Looking to drive PCI Express use down into the commodity product range, PLX Technology, Inc. has just introduced its' ExpressLane PEX 8508 eight lane, five port PCIe switch IC with pricing at $15 in volume quantities.
Designed to be fully compliant with the PCI Express Specification R1.1,
the PEX 8508 is the first five-port PCIe switch for applications such as
high-end printers, multi-channel network adapter cards, and
According to John Gudmundson, PLX senior product marketing manager, until recently, these applications were primarily the domain of conventional PCI.
He said the new board allows migration to PCIe’s 2.5-Gbps serial interface, point-to-point links, and advanced system management. To simplify installation the board is configured for compatibility with PCI at the driver, BIOS and operating-system levels.
The PEX 8508 features up to five highly configurable ports where eight
lanes can be arranged in a wide variety of lane-width combinations,
including four x1 and one x4, and four x2 port options.
Each port on the PEX 8508 can be configured as either upstream or downstream and support fan-in/fan-out designs, as well as complete peer-to-peer switching
Gudmundson said this enables a system’s or board’s I/O bandwidth to be
tailored to a specific application and allows for a design with changing
requirements to use the same low-cost switch in each variation of the
design. Additionally, system architects can easily use the same part in
The switch features active-state power management, which automatically reduces link power usage when no traffic is present. Optional auxiliary power input allows the switch to go into an ultra-low power state, yet “wake up” automatically with support for in-band and out-of-band signaling. The PEX 8508 integrates the serializer/deserializer (SerDes) functions with power-reduction capabilities, resulting is a power consumption of 2.5W.
The PEX 8508 is supported by the PLX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) line of tools. The PLX ExpressLane PEX 8508RDK includes a working hardware platform incorporating the PEX 8508 chip, complete set of board schematics, symbols and layout files for hardware design, and an extensive Software Development Kit (SDK) that includes a graphical utility for access to chip registers, sample drivers and support library for Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems.
The PLX PEX 8508 PCI Express switch, available in a 19x19mm, 273-pin PBGA
package, is expected to sample in Q4 and priced at under $15.00 in volume
As with other PLX devices, the PEX 8508 is available in leaded and
lead-free packaging. The PEX 8508RDK Rapid Development Kit is scheduled to
be available in Q4-05 for $995.00
PLX Technology, Inc.