Start-up Mellanox has begun shipping development versions of chips that used in hardware to join the PCI slots of today's servers to the InfiniBand communication system expected to gradually supplant PCI. This "bridging" hardware is an important first stage in the adoption of InfiniBand, which offers higher speed and reliability than PCI. Eventually, servers and other devices are expected to come with native support for InfiniBand rather than requiring bridging technology.
Intel, which sells its own InfiniBand chips, is an investor in Mellanox, based in Santa Clara, Calif., and Yokneam, Israel. Mellanox's first chips will go on sale in the second quarter and will cost $196 apiece in quantities of 10,000.