ACCORDING TO NEC, it has been six months since the launch of its USB 3.0 controller and we’ve yet to see a single competitor, but we’re now hearing that Intel is getting ready to enter the market with its own device.It won’t be part of Intel’s chipsets for now and it seems like there are several reasons for this.
Today it costs a motherboard manufacturer about $9 to implement USB 3.0 on a motherboard, including all the connectors and so forth. This is a fairly high percentage of the cost of a motherboard and this is why we’re not seeing USB 3.0 implemented on more basic models, as it would make the motherboards far too expensive to remain competitive.
With that in mind, it also makes financial sense for Intel to produce a USB 3.0 controller, as prices will remain fairly high at least for the rest of this year, despite NEC’s imminent production ramp, although we’re hearing it might take a little bit longer than the company announced the other day. Even if the USB 3.0 controllers are priced at $5 each, there should be a fairly good profit to be had from manufacturing them.
On top of this it seems like USB 3.0 hasn’t reached the stage where it’s cost effective enough to implement in a chipset. Judging by the size of the NEC solution, it might just take up too much die space for Intel to want to implement it, but then again, why put something in a chipset when you can charge a hefty extra for it?
The good news here is that Intel is indeed backing the USB 3.0 standard and we will be seeing an Intel design in the not too distant future. However, we don’t have any details as to when Intel will launch its USB 3.0 device as our source didn’t disclose that. Now we’re just waiting for AMD to follow suite with a solution of its own, but that just might not happen.S|A
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