NEWS BRIEFS, September 2003

Aries Introduces High-frequency Center Probe Test Socket

Arise Electronics released a new RF test socket for devices up to 13 mm wide, with pitches of 0.50 mm and higher, in applications with speeds from 1 GHz to over 10 GHz.  Specific applications for the new test socket include CSP, MicroBGA, MLF, QFN, DSP, LGA, SRAM, DRAM, and Flash devices.

RLX Expands into Storage, Networking

Server blade startup RLX Technologies is expanding its focus to include new storage and networking options and upgraded management software.RLX has rolled out three new compute blades based on 2.6 to 3 GHz Pentium 4 Xeon processors using both the 400- and 533-MHz front side buses and 512 Kbytes-1Mbyte cache.The company claims the card design, which handles up to two CPUs, will accommodate two future speed grade enhancements of Xeon processors.Pushing into storage and networking territory, the company has also announced a card supporting a 20-port Gbit Ethernet switch, and a dual-ported 2 Gbit/second Fibre Channel card for storage networks.  The startup also plans to roll out for computer clusters a 10 Gbit/second Infiniband card based on Mellanox silicon.

Startup Spins GigE NPU, Fabric

Paion is reemerged to show off a dual-port Gigabit Ethernet network processor and 132-Gbit/s switch fabric for metro and access box architectures.As was planned in the four-channel device, the GEP2C02's ports include the physical layer (PHY) and MAC capabilities needed for Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.The ports can also be scaled back to support up to 48 Fast Ethernet connections.In addition to the Ethernet ports, the new processor comes with four processor cores that are used to handle tasks such as parsing; a host processor interface and interface to ternary content addressable (TCAM) devices from Cypress and NetLogic.The chip also comes equipped with two active 2.5-Gbit/s parallel ports and two backup 2.5-Gbit/s parallel ports for linking up with Paion's new GES0016 switch fabric device.The GES0016 fabric is a 16-port full-duplex fabric device that can handle 2.5 Gbit/s of switching per port, equating to 32-Gbit/s switching performance per chip.  The device can also be scaled to handle other switching options with the peak switching capacity reaching 512 Gbit/s in a multi-chip configuration.

Sarantel Releases Integrated Antenna-receiver for GPS Applications

Sarantel Ltd. in UK has launched its latest integrated antenna-receiver for global positioning applications, the SmartAntenna F02.The module provides a complete solution for OEMs that need to build GPS into their end products, without designing their own systems.The SmartAntenna F02 combines Sarantel's omni-directional GPS antenna with Fastrax Ltd.'s low-power Trax02/4 GPS receiver chipset.The module is 32 mm x 32 mm and 10.8 mm deep, weighs under 30 g, and consumes 100 mW at 2.7 V in continuous operation.It features a 32 Mips DSP core and dedicated GPS search engine, allowing its position fix to be normally accurate to within 10 meters, worldwide.The module only requires a serial data interface (RS232), 3.3 V and ground, and operates on the GPS L1-band (1575.42 MHz).

Radio On a Chip for Affordable Wireless Networking

Honeywell has developed a new Radio On a Chip (ROC) to meet the needs of the emerging short range and low data rate wireless link market.The HRF-ROC093XC ROC has been introduced for wireless, digital data applications in a broad arena of industries.This radio operates in the 902 to 928 MHz ISM band providing up to 128 kbps for low cost, private, wireless networking systems.

The HRF-ROC093XC ROC is an all CMOS, 2.5 V, programmable transceiver fabricated on a 0.25 m process.The chip can be used as a single frequency radio for short-range applications and as a frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) radio for longer-range devices.Frequency hopping provides the benefits of using higher transmit power (longer range) and multiple channels to nearly eliminate interference from other radios.The on-chip VCO, PLL and crystal circuits operate as the RF signal synthesizer.Implemented as a common "divide by N" style PLL, the frequency can be controlled by simply writing to a register via the SPI bus.The typical application starts with closed loop operation using an 8 kHz loop filter with a 100 kHz reference frequency.This provides an RF signal.  Supporting frequency-hopping applications, the frequency can be controlled to operate over the 902 to 928 MHz band by writing to a single register.The crystal reference frequency is in the 1 to 16 MHz range.Channel switch time is less than 400s and modulation deviation is 175 kHz (high data rate).

IBM Peers into CMOS Future at IEDM

IBM researchers have found a way to sharply boost PFET transistor performance, using epitaxial deposition techniques to deposit silicon with a 110 crystal orientation only where the PFET transistors are built, resulting in a sharp increase in hole mobility.The technique combines conventional 100-orientation silicon for the NFETs with 110-orientation lattice structures, deposited epitaxially, for the PFETs.

Intel Rolls out Low-cost Itanium Processors

Intel has introduced its lowest price Itanium 2 processors yet, including a new low voltage version drawing 62 watts.The low voltage Itanium 2, code-named Deerfield, has a 1GHz clock speed with 1.5Mbytes of L3 cache.  At 62 watts, it consumes half the power of existing Itanium 2 processors.