Judging by today's announcement, Renesas has realised that it only has so much time left in the so far for the company, very profitable USB 3.0 host controller market and it's now branching into other USB 3.0 markets. As such the company has announced its first USB 3.0 peripheral chip, the µPD720230 which is a SATA 6Gbps to USB 3.0 bridge controller.

Judging by today's announcement, Renesas has realised that it only has so much time left in the so far for the company, very profitable USB 3.0 host controller market and it's now branching into other USB 3.0 markets. As such the company has announced its first USB 3.0 peripheral chip, the µPD720230 which is a SATA 6Gbps to USB 3.0 bridge controller.

The only other company we're currently aware of that has a SATA 6Gbps to USB 3.0 bridge solution is ASMedia, so if Renesas can deliver the µPD720230 on time in October as per the press release, then the company might just manage to hit the market at the right point in time. Renesas has one advantage over its competitors, as it's only one of two companies that we're aware of that can offer UASP licenses and as such the company has of course added UASP support to the µPD72023. This means that there should be a performance improvement when used with UASP compatible host controllers.

As such, Renesas own host controllers as well as those found in AMD's A75 and A70M chipsets should see not only a performance advantage when used with the µPD720230, but UASP also adds support for command queuing, something that the standard bulk-only transfer protocol lacks. With over 40 million Renesas controllers already in the market, that's a pretty decent install base to start making accessory chipsets for and unless its competitors licenses UASP support, we're going to have to wait until Windows 8 until we get universal UASP support.

The press release doesn't talk too much about performance, but mentions speeds of up to 370MB/s using ATTO. This is a very impressive figure, but ATTO tends to produce numbers that are in general higher than that seen in other benchmarks and as such we'd take this number with a grain of salt. On the other hand, we'll try to get hold of a bridge for testing to see if Renesas can deliver on their claims.

Renesas has also implemented support for the U1 and U2 power states which are part of the latest USB 3.0 specification for bridge devices, something VLI is already supporting in its VL701. Renesas claims that this can help reduce the power consumption at idle by up to 40 percent, although we presume this is when hard drives are used rather than SSDs.

Renesas expects to kick off production volumes of around 500,000 chips a month and samples are already available. There seems to be some confusion about the pricing though, as the Japanese press release mentions US$3 per chip in sample volumes, while the English press release puts the price at US$3.50. We wouldn't expect to see products in the market based on the µPD720230 until early 2012.

Source: Renesas