Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PLX launches industry’s highest port-count PCI Express switches for communications market

SUNNYVALE, USA: PLX Technology Inc., the leading global supplier of PCI Express (PCIe) switch and bridge solutions, announced two new PCIe Gen 2 switches designed with 24 ports, the most in the industry, to meet the connectivity demands of complex communications systems.

The new PLX ExpressLane PEX 8625 (24 lanes, 24 ports) and PEX 8636 (36 lanes, 24 ports) switches are supported by visionPAK, the market’s only software suite of system debug tools, evaluation and signal-integrity utilities.

A key feature of the PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 is the ability to multicast, which increases the efficiency in communications platforms as it allows each host to communicate to all endpoints at the same time. Another leading attribute of the new switches is the multi-host feature. Multi-host switches provide multiple upstream ports to connect to several CPUs, thereby reducing the number of system components and minimizing latency.

The new PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 communications switches are designed primarily for the control plane to provide connectivity to a large number of endpoints such as ASICs and FPGAs. A control plane, by the nature of data traffic, thrives in low latency and these PLX switches enable system designers to build control planes with the industry’s lowest latency.

“PLX customers are on the cutting edge of product development, and we therefore design solutions tailored to specific markets such as communications,” said David Raun, PLX vice president of marketing and business development. “With our unique ability to differentiate on both silicon and software for those customers, along with our broad selection of PCI Express Gen 2 solutions shipping today -- and with Gen 3 close on the horizon -- PLX is well positioned to continue to increase its leading market share.”

PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 also offer Non-Transparency (NT) for system redundancy. PLX continues to be the only vendor providing the NT feature in all 22 of its Gen 2 switches. Additionally, an exclusive set of diagnostic and monitoring features, called visionPAK, are also integrated into all PLX Gen 2 switches and are focused on getting designs to market faster.

Offered standard via the PLX software design kit (SDK), visionPAK includes the ability to access internal data paths and state machines for debugging systems; a tool to measure Rx eye width inside the device for validating signal integrity; a function to inject errors to check system behavior; loopback Tx to debug data paths, and the capability for packet performance/activity monitoring.

PLX Technology offers 22 PCIe Gen 2 switch devices and supporting software tools. These solutions include the industry's largest lane- and port-count switch at 96 lanes and 24 ports, down to a four-lane, four-port switch. PLX was first to market with PCIe switches in 2004 and has continued to innovate product designs to address varied markets worldwide.

The company is now investing in the development of products compliant with the Gen 3 specification and is working closely with key designers and manufacturers to meet their PCIe needs.

The PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 volume prices are $58.03, and $73.72, respectively. The switches are currently sampling and will be in full production later this quarter.

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