Asmedia 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.
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.
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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