Wednesday, June 4th 2014

PLX Technology Enables Industry's First USB-to-PCIe Consumer SSD Solution

PLX Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLXT), the global leader in PCI Express (PCIe) silicon and software connectivity solutions, today announced the industry's first USB-to-PCI Express solution to bridge the external connectivity gap laptop computers face when using PCIe-based solid-state drives (SSDs). The recently completed reference design platform, based on PLX PCIe 2.0-to-USB 3.0 SuperSpeed controller technology and housed in an external dongle enclosure, empowers laptop and storage vendors to leverage both USB 3.0's 5 gigabits/second (Gbps) speeds and PCIe 2.0's 5 Gbps performance. By combining two of the industry's most powerful and widely used interconnect technologies into a unified solution, end users don't face the connectivity limitations they've had to with their internal SSDs.

With this new platform, OEMs are able to create solutions that leverage laptops' USB 3.0 ports and connect effortlessly to PCIe-based, small-form-factor SSDs in external enclosures. Additionally, embedded system makers can design the PLX controller technology directly into systems in which PCIe isn't already native, creating direct PCIe-to-USB 3.0 connectivity to achieve a similarly powerful external-SSD connection.

Using the USB Mass Storage Class Specification, these solutions wouldn't require any drivers and therefore save time and development costs. Additionally, due to the PLX controller technology's low-power architecture, they could draw power as low as 500 mW. Furthermore, the devices' support of the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) standard provides for maximum interoperability among legacy storage and system elements.

"The rising popularity of PCIe-based SSDs in personal computers poses a challenge to laptop and storage vendors to develop efficient methods of migrating data to newer SSDs or new laptops -- a challenge that PLX's PCI Express-to-USB conversion technology meets," said Jimmy Chou, marketing director for USB products, PLX. "This unique reference platform, based on PLX's well-established USB-controller technology, empowers system and storage vendors with a solution that addresses consumer SSDs' growth and the need to efficiently optimize their use."

PLX is presently in co-development efforts with vendors to deploy this innovative PCIe 2.0-to-USB 3.0 reference platform for SSDs, with PLX designed development kits expected to be available Q3 2014. These design references will be available in the PCIe M.2 form factor, a PCI-SIG standard that facilitates designs in a small-form-factor enclosure.

PLX USB controllers offer superior performance, strict compliance to industry standards, and dramatic power savings. The controllers are widely used in printers, portable media players, GPS systems, TV tuners, PCs, laptops, notebooks, WLAN devices, mobile phones, digital cameras and camcorders.
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