Pericom demonstrates PCI Express signal switch capability

San Jose, Calif. — Pericom Semiconductor Corp. is showing off its performance enhancing PCI Express signal switches at the March Intel Developer Forum this week.

Pericom's PI2PCIE212 and PI2PCIE412 switches provide a way to allocate PCI Express bandwidth by allowing the limited PCI Express lanes from the root complex to be dynamically assigned to different slots of a system, thereby enabling the allocation of bandwidth at the same time. The conventional PCI Express packet switch does not always include bandwidth allocation features.

“When compared to a typical PCI Express packet switch, the Pericom signal switch does not create much latency other than a typical trace delay,” said Shaf Rahman, Pericom's marketing director. “On the other hand, the packet switch needs to examine the PCI Express header before it is able to switch a packet, thus creating unnecessary delay. The lack of latency of the signal switch can often translate to higher performance over the PCI Express Bus,” he added.

Previous generation Pericom switches maxed out at 700 MHz, whereas the new PCI-Express signal switches, the PI2PCIE212 and PI2PCIE412, can reach bandwidths up to 1.25 GHz, according to Rahman.

PI2PCIE212 contains two differential signal switches, each with one pair on the primary side and two pairs on the secondary side. The switch may connect the primary pair to one of the secondary pairs according to the value of the select bit. PI2PCIE412 contains four pairs of differential signal on the primary side, and eight pairs of differential signal on the secondary side.

Pericom will be demonstrating its signal switches at the forum this week in San Francisco, which will showcase competing approaches to switching PCI Express packets.

The PCI Express serial interface is a fairly new standard, which has started to gain momentum over the past year. The older interfaces, PCI and PCI-X were both based on a parallel bus architecture, while the newer interface uses a serial link.

Functional Block Diagram of Pericom's PCI Express Signal Switch

Pricing for the PI2PCIE212 and PI2PCIE412 PCI Express signal switches starts at $1.50 in 10,000-unit quantities. Click here to request data sheets.

Pericom Semiconductor , 1-408-435-0800,

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