etron Etron first with four port USB 3.0 controller with PCI Express x2 interface

Although Intel will be incorporating USB 3.0 support in most of its 7-series chipsets and AMD already having support in its A75 chipset, we're still a long way from ubiquitous USB 3.0 support and both Intel and AMD won't be offering more than four ports as standard. As such third party USB 3.0 host controllers aren't going anywhere for the time being at least and Etron has upped the game by launching two new four port host controllers.

Although Intel will be incorporating USB 3.0 support in most of its 7-series chipsets and AMD already having support in its A75 chipset, we're still a long way from ubiquitous USB 3.0 support and both Intel and AMD won't be offering more than four ports as standard. As such third party USB 3.0 host controllers aren't going anywhere for the time being at least and Etron has upped the game by launching two new four port host controllers.

First up we have the EJ188 which we saw early silicon of back at Computex in June, although that was a much larger BGA chip that what the announced chip which is a small 88-pin QFN chip measuring 10x10mm, although it's still slightly larger than Renesas µPD720201. This is a fairly standard four port USB 3.0 host controller with a PCI Express 2.0 x1 interface and it should be competing with VLI, Renesas and Texas Instruments in the four port market.

Much more interesting then is the EJ198 as this is the first – at least announced – four port USB 3.0 host controller with a PCI Express 2.0 x2 interface. Twice the PCI Express lane count means that in theory the USB 3.0 ports should have twice as much bandwidth to share between the host controller and the chipset. As such this should allow for better performance across the four ports than any current four port host controller when pushed to its limits. The EJ198 comes in the same 88-pin QFN packaging as the EJ188.

Etron claims to have had the EJ188 adopted by its partners already, but didn't mention anything about the EJ198. In truth we're hoping that the motherboard makers will adopt the EJ198 over the EJ188, if for no other reason that for future proofing. We'll do some digging and see if we can't find out a bit more about these new host controllers.

In related news, Etron also announced a new USB 3.0 flash drive controller called the eV268 which will come in two different versions with support for either eight channels (eV268H) or 16 channels (eV268K) of SLC, MLC or TLC NAND flash. The eV268K also supports synchronous and toggle-mode MLC flash which allows for increased performance. Both versions of the eV268 supports 60-bit ECC and Etron claims that speeds of up to 230MB/s is possible with the eV268K. The eV268 has already been certified by the USB-IF, so hopefully it won't take too long until we see a few USB 3.0 flash drives based on it.