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AMD set to beat Intel in USB 3 race

AMD could beat its arch rival Intel in the race to integrate USB 3 into a chipset, according to the latest word on the tech grapevine.

Those Taiwanese gossip miners at DigiTimes claim to have had a revealing chat with sources at notebook makers, who reportedly said that AMD is negotiating with Renesas Electronics in order to licence its USB 3 technology.

According to the sources, AMD hopes to integrate a USB 3 controller in its forthcoming Hudson D1 southbridge, which will form a part of AMD's 'Brazos' platform. This is the chipset that will support AMD's 'Ontario' Fusion CPU with integrated DirectX 11 graphics, and is aimed at the market for ultrathin laptops and netbooks.

Japanese tech firm NEC owns a 33.97 per cent share of Renesas Electronics, and the semiconductor manufacturer is also responsible for fabricating NEC's popular uPD720200 USB 3 controller chip.

Recent reports suggested NEC was considering dropping the price of its USB 3 chips in response to the increasing threat from Taiwanese competitors such as VIA. However, a chipset licensing agreement with AMD would also be a good result for NEC, effectively removing the need for a third-party controller on those motherboards and tying them to NEC's technology.

According to the site, AMD plans to start shipping the USB 3-equipped chipset in the fourth quarter of 2010, beating Intel to the post. Intel hasn't announced its official plans for integrated USB 3 support yet, but various sources say it's not expected until we're well into 2011.