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November 9, 1993

VITESSE-SEAGATE ALLIANCE GETS GaAs FIBRE-CHANNEL CHIP SET OUT AT LAST

By CBR Staff Writer

Last year’s deal between Vitesse Semiconductor Corp and Seagate Technology Corp to develop a lower cost Fibre-Channel chip set (CI No 1,924) has borne fruit, albeit rather later than expected. Gallium Arsenide pioneer Vitesse has announced the Eliminator, a 1.0625Gbps offering, which it hopes will bring Fibre Channel into anything from workstation networks to host-to-mass storage data transfer. The interface has been designed so that higher-level protocols can be passed over it; Seagate has mapped SCSI protocols onto the Fibre Channel architecture and Vitesse says that it is now pursuing other partnerships – including discussions with Emulex Corp that will result in the ability to handle PCI local-bus traffic. There are three chips to the set: a transmitter, the VSC7105; a receiver, the VSC7106; and an encoder-decoder, VSC7107. To get he high speed switching speeds needed, the receiver and transmitters are fabricated using Galium Arsenide while the encoder-decoder uses regular CMOS. Originally the parts were due to begin sampling early this year, but the transmitter and receiver chips have just started sampling at $90 a piece, with the encoder due to appear in around three weeks for around $30 to $35. The company says the delay is due to its need to track Fibre Channel standards, which have been quite fluid until recently. Camarillo, California-based Vitesse is now seeking a disk controller manufacturer to do a generic SCSI to Fibre Channel mapping – it seems Seagate’s work is likely to go only into Seagate drives.

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