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USB 3.0 Speed Tests: 7-Way Host Controllers Roundup

AMD A75

Starting in alphabetical order we have the AMD A75 chipset and although this isn't exactly a host controller in the traditional sense, it's so far the first and only chipset to feature native USB 3.0 support. It's also one of only two commercially available 4-port host controllers and the only one to have passed USB-IF certification. That said, Texas Instruments has a USB-IF certified host, but it's not available for consumers to purchase as yet. As mentioned earlier, AMD co-developed its host controller with Renesas, but it's not the same as the Renesas µD720201 as this projected started much earlier. AMD is the only host controller maker that doesn't provide information as to which xHCI revision its host controllers belong to. Stating the obvious, the AMD A75 chipset and it's USB 3.0 host controller can of course be found on a wide range of AMD socket FM1 motherboards.

ASMedia ASM1042

ASMedia's ASM1042 is one of the more popular solutions on motherboards and it was the first of the Taiwanese host controllers to gain USB-IF certification. The ASM1042 is one of the smallest host controllers out there and it's been quite popular with several motherboard manufacturers. ASMedia started its development quite early and as such this is an xHCI 0.96 compliant host controller. ASMedia's ASM1042 and it single port sibling, the ASM1041 can be found on a wide range of motherboards from Asus, ASRock, Biostar, Jetway, MSI and Sapphire, as well as in some notebooks.

 

Etron EJ168A

Etron was the second Taiwanese host controller manufacturer to gain USB-IF certification and its host controller, the EJ168A is the largest host controller out there at 14x14mm. The size hasn't discouraged the motherboard makers though as this chip seems to be equally popular as the ASM1042. Etron is a peculiar entry into the host controller market as in the past the company has been a DRAM manufacturer, but is now shifting its focus into various other markets. The EJ168A meets the xHCI 1.0 spec. As this was an onboard chip, we don't have a picture of an actual card here. The Etron EJ168A is mostly found on Gigabyte and ASRock motherboards.

 

Fresco Logic FL1009

Fresco Logic is a US company and had the second USB-IF certified host controller on the market after NEC (now Renesas). However, it's initial product, the FL1000 was a single port, PCI Express 1.1 host controller and it didn't prove to be overly popular beyond being found in a few notebooks. The downside with this solution beyond being single port is that the PCI Express 1.1 bus just didn't offer enough bandwidth. The FL1009 on the other hand is a 2-port PCI Express 2.0 host controller and Fresco Logic has been demoing it hitting speeds in excess of 400MB/s. This was also the first xHCI 1.0 compliant host controller to gain USB-IF certification. We're hearing that Fresco Logic has been helping out Intel with their chipset implementation for the 7-series of chipsets that are launching next year. So far we've only seen the FL1009 on a couple of Chinese motherboards, but Gigabyte recently added the FL1009 onto one of its mini-ITX motherboards.

 

TeamVR
http://www.vrzone.com
VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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