Tuesday, February 27, 2007

RIO not grand, but flowing

Thanks to Chris Kissel from In-Stat for sharing with me a copy of his recent report "PCI Express, The Journey to 2.0." It painted a picture of the serial RapidIO (RIO) interconnect as a small, but still significant player in embedded systems.

The report confirms what we all know, Express is the big juggernaut in chip-to-chip links, driven by its use in Intel chip sets. About 225 million of the 244 million systems that used Express in 2006 were PCs or servers. That will rise to about 347 million of a total of 440 million systems using Express by 2010, Kissel predicts.

By contrast, the RapidIO interconnect spawned by PowerPC backers including Freescale Semiconductor was used in just 433,000 total systems last year. In-Stat projects RIO will appear in about 1.2 million total systems by 2010.

For its part, HyperTransport looks like a lesser Express. It rides the coat tails of the AMD Opteron and Athlon CPUs, appearing in about 50 million systems last year and about 74 in 2010, at least two-thirds of them PCs or servers.

The interesting bit for me was to see projections that RIO, while small, will be very strong in defense, medical and WCDMA base stations. Kissel projects the interconnect will be used in 35, 55 and 90 percent respectively of systems in those sectors. The raw numbers of those systems aren't huge, but the strong uptake bodes well for the long life of the technology, apparently thanks to its unique robustness features.

So I'll take back, or at least hedge my earlier comment that RIO will go the way of the Advanced Switching Interconnect. Barring unforeseen dry spells, it may flow on for the foreseeable future as one of the smallest of the interconnect rivers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Freescale's new devices have PCI Express on all of them....and they are stopping to drop Rapid IO on some of them.