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Low-power repeaters triple the Reach of PCI Express Gen-3 Standard

May 04, 2011 // Paul Buckley

Low-power repeaters triple the Reach of PCI Express Gen-3 Standard

National Semiconductor has introduced a new family of PCI Express (PCIe) Gen-3 (8 Gbps) repeaters that claim to offer unprecedented signal conditioning performance and low-power consumption for data center servers and storage systems.

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PCI Express 3.0 increases the data rate to 8 GT/s, allowing Intels next generation desktop and server platforms to meet the I/O bandwidth demands of todays applications, said Dave Thompson, Platform Applications Engineer at Intel Corporation. National Semiconductors PCIe repeaters address the tough signal integrity requirements of PCI-SIG receiver testing and are utilized to compensate for interconnect loss, ensuring an open eye.

Nationals PCIe repeaters passed Gen-3 interoperability testing with Intel server processors and multiple third-party PCIe controllers at the PCI-SIG Compliance Workshop, held the week of April 18, 2011. The tests included link training and data transactions in x4, x8 and x16 configurations at Gen-1, Gen-2 and Gen-3 speeds.

Powered by Nationals third-generation SiGe BiCMOS process, the new PCIe repeaters solve the signal integrity challenges presented by the 8 Gbps Gen-3 data rate. The DS80PCI102, DS80PCI402 and DS80PCI800 accomplish this by providing receive equalization gain up to 36 dB and transmit de-emphasis of 12 dB to deliver 3x the signal reach and half the power (65 mW/channel) of competitive devices. The PowerWise repeaters breakthrough performance enables up to 40 inches of FR-4 backplane reach to simplify migration from Gen-2 to Gen-3 data rates, making it possible for system designers to use inexpensive, higher loss cable and board interconnects.
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