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Part No. PEX8733
Description  PCI Express Gen 3 Switch
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PEX8733, PCI Express Gen 3 Switch, 32 Lanes, 18 Ports
© PLX Technology, www.plxtech.com
Page 2 of 5
22Aug11, version 1.0
The PEX8733 can also be configured in Multi-Host mode
where users can choose up to four ports as host/upstream
ports and assign a desired number of downstream ports to
each host. In Multi-Host mode, a virtual switch is created
for each host port and its associated downstream ports
inside the device. The traffic between the ports of a virtual
switch is completely isolated from the traffic in other
virtual switches. Figure 2 illustrates some configurations
of the PEX8733 in Multi-Host mode where each ellipse
represents a virtual switch inside the device.
The PEX8733
also provides
several ways to
configure its
registers. The
device can be
strapping pins,
2C interface,
host software, or
an optional
allows for easy
debug during
the development phase, performance monitoring during
the operation phase, and driver or software upgrade.
Dual-Host & Failover Support
In Single-Host mode, the PEX8733 supports 2 Non-
Transparent (NT)
Ports, which enables
the implementation of
dual-host systems for
redundancy and host
failover capability.
The NT port allows
systems to isolate host
memory domains by
presenting the
processor subsystem
as an endpoint rather
than another memory system. Base address registers are
used to translate addresses; doorbell registers are used to
send interrupts between the address domains; and
scratchpad registers (accessible by both CPUs) allow inter-
processor communication (see Figure 3).
Multi-Host & Failover Support
In Multi-Host mode, PEX8733 can be configured with up
to four upstream host ports, each with its own dedicated
downstream ports. The device can be configured for 1+1
redundancy or N+1 redundancy. The PEX8733 allows the
hosts to communicate their status to each other via special
door-bell registers. In failover mode, if a host fails, the
host designated for failover will disable the upstream port
attached to the failing host and program the downstream
ports of that host to its own domain. Figure 4a shows a two
host system in Multi-Host mode with two virtual switches
inside the device and Figure 4b shows Host 1 disabled
after failure and Host 2 having taken over all of Host 1’s
Hot-Plug for High Availability
Hot plug capability allows users to replace hardware
modules and perform maintenance without powering down
the system. The PEX8733 hot-plug capability feature
makes it suitable for High Availability (HA)
applications. Three downstream ports include a Standard
Hot Plug Controller. If the PEX8733 is used in an
application where one or more of its downstream ports
connect to PCI Express slots, each port’s Hot-Plug
Controller can be used to manage the hot-plug event of its
associated slot. Every port on the PEX8733 is equipped
with a hot-plug control/status register to support hot-plug
capability through external logic via the I
2C interface.
SerDes Power and Signal Management
The PEX8733 provides low power capability that is fully
compliant with the PCIe power management specification
and supports software control of the SerDes outputs to
allow optimization of power and signal strength in a
system. Furthermore, the SerDes block supports loop-back
modes and advanced reporting of error conditions,
which enables efficient management of the entire system.
The PEX8733 is designed to be fully compliant with the
PCI Express Base Specification r3.0, and is backwards
compatible to PCI Express Base Specification r2.0, r1.1,

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