PLX Technology has boosted the throughput options in its ExpressLane line of Gen3 PCI Express switches with the addition of the PEX8796 (96 lanes, 24 ports), PEX8780 (80 lanes, 20 ports) and PEX8764 (64 lanes, 16 ports). The available ports for each switch can be configured to lane widths of x4, x8 or x16. Any port can be dynamically configured as the upstream port. At the top end, the PEX8796 switch offers 8 Gigatransfers per second per lane in full duplex mode for a throughput of 1,536 gigabits per second or 192 gigabytes/s.
Systems designers can configure the switches to run in multi-host PCI Express mode, where the device presents a virtual switch connecting each host port with its associated downstream ports - enabling support for high-availability, failover, redundant, and clustered PCIe-based systems. In this mode, the device completely isolates traffic between ports of a virtual switch from traffic in other virtual switches. The switches also support a legacy single-host mode and provide backward compatibility, enabling design of mixed systems comprising Gen1, Gen2 and Gen3 systems.
The Gen3 switches are built on PLX's performancePAK architecture - a non-blocking low-latency switching fabric designed to maximize throughput and performance. The architecture supports packet cut-thru with a maximum latency of 150 ns in a x16 to x16 configuration. Each of the three switches feature two Non-Transparent (NT) ports for implementation of dual-host systems for redundancy and host failover and offer hot plug controllers for high availability configurations.
For maintenance and performance monitoring, the PLX visionPAK features SerDes eye capture, PCIe packet generation, error injection and SerDes loopback modes. With the package's real-time performance monitoring features, engineers can monitor ingress and egress performance on each port without impacting overall system performance. SerDes eye capture allows engineers to view the receiver eye of any lane on the switch, modify SerDes settings and view the effect on the receiver eye.
PLX expects to deliver samples of the PEX8796, PEX8780 and PEX8764 in Q4 2012 with full production planned for Q1 2013. Volume pricing ranges from $150.00 to $250.00.
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