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First 480Mbps USB 2.0 controller arrives

Chipset delays threaten take-up

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The first USB 2.0 integrated peripheral controller, capable of data rates of 480 Mbps was launched yesterday by Cypress Semiconductor, but adoption could be held up by chipset delays.

The EZ-USB FX2 is sampling now, with production quantities coming later in Q1, priced from $8.25 to $9.75 in volumes of 1,000 units.

The Windows 2000 drivers are expected at the end of this quarter, but Windows 95 and 98 drivers will only be ready by Q3 or Q4. Norman Taffe, the director of marketing at Cypress, said that the wait for drivers isn't the biggest concern.

"We are actually much more worried about Intel," he said. "Via is expected to beat Intel to market with an integrated chipset, although Intel is sampling its chipset now. That means a probable wait of six months before it is ready."

He said that the wait for the chipset could slow migration from 1.1. "We are expecting to ship around five to ten million units this year," he said. "Once the chipsets are out this will pick up fast and next year we anticipate figures closer to 50 million units."

The EZ-USB FX2 new standard runs 40 times faster than 1.1, and has a much lower percentage overhead problem. Of the 60MB available, 56MB is true data bandwidth, and this is dynamically allocated, so the computer doesn't hang on to bandwidth for a device that is no longer plugged in.

This is by no means the death knell for 1.1, either low or full speed. For devices like keyboards and mice, there is no demand for faster data speeds. Cypress says the new standard will be used for mass storage, printers, scanners, networking and video.

The new standard works across the same wire as USB 1.1, and is backward compatible. In fact Cypress said that developers are designing USB 1.1 products already that are 2.0-ready. ®

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