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PLX debuts USB-to-PCIe consumer SSD storage sol'n

Posted: 05 Jun 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PLX Technology  PCIe  USB  SSD  interconnect 

PLX Technology Inc. has unleashed what it flaunts as the industry's first USB-to-PCI Express solution to bridge the external connectivity gap laptop computers face when using PCIe-based solid-state drives (SSDs).

The reference design platform, based on PLX PCIe 2.0-to-USB 3.0 SuperSpeed controller technology and housed in an external dongle enclosure, claims to empower laptop and storage vendors to leverage both USB 3.0's 5Gb/s speeds and PCIe 2.0's 5Gb/s performance. By combining two of the industry's most powerful and widely used interconnect technologies into a unified solution, end users don't face the connectivity limitations they've had to with their internal SSDs, stated the company.

With this platform, OEMs are able to create solutions that leverage laptops' USB 3.0 ports and connect effortlessly to PCIe-based, small-form-factor SSDs in external enclosures. Additionally, embedded system makers can design the PLX controller technology directly into systems in which PCIe isn't already native, creating direct PCIe-to-USB 3.0 connectivity to achieve a similarly powerful external-SSD connection, added PLX.

Using the USB Mass Storage Class Specification, these solutions wouldn't require any drivers and therefore save time and development costs. Additionally, due to the PLX controller technology's low-power architecture, they could draw power as low as 500mW. Furthermore, the devices' support of the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) standard provides for maximum interoperability among legacy storage and system elements, the company indicated.

PLX is presently in co-development efforts with vendors to deploy this innovative PCIe 2.0-to-USB 3.0 reference platform for SSDs, with PLX designed development kits expected to be available in 3Q14. These design references will be available in the PCIe M.2 form factor, a PCI-SIG standard that facilitates designs in a small-form-factor enclosure.

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