Asus confirms move to non-NEC USB 3.0 host controllers

Set to team up with ASMedia

THERE WAS A story at Digitimes about a week ago about ASMedia, an Asus subsidiary getting ready to launch its own USB 3.0 host controller, which went on to suggest that Asus was getting ready to move away from NEC/Renesas and go with its controller instead. We can now confirm that Asus is indeed going to start implementing the ASMedia controller on some of its upcoming motherboard models.

Sadly we don’t have much in terms of details of the ASMedia USB 3.0 host controller, but from what we were told by an Asus representative, it should be a more affordable part than the one from NEC/Renesas, which confirms Digitimes earlier report. How much cheaper isn’t clear, but it’s enough to make Asus move away from NEC/Renesas. This is also suggesting that the ASMedia host controller must offer similar performance, unlike the Frisco Logic host controller, which is limited to PCI Express x1 bandwidth.

With VIA and Texas Instruments readying their own USB 3.0 host controllers it looks like we’re set for something of a price war later this year, although we’ve also heard that other motherboard manufacturers are a bit more cautious and will continue to use the NEC/Renesas controller for the time being. The three new players are going to have to prove themselves to be reliable, despite possible future USB-IF certification. However this is of course key to be able to sell a new host controller in the first place.

In related news we’re hearing rumours about a custom driver for the NEC/Renesas USB 3.0 host controller that is said to boost the performance figures in benchmarks. There’s no word on how this driver performs in real world tests as yet, but we’ll fill you in once we find out more details about this custom driver.S|A

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