Determined to build up a commanding lead as a supplier of I/O interconnect silicon for communications, server, storage, embedded control, and consumer applications, PLX Technology has introduced the PEX 8518, what it claims is the industry’s only five-port, 16-lane PCI Express (PCIe) switching device.
The PEX 8518 has been designed specifically to fit into a small 23x23mm BGA package to reduce power consumption and space requirements on motherboards and add-in cards. Additionally, the PEX 8518 is fully compliant with Revision 1.1, the latest PCI Express Base Specification.
Featuring low low packet latency (under 150ns), the PEX 8518 is features a large buffer memory for improving improving congestion management during peak traffic periods, without degrading system performance. The switch’s flexible ports allow users to match each port to an end-point’s bandwidth requirement, such as assigning a x2 PCIe port with a 3Gb/sec Serial Attached SCSI interface.
Quality of service is provided through the PEX 8518’s two virtual channels
(VCs) per port. These VCs allow optimal use of the port bandwidth, and improve performance in multimedia and communications systems by enabling a particular traffic class to receive priority in available bandwidth.
Also included is an I2C bus interface for out-of-band communications to ease configuration in embedded board systems such as AdvancedTCA chassis and
routers. The PEX 8518’s 16 lanes are configured as five Hot Plug-capable ports of varying widths. Any port can be configured as upstream -- its width can be from x1 to x8 -- while the remaining lanes can be configured in any allowable number of ports and widths.
According to Akber Kazmi, senior product marketing manager at PLX, this allows PCIe port aggregation and peer-to-peer communication in a wide range of applications such as Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel adapters, graphics fan-out designs, intelligent I/O modules, and Advanced Mezzanine Cards.
The PEX 8518 can be connected directly to the PCIe port of a processor or to a root complex. At power-up or reset, the switch IC sautomatically configures itself to the desired mode of operation, while each port auto-negotiates and adapts to the device to which it’s attached.
The PEX 8518 has a non-transparent bridging (NTB) function that enables processor-domain isolation, which is required in multi-host, fail-over intelligent I/O, and load-sharing applications.
Combined with its NTB and Hot Plug capabilities, the PEX 8518’s internal memory error corrections and end-to-end packet error detection make the switch suitable for high-availability applications. It also features programmable SerDes, PCIe power management and Wake/Beacan/Vaux functions.
The PEX 8518 is supported by the PLX Rapid Development Kit which includes the PEX 8518 chip, a complete set of board schematics, symbols, and layout files for hardware design. The kit also features an extensive Software Development Kit that includes a graphical utility for access to chip registers, sample drivers
and a support library for Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. The PEX 8518RDK also can be utilized as an evaluation vehicle for the PEX 8518.
The PEX 8518 is scheduled to sample in January, with production quantities available in early 2006, priced at under $30 each in volume quantities. The switch is available in both standard and lead-free packages for industrial and commercial temperature ranges. The PEX 8518RDK will also be available in January for $900.
PLX Technology, Inc.