TI's New CardBus Controller Cuts Component Count by 50 Percent

5/8/2003 - Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated (NYSE: TXN) introduced the industry´s first UltraMediaTM CardBus controller that integrates 1394 (FireWire®), Flash Media and Smartcard functionality. The new PCI7x20, targeted at laptops and small PCs, provides multimedia, security and e-commerce functions with increased speed and convenience. The complete functionality of the PCI7x20 will be demonstrated this week at the WinHEC trade show in New Orleans, LA (Booth #701).

TI's UltraMedia technology integrates and simplifies the use of multiple Flash memory cards and Smartcards in mobile PCs, providing a simple, low-cost passive adapter or the ability to dedicate sockets for individual features. This flexibility enables users to switch among Flash media types and/or use Smartcards without the hassle or cost of active adapters or external readers.

Device Cuts Component Count, Supports Various Media
The PCI7x20 cuts component count in half by combining a dual-socket PC Card controller, Smartcard controller, FireWire Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI), physical layer controller and Flash media controller. The new device integrates: two CardBus sockets, each of which supports a Smartcard for security and e-commerce applications; two Flash media sockets that accommodate multiple popular formats; and two FireWire ports to connect FireWire devices - such as digital still cameras, digital camcorders or MP3 players - to the computer for fast multimedia downloads/uploads. TI is also releasing the PCI6x20 family of devices that provide the same functionality as the PCI7x20, but without the 1394 functionality.

Security for Network and E-Commerce Applications
Incorporating Gemplus´ GemCoreTM Smartcard interface technology, the PCI7x20´s two CardBus ports each support a Smartcard, by utilizing either a passive adapter or the ability to dedicate a Smartcard socket, enabling secure log-on to PCs and networks, as well as encryption of sensitive data.

"Secure logon applications for the PC are becoming an increasing requirement within the corporate notebook market, where they provide safeguards against intellectual property and physical computer theft," said Russell Crane, product marketing manager for computer connectivity solutions at TI. "By utilizing Gemplus' Smartcard technology, Texas Instruments provides the highest level of compatibility, performance and security in the industry."

The PCI7x20 conforms to EMV (European MasterCard Visa) 2000 version 4.0, the latest version of a specification developed to ensure interoperability between chip cards and terminals on a global basis, regardless of the manufacturer, financial institution or where the card is used. EMV-compliance, already a European market requirement, will be used in America to allow e-commerce via Smartcard-enabled credit cards. Smartcard applications include banking, retail, secure logon, security/ID, health care, and trading cards.

Supports Popular Flash Media
The PCI7x20´s PCI-based Flash media controller features a dual channel, master DMA engine that provides unparalleled read/write performance across the supported memory types. The device, TI´s second-generation UltraMedia device, is designed to support the more than 500 million Flash media cards estimated to be shipped by 2005, according to recent research reports. By providing two separate slots via a 3-in-1 socket or two dedicated sockets for Memory Stick, Secure Digital and MultiMedia Card formats, the PCI7x20 provides system integrators maximum flexibility as well as solving end users´ dilemma of having multiple types of Flash media but a port that supports only one type.

The PCI7x20 also supports the new Memory Stick PROTM format, a new generation of 256 MB, 512 MB, and 1 GB memory cards that features high capacity, high-speed data transfer, high-level security, and future expandability. The PCI7x20´s 40 MHz clock enables it to take full advantage of the new specification´s increased transfer rate.

For 1394 applications, the PCI7x20 provides full support including an OHCI 1.1 1394 link layer and a 1394a 400-Mbps 2-port physical layer.

Software Supports Additional Features
Software support for CPRM, a technology that allows consumers to make authorized copies of commercial entertainment content that is protected from unauthorized copying, is available. Software support is also available for SDIO (Secure Digital Input/Output), a standard that allows the SD socket to serve as a memory device and an I/O port for device expansion, giving portable devices additional peripheral and accessory options without increasing size or circuit complexity.

Availability, Price, and Packaging
Sampling now, the PCI7x20 is available in two configurations: Flash-only (PCI7420), or Smartcard and Flash (PCI7620). A single slot version, the PCI7x10 is available now.

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