NEC Electronics becomes Renesas Electronics

Pre-announces new USB 3.0 controller

THE MERGER BETWEEN NEC Electronics and Renesas Technology culminated today with the start of Renesas Electronics, which is the name of the new company. Renesas Technology was a Japanese semiconductor manufacturer, while NEC Electronics was a separate division of NEC that focused on semiconductor products. The new company is Japan’s largest and the world’s third largest semiconductor manufacturer.

The new company will focus on three main product areas, microcontrollers, SoC solutions and analog and power devices. It’s also the only company that is currently producing and selling a USB 3.0 host controller, which was sold by NEC Electronics as the µPD720200. However, at the USB-IF developer’s conference we were informed that the company is readying a new version of this controller that will be known as the µPD720200A.

The disappointing news is that the new controller doesn’t add support for more ports, nor has Renesas Electronics made many changes to the previous model. What has been improved is the power consumption, which is great for use in notebooks, and we’d hazard a guess that this is where we’ll find this updated USB 3.0 controller first. The other change is the implementation of an internal spread spectrum clock generator. The new controller is pin-to-pin compatible with the older model.

We also spotted another peculiar card at the Renesas booth at the USB-IF developer’s conference, namely the first PCI USB 3.0 card. This is truly a frankenstein product, as you’ll never get anywhere close to USB 3.0 performance on the PCI bus and it also relies on a PCI Express to PCI bridge chip from PLX. We were told that it should offer a performance boost over USB 2.0, but we can’t really see it being worth the cost.S|A

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