Electronic Design

Microcontroller Marries PowerPC And PCI Express

PCI Express in microcontrollers was inevitable. One of the first examples to emerge is Applied Micro Circuits' PowerPC 440SPe. It's designed to be an I/O controller, so it sports PCI Express links for both host and device. Thus, it services a host processor with a PCI Express interface and external PCI Express peripherals. Target applications include RAID and SAN (storage-area network) servers.

The eight-channel, host-side PCI Express interface connects to a PCI Express host controller. A pair of four-channel PCI Express links connects to off-chip PCI Express peripherals. A parallel, 64-bit PCI-X bus interface is also available.

The 440SPe's 256-kbyte level 2 cache can be used as local SRAM. Applications requiring off-chip memory can utilize the dual-port, double-data-rate SDRAM controller. An external bus controller provides access to 8-bit, off-chip peripherals.

Peripherals include three serial ports, a pair of I2C ports, 32 general-purpose I/O (GPIO) ports, timers, and a 1-Gbit/s Ethernet interface with its own DMA controller. Dedicated DMA controllers also support intelligent I/O (I2O) of local peripherals and an XOR engine for parity generation and checking.

Applied Micro Circuits

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