Meet the PCI-SIG® Members – Samtec
PCI-SIG® celebrated our 30-year milestone last year, and the “Meet the PCI-SIG Members” blog series is a way to highlight our diverse global membership that makes PCI-SIG what it is today. PCI-SIG members help to advance and promote PCI Express® (PCIe®) technology innovation in the industry, while receiving a variety of benefits. If you are interested in joining PCI-SIG, learn more about becoming a member on our website.
In this edition, Matt Burns, Global Director of Technical Marketing at Samtec discusses why Samtec joined PCI-SIG, advantages of membership, and how they participate in the development of PCI-SIG technology.
- Can you provide a brief overview of your company?
Samtec was founded in 1976, and we are based in New Albany, IN, right across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY. We are a privately held, $1B million global manufacturer of high-performance interconnects including PCIe CEM connectors, PCIe extender cables and many other interconnects supporting various PCIe technologies.
- Why did your company join PCI-SIG?
PCI-SIG is managing and developing one of the foundational protocols and specifications key to several industries and applications. Samtec supports many solutions and applications featuring PCIe technologies, so being actively involved in various PCI-SIG efforts helps us influence technical roadmaps while allowing us to stay on top of the latest innovation from within PCI-SIG.
- What is the biggest advantage of PCI-SIG membership?
Aside from the technical benefits, I would say the biggest advantage is networking with technology leaders across the Silicon, Electronic Design Automation (EDA), Test & Measurement, and related industries. The relationships PCI-SIG helps build are invaluable for Samtec in many immeasurable ways.
- How does your company participate in PCI-SIG?
From a technical perspective, Samtec participates in PCI-SIG’s Electrical and Card Electromechanical (CEM) work groups. We are extremely interested in the newly formed Optical Work Group. Our decades of connector and cable design experience allows Samtec to contribute to the development of next-generation PCI Express Interconnect. We are heavily involved with the PCI-SIG Marketing Work Group (MWG) as well.
- What expertise does your company bring to PCI-SIG?
One key area, at least technically, is signal integrity optimization. At Samtec, we take a holistic view of signal channels – die, package, breakout region, vias, PCB traces and more. This helps us understand how an electrical signal propagates from transmitter to receiver at the physical layer. Hence, we bring decades of experience to PCI-SIG that we have gained troubleshooting or in some cases co-designing customer and partners signal channels.
- What does your company see as PCI-SIG’s impact within the industry?
Commonality and global adoption. The backwards compatibility, scalability, cost-effective and high-performance nature of PCIe technology are the gold standard of fabric interfaces. PCIe technology, in all its various iterations, is the de facto interconnect or fabric between compute engines – CPUs, GPUs, FPGA, SOCs, TPUs, DSPs, etc. – and peripherals. So much so that newer protocols like CXL have adopted PCIe architecture at the electrical and physical layer. That’s the greatest complement I can think of.
- Which market segments benefit the most from PCIe technology?
That depends on who you ask. Obviously, the legacy and the future of compute applications – personal, workstations, laptops, servers, etc. – drive the most usage of PCIe technology. That is not going to stop. Data center and cloud computing application are key drivers. However, we see increased adoption of PCIe technology in what many call the edge of the network: automotive, medical, industrial and more. I think this really highlights the diversity of PCIe technology. PCIe 4.0 specification make sense at the edge, while PCIe 7.0 specification will define chiplet-to-chiplet communications for the foreseeable future.
- Which future applications of PCIe technology is your company most looking forward to?
ChatGPT has raised the world’s interest and understanding of the capabilities of AI. The underlying hardware architectures and system platforms running ChatGPT and similar AI applications depend on PCIe technology as a core fabric to communicate between AI chipsets and accelerators, memory, microprocessors, and more. AI system architectures continue to be redefined. Having a seat at the table within PCI-SIG allows Samtec the ability to influence future innovation in this fast-growing field.
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