Silicon Motion USB 3 Controller ClaimsTo Boost Thumb Drive Performance Significantly

USB 3.0 offers excellent performance characteristics for external storage, but thumb drives that take full advantage of the standard have been few and far between. According to Silicon Motion, its upcoming SM3267 controller will boost single-channel USB 3 speeds for flash drives to 160MB/s read, 60MB/s write, while simultaneously cutting power consumption and reducing chip complexity. Compared to the older SM3260, the SM3267 chip supports just single-channel flash, but integrates the clock chip onboard.

"We are very excited to introduce SM3267, our first crystal-less USB 3.0 solution with integrated power ICs," said Wallace Kou, President and CEO of Silicon Motion. "SM3267 offers superior performance with competitive cost when compared to other USB 3.0 controllers in the market, and we believe our solution will help accelerate the market in transitioning from legacy USB 2.0 flash drives to the latest generation USB 3.0 drives."

The new chip supports the full range of NAND produced by current manufacturers including both Toggle and ONFI sub-types. The clock controller integration lowers the cost of the chip by 15-20%, which could help speed the transition to faster USB 3.0 speeds from the relatively pokey USB 2.0. As motherboards and purchased systems pick up more USB 3.0 ports, use of the standard for relatively pedestrian file copying is likely to increase. That's rather interesting, because it starts to allow for much more freedom in OS installation and system mobility.

SM3267 micro-controller

A relatively high-speed 32GB USB 3.0 drive could function as a boot drive for a variety of low-end uses, giving users a pocketable computer that literally hooks to a keyring. While not exactly a replacement for a typical desktop, the ability to boot an entire, robust OS environment with a certain amount of preinstalled software would be advantageous in many instances. It's also a convenient backup for a failed primary OS partition or a convenient way to set up a system for a guest's access.