Asmedia shows off 10Gbps USB3.1 silicon

Computex 2014: Twice as fast, twice the form factors, and almost ready

Asmedia logoAsmedia was showing off functional 10Gb USB3.1 silicon in two packages during Computex. While it isn’t here yet, 10Gbps USB will be sampling soon and promises to be a big step forward.

The idea is simple enough, take the 5Gbps USB3 standard and double the speed for a mere .1 adder to the spec. OK it is a bit more work than that and the demos we saw weren’t functional, but there was working silicon at the Asmedia suite that we didn’t have time to go see. The demo boards however looked like this.

Asmedia USB3.1 boards

Normal and low profile USB3.1 silicon

The interesting bit isn’t the capabilities, that part is pretty well-known and understood. What stood out are the two packages, the normal one on the top board, the low profile on the bottom. The standard sized part is in a 6x6mm package, the low profile is in a 4×6 package. Why bother with the low profile? Take a look at the form factor of that board and compare it to the height of the 2.5″ HDD up top, anyone think the low profile will make for some interesting USB<->SATA dongles? Good job there Asmedia.

Asmedia active 10m USB3 cable

Not just any cable, an active cable

Another interesting thing Asmedia was showing is a 10m long active USB cable. Sure it was ‘only’ USB3 rather than 3.1 but it needed three Asmedia USB redrivers, one per lump in the cable. It isn’t worth the money for daily use but if you need a long fast USB cable, your options are pretty limited. Added flexibility in cabling is never a bad thing.

The Asmedia USB 3.1 silicon, both host and device, will be sampling in Q3 so not long now. If all goes well you should expect to see a flood of USB3.1 devices early next year, say at CES. MSI already had one board claiming USB3.1 at Computex so device makers are pretty eager for this one to hit volume. It shouldn’t take long for prices to drop to barely above current levels either, that would be next to nothing or 1/7357th of a single Thunderbolt chip. Soon after there will be USB3.1 redrivers too so you can run that 10Gb link across several rooms too. Yay progress.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate