PLX And Texas Instruments Team On PCIe-Based DSPs

Have you ever heard of a DSP? Chances are you have. Digital Signal Processors are found frequently in various audio products, and increasingly, in more and more mobile products. Texas Instruments is now looking to expand the reach of their DSPs in a big way. Just as solid state storage struck new ground by becoming compatible with PCI Express (Fusion-io!), DSPs may soon be functioning there as well. PLX Technology has just announced a collaboration with TI that will eventually result in a solution that brings DSPs and PCI Express 2.0 together.

The goal here is to broaden the capabilities of new designs in applications such as wireless infrastructure communications, DSP farms, digital media, test and measurement, medical imaging and industrial automation.Today, PLX offers up over 40 PCIe switches with multiple lane and port configurations; bard and system designers can take full advantage of the latest PCIe specification’s bidirectional 8Gbp/s per lane, thus enabling one PLX 48-lane Gen3 switch to handle 96Gbp/s of full peer-to-peer bandwidth.

Over on the TI side, their new TMS320C66x generation of multicore devices are enhanced with PCIe Gen2. Ideal for applications that demand high performance and low power, the C66x DSPs are built with multiple 1.25 GHz DSP cores and deliver the industry’s first 10-GHz DSP with 320 GMACs and 160 GFLOPs of combined fixed- and floating-point performance on a single device. Furthermore, the company already integrates PCIe into many of their DaVinci digital media processors, the C6-Integra DSP+ARM processors and Sitara ARM microprocessors.

It's hard to say what kind of consumer impact this will have, but enabling something like this really does open up a new door for computing. PCIe cards now have the capability to integrate DSPs (or, they will after this partnership plays out), and we think it's only a matter of time before something very interesting pops up on graphics cards that use PCIe to interface with mainboards.