PLX Technology rolls out low-latency PCIe switches - Embedded.com

PLX Technology rolls out low-latency PCIe switches

Sunnyvale, Calif.—PLX Technology Inc. launched its next-generation PCI Express (PCIe) switch family consisting of three devices, one of which features latency as low as 110-ns.

The PLX ExpressLane PEX 8525 (24 lanes, 5 ports), PEX 8533 (32 lanes, 6 ports), and PEX 8547 (48 lanes, 3 ports) device offer PCIe switching capability, enabling users to add scalable high-bandwidth, non-blocking interconnection to a variety of applications, including server, storage systems, communications platforms, blade servers and embedded control products.

The PLX ExpressLane PEX 8525 (24 lanes, 5 ports), PEX 8533 (32 lanes, 6 ports), and PEX 8547 (48 lanes, 3 ports) switches employ the company's proprietary Cut-Thru architecture, which is designed to reduce latency by moving the packet to Egress port after reading packet header. As a result, the devices can achieve a 40% lower latency rate compared with competitive products, according to Akber Kazmi, product marketing director, switches.

The PEX 8547, which is said to be the industry's only 48-lane, 3-port PCIe switch, is capable of achieving latency of 110-ns in a x16 to x16 configuration. The PEX 8525 and PEX 8533 also provide very low latency of 115-ns.

Low latency in both centric and peer-to-peer modes sharply increases the throughput in fan-out, aggregation, dual-graphics, peer-to-peer, and intelligent I/O module applications that require high bandwidth.

“We do support peer-to-peer communication. If you don't have true peer-to-peer, then your packets will go to the root complex or the chipset or in some cases the CPU and consume a lot of bandwidth on the CPU or the upstream port. If you have a true peer-to-peer, then you have lower latency of the packet between the two endpoints, and also no bandwidth on the upstream side or the root complex side would be consumed, thus enhancing the overall performance of the system,” he said.

According to PLX, The PLX ExpressLane PEX 8525, PEX 8533 and PEX 8547 switches consume the lowest power in the industry at 100mW per lane. The power can be further reduced through the on-chip programmable SerDes, which can also be turned off when unused.

The switches also feature flexible port configurations up to x16, allowing numerous configurations as either upstream or downstream. Some ports feature a Hot-Plug controller, allowing field upgrades without burdening the design with costly external components.

The switches have all successfully completed the rigorous PCI Express Base Specification, Revision 1.1 testing procedures and are on the PCI-SIG integrators list. PLX has already started development toward the PCI Express 2.0 specification, which doubles the line-rate of each lane to five gigabits per second.

The three switches are all available today and will be production-released in February 2007. Volume quantity pricing are $35 for the PEX 8525, $45 for the PEX 8533 and $55 for the PEX 8547. All PLX PCI Express products are fully supported with a Rapid Development Kit (RDK) family of hardware and Microsoft Vista-ready software tools to accelerate design cycles.

For detailed information on the entire ExpressLane family and datasheets, please visit www.plxtech.com/pcie.

PLX Technology Inc., 1-408-774-9060, www.plxtech.com.

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