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Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Renesas Releases Faster And More Energy Efficient USB 3.0 Host Controllers


Renesas Electronics (formerly NEC Electronics) today announced the availability of its two new SuperSpeed Universal Serial Bus (USB 3.0) xHCI host controllers for electronic devices that feature faster effective data transfer speeds and reduced power consumption in low power mode.

The company has also made available device drivers for Microsoft Windows and Linux support at no cost.

USB 3.0 has been widely adopted into an increasing number of PCs and peripheral devices such as external hard disks and USB flash memory drives. With the recent emergence of solid state drive (SSD) products offering faster read and write access than conventional hard disks and chipsets supporting the PCI Express Generation 2 high-speed internal bus for PCs, the groundwork is in place to enable the high-speed performance potential of USB 3.0 to be used to its fullest.

The new host controllers add a new four-port product to the Renesas Electronics USB 3.0 product lineup and deliver even faster transfer speeds, better power efficiency, and more compact size than the company's previous versions of USB 3.0 host controllers.

Improvements to the data transfer processing circuit provide an increase in the effective data write speed of more than 40 percent from Renesas Electronics' existing host controller products for peripheral devices such as USB 3.0 hard disks.

In addition to a technology implemented on existing products that reduces power consumption when the peripheral device is in the unconnected state, circuit improvements have been made to suppress current leakage when in low-power mode. This has reduced power consumption in low-power mode to 4.5 milliwatt (mW), a reduction of 90 percent compared with Renesas Electronics' existing products.

The µPD720201 and the µPD720202 devices are equipped in an 8 millimeter (mm) square Quad Flat Non Lead (QFN) package and a 7 mm square QFN package, respectively, which are reductions in package size of approximately 50 percent from Renesas Electronics' existing products.

In addition, the company's existing host controllers use firmware stored in external serial flash ROM. The µPD720201 and µPD720202 devices now have a function that makes use of improvements to the PCI Express interface to allow downloading of firmware from the system software, such as the basic input/output system (BIOS). The ability to download the firmware from the system software eliminates the need for external serial flash ROM. This reduces the number of components required for incorporating a USB 3.0 function and enables a smaller mounting area.

Renesas Electronics will exhibit and demonstrate the µPD720201 and µPD720202 devices at the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on March 9 and 10, 2011.

Samples of Renesas Electronics' µPD720201 with four downstream ports and µPD720202 with two downstream ports are available now, priced at $20 and $10, respectively. Mass production is scheduled to begin in September 2011 with a combined production volume of 2,000,000 units per month.

Renesas Electronics is the world's largest producer of USB 3.0 host controllers. In April 2000, the company (then NEC Electronics) launched the µPD720100 device, the world's first USB 2.0-compliant host controller chip.In May 2009, the company introduced the industry's first USB 3.0 xHCI host controller and, only after four months of its release, the company became the world's first to earn the "Certified SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0)" certification from the USB-IF, and also started mass production of the µPD720200 host controller. In the following year, the company released its second USB 3.0 xHCI host controller (µPD720200A) and passed the compliance and certification testing in only two months.





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