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IDT Signal Integrity Products - Repeaters for PCIe, USB, and SATA



IDT provides a broad portfolio of active signal conditioner ICs.  These Repeaters support data rates up to 6.25Gbps and allow for reliable communication over long circuit board traces or across long cables. This video provides an introduction to IDT’s Signal Integrity Product line, and shows a brief demonstration of PCIe 2.1, USB 3.0 and 6G SATA repeater capabilities.  Other protocols offered include 6G SAS, sRIO, XAUI and more. Presented by Ken Curt, Product Manager, Integrated Device Technology, Inc. Learn more at


Hello. Today I’d like to demonstrate IDT repeater signal integrity products. These repeaters are part of IDT’s portfolio of active signal conditioning devices for multi gigabit per second serial protocols. Before we look at the demo, though, I’d like to review some basic concepts of signal integrity.
Multi-gigabit per second signals, as used in today’s systems, degrade quickly when traveling across a PCB trace, often in just a few inches. Poor quality signals can result in a loss of system performance and even compromise reliability. 
IDT signal integrity products are specifically engineered to improve signal quality by eliminating jitter or noise and correcting for attenuation or loss. This results in better signal margins to ensure good signal communication and optimum system performance. 
Signal integrity devices are used in a wide variety of applications today, including servers, personal computers, telecom and storage systems, medical and electronic instrumentation and more. In a blade server system, for example, signals must cross from the host controller on a CPU board, across a backplane with multiple sets of connectors, and then to an IO board or another CPU board. Trace links can exceed 24 inches easily while cables of six meters are not uncommon going from chassis to chassis. At these distances, signal quality will be a problem, certainly a concern. 
Now, let’s look at the demo system. At the bottom, here, it begins with a standard, off-the-shelf, small form factor desktop PC and motherboard. But, as you can see from this 28-inch stack of FR four-trace, the 15-meter PCI express cable, the seven meters of USB cable, and the six meters of SATA cable, our purpose, here, is to show the repeater capabilities, rather than how you would design a real system.
The five gigabit per second PCI Express Gen2 signals originate on the motherboard and pass through a connector set, then across this passive trace card, to an IDT PCI Express Gen2 repeater card. From that repeater card, they pass another passive trace card, to another IDT repeater card, and then over this long 15-meter cable, to another IDT repeater card, where they’re received by a USB3 controller. 
From the USB3 controller, signals transfer across seven meters of cable, through an IDT USB3 repeater, and then to the hard disk drive here. 
This data channel, with its many segments and connectors is complex and electrically difficult. As a point of reference, PCI Express can typically support 16 inches of trace in one connector at five gigabits per second. Here, we’ve shown 28 inches of trace, almost twice as long, plus 15 meters of cable, and seven sets of connectors. 
Also in this demo, is a six gigabit per second SATA hard disk drive, attached with six meters of low cost SATA cable. 
On the monitor, we can see that the three hard disk drives are recognized, and the PCI Express link to the USB3 controller is running at the full five gigabit per second data rate.
The repeaters in this design allow this system to operate at full speed. IDT’s repeaters are server-class products, because they offer comprehensive capabilities for signal optimization. To make this optimization easy, we provide a simple windows utility, with drop-down selection menus that allows parameters to be quickly changed. You can adjust receiver equalization, output swing and emphasis, the IO termination, and many other operating parameters. 
We provide example files for typical applications that can be loaded into the utility to begin your system evaluation, and then updated and saved when the signals are adjusted and optimum.
So, to conclude this demonstration, we’ve shown that IDT repeaters can support reliable five and six gigabit per second data transfers across complex channels for PC Express USB3, and six gigabit per second SATA
IDT offers signal conditioners for many popular protocols, including PCI Express, USB3, SATA, SAS, XAUI, SRIO, and more. Devices are available in various widths from two to 16 channels, and in package options from 20 QFN to 196 BGA. Most devices offer channel mux, demux, and loop-back capabilities. 
Well, thank you for watching this introduction to IDT signal integrity products. For more information, please contact IDT.