Bridge IC supports SuperSpeed USB

Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe has announces the MB86C30A, one of the first available USB 3.0 to SATA(*1) bridge ICs, which supports the ultra-fast 5Gbps maximum data transfer rate of SuperSpeed USB, the USB 3.0 specification(*2). The MB86C30A is the first in Fujitsus new MB86C30 Series of USB 3.0 to SATA bridge ICs. When embedded in PC peripheral devices the IC provides an order of magnitude increase in data transfer rates from external storage devices, such as hard disk drives (HDDs), to PCs, in comparison to the USB 2.0 specification.

In addition to the bridge functionality, the new IC also features a high-speed data encryption / decryption engine, offering high security without impairing the high-speed performance of USB 3.0.

Today, PCs and digital audio-visual equipment handle an ever-growing volume of data from digital photos, to audio and video files. These market needs are driving storage devices to have ever-increasing data volumes and speeds. The ubiquitous USB interface, used widely in external HDDs and memory sticks, has had a maximum data transfer rate of 480Mbps under the USB 2.0 specification, too slow to meet current demands for the ability to read and write high volumes of data in a shorter time. The USB 3.0 specification (SuperSpeed USB) ratified in November 2008 resolves this issue by providing a maximum data transfer rate that is over 10 times faster than that of USB 2.0. In addition, this next generation specification includes greater protocol efficiency as well as improved power management techniques, which enable lower power consumption.

The MB86C30A is a single-chip solution that integrates all the USB signal communication control circuits, SATA communication control circuits, protocol and command control circuits that are the necessary functions for constructing an external USB storage device and to realise 5Gbps data transfer to a host PC.

The device also contains an embedded AES(*3) engine that supports two operation modes: Cipher Block Chaining (CBC), a mode for encrypting block data; and XTS, the XEX encryption mode with tweak and ciphertext stealing. Both modes are ideal for hard disks in terms of security, strength and speed of encryption/decryption.

The encryption engine makes it possible to store encrypted data on HDDs, thus protecting confidential information from threats when portable devices are lost or stolen a well-publicised problem in recent years or to prevent data leaks when storage devices are disposed of. Also, compared to software encryption, this hardware encryption does not burden the CPU of the host PC, and provides better protection of users data.

The MB86C30 series is being jointly developed with Fujitsu Laboratories Limited and Fujitsu LSI Solutions Limited, whose extensive expertise and technologies for high-speed interfaces(*4) have been instrumental in realising this IC. Going forward, Fujitsu Microelectronics will strengthen and expand the line-up of USB 3.0 standard products for storage devices.