Monday, June 19th 2017

Intel 300-series Chipset Could Integrate WLAN and USB 3.1

With its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors bound for the second half of 2017, which consist of upper-mainstream quad-core and six-core chips, Intel is launching its companion 300-series chipset, namely the Z370 Express. The company could launch cheaper H370 and B350 chipsets in the first quarter of 2018 alongside cheaper quad-core and dual-core "Coffee Lake" processors. This platform could herald a new socket. What sets the 300-series chipset - at least the Z370 - apart from its predecessors, is that it integrates WLAN and USB 3.1 gen 2.0 controllers, which could hit the bottom-lines of third-party controller suppliers such as Realtek, Broadcom, and ASMedia, particularly hard.

Intel already has access to various WLAN and USB patents and licenses; which could enable it to deploy 802.11ac R2 and Bluetooth 5.0 on its integrated WLAN controller; besides the latest 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2.0 ports. As a clear indication that these features won't be restricted to the premium desktop Z370 platform, it is being reported that integrated WLAN and USB 3.1 could also feature on the company's entry-level "Gemini Lake" SoC, which succeeds "Apollo Lake." This move is part of Intel's drive to miniaturize the PCB footprint of the platform, so it could feature in low-power convertibles that compete with ones based on ARM SoCs, and is particularly important in the wake of Qualcomm courting Microsoft for a convertible that runs Win32 apps over emulated x86, a move that has irked Intel.Source: DigiTimes
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13 Comments on Intel 300-series Chipset Could Integrate WLAN and USB 3.1

#1
Chaitanya
AMD has integrated USB 3.1 controllers but still I find Asmedia controllers being used on motherboards. So I dont think that will hit bottom lines of these 3rd party makers as much. Motherboard makers will add those controllers to increase the "features" of their boards no matter what happens.
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#2
silentbogo
Chaitanya said:
AMD has integrated USB 3.1 controllers but still I find Asmedia controllers being used on motherboards. So I dont think that will hit bottom lines of these 3rd party makers as much. Motherboard makers will add those controllers to increase the "features" of their boards no matter what happens.
It's not so much about adding features, as it is about saving engineering budget by reusing the same design over and over again. I've seen lots of boards with an excessive amounts of peripheral controllers from AsRock and MSI, even in places where they are not supposed to be. Like AsRock with their obsessive use of AsMedia USB & SATA controllers on various Intel SoC platforms, or MSI with an equally obsessive use of crappy third-party display controllers for iGPU outputs on high-end boards. It does not add features, but it definitely adds more points of failure for each design. Hence ECS and BIOSTAR with their minimalistic designs usually tend to last a lot longer.

btarunr said:
This move is part of Intel's drive to miniaturize the PCB footprint of the platform
... or to justify OEM's tendency to use large and colorful LED-backlit heatsinks on PCH :laugh:
Heck, even x99 and C236 only have a 6W TDP, and usually have a heatsink twice as large, as the one I had on my 30W x48.
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#3
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Good about the wlan.
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#4
bug
Chaitanya said:
AMD has integrated USB 3.1 controllers but still I find Asmedia controllers being used on motherboards. So I dont think that will hit bottom lines of these 3rd party makers as much. Motherboard makers will add those controllers to increase the "features" of their boards no matter what happens.
Fwiw, AMD only offers 2 USB 3.1 gen2 ports, which is hardly enough to forego the third party controller. On the other hand, at this point we don't know how many ports Intel intends to offer. If they also stick with 2, the third party controller with be us for a while. Or maybe they'll offer enough USB 3.1 gen2 ports, but then they'll release the spec for USB 4.0 and we'll need the additional controller again :D
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#5
TheGuruStud
Frick said:
Good about the wlan.
If it were worth a crap.
Posted on Reply
#6
iO
Huh? Source says quite the opposite what this news does. Wifi and USB 3.1 only next year for H/Z390.
Probably because Z370 will be the exact same piece of sillicon as Z270 is...
Posted on Reply
#7
Gott
Ohh dear, can a product launch be more linear?
Intel= Boring as a slow train
Posted on Reply
#8
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
TheGuruStud said:
If it were worth a crap.
Why wouldn't it be? Isn't Intel wlan generally better than others?
Posted on Reply
#9
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Frick said:
Why wouldn't it be? Isn't Intel wlan generally better than others?
Same thing I was thinking Intel lan and wlan are kind of the go to items for reliable good performance.
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#10
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
cdawall said:
Same thing I was thinking Intel lan and wlan are kind of the go to items for reliable good performance.
Pretty much the defacto standard in servers, even virtual NIC emulation is usually done with intel NICs
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#11
TheLostSwede
Keep in mind that the Wi-Fi will still most likely require an external PHY and it's highly unlikely this will be on any desktop boards. Why? Because if you add any kind of wireless transmitter to a product, the entire product has to pass certification, which is much more stringent with a wireless transmitter than just doing EMI certification. This also adds a lot of cost, as wireless certification is about 4-5x compared to EMI certification in terms of cost.

I'm sure we'll see this used in notebooks though and maybe some all-in-one/NUC type systems, but not on motherboards where you have enough space to easily add a M.2 or mini-PCIe card.
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#12
Prima.Vera
Instead of simplifying their CPUs in order to get more yields, they are still adding bloatware to them. Those reminds me of the Korean or Japanese phones/laptops that are full of pre-installed useless crap and garbage stuff that are not only taking unnecessary space, but are also making the system slow and laggy.
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#13
bug
Prima.Vera said:
Instead of simplifying their CPUs in order to get more yields, they are still adding bloatware to them. Those reminds me of the Korean or Japanese phones/laptops that are full of pre-installed useless crap and garbage stuff that are not only taking unnecessary space, but are also making the system slow and laggy.
Yields have little to do with the components in the chip and much to do with the number of transistors. If these additions take a few % of the chip surface, they'll have a negligible impact on yields. And if I can think of that now, Intel probably thought of it years ago ;)
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