Phison today announced the early-2022 release of its PS7101 PCIe 5.0 redrivers after an 8-month development, testing, and certification period. Redrivers are an indispensable component in enabling electronics communications over the latest protocol either directly on motherboards or over PCIe riser cables. The move is a welcome one, in that this means there will now be one extra manufacturer offering PCIe 5.0 redriver solutions - which tend to be among the most expensive components on motherboard designs. The considerable pricing increase of PCIe 4.0 motherboards compared to their previous-generation PCIe 3.0 counterparts is partly explained by the increased complexity needed for these redriver ICs, as well as by increased requirements on motherboard PCB layers so as to reduce crosstalk and signal degradation.
Redrivers are components that reduce the signal attenuation that occurs as distance between communicating components increases. Wherever there's an electrical signal that's conducted by metals, invariably there's signal degradation, which can be caused by proximal interference and crosstalk, as well as by natural electrical resistances. This degradation can sometimes lead to communication failures between a signal's origin and destination points, and may even result in hardware incompatibilities. PCIe redrivers are specialized ICs that aim to recover the original signal's quality. PCIe 5.0 introduces quadrupled data rates compared to PCIe 4.0, which increases the chances of signal degradation, meaning that the PCIe 5.0 redriver market is looking at even more complex, more expensive designs.
"We are one of the few ASIC companies that has the team and capabilities of developing PCIe 5.0 SerDes PHY IP," said K.S.Pua, chairman and CEO of Phison. "Our high-speed interface engineering team has accumulated many years of experience from the development of IC technology for USB, SATA and UFS interfaces to the successful product launch of the world's first PCIe 4.0 SSD with the PCIe 4.0 PHY developed in-house. Furthermore, to improve compatibility, analyze signal and simulate the proposed system, Phison invested heavily in our R&D activities and has established an advanced high-speed signal analysis laboratory. We have done all this to build a solid foundation for Phison to enter the high-speed interface IC market and develop the latest generation of PCIe 5.0 Redriver IC," he concluded.