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Molex Announces KickStart Connector System, First OCP Compliant All-in-one Boot Drive Connectivity Solution

Oct 24, 2023

Highlight: Single, standardized cable assembly provides universal hardware solution that combines power and low-speed and high-speed signals to simplify server design


Flexible, easy-to-implement interconnect solution replaces multiple components, reducing the need to manage multiple cables

With a low profile design and mechanical construction that meets Molex recommended OCP, NearStack PCIe optimizes space, reduces risk and accelerates time to market. Lisle, IL – October 17, 2023 – Molex, a global electronics leader and connectivity innovator, has expanded the array of solutions recommended by the Open Compute Project (OCP) with the introduction of the KickStart Connector System. KickStart is an innovative all-in-one system and the first OCP-compliant solution that combines low-speed and high-speed signal and power circuitry into a single cable assembly. This complete system eliminates the need for multiple components, optimizes space and accelerates upgrades by providing server and device manufacturers with a flexible, standardized and easy-to-implement method of connecting boot-driven peripherals.


“The KickStart Connector System reinforces our goal to eliminate the complexity of the modern data center and drive increased standardization,” said Bill Wilson, manager of new product development at Molex Datacom & Specialty Solutions. “The availability of this OCP-compliant solution reduces risk for customers, relieving them of the burden of validating individual solutions and provides a faster and simpler path to critical data center server upgrades.


For next-generation data centers

Modular building blocks

The integrated signal and power system is a standardized small form factor (SFF) TA-1036 cable assembly that complies with OCP's Data Center Modular Hardware System (DC-MHS) specification. KickStart was developed in collaboration with OCP members and recommends OCP's M-PIC specification for cable-optimized boot peripheral connectors.


As the only internal I/O connectivity solution recommended by OCP for boot drive applications, KickStart enables customers to cope with changing storage signaling speeds. The system accommodates PCIe Gen 5 signaling speeds with data transfer rates up to 32 Gbps NRZ. Planned support for PCIe Gen 6 will meet growing bandwidth demands.


In addition, KickStart is consistent with the form factor and rugged mechanical construction of Molex's award-winning, OCP-recommended NearStack PCIe connector system, which offers a minimum mating profile height of 11.10mm for improved space optimization, increased airflow management and reduced Interference with other components. The new connector system also allows for simple hybrid cable assembly pinouts from KickStart connectors to Ssilver 1C for Enterprise and Data Center Standard Form Factor (EDSFF) drive docking. Support for hybrid cables further simplifies integration with servers, storage and other peripherals, while simplifying hardware upgrades and modularization strategies.


Unified standards improve product performance

Reduce supply chain constraints

Ideal for OCP servers, data centers, white box servers and storage systems, KickStart reduces the need for multiple interconnect solutions while accelerating product development. Designed to support current and changing signal speed and power requirements, Molex's data center product development team works with the company's power engineering team to optimize power contact design, thermal simulation and power consumption. Like all Molex interconnect solutions, KickStart is backed by world-class engineering, volume manufacturing and global supply chain capabilities.

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