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Microchip launches the world’s first PCI Express® 5.0 Switches

02 February 2021

Switchtec™ PFX PCIe Gen 5 high-performance switches double the data rate of PCIe Gen 4.0 solutions while delivering ultra-low latency and advanced diagnostics.

Applications such as data analytics, autonomous driving and medical diagnostics are driving extraordinary demands for machine learning and hyperscale compute infrastructure. To meet these demands, Microchip Technology Inc. today announced the world’s first PCI Express (PCIe) 5.0 switch solutions – the Switchtec PFX PCIe 5.0 family – doubling the interconnect performance for dense compute, high-speed networking and NVM Express® (NVMe®) storage.

Together with the XpressConnect™ XpressConnect retimers, Microchip is the industry’s only supplier of both PCIe Gen 5 switches and PCIe Gen 5 retimer products, delivering a complete portfolio of PCIe Gen 5 infrastructure solutions with proven interoperability. 

“Accelerators, graphic processing units (GPUs), central processing units (CPUs) and high-speed network adapters continue to drive the need for higher performance PCIe infrastructure. Microchip’s introduction of the world’s first PCIe 5.0 switch doubles the PCIe Gen 4 interconnect link rates to 32 GT/s to support the most demanding next-generation machine learning platforms,” said Andrew Dieckmann, Associate Vice President of marketing and applications engineering for Microchip’s data centre solutions business unit. 

“Coupled with our XpressConnect family of PCIe 5.0 and Compute Express Link™ (CXL™) 1.1/2.0 retimers, Microchip offers the industry’s broadest portfolio of PCIe Gen 5 infrastructure solutions with the lowest latency and end-to-end interoperability.”

The Switchtec PFX PCIe 5.0 switch family comprises high-density, high-reliability switches supporting 28 lanes to 100 lanes and up to 48 non-transparent bridges (NTBs). The Switchtec technology devices support high-reliability capabilities, including hot- and surprise-plug as well as secure boot authentication. With PCIe 5.0 data rates of 32 GT/s, signal integrity and complex system topologies pose significant development and debug challenges. 

To accelerate time to market, the Switchtec PFX PCIe 5.0 switch provides a comprehensive suite of debug and diagnostic features, including sophisticated internal PCIe analysers supporting Transaction Layer Packet (TLP) generation and analysis and on-chip non-obtrusive SerDes eye capture capabilities. 

Rapid system bring-up and debug is further supported with ChipLink – an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) based device configuration and topology viewer that provides full access to the PFX PCIe switch’s registers, counters, diagnostics and forensic capture capabilities. 

“Intel’s upcoming Sapphire Rapids Xeon processors will implement PCI Express 5.0 and Compute Express Link running up to 32.0 GT/s to deliver the low-latency and high-bandwidth I/O solutions our customers need to deploy,” said Dr Debendra Das Sharma, Intel Fellow and Director of I/O technology and standards. “We are pleased to see Microchip’s PCIe 5.0 switch and retimer investment strengthen the ecosystem and drive broader deployment of PCIe 5.0 and CXL-enabled solutions.”

Development tools

Microchip has released a full set of design-in collateral, reference designs, evaluation boards and tools to support customers building systems that take advantage of the high-bandwidth of PCIe 5.0. 

In addition to PCIe technology, Microchip also provides data centre infrastructure builders worldwide with total system solutions including RAID over NVMe, storage, memory, timing and synchronisation systems, stand-alone secure boot, secure firmware and authentication, wireless products, touch-enabled displays to configure and monitor data centre equipment and predictive fan controls.

Availability

The Switchtec PFX PCIe 5.0 family of switches are sampling now to qualified customers. For additional information, contact a Microchip sales representative.


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