SAN JOSE -- The rush in on to claim an early lead in chips supporting the faster Universal Serial Bus 2.0 standard. Starting today at the Intel Developer Forum here Cypress, Philips, Lucent and others plan to flex their USB 2.0 muscles by demonstrating new controllers and transceiver chips for PC-to-peripheral interfaces running 40 times faster than the existing USB 1.1 standard.
Philips Semiconductors of the Netherlands claims to be the first company to begin sampling a USB 2.0 controller chip (see today's story). Cypress Semiconductor Corp. today said its EZ-USB FX2 chip was the first integrated peripheral controller for USB 2.0 to demonstrate full functionality in Intel Corp.'s labs. Lucent Technologies Inc. this week also announced a single-chip host controller and a transceiver for USB 2.0, promising samples of those 0.25-micron ICs by this fall (see Aug. 21 story)
The USB 2.0 specification cranks up the data-transfer rates of the Universal Serial Bus to 480 megabits per second vs. 12-Mbits/sec. for the USB 1.1 standard.Those higher speeds are needed to deal with larger data files, such as graphics and images as well as high-speed mass storage peripherals, Internet access appliances, local area networks, and wireless LANs.
Philips Semiconductors quoted Intel technology initiatives manager Jason Ziller as saying peripheral manufacturers are looking to implement USB 2.0 technology "as quickly as possible." Many of the chip companies rolling out their USB 2.0 chips at the Intel Developer Forum this week quoted Ziller as saying their devices would help accelerate the use of the faster serial bus in system products.
Cypress hopes to use its successful prototype demonstrations in the Intel Laboratory as a springboard to early USB 2.0 volumes. "Being first to demonstrate functionality in the Intel Laboratory with a fully integrated USB 2.0 controller is a key milestone en route to the mass production of USB 2.0 silicon," claimed Allyn Pon, director of product marketing for the Interface Products Division at Cypress.
At stake is a big market opportunity that spans personal computer systems, PC peripherals, consumer products (such as digital cameras), and Internet devices. Cypress claims it is the current leader in USB chip shipments with 70 million units delivered to the market. The San Jose company projected that its 1999 revenues from the USB products will grow by more than 200% to $100 million in 2000.
Cypress said its EZ-USB FX2 USB 2.0 solution integrates a transceiver, a serial interface engine (SIE), and a general programmable interface (GPIF). Cypress claims its one-chip solution can be easier to use in implementing USB 2.0 than programmable logic or ASICs because more functions are integrated on silicon, including an 8051 microcontroller, logic, memory, and phase-locked loops (PLLs). No pricing information was released with Cypress' announcement of functional devices.