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5GHz PCIe 2.0 core aims to speed up Express road map

Posted: 01 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PCIe 2.0? silicon core? intellectual property?

Synopsys has rolled out a 5GHz silicon core for PCI Express 2.0 at a time when experts say the industry is moving at a relatively slow pace down the Express road map. The company is supplying silicon intellectual property for the PHY, controller and verification portions of the PCIe 2.0 spec.

The IP comes in versions supporting four and eight lanes of Express, which Synopsys believes are the most common configurations. However, at least one switch maker is creating a 32-lane Express switch chip using multiple copies of the core.

In addition, the IP includes embedded diagnostics and ATE test vectors. It also supports an ability to test analog functions via a digital tester, using the technology Synopsys acquired with startup Accelerant Networks.

"Other companies tend to have one or two of the components but not all three," said Navraj Nandra, director of mixed-signal IP at Synopsys. "When you have to work with more than one silicon IP vendor, it gets complicated," he said.

The cores currently are optimized for 2V operation in the 65nm process technology of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and the Common Platform group which includes Chartered Semiconductor, IBM and Samsung. A version drawing 1.8V for a 40nm TSMC process will be available before the end of the year.

"It looks like most fabs are going after 40nm [and 1.8V operation] aggressively," said Nandra. "The difference between 40- and 45nm comes down to a 19 percent savings in area for the same price," he added.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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