Updates to this story
It looks like AMD and NEC may be able to rest on their laurels, for this year at least, in the ongoing and never-ending USB 3.0 chip saga. Four design houses, for Asustek, Via, Etron and Fresco Logic are all struggling to get their chips out onto mobos by the end of this year.
Sources told Digitimes that chip designers have met a bump in the road via the USB Implementers Forum - USB-IF - certification and are still yet to pass it. Without it there's not a hope in heck we'll be seeing USB 3.0 on motherboards from any of the above. It's a design problem, say the sources. Designers are having trouble coming up with their own USB 3.0 software because Windows 7 doesn't natively support the kit, which means they're all scrambling over themselves to get ready for a launch.
Even though USB 3.0 chips have been sent off to mobo makers they'll need to pass USB-IF and have their own software sorted.
NEC is currently the only manufacturer to have full approval over its USB 3.0 chips. AMD has been in talks, apparently, with NEC to licence its kit and ship the next gen USB 3.0 with its Ontario APUs and Hudson chipsets due out at the end of the year.
At Computex earlier this year Gigabyte confirmed that Intel's USB 3.0 chipset won't be on the way to vendors or anyone else at all until 2012 at the earliest. As it stands, with reported hiccups from other manufacturers, if NEC and AMD get this right they're both set to clean out the house.
By dilly-dallying, the other major players - with VIA, Fresco Logic and Asmedia all originally being touted as serious contenders - NEC's head start may turn into an early monopoly.