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

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    ksecksec Posts: 1,549member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    ksec wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 33
    tokenusertokenuser Posts: 69member

    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.

  • Reply 4 of 33

    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. 

  • Reply 5 of 33
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member

    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.
  • Reply 6 of 33
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tokenuser wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 605member


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

  • Reply 8 of 33
    bappobappo Posts: 24member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 33


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


     


    O.


     
  • Reply 11 of 33
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 33
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    cmfcmf Posts: 60member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 33
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,345member


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


    Just because they can doesn't mean they will.

  • Reply 16 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    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).

  • Reply 17 of 33
    cmfcmf Posts: 60member

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 33
    cityguidecityguide Posts: 129member


    "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?

  • Reply 19 of 33
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 605member

    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?

  • Reply 20 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    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.

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