Molex has released its NearStack PCIe connector system and cable assemblies for next-generation servers, data centers, storage, HPC accelerator hardware (graphics, AI), and data-center switch applications. The system transmits signals directly instead of via traces ON printed-circuit boards (PCBs). The solution supports hybrid cables using a NearStack PCIe connector on one end and a legacy connector on the other, enabling customers to take advantage of the new technology without redesign or hardware replacement.
Developed in collaboration with members of the Open Compute Project (OCP), the NearStack PCIe standard optimizes signal integrity and improves system performance. OCP recommends the technology for server reference designs and includes NearStack PCIe in its OCP Modular – Extensible I/O (M-XIO) specification and the Modular – Full Width HPM Form Factor (M-FLW).
A key feature of the NearStack PCIe is its direct-to-contact twinax termination, which eliminates the need for paddle cards from the cable assembly, said Molex. This delivers greater repeatability, signal integrity, and reliability thanks to the use of a fully automated wire automation process. Competing cable jumpers are terminated by hand-soldering cables onto a PCB paddle card.
Other features of the NearStack PCIe cable connection system include:
- Capable of PCIe Gen-5 32-Gbits/s performance
- Supports PCIe Gen-5 requirements, with regards to both signal speed (32 Gbits/s NRZ) and number of pins
- Low-profile solution provides a mated height of 11.10 mm (R/A cable) for improved airflow management and allows for placement in tighter spaces within the system
- Creates a direct connection from anywhere in the system to near the ASIC, improving signal integrity, lowering insertion loss, and reducing signal latency
- Provides rugged, reliable PCB retention and eliminates the chance for preloaded beam relaxation through reflow. Has less potential for damage to hard-to-rework PCB side
- The cable assemblies provide efficient use of space and easy attachment. An optional “angle-exit” cable design lets technicians easily plug the jumpers into crowded boards
As part of an open SFF standard, the technology is available to second-source vendors under a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) license. The product line is available now.