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Genesys tapped to supply USB 3.0 chips for Apple's MacBook Air

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
In a sign that Apple plans to adopt USB 3.0 in addition to Thunderbolt on its MacBook lineup, the company is said to have inked a deal with Genesys Logic for USB 3.0 card reader controller chips.

The integrated-circuit design house will provide the USB 3.0 chips for Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models, which will be released in the second half of 2012, DigiTimes reported on Monday. Overall shipments of USB 3.0 products are expected to take off in 2012 with the launch of Intel's next-generation Ivy Bridge processors, which are also expected to be found in Apple's next Macs.

Genesys Logic manufactures the GL3220 Card Reader Controller, a USB 3.0 complaint chip which can support various types of memory cards. Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air includes a dedicated SD card reader, which would make it an ideal fit for the new chips.

The card reader controller allows for a system's internal SD card slot to connect to a system's onboard USB 3.0 controllers. The rumored deal with Gensys and Apple could suggest that Apple plans to add USB 3.0 support to its future MacBooks.

Last year, Apple launched its first Macs with the new high-speed Thunderbolt port, which the company co-designed with Intel. Thunderbolt support is set to come to Windows PCs this year, as Intel views it and USB 3.0 as complementary technologies, with support for both built in to Ivy Bridge processors.

Thunderbolt


Formerly code-named "Light Peak," Thunderbolt's data transfer speeds are 20 times faster than the current, widely available USB 2.0 specification. Thunderbolt's 10Gbps speeds are even twice as fast as USB 3.0.

Last September it was rumored that Apple was investigating USB 3.0 support with new Mac hardware. The third-generation of USB is backward compatible with the previous generation of devices.
post #2 of 34
That is strange, why would Apple want USB 3.0 controller when the Ivy Bridge Controller already has it.

Edit: Title is Misleading. They are providing a Card Reader Controller which uses USB 3.0 as its internal interface.

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post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

That is strange, why would Apple want USB 3.0 controller when the Ivy Bridge Controller already has it.
Edit: Title is Misleading. They are providing a Card Reader Controller which uses USB 3.0 as its internal interface.

You seem to be correct. USB 3.0 is part of the Ivy Bridge controller.

However, I call BS on this. I can't see Apple adding a card reader to the MBA. Maybe the MBP, but not the MBA.
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post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

That is strange, why would Apple want USB 3.0 controller when the Ivy Bridge Controller already has it.
Edit: Title is Misleading. They are providing a Card Reader Controller which uses USB 3.0 as its internal interface.

I thought the same. Its not a controller. Its an interface between a card reader and the internal USB controller (Ivy Bridges USB3.0). 

Think about it as if you had an internal card reader plugged in via a cable, then decided to build the card reader into the laptop. You still need to interface the card reader hardware with the USB chips.

 

Makes me wonder if it would be possible to have a Thunderbolt card reader directly wired in. That would make it almost instant access to external memory cards ... but USB3.0 is a commodity item, so the cost would outweigh the benefit in this case.

post #5 of 34
Quote:
However, I call BS on this. I can't see Apple adding a card reader to the MBA. Maybe the MBP, but not the MBA.

 

 

The 13 inch MBA already has a card reader. It is likely the 15 inch rumored would have one as well. 

post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkisley View Post


The 13 inch MBA already has a card reader. It is likely the 15 inch rumored would have one as well. 

Oops. You're right. I thought it was limited to the 15" MBP.

So in that case, its really not news at all.
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post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokenuser View Post

I thought the same. Its not a controller. Its an interface between a card reader and the internal USB controller (Ivy Bridges USB3.0). 
Think about it as if you had an internal card reader plugged in via a cable, then decided to build the card reader into the laptop. You still need to interface the card reader hardware with the USB chips.

Makes me wonder if it would be possible to have a Thunderbolt card reader directly wired in. That would make it almost instant access to external memory cards ... but USB3.0 is a commodity item, so the cost would outweigh the benefit in this case.

It's possible but with the complexity of Thunderbolt you have a much more costly setup for each port and then you are still limited by the speed of the card which is well below Thunderbolt's capabilities at this point.

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post #8 of 34

Hopefully it's true because I wouldn't buy another Mac without a USB 3 port.  

post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokenuser View Post

I thought the same. Its not a controller. Its an interface between a card reader and the internal USB controller (Ivy Bridges USB3.0). 

Think about it as if you had an internal card reader plugged in via a cable, then decided to build the card reader into the laptop. You still need to interface the card reader hardware with the USB chips.

 

Makes me wonder if it would be possible to have a Thunderbolt card reader directly wired in. That would make it almost instant access to external memory cards ... but USB3.0 is a commodity item, so the cost would outweigh the benefit in this case.

 

Thunderbolt is 'just' a way to bring the PCI Express bus outboard; the current SD card reader on latest MBA/P is already based on PCI Express, and not on USB. Using USB 3 would be a step backward in terms of available bandwidth, but i do not know how significant; fastest SD card have already speed in the order of 90MB/sec.

post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkisley View Post
The 13 inch MBA already has a card reader. It is likely the 15 inch rumored would have one as well. 

 

The 15" already has one.

post #11 of 34

I hope thunderbolt coming out on windows machines actually means I can buy a HD with it for less than a small fortune...

 

O.

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondgeeza View Post

I hope thunderbolt coming out on windows machines actually means I can buy a HD with it for less than a small fortune...
I'm sure we'll see some more competition show up CES 2013 but it'll still be more expensive than USB3.0 devices.

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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondgeeza View Post
I hope thunderbolt coming out on windows machines actually means I can buy a HD with it for less than a small fortune...

 

That's nothing to do with it. But yeah, Intel would do well to force Ivy Bridge to have Thunderbolt ports.

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That's nothing to do with it. But yeah, Intel would do well to force Ivy Bridge to have Thunderbolt ports.

That does have something to do with it. It's enough that Intel is including it in there new chipsets, it also has to be supported by Windows and then adopted by users to help bring down costs of peripherals. Adding Windows and MoBo's supporting Windows just helps push that much much faster than if it stayed only within the Apple bubble.

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post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

That's nothing to do with it. But yeah, Intel would do well to force Ivy Bridge to have Thunderbolt ports.

I'm still waiting on someone other than Apple to make Thunderbolt to FW800 cables. If Intel really wants it to take off, they need to push OEM's (including Apple) to support what people already have, in addition to new cables and drives. Case in point, I have 4 external FW800 drives - I don't want to get rid of them. Hopefully Western Digital will get moving on this soon, I've had no problems with them in the past.

post #16 of 34

Apple won't support USB3 as it's in direct conflict with their Thunderbolt connection.

Just because they can doesn't mean they will.

post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post
Apple won't support USB3 as it's in direct conflict with their Thunderbolt connection.

Just because they can doesn't mean they will.

 

No, they're going to support it. They're just going to push Thunderbolt much more.

 

Just because they can (suppress it) doesn't mean they will (suppress it).

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

No, they're going to support it. They're just going to push Thunderbolt much more.

 

Just because they can (suppress it) doesn't mean they will (suppress it).

You said what I was thinking, Intel has said publicly that the two are complementary, they CAN and SHOULD co-exist.

post #19 of 34

"Genesys Logic manufactures the GL3220 Card Reader Controller, a USB 3.0 complaint chip which can support various types of memory cards."

 

Does this mean now an onboard chip will harangue users about not meeting its potential because of a lack of 3.0-compatible devices?

post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Apple won't support USB3 as it's in direct conflict with their Thunderbolt connection.

Just because they can doesn't mean they will.

Considering that Apple's iDevices use a USB dock connector, I would think they would want to support the faster data transfer standard, eh?

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post
Considering that Apple's iDevices use a USB dock connector, I would think they would want to support the faster data transfer standard, eh?


I'd much rather have Thunderbolt pins in the Dock Connector. I'd rather have a smaller connector with Thunderbolt as the primary and USB legacy support for Windows machines. Then just package in a split cable.

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The 15" already has one.

 

I'm not sure what you mean - there is no 15" MBA.

post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post
I'm not sure what you mean - there is no 15" MBA.

 

Nor will there be, I imagine, if the MacBook Pro is getting a redesign.

 

Wonder if they could jam an SDXC slot in the 11"…

post #24 of 34

Fingers crossed that the next generation of iPhones and iPads come with USB3. Syncing 64GB can take a while!

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
Fingers crossed that the next generation of iPhones and iPads come with USB3. Syncing 64GB can take a while!

 

802.11ac. Or Thunderbolt.

post #26 of 34

Talk about screwed up logic.   Apple isn't adding USB 3 to the AIRs, Intel is adding it to the Ivy Bridge chipsets.   Apple will use the functionality in their new machines but it is a bit confused to say they are adding anything.   Intel adds, Apple uses.

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
Talk about screwed up logic.   Apple isn't adding USB 3 to the AIRs, Intel is adding it to the Ivy Bridge chipsets.   Apple will use the functionality in their new machines but it is a bit confused to say they are adding anything.   Intel adds, Apple uses.

 

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post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

No, they're going to support it. They're just going to push Thunderbolt much more.

 

Just because they can (suppress it) doesn't mean they will (suppress it).

There is no need for Apple to suppress anything.   The use cases for TB and USB3 are completely different.    I still don't understand why people have such a mental block with this.   It is like looking at the HDMI and TB ports on a Mini and not understanding that they serve the same but yet different purposes.   

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Fingers crossed that the next generation of iPhones and iPads come with USB3. Syncing 64GB can take a while!

I suspect that the next dock port will have both USB support and TB support.   TB will be big here, you will be able to connect your iPhone to a 27 inch monitor if you want.

post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
I still don't understand why people have such a mental block with this.   It is like looking at the HDMI and TB ports on a Mini and not understanding that they serve the same but yet different purposes.   

 

Exactly, one pushes video and the other pushes video and everything else you could ever want.

 

Like USB and Thunderbolt. One pushes data and the other pushes data faster, plus video and everything else you could ever want.

 

I'm only slightly pulling your leg here. You can easily see why people can't understand reasons for USB 3, et. al.

post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Fingers crossed that the next generation of iPhones and iPads come with USB3. Syncing 64GB can take a while!

Syncing is properly limited by the speed of NAND rather then actual USB 2.0 speed most of the time. Although as we have faster storage USB 3.0 should help too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bappo View Post

Thunderbolt is 'just' a way to bring the PCI Express bus outboard; the current SD card reader on latest MBA/P is already based on PCI Express, and not on USB. Using USB 3 would be a step backward in terms of available bandwidth, but i do not know how significant; fastest SD card have already speed in the order of 90MB/sec.

Previous SD Card is based on PCI-Express at 125MB/s. With PCI-Express 2.0 that could go up to 250MB/S. USB 3.0 do offers a real world bandwidth of over 300MB/s so that is no exactly a step backward. I think the move to USB 3.0 based card controller has more to do with cost reduction then anything else..

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post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

802.11ac. Or Thunderbolt.

.11ac would be great. Wired would still be faster, but I want a rounded jack so I can insert it in the dark. Why do all these connectors work one-way only? Where's the innovation in that? 'Just' make a rounded headphone-like jack with a fiber-optic-like innards.
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post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
.11ac would be great. Wired would still be faster, but I want a rounded jack so I can insert it in the dark. Why do all these connectors work one-way only? Where's the innovation in that? 'Just' make a rounded headphone-like jack with a fiber-optic-like innards.

 

Circles are terrible for thinness, though. And fiber doesn't carry power, so you'd get one battery charge for the device ever.

post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Exactly, one pushes video and the other pushes video and everything else you could ever want.

Like USB and Thunderbolt. One pushes data and the other pushes data faster, plus video and everything else you could ever want.

I'm only slightly pulling your leg here. You can easily see why people can't understand reasons for USB 3, et. al.

Actually I can't understand this stupidity that has grown up around Thunderbolt. It should be completely obvious to anybody that TB will not be a low cost interface anytime soon. The two interfaces serve entirely different markets and performance classes.

There may come a day when I can buy a $2 microcontroller with TB built in to implement low cost accessories but that is a long way off. Further if Apple & Intel don't have a long term plan to license the technology we may never see cost effective TB solutions for low end devices.

Frankly I suspect that Apple has already gotten what it wanted out of TB which was an elegant way to dock a laptop. I suspect that any other uses for TB that develop over timei are seen as gravy.
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