Monday, January 15, 2007

Easing into 5 GHz in 2007

Signal Integrity Software, Inc. announced it will demonstrate its new Quantum Channel Designer software at DesignCon 2007 in Santa Clara on Jan. 30. The software uses a mix of frequency-domain, time-domain and statistical techniques to provide end-to-end predictions of Bit Error Rate data for high-speed serial links that employ a variety of pre-emphasis and equalization techniques.

The tool will go into customer testing in the second quarter and will eventually be available at prices ranging from $30,000-$75,000.

It's good timing for new signal integrity tools. The PCI SIG just announced they have completed the PCI Express 2.0 spec, taking the interconnect up to data rates of 5 GHz. While the Base Express 2.0 spec is done, I believe the electro-mechanical spec for assuring existing PC boards can handle the higher frequency signals is still in progress.

Chip makers such as AMD, Intel and NVidia may have their first 5 GHz Express parts out as early as this fall, but most of the rest of the industry won't follow suit until 2008. --rbm

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