Fujitsu unveils USB 3.0 silicon

The new chip, intended for external storage devices, includes transfer rates up to 5Gbps and a built-in encryption engine

Fujitsu Microelectronics has begun shipping one of the first chips to support USB 3.0, which promises to be 10 times faster than USB 2.0.

Fujitsu's MB86C30A, announced on Monday, is a USB 3.0-to-Sata bridge chip. The company said it can deliver the 5Gbps maximum data transfer rate of the new USB 3.0 specification, which is also known as SuperSpeed USB. USB 2.0 supports a maximum transfer rate of 480Mbps.

The integration of the Sata (Serial ATA) storage interface technology means the chip is suitable for use in external storage devices such as hard disk drives, Fujitsu said. Using USB 3.0, a two-hour HD video could be copied to a 3.5-inch hard disk drive in three to four minutes, the company estimated.

The single-chip product includes an AES encryption/decryption engine, allowing encrypted data to be stored on a hard-disk drive without the need for an additional encryption chip, Fujitsu said. The AES engine can process encryption and decryption at a maximum rate of 300MB per second.

The MB86C30A integrates both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Sata links and a 32-bit RISC processor to respond to requests from the USB host. It also provides  ATA/ATAPI device support, support for customised functions and technology designed to reduce power consumption.

The first engineering samples are scheduled to be available in August. Products containing the chip could be on the market next year, when PCs are expected to begin supporting USB 3.0, Fujitsu said.