Specification Decisions to be Made Soon by PCI SIG
By Sarah Reid
Santa Clara, CA--May 28, 1997--The Peripheral Component Interface Special Interest Group (PCI SIG; Hillsboro, OR) is expecting their PCI Power Mangement specification to be ready for industry adoption by next month, and they continue innovations with the PCI Hot-Plug specification and the Vital Products Data (VPD) enhancement, which are also expected to be voted on by the steering committee in June.
The PCI Power Management specification was approved by the Steering Committee at their meeting in Salt Lake City, UT in April. Version .99a of the PCI Power Management specification has been widely available for the past several months, so the specification is expected to be easily ratified by the PCI SIG and be ready for industry adoption by June, 1997. This new specification addresses issues of power management and energy conservation on the PCI bus. Working with the operating system, PCI Power Management allows devices to be powered down when not in use and powered up when in demand. An optional wake-up pin is added for devices that need to wake the system. The specification provides the ability to manage PCI devices through ACPI Global Power Management and Microsoft's On Now initiative.
Don Coffin, a PCI SIG steering committee member from Adaptec, explained that the PCI Power Management Specification provides for standardized power state definitions and uses a standards register interface.
"With this specification, there is very little added cost or complexity, and it allows flexibie implementations of power savings mechanisms," Coffin said.
A standard emerging from the PCI SIG is the PCI Hot-Plug, which is based on the PCI v2.1 specification. The Hot-Plug specification is intended for use in the commercial server market, and is compatible with current adapter hardware. Elements of this specification include a complete overview of adapter card requirement, a minimum platform feature set, and specified hot removal and hot insert sequences.
Capabilities of the Hot-Plug specification include Hot Replace, Hot Upgrade, and Hot Expansion, all of which occur in systems that are up--"hot systems." With Hot Replace adapter cards are replaced, Hot Upgrade upgrades existing adapter cards with new versions of cards and drivers, and Hot Expansion adds previously uninstalled cards and drivers into the system.
Another project in the works for the PCI SIG is the enhancement of the VPD, which defines information about an expansion adapter. The enhancement moves VPD from ROM to EEPROM, and further defines its read/write capability.
"This enhancement is aimed at improving management and support, and reducing TCO," Coffin said.
The PCI SIG Steering Committee, who will have the responsibility of determining when each specification or enhancement is adopted, is selected by the general membership at each annual PCI SIG meeting. This committee also manages the organization and oversees changes to specifications. Working groups address different specification areas, including mechanical, small form factor, configuration, marketing, protocol, compliance, mobile, electrical, and multimedia. Requests for change to a specification are considered by the steering committee and, if approved, documented by one or more of the working committees, then submitted to the entire membership for approval.
The PCI SIG is an unincorporated association of computer-industry organizations committed to monitoring, supporting, and enhancing development of the PCI Specification. Designed at the Intel Architectural Labs in Oregon, the PCI Specification is an architecture for a high-bandwidth local bus for microcomputer systems. The PCI SIG was established to own, update, and manage the specification.
More than 500 companies are current, active members of the PCI SIG.
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