Faster storage options are always welcome, especially for external devices. That is why VIA‘s announcement that their VL820 is now the world’s first USB-IF certified USB 3.1 Gen 2 hub is exciting. USB 3.1 Gen 2 is gaining momentum with support from both the latest Intel 200-series and AMD Ryzen platforms. Comparatively, USB 3.1 Gen 2 supports 10Gbps devices which is faster than USB 3.1 Gen 1 that tops out at 5Gbps.
Actual certification from the USB-IF (Implementers Forum) is not easy. The VIA VL820 went through several rigorous testing in order to ensure that it reaches USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds. This test was done on several major USB 3.1 gen 2 host provider and manufacturer. This can be a challenge since various hosts act differently, resulting in greater performance variance.
The VL820 itself comes in two flavor configurations: the VL820-Q7 and VL820-Q8. The Q7 is a QFN-76 package that measures 9×9 mm square. The Q8 on the other hand, is optimized for USB-C use, coupled with integrated muxes for upstream and downstream ports in a slightly larger 10x10mm, QFN-88 package.
The VIA VL820 is shipping now, and should see end-products by Q4 2017. The proliferation and use of USB Type-C will make such a product ubiquitous for desktop computing use.
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