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Consumer NAS SoCs support STBs, DVRs

Posted: 18 Jan 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:network-attached storage  NAS  STB  processor 

PLX Technology Inc. has unveiled its NAS 7800 SoC family claimed to be the highest-performance, next generation of consumer-friendly network-attached storage (NAS) solutions.

The PLX NAS 7800 family is PLX's third generation of consumer NAS SoC solutions that addresses two separate challenges in today's market. First, two of the SoCs, the NAS 7820 and NAS 7821, bring to market the high-performance solutions at the lowest cost, making NAS more attractive in the home as a central, powerful storage platform. Second, the NAS 7825 version enables higher levels of integration and functionality, supporting new markets for NAS, including routers/gateways, DVRs, and STBs, each of which take advantage of PLX's hardware and software platforms.

PLX successfully doubled overall performance of the previous generation by implementing its highly-optimised Trident architecture The flagship member of this new family, the NAS 7825, integrates dual ARM 11 processors, as well as a network co-processor, and is loaded with IO including dual RGMII, dual SATA, dual USB 2.0, and dual PCIe 1.0 ports. The NAS 7825 solution is designed to support an expanded range of new NAS-related designs and market opportunities, including routers/gateways, DVRs, and STBs. The dual RGMII ports are required in router applications, dual SATA ports to support multiple drives, and the dual PCI Express ports to allow the addition of other peripherals or functions such as Wi-Fi.

The NAS 7820 and NAS 7821 each incorporate the dual processors plus all the hardware and software acceleration modules of the Trident architecture, but with less IOs, which enables designers to match the functionality and price sensitivity of standard home consumer NAS applications. No external memory is required on the board as the device can boot from the disc drive. The NAS 7800 system runs on highly optimised Linux-based software to maximise NAS transfers and leave a large percentage of the system resources for applications.

In addition to the dual processors and network co-processor, the PLX NAS 7800 family has an optimised internal bus structure allowing numerous simultaneous transfers, bursts 70Gbps, and includes a 64b AXI multi-issue CPU bus architecture. The extensive hardware acceleration modules offer a Gigabit Ethernet MAC with an TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) that transfers at Ethernet line rates; a eight-channel, low-latency buffered memory controller supporting DDR2 memory bandwidth bursts at 12 Gbps; eight separate DMA engines in multiple bus masters to transfer data without processor intervention; internal SRAM memory for storing frequently used data; a high-performance SATA controller with internal data buffers; and scatter/gather DMA controller, in-line encryption and RAID functions.

"PLX's NAS 7800 family spearheads a new level of connectivity between consumer electronic devices," said Tom Coughlin, of Coughlin Associates and founder and chairman of the Storage Visions conferences. "The unified home storage architecture of tomorrow depends upon the use of products like this to enable sharing and organising content, while maintaining security and privacy for consumers."

"With this new NAS 7800 SoC family, PLX is extending its commitment to provide high-quality, cost effective reliable silicon to the world's leading consumer storage ODMs and OEMs, but that's only half of the solution," said David Raun, VP of marketing and business development at PLX. "All PLX storage devices are also backed by a comprehensive software/firmware package and an unmatched global technical support team that helps designers to differentiate their products and speed not just time to market but time to revenue. This combined silicon and software offering is a total solution and a fundamental value-added benefit of using PLX's world-renowned technology."

Product for general sampling and Rapid Development Kits (RDKs) are available in Q1' 2010, followed by full production in Q2 2010. Volume unit pricing is Rs.702.33 ($15) for the NAS 7825, Rs.608.69 ($13) for the NAS 7821 and Rs.515.04 ($11) for the NAS 7820.

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