This one has been a long time coming, but VLI (VIA Labs Inc.) has finally gained the much needed certification from the USB-IF for its VL800 and VL801 USB 3.0 host controllers. The good news for consumers are that finally you can buy any USB 3.0 host controller and know that it has received the stamp of approval from the USB-IF, although what does that mean?
Well, it means that the host controller has passed a bunch of compliance test that means that it meets all sorts of electrical, interoperable and backwards compatibility tests. However, what it doesn't mean is that the host controller will perform to a certain level. We'll come back to this hopefully later this week, as we're in the middle of finishing off a major USB 3.0 host controller group test.
As for VLI, the company can finally start hitting the market, although in all fairness there are already quite a few products already sold featuring VIA's VL800 4-port host controller, as so far it's the only commercially available 4-port solution. On the other hand, several companies have held off using VLI's solution due to lack of USB-IF certification, so overall this should be great news for the company.
VLI is the last of the Taiwanese host controller makers to gain USB-IF certification, although this is far the last USB 3.0 host controller. Despite Intel putting USB 3.0 support into its chipsets by next year and AMD adding native support to more of its chipsets, we'll still be seeing new host controllers. Of course, one interesting development is when the x2 PCI Express interface is introduced, as this should help boost the performance of USB 3.0 host controllers among many other peripheral chipsets such as SATA 6Gbps controllers.