by Lyle Smith

PLX Announces Industry’s First USB-to-PCI Express Solution

PLX Technology has announced the industry’s first USB-to-PCI Express solution, bridging the external connectivity gap laptop computers face when using PCIe-based SSDs. The recently completed reference design platform is based on the PLX PCIe 2.0-to-USB 3.0 SuperSpeed controller technology inside an external dongle enclosure. This allows laptop and storage vendors to leverage both USB 3.0’s 5bps speeds as well as PCIe 2.0’s 5 Gbps performance. This combination of two of the industry’s most powerful and widely used interconnect technologies into a unified solution gives end users the ability to avoid the connectivity limitations they've had with their internal SSDs.

This new platform also enables OEMs to create solutions that takes advantage of laptop USB 3.0 ports with seamless connection to PCIe-based, small-form-factor SSDs in external enclosures. Additionally, embedded system makers can design the PLX controller technology directly into systems where PCIe isn’t already native, creating direct PCIe-to-USB 3.0 connectivity.

These solutions use USB Mass Storage Class Specification, meaning they will not require any drivers and therefore save time and development costs. Because of the PLX controller technology’s low-power architecture, drawn power can be as low as 500mW. The devices also support the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) standard, providing maximum interoperability among legacy storage and system elements.

Availability

PLX is currently in the co-development stage with vendors to deploy this innovative PCIe 2.0-to-USB 3.0 reference platform for SSDs. The PLX designed development kits are slated for a Q3 2014 release. These design references will be available in the PCIe M.2 form factor.

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