To USB or Not to USB


PCIExpress is everywhere ! and a USB joke from a PCIe expert

Why did the USB guy fail the multiple choice test?

Answer at the bottom of the blog

PCIExpress is Everywhere!

I asked Richard Solomon, our USB Technical Marketing Manager, “Why is PCIExpress everywhere?”:

“Everywhere there’s not a cable perhaps – USB to connect things across cables, PCIe for everything else.

It IS kinda amazing that we’ve got small M.2 form-factors for PCIe/NVMe SSDs, tons of WiFi chips with PCIe, so lots of random gear with WiFi has PCIe in it. Likewise the SSD connections – they’re great for industrial stuff so Internet Of Things tend to have a lot of small PCIe connections in them for “stuff”.

Not too many OCuLink cabled external disks, Blu-Ray drives, etc though.

Don’t forget automotive – your little “lane assistant” is pretty much a 1980s supercomputer and it’s using PCIe to connect processor cores.”



In fact, I’d go further, the Automotive ADAS system is actually a state-of-the-art CPU with PCIe as the primary way to connect the processor cores to external peripherals on the PCB as well.   The ADAS is likely in an advanced FinFET process (invented in this century).


In fact the obvious choice for the IoT because IoT end products consist of assembled collections of chips on PCB. An MCU on a board using PCIe wih L1 substates connected to other chips on the PCB to provide wireless or other functions.  (Sensors may use even lighter weight connections)

PCIe for External connections

In terms of external PCIe, it’s definitely not widespread but we use PCIe to connect our FPGA prototyping boards to a PCIe slot in a desktop PC. It’s convenient and transportable.   It allows our HAPS platforms to be taken home and connected to a laptop PC also using a PC Card.  Very convenient for debugging in the field.


Mobile Phones

Our PCIe Controllers Product Marketing Manager Gary Ruggles says:

““Who ever thought we would see PCI Express in mobile phones?” I certainly didn’t years ago, but there it is.”

In fact if you look at the Samsung Exynos, Qualcomm Snapdragon, or HiSilicon phone chips, you will see that PCIe is standard and has been standard for years.  Again, the L1 substates make it even more compelling.  So we see PCIe as the clear choice for mobile phone and table chips.

For me it’s clear, every chip made for every market needs to have PCIe for connectivity inside the box and on PCB, and USB for connectivity outside the box. Every block diagram should have them and most of them do.


Servers, Cloud, and AI

For Servers, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence, it’s clear systems need PCIe Gen 4 and Gen 5 speed systems to move the lots and lots of data around for all kinds of uses. AI whether implemented in the Cloud or inside a smart vision sensor product, data must be moved quickly, processed, and a decision must be made.  Only PCIe with with fat data pipes and fast speeds can enable this both in the server and in the car, truck, or train.


A USB joke from a PCIe expert


Why did the USB expert fail the multiple choice test?

Because the expert could only Type C


Today’s joke sourced from Richard Solomon, our PCIe Technical Marketing Marketing

He’s here all week.

Try the veal.

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