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PCIe hot-plug controllers ups design flexibility

Posted: 22 Oct 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PCIe? triple? quad hot-plug controller?

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the industry's first fully integrated, 3-/4-channel hot-plug controllers for safe insertion and removal of PCIe cards from live PCIe hot-plug slots. The MAX5957/MAX5958 (triple) and MAX5959/MAX5960 (quad) PCIe controllers increase design flexibility and save board space and production cost. The target applications for these controllers are high-availability systems that require continuous operation. Examples include servers, and storage and RAID systems.

PCIe server systems have 1, 3, 5, 7, or more PCIe slots. Traditional dual PCIe controllers were used with dual-channel controllers. If the application required a three-slot hot-swap controller, for example, two dual-channel controllers were used. One channel was wasted, but designers had no other choice. This design approach was neither efficient nor economical for multiple-slot systems, so customers wanted more flexibility with lower cost.

The availability of 3-/4-channel control brings designers much-needed flexibility for designing multiple-slot PCIe systems. Designers can now populate a multislot PCIe system with these 3- or 4-channel controllers without wasting any channels, and thus saving both board space and cost.

The MAX5957-MAX5960 provide independent power control for all three PCIe voltage rails (+12V, +3.3V, and +3.3V auxiliary supply rail) for three or four PCIe slots. The MAX5957/MAX5959 and MAX5958/MAX5960 are configured for 375mA and 550mA maximum current limit, respectively, for the +3.3V auxiliary supply rail.

The devices integrate a 0.2? power MOSFET switch for each +3.3V auxiliary supply rail, and can be controlled with an external I/O expander through the SMBus interface. This flexible power-control scheme removes the need for external communications components and, again, reduces overall system cost.

These hot-swap controllers deliver the high level of system protection required for high-availability systems. Active inrush and overcurrent protection come with programmable overcurrent timeout. Thermal shutdown protection is also provided for each channel. Other features include: power-good status indicators with power-on reset; attention input switches with 4ms debounce; and status outputs for reporting overcurrent and thermal shutdown faults. The devices are offered with latch-off or autorestart fault management.

The MAX5957-MAX5960 operate in the -40C to +85C extended temperature range. The MAX5957/MAX5958 (triple) are available in a 56pin QFN package; the MAX5959/MAX5960 (quad) are packaged in an 80pin QFN. Prices start at $4.42 for the MAX5957/MAX5958 and $5.03 for the MAX5959/MAX5960 (1,000-up FOB USA).

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