PassMark PCIe Gen 3 Test Card FAQ

Please Note: This is a Xilinx Hardware Evaluation Kit

  • The PassMark PCIe Gen3 Test Card is built with a Xilinx hardware evaluation kit. As such the warranty from Xilinx is 30days. These are expensive parts and are NOT suitable for high volume production line testing. We strongly recommend testing suspect PCIe slots with cheaper disposable hardware (e.g. GPU or NIC cards or short circuit tester) before using this card in a slot.

PCIe Gen3.0 is normally quoted as 8GBps per lane. Why can't the PCIe Gen 3 Card Test at these speeds?

  • Yes, PCIe Gen3.0 is normally quoted as 8GBps per lane, however, data rates will never reach these speeds on a real device because some signalling bandwidth is used by bit encoding, TLP, DLLP and PLP overhead. On a correctly functioning PC with a single PCIe device connected, you should typically see measured maximum speed results shown in the below table:

     PCIe Gen3 Lane Width    Expected Speed 
     X1  985MB/s
     X18  5500MB/s

    The PCIe Test Card has a maximum bandwidth of 5500 MBps, so the card cannot benchmark up to the PCIe gen 3.0 maximum x8 bandwidth of ~7880 MBps).

What PCIe slot lengths can the PCIe Test Card be used in?

  • The PCIe Test Card has a x1 and x4 edge. The x1 edge can be inserted into any PCIe slot (x1 and up). The x4 edge can be inserted into any PCIe slot x4 and up. PCIe cards cannot be inserted into slots shorter than the length of it's edge connector.

What generation of PCIe protocol can the PCIe Test Card be used in?

  • The PCIe Test Card can be tested in any generation of PCIe slot. The PCIe Test card operates at speeds up to gen3.0 (8Gbps per lane). The capabilities of a PCIe link depend on the highest speed capabilities that both the endpoint and the host can agree on. If the PCIe Test Card is inserted in a gen3.0 slot, it will perform at gen3.0. If it is inserted in a gen2.0 slot, it will be limited by the card to performing at gen2.0. If it is inserted in a gen1.0 slot, it will be limited by the slot to performing at gen1.0.

Which operating systems are these cards compatible with?

  • Windows 8, 10 and 2008 Server (in 32bit and 64bit). Linux is not supported.

Do I need a device driver to use these cards?

  • A device driver is required for Windows. Windows will prompt for the device driver the first time a card is used. The installation process is covered in the install guide. The device driver can be downloaded from the Download Page.

Does the PassMark PCIe Test card appear in my Device Manager as a new PCIe Device?

  • Yes, you can see the devices in the Windows device manager. They appear with the label, “Xilinx DMA”.

Can I run multiple copies of PCIeTest at the same time?

  • Yes, you can run multiple instances of the PCIeGen3Test application at the same time, however you need to make sure you have opened and configured them all to be using the correct PCIe cards before you start the first test.

Can I run multiple cards at the same time?

  • Yes.

Does the ATX 6-Pin Power Connector always have to be connected?

  • Yes, The ATX 6-pin provide the power to the card and always need to be connected. There are two ways to power up the card.
  • Option 1: Connecting via PSU using the ATX adapter cable that comes with the kit.
  • Option 2: Connecting using the external power adapter that comes with the kit.
  • Do NOT plug a PC ATX power supply 6-pin connector directly into J52. The ATX 6-pin connector has a different pin out than J52. Connecting an ATX 6-pin connector into J52 damages the PCIe Test card and voids the board warranty.

What type of PCIe data transfer type does the PCIe Test card use?

  • Packet DMA transfers are used.

Is the firmware on the PCIe Test Card upgradeable?

  • Yes, however you will need Vivado Lab Edition to update the firmware on the card., otherwise your PCIe Test Card can be posted back to us for upgrade.

Does PCIe Test card detect low-level errors in communication?

  • Yes, When running loopback test, PCIe Test application reports following low-level errors:

    Name of Error Classification & severity Layer Detected
    Receiver Error Correctable Physical
    Bad TLP Correctable Link
    Bad DLLP Correctable Link
    Replay Time-out Correctable Link
    Replay Number Rollover Correctable Link
    Poisoned TLP Received Uncorrectable - Non Fatal Transaction
    ECRC Check Failed Uncorrectable - Non Fatal Transaction
    Unsupported Request Uncorrectable - Non Fatal Transaction
    Completion Time-out Uncorrectable - Non Fatal Transaction
    Completion Abort Uncorrectable - Non Fatal Transaction
    Unexpected Completion Uncorrectable - Non Fatal Transaction
    Training Error Uncorrectable - Fatal Physical
    DLL Protocol Error Uncorrectable - Fatal Link
    Receiver Overflow Uncorrectable - Fatal Transaction
    Flow Control Protocol Error Uncorrectable - Fatal Transaction
    Malformed TLP Uncorrectable - Fatal Transaction

    Based on severity, PCIe errors reported by application are categorized as below:

    Correctable: errors which may have an impact on performance (like latency, bandwidth), but no data/information is lost and PCIe link remains reliable. Such errors are corrected by hardware and no software intervention is required.
    Uncorrectable Non-fatal: errors which don’t have impact on the PCI link, but data/information is lost. Non-fatal errors are corrupted transactions that can’t be corrected. However, the PCI Test card continues to function correctly and other transactions are unaffected, only particular transaction is affected.
    Uncorrectable fatal: errors which have impact on PCIe link i.e. PCIe link is no more reliable and data/information is lost.