PCI Express (PCIe) Generation (Gen) 1 is a common computer interface with transmission speeds of 2.5 GT/s. Subsequent advances brought Gen 2 at speeds of 5 GT/s and Gen 3 at 8 GT/s; Gen 4 at 16 GT/s is currently being tested by the PCI-SIG Workshop. In addition, internal discussions about Gen 5 at 32 GT/s are starting at PCI-SIG. As a result of the higher transmission speeds, PCIe Gen 4 at 16 GT/s is being deployed not only in general PC equipment but is also being adopted as an internal interface for various equipment, such as transmission devices, servers, storage, etc., in data centers. Data-center equipment is using 100G/200G/400GbE as external interfaces and PCIe Gen 4 is being adopted as an interface for internal data transmissions.
The Signal Quality Analyzer-R (SQA-R) MP1900A naturally supports NRZ signaling used by this equipment, but it also offers all-in-one support for PAM4 signaling used by 200G/400G external interfaces and for PCIe internal interfaces. Moreover, since it also supports 32 GT/s speeds required by the Gen 5 standard, it is the ideal measurement solution meeting both current and future testing requirements and helping cut capital equipment costs. This Application Note explains how to use the MP1900A with focus on PCIe Gen 4 Rx Stress tests, which are the current focus of PCIe Workshop, and troubleshooting methods.
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