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Wireless Connectivity

Mellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC Teardown

24 February 2009
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

This Mellanox MNPH28B-XTC is a 10 Gigabit/s Ethernet, PCIe 2.0 format card from Mellanox Technologies. It runs at 12.9W, features 2 ports, and per Mellanox literature is available at the time of writing (Dec 2008). This is also referred to in their literature as the "ConnectX EN 10GBASE-SR.

The core of the design is the Mellanox proprietary chip (MT25408A0-FCC-SE) with Dual Port support, 10Gb/s, PCI Express 2.0 (2.5GT/s), Integrated CX4, XFI and Backplane PHY Interfaces.

Mellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC Main ImageMellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC Main Image

Target Market

Server suppliers and IT service companies looking for high bandwidth interconnect within centralized compute/server environments. Per Mellanox:" High-Performance Computing, Enterprise Data Centers, and Embedded environments. Large clustered databases, web infrastructure, and IP video servers are just a few example applications that will achieve significant throughput improvements resulting in faster access and increased number of users per server."


Date not found.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - found from several retailers at the time of writing in the $11xx USD price range.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 15,000 units over a 2 year+ product lifetime. This is reflected in our pricing as we have elevated many standard prices to account to some extent for these low-volumes.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Mellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC Cost AnalysisMellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

In low volumes cost estimation is more difficult in higher volumes because of all of the cost adders and generous pads that EMS provders and distributors may add to offset fixed costs associated with a program, that in large volumes, might amortize to a few dollars or pennies (depending on production volumes).

Furthermore, having seen the pricing structure for similar devices from competing manufacturers, we have calibrated our pricing approach for this analysis, and pricing methodology to be inline with our last delivery of 10Gb NICs as follows:

Standard components (ICs and other devices with part numbers): Distributor Resale Pricing (Worst-Case Scenario - highest prices one should logically pay).

Standard Components (Without part numbers) - we have doubled costs over our standard high volume costs - however the sky is the limit - in very low volumes, EMS partners may be dealing with broken reel pricing and scrap parts, inventory management costs, etc.) it would be easy to pay more than our estimates

Special ICs - Our modeling on this round, accounts for the very low volumes in question, and also is more specific about the test set-up assumptions which may drive costs through the roof for some components. The test costs are more significant than assumed in our first round of 10GbE card analysis. We have also added package yield, and test yields so that we can factor lower yields for some components, into the prices paid by the card OEMs.

Furthermore, as we stated in our last Gigabit Ethernet card analyses, because of the specialized nature of many of the components in this NIC card, and the still nascent nature of 10GbE, many of the components sell for prices far removed from the underlying material costs, as the costs are ultimately more overhead driven at this stage in the lifecycle.

Major Cost Drivers (Representing ~91% of Direct Materials Costs)

MT25408A0-FCC-SE - Mellanox Technologies - Ethernet Controller - Dual Ports, 10Gb/s, w/ PCI Express 2.0 (2.5GT/s), Integrated CX4, XFI & Backplane PHY Interfaces

AEL2005-1B15C - Aeluros Inc. - Ethernet Transceiver / Serializer/Deserializer - 10Gb, Single Channel, XAUI/SFI, w/ EDC, for SFP+ Application (Qty:2)

XO - 156.25MHz (Qty:2)

1367073-2 - AMP - SFP Connector - Right Angle (Qty:2)

Cidav - 8-Layer - FR4

Ceramic Multilayer - X5R/X7R (Qty:226)

Packaging Insert - Styrofoam Tray

M25P16VME6G - Numonyx - Flash - NOR, 16Mb (2Mb x 8), 75MHz SPI Interface

PL-KP2-00-000-26 - JDSU - EMI Cage - For SFP Connector (Qty:2)

ETQP6F2R5BFA - Panasonic - Inductor - Wound Ferrite Core, Shielded, 2.45uH

Materials and Manufacturing* $160.38

* - iSuppli's standard production calculation methodology does not always lend itself to a high degree of accuracy in very low volumes. So to compensate for this, we generally elevate the 'overhead' figure in manufacturing costs to account for all of the extra costs (such as line set-up start-up / breakdown costs, and other miscellaneous costs).

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Unknown at the time of writing, however, it is assumed the OEM is using an EMS provider with operations in Israel (per labeling) to produce the units at this phase.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on Label, the PCBA the unit was assembled in Israel.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies, we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Mellanox MNPH28B-XTC card is, like other 10GbE network interface cards, fairly well-integrated and core-silicon intensive. In fact, this card has the lowest component count of the 10GbE cards previously analyzed with a total of only 411 components (most others range from ~600 to ~750).

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The core of the design is the Mellanox proprietary chip (MT25408A0-FCC-SE) with Dual Port support, 10Gb/s, PCI Express 2.0 (2.5GT/s), Integrated CX4, XFI and Backplane PHY Interfaces. The only other major IC in this design is an Aeluros Ethernet transceiver (AEL2005-1B15C).

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Mellanox MNPH28B-XTC 10Gb Ethernet Card design:

Main PCB - Main Components


  • Ethernet Controller - Mellanox Technologies - MT25408A0-FCC-SE - Dual Ports, 10Gb/s, w/ PCI Express 2.0 (2.5GT/s), Integrated CX4, XFI & Backplane PHY Interfaces


  • Ethernet Transceiver - Aeluros Inc. - AEL2005-1B15C - Ethernet Transceiver / Serializer/Deserializer - 10Gb, Single Channel, XAUI/SFI, w/ EDC, for SFP+ Application


  • NOR Flash -Numonyx - M25P16VME6G - NOR, 16Mb (2Mb x 8), 75MHz SPI Interface


Mellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC - Box ContentsMellanox ConnectX EN 10GB NIC - Box Contents

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