first sight, do keep in mind that we’re looking at mechanical hard drive numbers here. By moving from AHCI (single drive) to RAID 0 (two drives) we’re seeing nearly a doubling of performance in the sequential read and write tests which is pretty impressive.

If you want some SSD numbers, we’ve got those too, although not in RAID mode. The one on the left is using a Crucial C300 SSD while the one on the right is of a Plextor 128GB SATA 6Gbps SSD. It goes to show that ASMedia is up there with Marvell when it comes to performance and there shouldn’t be any kind of concern using its SATA 6Gbps controller. ASMedia also has a version of the ASM1061 with IDE support, although this is really only of interest for those that still have IDE drives.

Finally we have something that we at least completely missed that ASMedia makes; high speed digital switches. These are the little chips used to switch PCI Express lanes among many things and ASMedia is already ready for PCI Express 3.0 with some of its products. The company also makes TMDS level shifters for various display interfaces, LVDS switches and SATA switches. As for the future of ASMedia, well, the company is looking at expanding its portfolio of products into various areas, but we’ll just have to wait and see what the company comes up with. One last thing that those of our readers that use Linux will be happy to know, ASMedia has developed its own Linux driver for the ASM1042 USB 3.0 host controllers which should be available shortly.

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