Renesas Electronics launched a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) hub controller system-on-chip (SoC), the μPD720210, for use in hubs that enable connection of multiple devices supporting the USB 3.0 standard, such as PC peripherals and digital TVs.
The USB interface standard has been widely adopted worldwide. The recent proliferation of video content and large-capacity recording media has increased demand for interfaces capable of handling higher data transfer rates. In response, new products are coming to market with support for USB 3.0, which delivers speeds 10 times faster than the 480 megabits per second of USB 2.0 speeds. Adoption of USB 3.0 in non-PC products, such as digital consumer electronics, is growing due to factors such as the appearance of solid state drives (SSDs), which allow reading and writing of data at faster speeds than conventional hard disk drives (HDDs), and chipsets with a built-in USB 3.0 host controller.
A USB 3.0 hub device supports the proliferation of USB 3.0–compatible peripheral devices by allowing multiple such devices to connect to a single host device. The needs for the products with built-in USB 3.0 hubs are increasing, including docking stations, monitors, and digital TVs, enabling high-speed data transfer with a variety of peripheral devices. Featuring compact packaging and integrated peripheral components, the new μPD720210 hub controller SoC was designed to meet the need for hubs with low standby power consumption and small board size.
Renesas currently offers the µPD720114, a hub controller that supports the USB 2.0 standard and has been well adopted in the market. The new μPD720210 hub controller builds on the experience gained from the over-10-year track record of its predecessor in terms of connectivity and power efficiency, and it incorporates USB 3.0 technology developed for the µPD72020x series of USB 3.0 host controllers to provide excellent connection compatibility with the µPD72020x. This ensures high performance that preserves the SuperSpeed throughput of the host and a high level of reliability. The new μPD720210 received Windows 8 Hardware Certification by Microsoft with its high performance and reliability. In addition, Renesas intends to receive USB-IF Certification, when a USB 3.0 hub certification program is available by USB-IF.
In addition to technology implemented on Renesas’ existing products that reduces power consumption when all the ports are in an unconnected state, the new hub controller has an improved circuit design that dramatically lowers current leakage when a connected peripheral device is in low-power mode. As a result, the μPD720210 achieves very low power consumption of 5 milliwatts (mW) in power saving mode, which makes it easier for system designers to develop systems that are qualified as stringent power efficiency standards such as Energy Star. Also the μPD720210 achieves industry leading 350 mW as the power consumption even in USB 3.0 active mode.
With the new USB 3.0 hub controller, Renesas has chosen a compact 9 x 9 millimeter (mm) quad flat no-lead (QFN) package to reduce the mounting area by 20 percent from the previous devices.
The μPD720210 hub controller also integrates on-chip peripherals such as step-down regulators that lower the 5 V power supply voltage to the 3.3 V and 1.05 V and charging support functionality conforming to battery charging standards.
The resulting size improvements, an industry-leading small total mounting area (the total mounting area including the peripheral components required by the system), allows system designers to realize more compact systems.
These key features make it easy and inexpensive to add ports allowing SuperSpeed data transfer via a USB 3.0 interface to products such as monitors, docking stations (function extension units that connect to notebook PCs), and TVs. In addition, the μPD720210 hub controller offers substantially reduced power consumption when devices are in standby mode or not in use, which is an important consideration in view of environmental regulations in many countries. Finally, the Renesas Electronics host controller driver stack for Microsoft Windows and device drivers supported by Linux may be used free of charge with the μPD720210.
The μPD720210 hub controller also makes it possible to build mobile docking stations that would not previously have been possible due to constraints on power or mounting area. It also enables realisation of USB universal charging functionality at no additional cost, which was previously quite expensive to implement.
With the new hub controller, Renesas hopes to contribute to the realisation of USB hub systems that are more compact and power efficient, thereby enabling faster data transfer in PCs and digital consumer electronics.
Samples of Renesas’s µPD720210 hub controller are available now. Mass production is scheduled to begin in September 2012 and is expected to reach a combined volume of 1,000,000 units per month by April 2013. (Availability is subject to change without notice.)