The USB Promoter Group said it expects the arrival of the USB4 specification in late 2020.
The new standard, based on Intel’s Thunderbolt protocol, is seen to support a wide range of features. Among them are ultra-fast data transfer (up to 40Gbps), enhanced display interfaces, and more efficient power delivery.
USB 4 is built based on the current 3.2 version of the specification. It integrates complete support for Thunderbolt 3.0 over USB-C connectors, including transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps (twice as fast as USB 3.2).
USB 4 will bring all Thunderbolt 3 features to any device compatible with the new USB standard. Users can enjoy these benefits at no additional cost.
The new standard will use USB Type-C connectors. It will maintain its backward compatibility with USB 2.0, USB 3.2, and Thunderbolt 3 interfaces. Aside from a faster data transfer rate (40 Gbps) will also support various display protocols.
Tech analysts expect numerous potential uses for the new USB standard, particularly its blazingly-fast data transfer speeds. With this technology, users can plug in a higher-powered external GPU to provide additional power to a weaker laptop. It can also run two high-resolution 4K monitors simultaneously.
Silicon Motion’s SM3282 Chip
Even before the release of USB 4, some companies were able to harness the use of USB ports. An example is Silicon Motion and its new product, its first single-chip controller for portable USB SSDs. With its SM3282, the company would enable makers of portable drives to offer products with blazing-fast read speeds.
Silicon Motion’s new chip can reach sequential read speeds of up to 400 MB/s. These ultra-fast reading rates are previously unachievable by external SSD drives. What’s more, the entire operation takes place in a cost-efficient manner.
The SM3282 chip packs a USB 3.0 (to be exact, USB 3.2 Gen 1) controller. It also has an SSD controller that features 2 NAND channels with 4 CE (Chip Enables) per channel. Furthermore, it has an integrated 3.3V/2.5V/1.8V/1.2V voltage regulators alongside other features.
The chip also comes in a 68-pin QFN package that supports the latest versions of 3D NAND memory. This flash memory includes 3D TLC and up to 96 layers of 3D QLC memory from leading flash suppliers. It also supports both USB Type-A and USB Type-C connectors.
In the past, external SSD manufacturers had to use a USB-to-PCIe bridge alongside an SSD controller to build their products. This process significantly increased the bill of materials (BOM) costs and the final price. The SM3282 contains all the necessary functionality into a single chip, reducing the BOM costs of external SSDs.