Back in 2016 Avago/Broadcom greatly increased the prices of its PLX-branded PCIe switches, which caused many motherboard manufacturers to cease using them. Avago’s motivation was rather obvious — PCIe switches are needed primarily in servers and should be priced accordingly. Meanwhile, there is still demand for such devices in desktops as well, so other manufacturers are vying to enter the PCIe switch space.

Apparently, both ASMedia and Marvell are preparing their own PCIe switches. We already reported about Marvell’s 88NR2241 PCIe 3.0 x8 to two PCIe 3.0 x4 ports switch in our Plextor coverage earlier this month. Meanwhile ASMedia’s ASM2824 is in the final stages of development: the company has received the chip back from the fab and is currently testing it both internally and with its partners.

ASMedia’s ASM2824 has a PCIe 3.0 x8 upstream port as well as four PCIe 3.0 x4 downstream ports. The switch is designed primarily for storage devices, enabling installation of four NVMe drives on a single card.

ASMedia does not disclose pricing of its PCIe switch, but keeping in mind that it will have competitors from Avago/Broadcom as well as Marvell, I'm hopeful that ASMedia will not be charging too much for its switch. As for availability, expect ASMedia to launch the ASM2824 in the coming months .

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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Congrats Avago, you succeeded in plumping your profits significantly for 2 or 3 years at the long term cost of bringing in two competitors into what was a cosy sole source monopoly.
  • dgingeri - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Avago/Broadcom will probably sue to keep these off the market, claiming some sort of patent infringement.
  • Vatharian - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure about ASMedia, but from my experience with its development hardware, Marvell would lawyer up before committing single engineer to such ambitious projects. Their code review is brutal, I guess same goes for physical IP.
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    What would be nice is if this switch could do RAID5/6 off loading between the NVMe devices. The narrower uplink wouldn’t be an issue since the parity would be generate on the switch for downstream bandwidth. There would be a latency hit but things should still be comfortably lower than SATA/SAS based solutions.
  • Vatharian - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Parity/checksum based RAID is not for flash storage, even on WORM class high capacity storage (those demanding such systems should be drowned in molten silicone, I believe). It will be decades before solid state undercuts spinning rust, if ever. Even there, capacities rise fast enough that two, three or even four-way mirrors make more sense than any SSD, or parity. Also current high-speed protocols would cause RAID to create overhead so high any NVMe based system would get slower than SATA. Mirrors are also much lighter on switches like these.
  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    You're better off with software RAID. As mentioned switches should just be agnostic/transparent.
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    What would be nice is intel offering enough lanes from the cpu that such tinkering isn't even needed. The switch needs 8xlanes itself so you are left with 8xfor the gpu. If intel (and AMD) would up their dmi speed from 4 to 8, then such switches wouldn't even be needed.
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Are these PCIe 3.0 switches specifically designed for SSD use or can any device controller be attached to them like PLX switches? For example, can these switches be used in Thunderbolt docks to more efficiently share bandwidth between device controllers for the various interface ports (perhaps PCIe 3.0 x2 for 2-port USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller, PCIe 3.0 x2 for 10Gb Ethernet controller, PCIe 2.0 x2 for 2-port SATA III controller, and PCIe 1.1 x1 for FireWire 800 controller)?
  • timecop1818 - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    They're just transparent switches. Not tied to any particular type of device. Could be used for buttcoin GPUs, RAID/HBAs, nvme drives, data acquisition cards, etc
  • bobj3832 - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    I worked at IDT when they sold their PCI-E flash controller and PCIE-E switch business to PMC Sierra. Then PMC Sierra was acquired by Microsemi. It looks like Microsemi is still selling them. I always felt the demand for the switches was low which is why they bundled it in the sale with the more valuable flash controller business.

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