PLX was the industry’s first vendor to launch PCIe Gen3 silicon more than one year ago and remains the only company offering Gen3 switches. With the debut of these three new switches, PLX is expanding its PCIe Gen3 portfolio to 11 highly flexible devices ranging from 12 to 48 lanes, and three to 18 ports. This leadership position has placed PLX at the forefront of Gen3 reference designs by worldwide CPU, GPU and endpoint vendors who have been rigorously validating and testing their own silicon and systems using PLX Gen3 devices. Numerous tier-one server and storage OEMs have multiple designs underway using PLX PCIe Gen3 switches that are ready to be launched when Gen3 enabled CPUs become available.
Integrated into each new PLX PCIe Gen3 multi-root switch device are unique performancePAK™ features, including two non-transparency (NT) ports, four direct memory access (DMA) engines, two virtual channels (VCs), and up to 12 ports for spread spectrum clock (SSC) isolation. The NT feature enables host failover and redundancy and has been widely used by tier-one OEMs since it was developed in early PCI technology. The on-chip DMA engines enable designers to increase the performance of systems by moving data among endpoints or between memory and endpoints without sacrificing CPU bandwidth. Support for two VCs enable users to prioritize traffic to support desired quality of service (QoS). The SSC clock isolation for each x4 port of the device allows designers to create large systems with each sub-system running its own SSC clock.
PLX is the only switch vendor that offered x16 ports on PCIe Gen1 and Gen2 switches, and it continues to support x16 on today’s Gen3 devices. In addition to x16 and x8 ports, these switches offer native x2 and x4 ports that enable development of large arrays of SSD based systems with fewer switches. Also included is the support for PCIe specification engineering change notices (ECNs) such as multicast, access control service (ACS), alternative routing-ID interpretation (ARI), atomic operations, and optimized buffer flush/fill (OBFF). PLX PCIe Gen3 devices are fully backwards-compatible with Gen2/Gen1 devices and recommended for all new designs. The PLX Gen3 devices can be used to create Gen3 slots using their bridging capability in a Gen2 platform.
“Next-generation PCI Express-based systems benefit from switches with DMA, higher port counts and non-transparency, providing a boost for Gen3 speeds, design flexibility and range of applications,” said Jag Bolaria, senior analyst at Linley Group and author of the report A Guide to High-Speed Interconnects. “PLX is addressing the market need for such switches that should help accelerate the development of new communications, storage, server and graphics systems.”
“Being the first to market with PCI Express Gen3 switches, having the industry’s largest family of such devices, and offering a rich array of debug tools make PLX the go-to vendor for PCIe-based designs in virtually every market segment,” said David Raun, PLX vice president of marketing and business development. “Gen3 adoption is expected to be significantly faster than was the transition to Gen2, and PLX is the silicon provider in the best possible position to enable the industry’s next-generation Gen3-based designs.”
As a premium benefit for designers, the new switches are supported by exclusive PLX visionPAK™ system debug tools, such as Performance Monitoring, Error Injection, Packet Generator, and the ability to measure both width and height of a SerDes eye using PLX’s free software development kit (SDK). The on-chip hardware debug features, complemented by PLX’s SDK software, offer instant logic analyzer support, high-speed scope view, pattern generation, and error injection - capabilities that shed the cost of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on test equipment. This proven SDK, used by designers worldwide for thousands of PCIe-based products, has garnered the attention of numerous OEMs, reducing their validation tool budgets and helping their products get to market faster.
The new PLX ExpressLane PEX8749, PEX8733 and PEX8725 PCIe Gen3 switches are available today with production scheduled for Q4’11. Volume pricing is $35.00 to $70.00.