Lower power, higher performance in an embedded system. Really.

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

November 18, 2014

Lower power, higher performance in an embedded system. Really.

I bet you haven't heard this one before - one of the silicon vendors has an IC that reduces space, power, and hardware requirements in an embedded sys...

I bet you haven’t heard this one before – one of the silicon vendors has an IC that reduces space, power, and hardware requirements in an embedded system. You have heard it before? Yeah, me too. So it generally takes a lot of convincing for me to believe those statements.

In this case, it may actually be true. PLX Technology has developed its ExpressFabric device, which the company says is already in use with some beta customers. How it works is that it adds an optical technology to places that have traditionally used copper. It takes advantage of PCIe inside the rack, rather than just externally. To me, that seems like a no-brainer and I’m surprised no one had already come up with the idea (or at least brought such a product to market).

The end result is bringing PCIe’s raw performance to the board level. In this configuration, the only time you’d need to convert to a different protocol is when your data leaves the rack. In other words, you’re using PCIe exclusively inside the rack, thereby eliminating any bridge devices. Hence, the lower cost and potentially higher performance.

To ensure compatibility, the technology can co-exist with other interconnects, like InfiniBand and Ethernet. So you still get to use your interconnect of choice if you so desire. If speed is a priority, I suggest you give this one a look.

Rich Nass, Embedded Computing Brand Director

Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, Embedded.com, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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