Gennum Corporation

Gennum Corporation

March 09, 2009 09:01 ET

Gennum's Snowbush IP Group Enables Proliferation of PCI Express Gen 2 Products With Industry's First 9-Port Switch IP Block

Configurable IP with Optional Embedded Endpoint Increases Flexibility, Reduces Cost for SoC and System Designers

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 9, 2009) - Enabling the rapid development of multi-port PCI Express (PCIe) SoCs optimized for a variety of applications and price points, Gennum Corporation (TSX:GND) today announced that its Snowbush IP group has developed a PCIe Gen 2 9-port switch IP block with optional embedded endpoints. The new Snowbush IP allows designers to integrate switch, endpoint and custom logic functions on a single chip, significantly reducing the cost and size of products for PCIe Gen 2 applications.

Fully PCI Gen2-compliant, the IP gives designers a low-risk, cost-effective way to rapidly deploy products that are compatible with the PCIe Gen 2 standard and begin taking instant advantage of the higher 5 Gb/s data rates. As a configurable block that supports one upstream port and up to eight downstream ports - the highest number of ports supported by an IP block today - designers can optimize the core for a variety of products and applications including docking stations, laptops and set-top boxes.

"We have applied our deep system-level knowledge and interconnect expertise to deliver sophisticated PCIe Gen 2 switch and endpoint capabilities to customers and enable the PCIe Gen 2 market," said Ewald Liess, General Manager of the Snowbush IP group for Gennum. "Though customers must evolve their product lines to support the standard's higher data rates, the design of this complex function can be daunting. Our solution removes the cost and complexity associated with simply meeting specification requirements, and allows customers to focus their technical design on functions that will give them a competitive advantage."

The Snowbush IP portfolio currently includes a full range of PCI Express IP - endpoint, root, dual-mode and switch-port controllers with integrated PHYs in Gen1 and Gen2 speeds. In addition, the offering includes subsystem level IPs that can be used to connect PCI Express to industry-standard bus protocols including AMBA AHB, AMBA AXI, as well as DDR and SATA controller IP blocks. The new 9-port switch is built upon a previously available, low-silicon footprint Snowbush 4-port switch. Today's delivery of a PCIe Gen 2 9-port switch demonstrates the continued leadership of Gennum's team of interconnect experts.

Enables Adoption of Both PCIe Aware and PCIe Unaware Applications

PCIe is rapidly evolving as the interconnect of choice for embedded applications. The specification employs differential signaling to increase bandwidth. The maximum transfer speed of the latest Rev. 2.0 standard is 5.0 Gb/s, double that of the 2.5Gb/s of the earlier Rev. 1.1 standard.

PCIe switches feature downstream ports to enable the connection of multiple PCIe devices, and an upstream port for communication with the host processor/chipset. Until now, separate PCIe endpoints have acted as an intermediary between a switch and PCIe-unaware device to enable communication with that device. By allowing SOC designers to integrate both endpoint and switch functions with their custom logic, single-chip solutions can be developed that are capable of recognizing both PCIe-aware and unaware devices. PCIe ports can therefore connect up to eight PCIe-aware or unaware devices such as hard drives and network cards.

The new 9-port switch employs a variety of techniques to maximize power savings and performance. Designers can disable unused ports at power-up for maximum power savings. Packet forwarding in cut-through mode and simultaneous packet forwarding between ingress-egress port pairs enables very low latency and high throughput for superior performance.

The IP also supports hot-swap capabilities to allow for safe card insertion and removal from live hot-plug slots. Full testability and debugging features such as controllability for maximum scan coverage, ease of customer-specific memory BIST insertion, monitoring of "heart-beat" signals ease IP simulation, silicon debug and mass production.

Compliance and Availability

The Snowbush PCIe Gen 2 9-port switch is available immediately for licensing, and is technology-independent. For more information on licensing terms and pricing, please contact

The PCIe Gen 2 9-port switch IP completed PCI-SIG compliance and interoperability testing for PCIe Gen 2 at 5 Gb/s with embedded endpoints. For information, visit

About Gennum's Snowbush IP Group

Gennum's Snowbush IP group applies a team of specialized interconnect experts to design and deliver silicon-proven, high-speed serial interface IP. Comprising one of the industry's most robust, widely-deployed, production-tested and customizable family of IP cores, the Snowbush IP portfolio satisfies the needs of today's most demanding high-speed serial communication protocols and applications. The offering includes complete, integrated, PHY and controller solutions for standards like USB, PCI Express(R) and Serial ATA (SATA), and single and multi-standard SerDes for applications with data rates from 1 Gb/s to over 10 Gb/s. Gennum's Snowbush IP group is committed to supporting customers with diverse foundry and process requirements, offering IP cores for TSMC, UMC, Common Platform, and Fujitsu processes. For more information visit.

About Gennum

Gennum Corporation (TSX:GND) designs innovative semiconductor solutions and intellectual property (IP) cores for the world's most advanced consumer connectivity, enterprise, video broadcast and data communications products. Leveraging the company's proven optical, analog and mixed-signal products and IP, Gennum enables multimedia and data communications products to send and receive information without compromising the signal integrity. A recognized award-winner for advances in high definition (HD) broadcasting, Gennum is headquartered in Burlington, Canada, and has global design, research and development and sales offices in Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Snowbush IP, Gennum and related logos are trademarks of Gennum Corporation. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. Gennum Corporation, 2009.

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