In the homogeneous world of discrete logic, it's tough for any but the largest players to stand out, so Pericom Semiconductor Corp. is trying to make its mark by putting a new twist on the ordinary.
The San Jose company today will unveil the P174AVC164245 family of 16-bit level-shifting, bidirectional AVC transceivers, designed to deliver signaling delays of less than 3ns to address such applications as 10Gbit/s data bus translation between a 3.3V LVTTL ASIC and a 2.5V SSTL2 ASIC.
While not the first bidirectional AVC parts, Pericom claims they bear the unique distinction of supporting dual voltage levels without power sequencing.
"Ordinarily, you would have to take a certain voltage on a port and run it up to 3V before applying a lower voltage, or risk blowing up the device," said David Duncan, logic product marketing manager at Pericom. "This has been a major problem for customers, because they have to develop a special sequencing circuit, which is a pain in the backside."
The P174AVC164245 translates bidirectionally from 3.3 to 2.5-1.8V to implement the classic 16445 transceiver function, supporting the SSTL interface. Its companion devices include the P174AVC164245LA, which supports HSTL and LVCMOS at 3.3 to 2.5-1.5V, and the P174HSTL1212, which supports HSTL at 3.3 to 1.8-1.5V.
The development may allow Pericom to delay its entry into the sub-1V logic race, which is already being run by Fairchild Semiconductor and Pericom's former low-voltage-logic allies, Philips Semiconductors and Texas Instruments.
"What the industry really needs is a product that will work at 1.8 and 2.5 and be able to manage 3.3 [volts]," Duncan said, adding that Pericom will support sub-1V when customers ask for it.
"Large OEMs in the networking and server areas [have] issues to do with translating voltages and translating interface standards," he said. "If you've got a fancy ASIC and a custom microprocessor, you can't just hook them up. You need a translator, and one that's fast."
Currently sampling in 48-pin packages, the P174AVC164245 sells for $2.54 in lots of 100 or more, and the P174AVC164245LA is priced at about $2.80 in similar quantities. The P174HSTL1212 is custom priced.