VIA Labs Inc. (VLI) has developed a new controller for USB 3.0 hubs, the VL812. This controller is to be more energy efficient and VIA claims that they're the first to integrate a 5V DC-DC switching regulator. With it, the controller can be implemented in USB 3.0 hubs and motherboards even more cheaply. Because the hub controller allegedly draws only 0.5 watts, sufficient power is left over to power a 2.5-inch external hard disk, USB flashdrive and mouse simultaneously, provided that the hub is connected to a USB 3.0 port.
The new controller is also capable of charging USB devices, power is then drawn from the computer's USB port. When the computer is turned off, the hub can stay active to charge attached devices. The new product is backwards compatible with the older USB 2.0 and 1.1 versions.
To appeal to more manufacturers, VIA has opted for an upgradable firmware. At dimensions of 9x9 mm, the chip takes up only very little space on the circuit board as well. The new VL812 controller is compatible with multiple operating systems, including Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000 and ME. Linux and Mac OS are also supported. VIA's controller chip is to find its way into USB 3.0 hubs, docking stations and other products soon.