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PCI EAS: PCI Express for communications

In December Intel is expected to announce the specifications of PCI Express Advanced Switching (PCI EAS) – a network version of PCI Express. Related industry sources report that at least Alcatel, EMC, Hitachi, Marconi, Nokia, and Siemens are planning to support the new technology.

As you know, the idea of PCI Express, positioned to succeed PCI – is to create a simple and fast bus for PC chips and components interactaction at the maximum of 2.5Gbps. Though PCI EAS hardware part is close to PCI Express, the new technology is aimed at comm devices and can replace PCI along with other interconnects. The revision of PCI Express to PCI EAS will mostly touch the software part to provide comm data array transfers.

The developers believe the PCI EAS will provide network product makers with benefits of reducing development and production cost prices, using unified components from Intel and other chip makers, i.e. due to a kind of standardization.

You can’t miss the certain sameness of Intel´s PCI EAS and AMD´s HyperTransport: both of them can become the lever to push telecom makers to adopt new stanrdards for most components. What they will choose is unknown. No need to forget about other comm bus standards as well. For example, Motorola´s Rapid I/O, used in Motorola PowerQUICC II comm chip, PowerNP-based systems and other IBM developments, and, according to IBM Microelectronics, will be used in future PowerPC chips (despite IBM participates in PCI Express and HyperTransport fields). Some other large comm makers, including Broadcom and PMC-Sierra, have already accepted HyperTransport and successfully use it in their current developments. Cisco Systems is high about it as well. In other words, Rapid I/O and HyperTransport have certain advantage over PCI Express Advanced Switching, because the latter is scheduled for release in about 2005, but the former standards are already being used in real comm developments.

Though Intel´s PCI EAS has its own advantages, including the fact that by 2004 the similar PCI Express technology is expected to be used in a fuge amount of PCs and servers. The mass character of PCI Express will with time become a good support for PCI EAS.

Source: ZD Net

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