Chip facilitates PC and embedded system connectivity.

Press Release Summary:

Combining PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Express bus and 1394B functions, TrueFIRE(TM) 1394B Host transports data, audio, and video between computer and consumer electronics equipment at up to 800 Mbits/sec. PCI Express bus helps connect to host chipset using only 9 signal pins, while Active State Power Management (ASPM) enables power management within chip's link layer.

Original Press Release:

Agere Systems Introduces TrueFIRE(TM) 1394B Host for Igniting a New Wave of PC Design Creativity and Faster, More Feature-Rich Connectivity

Agere Systems Introduces TrueFIRE(TM) 1394B Host for Igniting a New Wave of PC Design Creativity and Faster, More Feature-Rich Connectivity

o Product is First to Deliver PCI Express® Bus and 1394B Functions on One Chip

o Enables Multimedia Streaming at Twice the Speed of 1394A

o Chip Enables Maximum PC Design Flexibility By Occupying Minimal Space and Using Much Smaller PCI Express Bus

ALLENTOWN, Pa., Dec. 13 - Agere Systems (NYSE:AGR) today delivered to market a chip aimed at igniting a new wave of PC and embedded system design creativity, as well as much faster, more feature-rich PC and embedded system connectivity. The FW643 chip-one-fourth the size of a U.S. dime - is the most integrated of its type ever produced.

A centerpiece of Agere's TrueFIRE(TM) portfolio of products, the chip combines PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Express bus and 1394B functions. Agere is the first company to make available a single chip integrating these two connectivity interfaces.

The PCI Express bus is rapidly becoming the underlying backbone inside a PC because it enables smaller, more cost-effective PC circuit board designs than the PCI(TM) bus, the previous-generation bus it is replacing. The PCI Express bus is less than one-sixth the width of the PCI bus.

1394B transports data, audio and video between computer and consumer electronics equipment at up to 800 Megabits per second (Mbits/s)-twice as fast as current 1394A 400 Mbits/s technology.

The chip's unprecedented integration makes it possible for PC makers to lower silicon and system costs. The integration also gives these makers flexibility to design more varied sizes and shapes because they only need one chip instead of two, and because they use the much thinner PCI Express bus. Higher integration also improves overall power management and reduces the distance to route data, audio and video through PC systems.

Agere Systems will demonstrate this chip at the January 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (Room #68526, Sands Convention Center).

"This chip could lead to some of the most creative PC designs ever made," said Shane Gunning, marketing director with Agere Systems' Networking Division. "Such innovative PC products need chips that are small and can easily fit in tight spaces on the PC mainboard, so the entire circuit board can be designed in various ways. Our chip gives those innovative PC companies the robust performance in a very small device so they can add all kinds of pizzazz to the PCs they design. The chip brings to fruition maximum computer performance in a minimal amount of space."

With the PCI Express bus, the connection to the host chipset is achieved using just nine signal pins; chips that connect using the 32-bit PCI bus require 58 signal pins. The more pins on the chip, the more space it consumes in both chip area and circuit board routing.

Another key feature of Agere's new chip is its support of the PCI Express Active State Power Management (ASPM). ASPM enables aggressive power management operating within the chip's link layer. Agere's PCI Express link within the FW643 has implemented the L0 (L stands for Level) and L1 low-power states. These dramatically minimize the power the chip consumes in non-active states.

This aggressive power management is key to battery life in mobile PCs. Additionally, the low-power features reduce the need for system cooling, allowing PC designers to reduce fan speed and minimize noise for all PCs.

"With consumers creating their own home video libraries and amassing large volumes of audio content, 1394B is emerging as the fastest way to back up this content on the latest-generation of high-performance external hard drives," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "The high performance of PCI Express makes it the perfect bus for 1394B to interface to."

Agere is also introducing today a PCI Express bus to 1394A version, called the FW533, for applications that require lower-cost 1394A operating at 400 Mbits/s. The pin-compatible FW533 and FW643 can be used interchangeably in a PC mainboard design allowing maximum flexibility to PC manufacturers.

With Agere's solution, PC manufacturers can offer cost-effective 1394A and 1394B using one mainboard design. They can do this by deciding to populate either the FW533 or the FW643 as needed. The FW533 also features all of the same PCI Express footprint and power-saving features as the FW643.

Agere has already started shipping the new chip to customers. Pricing information is available upon request.

For more information, customers may visit Agere's Web site at or contact one of Agere's regional sales offices. Customers in the U.S. may also call the Agere Systems Customer Response Center at 1-800-372-2447. Customers in Canada may call 1-800-553-2448. Customers outside those countries may call 1-610-712-4323. Fax inquiries may be directed to 1-610-712-4106, or e-mail queries to Written inquiries should be sent to Agere Systems, Room 10A-301C, 1110 American Parkway NE, Lehigh Valley Central Campus, Allentown, PA, 18109, USA.

Agere Systems is a global leader in semiconductors and software solutions for storage, mobility and networking markets. The company's products enable a broad range of services and capabilities, from cell phones, PCs and hard disk drives to the world's most sophisticated wireless and wireline networks. Agere's customers include top manufacturers of consumer electronics and communications and computing equipment. Agere works to transform the performance of networks and consumer electronics by integrating systems knowledge and leading technology that enable people to stay connected - perfecting the connected lifestyle.

Source: Agere Systems

Charlie Hartley,
+1-610-712-1728-office, or +1-908-507-6631-cellular,

Web site:

More from Electronic Components & Devices

All Topics

COVID-19 Response Suppliers COVID-19 Response:
Can Your Company Help Provide Critical Supplies?

We are using the power of our platform to aid in the mass shortage of critical supplies. If your company can help provide supplies, capabilities, or materials for products such as N-95 Masks and Tyvek SuitsPlease let us know.

COVID-19 Response Suppliers