SandCraft Helping to Lead Expansion of PCI Express into Traditional Communication Markets

9/30/2002 - SandCraft, a leader in the design of high-performance MIPS® processors, announced it has joined a consortium of communications companies in a move to utilize PCI Express technologies in next generation communications silicon. By incorporating the proposed Advanced Switching specification for the PCI Express architecture into its product plans, SandCraft is demonstrating its commitment to developing high-performance microprocessor based products.

As microprocessors go beyond speeds of 1 Ghz, new I/O technologies are required to keep pace. PCI Express solves the I/O bottleneck problem by utilizing a high speed I/O interface, which will operate at speeds initially at 2.5Gbps per pin and scaling to higher speeds in future generations. The PCI Express bus interface and the Advanced Switching packet switching capabilities provide traditional I/O and communication extensions to meet the increasing bandwidth demands of key applications such as core routers, edge routers, remote access products and enterprise servers. SandCraft is one of several companies to join in the development of the Advanced Switching specification, signaling a growing acceptance of PCI Express Technology as the preferred standard in traditional PCI markets, and expanding to include communications and embedded spaces served by Sandcraft's high-end MIPS® products.

"Joining the effort to write the Advanced Switching specification puts us on the leading edge of PCI Express development, and will enable us to deploy this revolutionary I/O interface rapidly to our customers," said Don Smith, Engineering Director at SandCraft. "We believe that the PCI Express architecture and the Advanced Switching specifications provide a robust solution to address the bandwidth and scalability requirements for new generations of high-performance communications, storage and networking devices."

The combination of traditional I/O connectivity, communications capabilities, and economies of scale offered by PCI Express will play a key role in enabling SandCraft’s new products to cost-efficiently support emerging high bandwidth communication interfaces as well as traditional PCI I/O functions. Today's applications are very demanding on platform hardware, especially on input/output (I/O) interconnect subsystems. These subsystems seamlessly manage tremendous amounts of concurrent data as it flows both within a computer and to and from associated peripheral devices and components. A high-speed, general-purpose I/O architecture that scales initially to 2.5Gbps, PCI Express is expected to unify I/O architecture for desktop, mobile, server, communications platforms, workstations, and embedded devices. It will also consolidate the multiple, similar parallel connections or buses found in today's platforms. The result is broad adoption across platforms and more economical migration to next generation I/O technology.

"Intel is working with Sandcraft and a number of other companies in the industry to ensure customers have high-performance CPU choices when designing their systems that will interoperate seamlessly in PCI Express-based systems," said Tim Parker, Intel Communications Group director of Technology Initiatives. "The PCI Express architecture and proposed Advanced Switching specification are enabling the convergence of the computing and communications platforms. Sandcraft products are an example of the support that’s growing for PCI Express in the communications and embedded market segments."

About PCI Express
PCI Express is a new serial I/O technology that is compatible with the current PCI software environment and which defines a packetized protocol and a load/store architecture. Previously code-named Third Generation I/O (3GIO), its layered architecture enables attachment to copper, optical, or emerging physical signaling media. PCI Express uses an embedded clocking scheme to enable better frequency scaling and provides many advanced features as well as innovative form factors. It can be used for chip-to-chip and add-in card applications to provide connectivity for adapter cards, as a graphics I/O attach point for increased graphics bandwidth, and as an attach point to other interconnects like 1394b, USB 2.0, InfiniBand Architecture and Ethernet. Advanced Switching is a proposed specification that would be layered on top of the PCI Express architecture and enables features and functionality required in the communications market such as globally flat addressing space (for mesh topologies), peer to peer switching, message passing, tunneling capabilities, multicast/broadcast as well as additional Quality of Service and congestion management features.

About SandCraft
SandCraft, Inc. develops and markets advanced superscalar microprocessors for high-performance networking equipment, office automation and high end consumer applications, based on the MIPS® Instruction Set Architecture. The company’s first products are primarily targeted for use in communications applications such as control plane processing in core and edge switches and routers, high-end enterprise LAN switches and routers, storage area networks (SAN) and remote access systems such as DSL aggregators and wireless head-ends. Office automation applications such as color, black and white laser printers and raster image processing also utilize processors of this class.

"Engines for the Digital Age" is a trademark of SandCraft, Inc. "MIPS32" and "MIPS64" are trademarks of MIPS Technologies Inc.

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