Application of PCI Express to Digital Color MFPs

Thanks to the development of the PCI Express mounting technology, faster internal bus is achieved, leading to realization of high-speed digital color MFPs with multitasking capability.

Same architecture for low-speed and high-speed models

Ricoh developed the controller chip equipped with two PCI Express ports shown in Figure 1, which is mounted on high-speed digital color MFP controller boards.

Figure 1: Controller chip equipped with PCI Express
Figure 1: Controller chip equipped with PCI Express

Thanks to the adoption of PCI Express, the internal bus bandwidth has increased without changing the architecture. As a result, high-speed printers deliver 135 ppm*1 with 1200dpi resolution (1 bpp*2) as indicated below.

Performance limitation
with a conventional PCI bus
Performance
with PCI Express
High-speed printer 1200dpi(1 bpp)/60ppm 1200dpi(1 bpp)/135ppm
MFP with multitasking Scanner 30spm*3+Plotter 30ppm
(Effective bus bandwidth: 200MB/s)
Scanner 115spm+Plotter 70ppm
(Effective bus bandwidth: 830MB/s)

Development of the high-speed interface has enabled wide coverage from low-speed models to high-speed models by the same architecture. PCI Express is used for more than 10 models, contributing to expansion of the product line-up.

  • *1print per minute
  • *2bpp: bit per pixel
  • *3spm: scan per minute

Faster internal bus and simplified signal lines

PCI Express is a new interface technology to replace PCI buses (adopted for internal buses of Ricoh products). The first specification of PCI Express was announced in May 2002. A PCI bus with around 100 signal lines has a transfer rate of approximately 200MB/sec, whereas PCI Express (4 lanes) with 16 signal lines achieves a transfer rate of approximately 830MB/sec while enabling simplification of signal lines and faster bus.

Eager to satisfy the increasing need for high-speed performance, Ricoh was one of the first in the industry to adopt and mount PCI Express on color MFPs to achieve faster internal bus. At present, PCI Express is applied for Ricoh's major models, contributing to faster printing capability.

Incorporation of PCI Express into a controller chip required solutions to numerous technical issues concerning such items as logical layer logic, board signal path layout, and ASIC packaging. By solving these issues one by one, Ricoh has achieved faster MFPs and simplified signal lines.

Providing greater value capitalizing on accumulated expertise in wide-ranging fields

Ricoh has been pioneering wide-ranging technology development covering signal path, PCB, and transmission systems, including MAC (logical layer logic) and PHY (circuits of areas where high-speed signal communication takes place on a physical layer). Capitalizing on Ricoh's accumulated expertise, we will continue to focus on developing technologies to achieve faster MFPs with greater multitasking capability meeting customer needs.

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