VIA launches world's first USB 3.0 hub controller

VIA's new VL810 SuperSpeed USB hub controller allows a single USB port to be used by up to four high-bandwidth USB 3.0 devices simultaneously.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read
The VIA VL810 SuperSpeed Hub Controller VIA

When USB 3.0 was demonstrated by Intel last year, I was really excited. Now the wait is really over.

The VIA group unveiled Monday the world's first USB 3.0 Hub Controller, the VIA VL810 SuperSpeed. This is the industry's first integrated single-chip solution that supports the higher transfer rates of the new USB 3.0 specification.

And here's the reason why I've been so excited: USB 3.0 (aka SuperSpeed USB, as opposed to the HighSpeed USB or USB 2.0) allows for a maximum data transfer rate of up to 5Gbps, which is 10 times the throughput available to USB 2.0-based devices, making it the fastest connection to date for computer peripheral. In order to support this, the USB 3.0 cable is substantially thicker than that of USB 2.0 and contains six wires rather than two.

USB 3.0 is also full duplex, meaning it can upload and download simultaneously at the same speed (USB 2.0 is only half duplex). On top of that, USB 3.0 also offers other enhancements that improves interaction between device and host controller as well as advancements in power management.

The VIA VL810 expands a PC's USB capability by allowing more than one device to be connected to each host port, which means that it allows a single USB port to be used by up to four high-bandwidth USB 3.0 devices simultaneously. Other than that, the new controller is also backward compatible with previous USB specifications and offers support for high-speed (480Mbps), full-speed (12Mbps), and low-speed (1.5Mbps) traffic.

Along with power management features that include the ability for devices to communicate latency tolerance to the host and for links to enter progressively lower power states when link partners are idle, the VIA VL810 is unique in that it is the first USB hub controller to use advanced 80nm CMOS technology, further lowering the chip's power usage.

USB 3.0 has been expected to outdo all other peripheral connections in throughput speed, including eSATA. If you are interested in finding out whether this is true, the VIA VL810 SuperSpeed Hub Controller will be demoed at CES later this week at the Lunch@Piero's event.

The VIA VL810 SuperSpeed Hub Controller is slated to be available in VIA-based motherboards later this year. Prior to this, the only way to take advantage of the USB 3.0 speed was via add-in controller cards.