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Difference between USB 3.0 and MIPI CSI-2 interface

This page compares USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 vs MIPI CSI-2 interface and mentions difference between USB and MIPI CSI-2 interface types.

Introduction: As we know emdedded electronics require three main parameters to succeed in the emerging market. These parameters include low power consumption, Smaller size and low production costs. In order to achieve above goal, SoC (System On Chip) has been developed. SoC houses core elements of a computer such as CPU, GPU and buses. In addition, it will have various interfaces such as HDMI, GigE, USB, MIPI etc. Board level camera modules are interfaced with processor using different interface types viz. USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Proprietary parallel or serial interfaces and MIPI CSI-2.

USB 2.0 Interface

Following are the features of USB 2.0 interface.
• It was released in 2000.
• It is quite often found on many SoCs.
• It requires minimal additional hardware. USB connector is required to connect camera to the SoC.
• It supports low bandwidth which is up to 40 MB/s.
• It is impossible to run high resolution sensors at high speed.
• Bidirectional data transfer is not supported. Smart charging is not available.

USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0

USB 3.0 Interface

Following are the features of USB 3.0 interface.
• It was released in 2008.
• It supports high bandwidth which is up to 360 MB/s.
• It offers easy integration using USB3 vision standard.
• It offers plug and play feature which offers easier integration in embedded applications.
• It is relatively lower in development costs.
• Like USB 2.0, it requires big connectors and less flexible cables which is not suitable for space constraint devices.
• It is available only for few high end SoCs.
• Bidirectional data transfer is supported. Smart charging is also available.
➨Refer difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 interface types.

MIPI CSI-2 Interface

Following are the features of MIPI CSI-2 interface.
• It is developed by MIPI alliance.
• CSI-2 stands for "Camera Serial Interface 2nd Generation".
• It is the most common interface for mobile applications which is used to connect smartphone camera modules to an SoC.
• SoCs provide up to 6 serial lanes
• Each of these lane provides bandwidth of up to 300 MB/sec.
• It allows high resolution camera modules to operate at high speed.
➨Refer advantages and disadvantages >> of MIPI CSI interface.


Tabular difference between USB and MIPI CSI-2

Following table compares USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 vs CSI-2 and mentions difference between USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and CSI-2 interfaces.

Features USB 2.0 USB 3.0 MIPI CSI-2
Availability on SoC Often On high end SoCs Many, typically 6 lanes available
Bandwidth 40 MB/s 360 MB/s 300 MB/s/lane
Cable Length < 5 meters < 5 meters < 30 cm
Space Requirements High High Low
Plug and Play Supported Supported Not supported
Development Costs Low Low Medium to High which is manufacturer dependent

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