Leveraging its commanding position in the 1394 high-speed bus market, Texas Instruments Inc. has introduced its third-generation device and established a sub-$5 target for a complete 1394 solution in 2000.
The 1394 serial I/O bus is designed to function as both a cable-connected bus and as a backplane bus, providing improved performance over serial and parallel buses.
Currently, TI, Dallas, holds a 95% market share in 1394 silicon for PC applications, 70% in camcorder applications, and 80% overall, said Randall Trost, 1394 worldwide marketing manager for TI.
"I hope we don't maintain an 80% market share," Trost said. "I expect the market to grow so fast that we're going to need competition to come in and take some of the market share and drive a higher infusion rate than we can alone."
Trost estimates 8 million 1394-enabled PCs will ship in 1999, growing to about 30 million in 2000.
Increased penetration in the PC market is being driven by cost reductions in 1394 solutions, as well as improvements in power consumption that are allowing for increased use in mobile applications, he said.
A complete 1394-interface chipset includes an Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI) link-layer device, and a 400-Mbit/s physical-layer device (PHY). TI's first-generation solution, introduced in 1994, was priced between $12 and $15. The second-generation solution, introduced in 1998, reduced the price to $8 from $10.
The third-generation chipset is expected to be priced under $6. Process improvements on the PHY scheduled for 2000 are expected to drop the price below $5, Trost said.
"PC OEMs have told us what their sweet spot is to get 1394 implemented across their product lines," he said. "These cost reductions are getting us from the high-range boxes at the beginning of 1999, to the mid-range in the middle of this year, to the low-end PCs over the next year."
In addition to cost reduction, the new TSB12LV25 OHCI link-layer device reduces power consumption by one-third compared to its predecessor, making the solution more applicable to portable products.
The TSB12LV25 features FIFO memory, and the device interfaces with all of TI's one-, two-, three-, four-, and six-port PHYs. The device is pin compatible with first and second-generation versions.
The device conforms to the latest versions of 1394 specifications, including IEEE 1394a 3.0, OHCI 1.0, and PCI 2.2. standards, as well as the PC98 and PC99 initiatives. The TSB12LV25 is available now in a 100-pin TQFP.