Express Yourself


Low Power, Phones, Tablets and PCIe, Oh My!

First, I’m sure there are some of you that look at this and think “what the heck”? PCIe being used in phones and tablet devices? How can that be? Rest assured PCIe has been used in mobile devices for a long time. Of course, laptops have been using it, but it’s also being used in phones and tablets for some time now. You may remember that PCIe with the MIPI M-PHY and say, that’s what Scott’s talking about, but no. This is the full blown PCI Express in these devices operating at 5.0GT/s and 8GT/s.

Who wants to put a PCIe PHY developed for driving backplanes and across multiple connectors into a phone? Good question! The ability to do this really comes down to managing the power in the PHY and controller in coordination with the rest of the chip design connected to a small channel. Of course, L1 substates was a huge stride to get you there, but the power needs to be reduced even further. Nobody wants their phone or tablet using up power when you are not using it, just to be dead when you need it. The interface needs to be completely off and this can be done when using L1 substates in conjunction with power gating techniques.

If you are developing applications, especially battery based applications that require low-power, you should take a look at our announcement today “Synopsys Announces Industry’s Lowest Power PCI Express 3.1 IP Solution”. Some highlights from the press release:

  • Power management features such as L1 sub-states and use of power gating, power islands and retention cells cut standby power to less than 10 uW/lane in the PHY and up to 95% reductioin in leakage current in the controller
  • Support for supply under drive, a novel transmitter design and equalization bypass schemes reduce active power consumption to less than 5 mW/Gb/lane
  • Offers small area, built-in at-speed production testing and optional wirebond packaging to lower overall BOM cost
  • Reduces active power while meeting the PCI Express 3.1 electrical specification

While any application can benefit from using a low power PCIe solution, battery powered mobile devices tend to gain the most with the Synopsys PCIe solution. Our customers are looking to lower the power in both active and standby modes enabling the prolonging the battery as much as possible.

For more information on the Synopsys PCIe solutions, please visit our web site.

Feel free to comment or provide suggestions on any topic that you’d like Richard or myself to discuss.

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Of course, Richard and I will be at PCI-SIG DevCon in Santa Clara, June 23, 24. Stop by and tells us how much you love the blog.


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