SAN JOSE, Calif. Broadcom Corp. has announced an integrated controller aimed to bring network-attached storage capabilities to low-cost, easy-to-use consumer and small-business systems.
The BCM4780 supports basic RAID capabilities for up to four hard drives.
Hard drives have begun to appear in a broad range of set-top boxes, personal video recorders, satellite TV receivers and home media servers. Broadcom hopes its new controller can ride that tide of consumer storage to a new level where multiple disks residing on an Ethernet home network can serve multiple systems, providing automatic backup and reliability through data mirroring.
The BCM4780 includes a 32-bit MIPS core that runs RAID1 mirroring or RAID2 striping across pairs of similar disks, including flash drives attached to its USB 1.1 port. It also support hot swapping.
The chip has a built-in 10/100 Mbit Ethernet controller, offering adequate throughput for up to three high-definition video streams. Data on drives can be encrypted with an on-board Advanced Encryption Systems block.
Systems on a home network can link to the drives automatically thanks to a device discovery feature. The chip supports both the Network File System common to Unix and the Common Internet File System of Windows.
Rounding out its interfaces, the chip also sports PCI to link to 802.11 chip sets and ATA for connections to tape backup or optical drives. The BCM4780 is priced at under $20, in quantities of one million units per year.