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November 6, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:03pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Silicon Valley start-up Sebring Systems Inc claims it will revolutionize the speed and price performance of personal computer servers and desktops and dramatically extend the industry-standard PCI peripheral interconnect bus, with the Sebring Ring, a new low cost single chip which claims to speed PCI data transfers by a factor of 32 and add mission critical functions to the bus. The Sebring Ring is a dual counter-rotating ring network – hence the two ‘rings’ in the name – with a high clock rate of ring data links, initially 266 Mhz but scalable to more than 1Gigaherz using the company’s proprietary pantent- pending synchronization technology. The company says it will enable input/output data transfer 32 times faster than the existing PCI technology, and where today’s PCI bus is limited to between four and eight expansion slots, the Sebring Ring claims to enable up to 1,024 PCI slots. In addition, the chip adds mission critical functions to the PCI interconnect, including fault tolerance – if one peripheral, or another host CPU fails, the rest of the system keeps going – and hot swapping – peripherals can be added and removed while the system is up. The company is targeting the new chip at three major markets, servers, network equipment, specifically switches, hubs and remote access concentrators, and embedded systems, particularly for the telecommunications sector. Existing servers will be able to benefit from all the features of the new chip by adding an active back-plane and plugging in a small adaptor card that includes the chip. Sebring is a fabless chip designer. The chips will be manufactured by Tritech Microelectronics Inc, part of Singapore Technologies Semiconductors, a unit of Singapore Technologies Ltd. The Sebring Ring is due for delivery early next year, and in quantity, will sell for $59. Although it will enable up to 1,025 PCI slots, the company recognises that with many peripherals connected, the CPU bus is the next area for bottleneck, and it suggest we watch this space for future plans to tackle this next. The company also says the Sebring Ring does not care what device is in the PCI slot, and therefore with its high performance, is ideal for clustering, the word on everybody’s lips.

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