Intel, AMD Planning USB 3.0 Support In Future Chipsets


On Wednesday at the Intel Developer Forum 2011 in Beijing, Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, said Intel will support USB 3.0 in Ivy Bridge, the successor to Sandy Bridge that Intel is expected to launch next year.

AMD is already shipping its A75 and A70M chipsets featuring native USB 3.0 support, PC World reported Wednesday. AMD didn't respond to a request for additional details regarding USB 3.0 support on its chipsets.

Currently, neither AMD nor Intel offers native USB 3.0 support on its chipsets. However, a leaked Intel roadmap on Tuesday appeared online showing Intel’s upcoming 22-nm version of its 32-nm Core i3, i5, and i7 Sandy Bridge processors, which launched in January and are competing with AMD's Fusion integrated CPU-GPU processors.

According to the leaked slides, Intel’s 22-nm Ivy Bridge processors include a new dual-channel DDR3 memory control alongside a PCI-Express 2.0 bus. They also appear to include larger cache sizes and flexible storage options, as well as for two PCI-Express x16 graphics cards and a 10-port SATA 6Gbps controller.

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Until AMD and Intel add USB controllers onto their chipsets, many of their manufacturer partners have had to purchase controllers from third-party suppliers. Despite the prevalence of previous-generation USB 2.0 technology, several high-end systems including HP’s Pavilion notebook line, which was updated in February, offer native USB 3.0 support.

However, Apple CEO Steve Jobs last year said the company would not support USB 3.0 in part due to Intel’s lack of native USB 3.0 support on its chipsets.

Instead, Apple opted for Intel’s Light Peak technology, which was introduced in Apple’s Macbook line under the Thunderbolt moniker in February. Intel at the time was rumored to be waiting until 2012 to develop 22-nm chipsets with native USB 3.0 support, which now appear to be the upcoming Ivy Bridge platform.

AMD, on the other hand, has previously stated its desire to support USB 3.0 natively. Last month an AMD spokesperson blasted Intel’s Thunderbolt data transfer technology and said Thunderbolt lowers bandwidth for displays connected to its mini DisplayPort, compared to AMD's throughput options.