The chip is designed to be integrated by manufacturers directly into existing products that use the popular IDE/ATAPI (integrated drive electronics/Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface) interface standard. It creates a bridge between the ATAPI interface and USB 2.0 interface, enabling products to be connected to PCs supporting the new interface standard. NEC imagines it will serve as an interim solution between now and the time companies begin designing USB 2.0 compatibility directly into products from the design stage.
USB 2.0 is a new interface standard being promoted by several PC and chip makers that supports data transmission at speeds of up to 480Mbps -- 40 times faster than the current USB 1.1 standard.
Samples of the new chip are available now, and NEC says it plans to begin volume production in February 2001 at a rate of 200,000 units per month. The commercial price for the chip isn't set yet, but the Tokyo-based maker says it is aiming for around 700 yen ($US6.48) per chip.