News Posts matching "PCI-Express"

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AMD Lightning Bolt is USB 3.0 Over DisplayPort

AMD's competitive technology to Intel Thunderbolt, called "Lightning Bolt" (codename, marketing name may differ), surfaced at CES, where AMD was showing off its upcoming "Trinity" accelerated processing units. The technology was dissected by Anandtech, revealing exactly how AMD plans to achieve its goal of providing a much lower-cost alternative to Thunderbolt, over a similar-looking interface. While Thunderbolt is essentially PCI-Express x4 over DisplayPort, Lightning Bolt is the much more mature USB 3.0 SuperSpeed over DisplayPort. It is a single cable that combines a USB 3.0 with DisplayPort (display), and power (sourced directly from the PSU).

The part that makes it affordable is that AMD has already mastered GPU technologies that allow several displays connected to its GPUs using DisplayPort daisy-chaining; while USB 3.0 controllers are getting cheaper by the quarter. Connections of DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and power converge at a Lightning Bolt multiplex, from which the actual ports emerge. Lightning Bolt will stick to established mini-DisplayPort specifications.

Marvell Introduces New 88SE92 Series 2-port and 4-port SATA 6 Gbps Controllers

Marvell introduced its latest line of SATA 6 Gbps controllers, under the 88SE92 Series. The series includes the 2-port 88SE9220, 4-port 88SE9230, and 4-port 88SE9235. All three take advantage of the new PCI-Express 2.0 x2 interface. PCI-Express x2 (2 lanes) has till now only been hypothetically possible, since PCI-SIG has no slot specification for it. With increasing need for system bandwidth while keeping pin-counts and package sizes low by onboard controllers (such as SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0), PCIe 2.0 x2 has emerged as a viable solution based on the proven PCIe 2.0 specification, as PCIe 3.0 is yet to attain maturity in the industry. PCIe 2.0 x2 gives the controller system bandwidth of 1000 MB/s per direction, 2000 MB/s total. This ensures that a connected SATA 6 Gb/s device doesn't face a bottleneck at a given time, something which was impossible on older PCIe 2.0 x1 chips.

This system bandwidth bottleneck alleviation also allowed Marvell to add support for up to 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the 88SE9230 and 88SE9235. All three controllers further support port multipliers. Among the three, the 88SE9230 is the top-of-the-line chip, supporting Marvell RAID software, HyperDuo (Marvell's in-house SSD caching technology), RAID 0, 1, 10 modes, AHCI, and 128/256-bit AES native encryption. The 88SE9235 is a cost-effective variant of the 88SE9230, it lacks RAID, and only features AHCI/IDE modes. It also lacks native encryption. The 88SE9220, the 2-port controller, otherwise supports all the features of the 88SE9230, except of course support for RAID 10 (since it's not possible with just 2 member disks).

OCZ R4 PCIe SSD Packs 16 SandForce SF-2200 Series Subunits

No, it's not a fancy graphics card by OCZ that's pictured below, don't let the PCI-Express x16 interface and cooling assembly with vents and heat pipes sticking out fool you. This monstrosity is OCZ's R4, a complex PCI-Express solid-state drive (SSD) which packs 16 (!) SSD subunits, each driven by a SandForce SF-2200 controller. Each of the subunits is part of a very large RAID array, which is abstract to the host machine. The host only sees the cumulative capacity into a single volume.

At the heart of the beast is a spanking new VCA 2.0 processor, which provides each of those subunits a SATA 6 Gb/s link, and connects to the host over PCI-Express 2.0 x16. The sequential transfer speed of the R4 is up to 6,656 MB/s (megabytes per second). It will be offered in various capacities, 3.2 TB looks like a possible capacity option.

OCZ and Marvell Announce the Z-Drive R5 PCIe Solid State Drive

OCZ Technology Group, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, and Marvell, a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today unveiled the industry's fastest and most versatile PCI Express (PCIe) storage system, the Z-Drive R5. The increased performance, reliability, and endurance of the Z-Drive R5 is designed to take PCIe-based solid state storage to the next level for enterprise environments.

The Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center.

AREA Also Intros SATA 6 Gb/s Card with Switchable Internal/External Ports

Apart from the powerful little Mr. Clone 3.0 drive-cloning and docking device, Japanese company AREA also launched the SATA 6 Gb/s TwinTurbo Hybrid addon-card. 2-port SATA 6 Gb/s cards aren't new, but they either come in 2-port internal SATA, or 2-port eSATA forms, making you have to choose between the two types. This addon-card from AREA features two internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two eSATA 6 Gb/s ports, and uses a common 2-port SATA 6 Gb/s controller.

The ingenuity here is a simple jumper-based way of configuring those two SATA channels to individually work as internal SATA or eSATA. So now you can set the card to have two eSATA 6 Gb/s ports, two internal SATA ports, or one internal SATA and an eSATA, whichever way you'd like, by simply toggling two sets of four jumpers switching which way the data traces of each SATA channel end up. The card uses an ASMedia ASM1061 2-port PCIe SATA 6 Gb/s controller, which supports IDE, AHCI, and simple RAID modes. It connects to the host over PCI-Express 2.0 x1. Slated for May 2012, the AREA SATA TwinTurbo Hybrid will be priced at 2,980 JPY, or $38.

New Intel Server Board to Hold 1 TB of RAM

Intel is working on a new four-socket LGA2011 Server Board product, S4600LH (codename "Lizard Head Pass"), which is capable of holding a total of 1 terabyte of RAM. It is designed mainly for high-performance computing and math-intensive server applications, such as video streaming sites using it for transcoding, etc. The board is able to achieve such large memory expansion room, by providing three DIMM slots per memory channel. Each socket gives four memory channels.

The board supports 8-core Xeon E5-4600 series Sandy Bridge-EP processors. It is driven by Intel C600 "Patsburg" chipset with up to 8 SCU ports and 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. There are no standard expansion slots on the board as such, but there are two PCI-Express 3.0 x48 risers, to which daughterboards with three x16 slots each, can be attached (as shown in the CGI drawing below). Apart from these PCIe x48 risers, there is one PCIe 3.0 x8 I/O module on board. The board features dual Intel LAN with VT support. KVM and BMT logic is in-built. The Server Board S4600LH from Intel will be available in Q2 2012.

Intel Centerton Atom A True Single-Chip SoC

Intel has, in the past, referred to its two-chip low-wattage computing solutions as "SoC" (system on a chip), keeping with that trend, it was assumed that "Centerton", an Atom-derived processor for NAS servers that the company is working on, could be a similar 2-chip solution with the tiny NM10 PCH sitting next to the CPU. It is now coming to light that Intel will design Centerton to run as a true single-chip SoC, without the PCH.

Centerton's core and uncore components, housed on the same piece of silicon, are detailed in the first picture, below. It packs two x86-64 cores. Each core has 32 KB L1I cache, 24 KB L1D cache, and 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache. There is no shared tertiary cache between the cores, however, they converge at the integrated memory controller (IMC). This IMC can control a single DDR3 memory channel, supporting 1.5V DDR3 UDIMMs with ECC support or 1.35V DDR3 SO-DIMMs, at speeds of PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333 MHz). Up to 8 GB of RAM is supported. The core can be clocked as high as 1.60 GHz. It features HyperThreading technology, enabling four logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. Any current 32-bit or 64-bit x86-capable OS should run.

PCI Express 3.0 Has Zero Performance Incentive for Radeon HD 7970: Tests

Over the last few months, motherboard manufacturers have been raising a big hoopla over how it's important to pick their products that feature PCI Express 3.0 (Gen 3.0) slots. There was even some drama between competing motherboard manufacturers over who was first to the market with this technology, even when consumers couldn't really make use of the technology. To begin with, you needed a next-generation Ivy Bridge CPU, then you needed a compliant graphics card. Sandy Bridge-E, fortunately, formally introduced the technology, complete with motherboards and processors that support it.

GPU maker AMD wanted to be the first to be out there with a GPU that's compliant with this interface, and so one thing led to another, and VR-Zone got to set up a test-bed using Core i7 "Sandy Bridge-E", ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (which allows users to change PCI-Express standard mode in the BIOS setup program, by forcing Gen 2 or Gen 1 mode), and an HD 7970, to see if running the GPU on PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 modes made any worthwhile difference. The results are in: zero, nada, zilch, sunna (zero in my language).

AMD Radeon HD 7900 Key Features Listed

We've already been through the specifications of HD 7970 "Tahiti" in some detail that matters to those who can draw a performance hunch looking at them. This latest slide shows you the feature-set this GPU comes with. To begin with, there are three main categories of feature updates: Graphics CoreNext, AMD Eyefinity 2.0, and AMD APP Acceleration. AMD claims CoreNext to be a "revolutionary" new architecture that changes the way the GPU crunches numbers.

For the past five generations (since Radeon HD 2000), AMD GPUs have used the VLIW (very-long instruction word) core arrangement. Even the latest VLIW4 introduced by Radeon HD 6900 series, was an evolution, than a revolution of that. CoreNext replaces VLIW stream processors with super-scalar Graphics Compute cores. This should translate to higher performance per mm² die-area, resulting in smaller GPUs, giving AMD room for greater cost-cutting if the competition from NVIDIA for this generation takes effect. The GPU itself is built on TSMC's new 28 nm silicon fabrication process. Next up, AMD confirmed support for PCI-Express 3.0 interface, that nearly doubles system bus bandwidth over the previous generation.

Sapphire Works on Two Value Motherboards

Sapphire is working on two new entry-level motherboards for AMD FM1 and Intel LGA1155 platforms. The FM1 board, called the Pure White A55, is a budget micro-ATX board based on the AMD A55 FCH; while the LGA1155 board is the Pure Platinum H61P, an ATX board based on the Intel H61 chipset. The Pure White A55 uses a simple 5+1 phase VRM to power the AMD A-Series APU or Athlon II FM1 CPU. The FM1 socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting dual-channel DDR3 memory. The "Memory Free" feature stabilizes memory clock speeds, voltages, and timings if wrong settings make the system fail POST, at the push of a button.

Expansion slots of the Pure White A55 include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, two PCIe 2.0 x1, and a legacy PCI. All six SATA 3 Gb/s ports of the A55 FCH are assigned as internal ports. Display outputs include HDMI, DVI, and D-Sub. Other connectivity features include 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, and a number of USB 2.0 ports. The board uses redundant BIOS on separate ROM chips, that protect it against bad BIOS updates. The Pure Platinum H61P uses a 6 phase VRM to power the LGA1155 processor. The socket is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 16 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory.
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