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in this issue Vision Systems Look to ATCA for Power

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

July 2007


Multi-Core Rises to Challenge DSPs Linux Muscles in on More Territory

A Ne NO Pr w W od an W uc d IT t S En H ec lar tio ge n d


An RTC Group Publication

GE Fanuc Embedded Systems

Wouldn’t you rather have two? Dual core options abound with GE Fanuc Embedded Systems. Choosing dual core technology ought to be a no-brainer, especially when you have the range of choices offered by GE Fanuc Embedded Systems. Our Intel® Core™ Duo and Core™ 2 Duo single board computers are available in a full selection of embedded form factors, including VME, VPX, CPCI and ATCA. We also give you the choice of multiple levels of ruggedization, all the way from standard air cooled commercial grades through extended temperature, up to fully conduction cooled boards. We probably have exactly the configuration you’re looking for, and we even have custom build options.

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JULY 2007


5 Editorial What Is it About Linux? Insider 7 Industry Latest developments in the Embedded

Technology in Context

Industry Insight

Vision and Inspection Systems

DSP vs. Multicore Systems

Vision Platforms Based on 10 Advanced AdvancedTCA Architecture

and x86 – Getting Past the Hype 28 DSP in Processor Architecture

Stephen Huang, Adlink Technology

Brian Peebles, Dialogic


& Technology 40 Products Newest Embedded Technology used by Industry Leaders

Featured Products Kit Fires Up DSP Development 18 Design VMetro Combines Virtex-5 FPGA with ANSI C on a PMC Card

80 DSP Cores on a Single ATCA Blade RadiSys Packs Quad Cores on Modules with 10 GigE

Software & Development Tools Linux and FOSS: End-to-End 34 Linux (and Top-to-Bottom, Too) Bill Weinberg, LiPS Forum & Linux Pundit

Solutions Engineering PC/104 Stacking for PC/104: 20 New USB Grows Up - and Up and Up Jim Turley, Micro/sys

Data Acquisition 24 PC/104 for Industrial Applications Robert A. Burckle, WinSystems

Digital Subscriptions Available at

Cover Photo: With analog input, analog output, and digital I/O combined on a single PC/104 board, WinSystems’ PCM-MIO provides Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) with the required functions for high-accuracy closed loop motor control. Shown here is an automatic vehicle for handling paper in a printing plant.

July 2007

July 2007 Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, johnr@r EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Warren Andrews, warrena@r


EDITOR-IN - CHIEF Tom Williams, tomw@r MANAGING EDITOR Rebecca Bauer, rebeccab@r COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn


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Editorial July 2007

What Is it About Linux? by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief


ere’s a riddle for you to use to amuse your friends: What do Windows CE, Java and Linux all have in common? Answer: Not one of them was originally conceived for use in real-time and embedded systems. No, Windows CE was originally designed for use in a generation of half-laptop-size machines that never took off in the market. It then went through a couple of versions before it became the very popular embedded operating system we know today. Java, of course, was to be the “write once run anywhere” programming paradigm, which by virtue of its virtual machine seemed to disqualify it from use in embedded and real-time applications. Linux arose out of the frustration of the programming community with the fragmentation and proprietary turf wars around Unix. It was to be “Unix the way we always wanted it to be.” Unix was at the time a very desktop-oriented operating system with a number of disparate attempts to give it real-time characteristics. Of these three software entities, two are largely controlled by single companies: Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. As such, their evolution has tended to be guided by the interests and perspectives of those companies. Even “independent” Java vendors must be guided by much of what Sun decides. There are variations among kernel code for processor support and even supersets and subsets of APIs, which result in programming paradigms that have a single name but many variants under that one tent. Linux is different if not absolutely so. It did not arise from a corporate womb; it was started by a guy who wanted to do it because it seemed a right and useful thing to do. He did not claim to be the single fount of wisdom and therefore did not try to own it all or control every aspect of its development. The result has been a path of evolution of almost biological character with Linus Torvalds as the “intelligent designer” who knew when to keep his mitts off it and when to make pronouncements about it. That benign shepherding has spawned a community of highly motivated intelligent and enthusiastic participants who have not only refined Linux but also made it possible for it to migrate from

the desktop and mainframe worlds into telecommunications systems, mobile phones and myriad embedded devices—largely with a single code base that spans processor architectures and application domains. Of course there are differences among commercial distributions, which are actually open source code that has been brought together, verified and tested and is given support by the Red Hats, MontaVistas and SuSes of this world. What you are buying with one of these distributions is not a license to someone’s proprietary code, but the assurance that the code that is available for free has been checked out to work together and that there is a number to call for support—so you don’t have to start from scratch. Linux has survived dark threats by companies that claimed original rights to it and by others who claimed that they had found their own misappropriated source code in the listings and whose legal action would bring this whole unruly gaggle of software fanatics to heel and impose respectable fees. Harrumph! Still, Linux goes on and is today doubtless so valuable to the growing new world software infrastructure that such efforts will never get anywhere. Then there’s that penguin. “Serious” marketing people have dismissed it as silly or frivolous or cutesy, but little chubby Tux is the perfect symbol for what the Linux community has been about. Anyone who develops a Linux-based product is free to use the penguin at no charge. The origin of Tux is said to be connected to Linus Torvalds’ affection for penguins. Here again, we have initiation without insistence on control—just influencing direction. Today, Tux is universally recognized as the symbol for Linux and all this was done without charge by Larry Ewing using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) that comes with many GNU Linux distributions. And yet for all this seemingly free and easy attitude, Linux developers are creating compelling applications and products, many are becoming quite prosperous, and Linux itself is becoming an indispensable part of the world’s technology infrastructure. July 2007


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PICMG Firmware Upgrade Capability Supports ATCA, AMC and MicroTCA PICMG has released a new specification that defines an open mechanism for systems to upgrade the resident management software and firmware on the various components and subsystems. Designated PICMG HPM.1, the specification was developed by the existing PICMG 3.0 subcommittee but released as a separate specification so it can also be applied immediately to other PICMG-defined architectures, specifically Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AMC) and MicroTCA systems. This specification is the first from PICMG to augment the hardware platform management (HPM) layer of all three architectures in a single document. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface specification, which ATCA uses as the basis for its hardware platform management infrastructure, does not provide any generic mechanism for upgrading management controller firmware. This new specification defines an advanced architecture and corresponding interfaces so that a single upgrade agent can update the firmware in the many management controllers of an entire system, even if the modules in the system come from different vendors. “HPM.1 adds very useful functionality to ATCA and MicroTCA systems, along with the AMC modules they include,” said Mark Overgaard of Pigeon Point Systems and the Chair of the HPM.1 effort. “This framework will allow system integrators to have a single set of tools for upgrading all the IPM controllers in an entire system. In addition, the HPM.1 architecture ensures that all new compliant field-replaceable units will be automatically supported by the upgrade tools compliant with this specification, and vice versa,” he added. HPM.1 will be provided free to PICMG members and is available for purchase by non-members. More information, including product listings, can be found at

IBM to Acquire Telelogic, Become 800-Pound UML Gorilla

IBM has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Telelogic at an offer price of 21 Swedish Kronor per share or approximately US $745 million, subject to regulatory reviews and other customary closing conditions. Telelogic is a public company headquartered in Malmo, Sweden. Upon completion of the acquisition (expected to close Q3 2007), Telelogic will be a business line within the IBM Rational Software unit. Last year, Telelogic acquired embedded software modeling tool rival I-Logix and has since worked to integrate the company’s Rhapsody product into Telelogic’s existing suite of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products, including the popular DOORS requirements management solution. Post acquisition, the competitive landscape fea-

tured a growing Telelogic looking to challenge IBM in this segment as both a leading provider of UML tools for embedded software development and a vendor of an integrated suite of ALM tools that could be competitive with IBM’s larger product offering. According to analysis by Venture Development Corporation (VDC), within the software modeling tools market, IBM’s acquisition of Telelogic will surely change the competitive landscape. The combined company will become the clear market leader in UML tools within the embedded space, and VDC believes that there will be few challengers able to match IBM Rational/Telelogic in terms of revenue, breadth of product offering, global-reach and consulting services. Perhaps more importantly, in addition to securing leadership in the embedded software modeling tools market, the acquisition also strengthens the positioning of the

company’s larger ALM offering across both the embedded and enterprise markets. IBM Rational/ Telelogic will now have a broad set of complementary market solutions to offer to their diverse customer base and will likely look to leverage solutions and services from both companies across specific target markets that play to each solution’s strength. The acquisition will provide greater opportunity to deliver integrated products to shared customers, especially within the military/aerospace, automotive/transportation and telecom/datacom industries.

Specification for MultipleInterface Memory Cards

The MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA) has announced a specification for the new miCARD, a 12 mm x 21 mm x 1.95 mm storage card designed for easy data interchange between MMC and USB devices. When used in portable devices such as

cameras, smart phones and PDAs, miCARD takes advantage of the low power consumption and highperformance characteristics of the MMC interface. The miCARD then allows consumers to transfer that media-rich content to PCs, printers and home entertainment appliances by inserting the card directly into those devices’ existing USB connectors—without the need for dedicated card slots or separate card readers. Preserving the performance and ease of use consumers currently experience with USB 2.0compliant devices, miCARD will transfer data at speeds up to 480 Mbits/s, with full electrical, mechanical and software compatibility. It is the first memory card to combine the features of the MMC System Specification v4.2 and USB 2.0, the most successful interface in the world. Initially, passive mechanical adaptors will be available to convert the miCARD for use in many of today’s CE products that accept full-size MMC cards. In the future, portable devices will be able to take advantage of miCARD’s smaller size by offering slots that accept miCARD directly. No change is needed for miCARD compatibility with existing USB Type-A ports; consumers can simply plug and play.

Linux to Launch into Space

Wind River Systems has been selected by Honeywell Aerospace to support the development of NASA’s New Millennium Program Space Technology 8 (ST8) Dependable Multiprocessor. The contract marks the first time a Linux platform has been selected by Honeywell for a space mission. Honeywell Aerospace is the prime contractor for NASA’s ST8 Dependable Multiprocessor project. Wind River’s Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition, July 2007

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July 2007

will be the underlying operating system to support the processing of science and experiment data on board the ST8 spacecraft. The Dependable Multiprocessor will create a new generation of “smart” spacecraft and robotics for future exploration missions conducted by NASA. Composed of a COTS-based supercomputer architecture capable of incorporating both on-chip and FPGA-based algorithmic coprocessors, Dependable Multiprocessor technology can autonomously and adaptively configure the level of fault tolerance applied to the COTS-based computer system in response to constantly changing mission environments and the criticality of the mission application. The Dependable Multiprocessor will allow the spacecraft to process and analyze its own data to make instant decisions about what is observed without having to send the information to Earth and wait for a reply. Any material put into space is subject to variable accelerations, mechanical shock and vibration, harsh vacuum conditions, extreme temperatures and often intense particle and electromagnetic radiation. Wind River Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition, running in conjunction with GoAhead SelfReliant Software, which provides high-availability middleware, and Honeywell’s Dependable Multiprocessing Middleware on Extreme Engineering Solutions’ XPedite6031 boards, will support the demonstration of high-availability and high-reliability operation for the ST8 Dependable Multiprocessor experiment. The ST8 mission is scheduled for launch in November 2009, with an expected duration of at least seven months consisting of two phases, including a one-month commissioning phase and a sixmonth experiment phase. The mission consists of four independent experiments, including the Dependable Multiprocessor on a common spacecraft bus being provided by Orbital Sciences Corporation. The Dependable Multiprocessor experiment will validate a comput-

er system architectural approach that allows application flexibility by applying robust control of the high-performance COTS cluster, enhanced software-based Single Event Upset (SEU) tolerance, and user-selectable redundancy only to the level required by the environment and the criticality of the task or computation.

“MicroTCA has created a huge buzz. There is a large demand to address these issues so it can be used in many more markets,” said Mike Franco, the chair of the new subcommittee. PICMG will publish backgrounders and other documents from the subcommittee on the “Resources” page of www. as work progresses.

PICMG Forms Rugged MicroTCA Subcommittee

VITA Secures ANSI ReAccreditation, Modifies Patent Policy

PICMG has formed the new Rugged MicroTCA subcommittee to investigate and define enhancements to the MicroTCA and AdvancedMC definitions. The enhancements will enable products to be used in markets where environmental requirements may be much harsher than the telecommunications market, the first target of these specifications. The committee is called the Rugged MicroTCA subcommittee but it will also address Advanced Mezzanine Cards, which are the building blocks of MicroTCA systems. The target markets for Rugged MicroTCA are: • Commercial and military applications including airborne, shipboard and ground mobile equipment • Telco Industry Customer Premise Equipment and Remote Access (such as roadside or pole mounted, no fans) • Machine Industry (Rotating machine mounted; no fans; vibration) • Transport Industry (Railway; truck, ship, aircraft mounted) • Traffic control (roadside, no fans) • Security (remote access, no fans) It is likely that there will not be a single solution for all these markets. The committee expects its deliverables will be “dot” specifications that layer on top of the base MTCA.0 specification and contain the environmental enhancements needed for a specific set of market applications. These are likely to include specifications for air cooling, conduction cooling and shock and vibration enhancements.

VITA, the VMEbus International Trade Association, has announced that it has been re-accredited by ANSI effective May 22, 2007. In January, VITA had submitted revised patent disclosure policies and standards procedures to ANSI. The revisions ensure that VSO participants disclose patents that are essential to implementing a new standard and that the participants openly declare the most restrictive terms required to license any such patents. The new requirement to declare the most restrictive licensing terms is intended to make the changed policy fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. ANSI has approved these revised standards procedures with minor modifications. VITA has been exploring more effective patent disclosure procedures for several years. These explorations led VITA to query the Department of Justice about how to develop better procedures. During the first half of 2006, VITA and its board of directors developed new patent disclosure procedures for use by the VSO. The new patent policy was submitted to the Department of Justice on June 8, 2006, for their review. After numerous meetings to gain clarification, slight changes were made. The Department of Justice issued their positive business review letter on October 30, 2006. The VITA members and board of directors approved the changes in January of this year. ANSI’s approval of the procedure changes now completes the process for ANSI re-accreditation of the VITA standards efforts.

TechnologyInContext Vision and Inspection Systems

Advanced Vision Platforms Based on AdvancedTCA Architecture A solution for advanced machine vision applications that fulfills the demand for advanced technologies, customization and application emphasizes the reduction of operating expenses and space consumption using the ATCA architecture. by S  tephen Huang Adlink Technology


exploration er your goal eak directly al page, the resource. chnology, and products


achine vision system integrators and equipment providers are con1 ATCA AVP System 5 Server Systems Support stantly in search of new solutions Supports 10 Camera 10 Camera Link Cameras Link Cameras and high-performance computers that are capable of executing complex algorithms for image processing as well as products that are cost-effective and have faster timeto-market cycles. Take the Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) application for the Flat Panel Display (FPD) industry as an example. As the FPD industry progresses, panies providing solutions now the demand for multiple high-resolution ration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest cameras a singletechnical systempage, is the increasing, lication Engineer, or jump toon a company's goal of Get Connected is to put you while data ice you require for whatever typethroughput of technology, ability becomes Figure 1 An ATCA-based AVP system can support 10 Camera Link cameras via its ies and productscritical you are searching for. heavy data payloads. in handling PCI-X PMC interface. The phenomenal growth of vision applications for large format imaging (both line scan and area scan) requires to build an effective AOI system. These tems for autonomous robots, positional imaging, displaying, storing, real-time servers take up valuable space and entail and structural information for manipulavisualization and high-end processing. a considerable amount of administra- tion tasks, mapping terrain features, parA server equipped with dual CPUs and a tion and maintenance. In addition, data ticularly in inhospitable environments or PCI-X add-on card for the camera inter- exchange between servers also poses a during natural disasters, as well as highface is commonly used for AOI applica- greater challenge for system integrators speed, high-volume manufacturing protions. However, when multiple cameras and administrators. cesses where computer-aided operations are required, multiple servers are needed Not only are AOI systems valuable in have become a necessity, are all benefithe FPD industry, but also across a wide ciaries of AOI technologies. AOI systems array of industries that utilize visual input equipped with the proper human machine Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. for data processing. Applications such as interface enable operators to perform those used in navigational guidance sys- time and accurate operational control for

End of Article


July 2007 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

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TechnologyInContext quality assurance, which is top priority no matter what the industry or application. AOI systems involve acquiring images into a computer, converting the images into usable formats, adjusting the images to the desired views, and calculating the appropriate data that represent the images to perform quality inspections. When specifically applied to a manufacturing environment, an AOI system must satisfy not only the requirements for high speed, high resolution, 24-hour operation and repeatability of measurements, but also for automatic identification, tracking and quality assurance throughout the entire production process. Some featured AOI systems with customized DSPs and FPGAs give basic solutions for translating results and locating defects. With advanced optical inspection technology, users are able to recover more of the good product (higher yield) and remove a higher percentage of defective product (quality control) than the manual sorting and defect removal methods historically used by many industries. In the wood panel industry, for example, increasing the number of decisions made by a machine vision system can also result in increased throughput, higher yield and more accurate product grading with fewer line workers, aiding a company’s bottom line by cutting costs. AOI systems can add significant value in manufacturing environments where processing is highly variable, by improving the uniformity of finished products. However useful, without the proper computer architecture and controls, AOI PMC Module

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Figure 2

systems run the risk of longer development times and effort for the integration of DSPs and FPGAs across multiple programming languages. Therefore, these solutions require higher software and hardware investments related to the acquisition and adoption of new DSP technologies. A solution for an advanced AOI application involves a platform that delivers an optimum balance between product capacity and cost ratio in relation to processing and input/output support, easy programmability, customization and maintenance.

AVP Platform Meets High-End Requirements

Although primarily designed for nextgeneration telecom applications, some benefits of Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) are found to be of great advantage in solving the current problems of high-end machine vision systems. The open architecture saves development time and associated costs, while


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AVP Blade Functional Block Diagram. Camera interface and camera control are implemented on a PMC module, which interfaces to the ATCA AVP platform. July 2007


TechnologyInContext ATCA systems equipped with PMC card expansion enhance system flexibility. By integrating customized PMC cards and utilizing innovative Gigabit Ethernet and shelf management technologies, a machine vision system based on ATCA ably meets all performance requirements in a compact and high-density, multi-blade rackmount system. A high-performance CPU blade with a PCI-X PMC module forms a single advanced CPU platform. A PMC module can

interface with several kinds of camera interface standards including Camera Link, Firewire and Gigabit Ethernet interface cameras that are becoming increasingly popular. With the proper combination of these technologies and a flexible architecture, a PMC module virtually eliminates the risk of obsolescence by ensuring backward and forward compatibility to keep systems performing at peak as technology advances and assures users maximum long-term return on their investment.

Redefining Debug


July 2007

With ATCA blade architecture, integrators can easily integrate multiple cameras to an AVP for AOI utilization. For example, if an AVP blade processes image data from two camera link cameras, then 10 camera link cameras can be supported with a 5U ATCA system (Figure 1). Compared with the traditional sever solution, an ATCA-based AVP does not need five servers to achieve efficient performance. This type of compact form not only allows an ATCA-based AVP to save a considerable amount of space, but also helps simplify and reduce the large mesh of wires, connections and infrastructure that many industrial users deal with, thus freeing valuable physical space for other uses. The hot-swapping and full redundancy features of the ATCA platform also ensure that any component removal does not interrupt operation, as well as dramatically reduce maintenance, repair and replacement time. Equipped with a base/fabric interface, an ATCA-based AVP enables system integrators to build communications between vision blades, including a Gigabit Ethernet base interface that provides a faster channel when exchanging image data among vision blades. With a system management module mandatory on every ATCA system, SIs can easily build a highly available and manageable platform by installing a Chassis Management Module (CMM) to monitor and control the vision blades and other Field Replaceable Units (FRUs). The CMM watches over the health of the shelf, reports anomalies, takes corrective actions on errors, and interconnects across the system. The ATCA architecture’s reliability and flexibility are sure to improve machine vision operations thus allowing users an opportunity for substantial cost savings through the reduction of direct labor and improved product quality. An example of a blade for use as an AOI server uses an FPGA camera link frame grabber PMC module instead of an AMC card and is based on the ATCA architecture for advanced vision applications. Such a platform provides computing for advanced image processing across many applications and industries. Supporting up to 16 Gbytes of DDR2 memory, this AVP blade also provides high-capacity memory throughput for processing

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TechnologyInContext and storing high-density image data. Such blade servers represent a shift away from traditional proprietary machine vision system integrators by alleviating the need for a DSP and utilizing the power and performance of the ATCA architecture. For AOI applications, an AVP blade must utilize a high-performance CPU to process data at an optimal level while performing complex morphological operations. With a wide memory bandwidth and capacity, AVP blade technology further aids users by efficiently storing large amounts of image data that can be accurately tracked and debugged if necessary. Another essential item in building a cost-effective and space-saving platform for AVP is a comprehensive I/O density that provides greater flexibility and manageability. This will enable it to support up to four Camera Link connectors for dual-channel output, VGA, GPIO, LAN, and two USB ports on the front panel. The AVP blade backs a Camera Link or IEEE 1394 interface built on a PMC module and installed on two onboard 64-bit/133 MHz PCI-X slots. With an integrated CompactFlash card slot, developers can conveniently build an OS image to boot the system. A rear transition module provides an extra 2.5” SATA HDD storage that integrators need to store images for further analysis. The onboard PMC module of the AVP blade for a high-performance Camera Link or IEEE 1394 interface supports high-speed image data transfer. Write/ read wrappers around the FPGA manufacturer’s IP core were developed so that it can achieve the benefits of a high-capacity system, allow users to define the bus width of each write/read port, and enable calculation efficiency. Through the onboard high-density, customizable, FPGAbased processing core, each channel supports image data transfer rates of up to 640 Mbytes/s with an acquisition pixel clock rate of up to 85 MHz. A standard platform requires only a customized PMC card for full functionality. Specialized AMC cards are not necessary. The platform shortens application development and system upgrades while allowing SIs to implement their proprietary FPGA know-how for pre- or postimage processing.

As manufacturing environments evolve, they produce items that are delicate or susceptible to contamination, such as integrated circuits and temperature-sensitive devices, as well as pharmaceutical products that may require measurement methods that are noncontact and nonintrusive. Vision inspection is also advantageous in processing applications where safety is a factor, such as parts made from hazardous materials. Properly fitted AOIs not only add value through improved efficiency in many highly techni-

cal processes, but also allow for on demand statistical collection and the ability for realtime feedback in manufacturing processes. The power, flexibility and connectivity of AVP systems have become almost necessary to achieve 100% inspection with high throughput at relatively low cost. Adlink Technology Irvine, CA. (866) 423-5465. [].

Essential building blocks … Innovative solutions. From Digital Signal Processing, to I/O interfaces, to IP cores and Software tools … ... at BittWare you’ll find the essential building blocks you need for your signal processing applications. Whether your application needs to thrive under extreme conditions of the battlefield, meet the ever-changing requirements of the communications market, or process highly-precise medical imaging data, BittWare has the capabilities to meet your needs. Reliable cutting-edge products are backed by timely delivery, reduced cost, and a dedicated support team – enabling your innovative solutions.

w w w. B i t t Wa re . c o m

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6/19/07 July 200710:50:39 AM 17

FeaturedProducts Design Kit Fires Up DSP Development

VMETRO Combines Virtex-5 FPGA with ANSI C on a PMC Card VMetro and Impulse Accelerated Technologies have announced a DSP development kit, the V5+C, for rapid prototyping and algorithm development. The kit, which includes the latest-generation Impulse C-to-VHDL compiler tools and a VMetro PMC module based on the Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA, allows system developers to hardware-accelerate DSP algorithms and quickly prototype on an FPGA within an ANSI C environment. The Impulse C compiler helps bring more software developers into FPGA technologies with the ability to automatically analyze, optimize and translate the original C code to run in parallel on an

FPGA to take advantage of the inherent parallel capabilities of FPGA devices. The result is an FPGA solution that outperforms most DSPs or processors. Using the Impulse tools in combination with Xilinx FPGA devices, users can expect to achieve 10x acceleration over their existing microprocessorbased solutions. The VMetro PMC-FPGA05 included in the V5+C kit is a PMC module with a large-capacity Xilinx Virtex-5 XC5VLX110 FPGA and customizable digital front-panel I/O. The FPGA is boosted by multiple banks of QDR and DDR memory. The PMC-FPGA05 was designed for embedded DSP applications where there is a need for flexible, customizable I/O and FPGA processing on the data stream. There are a number of I/O adapter modules available from VMetro that


July 2007

can be plugged onto the PMC-FPGA05. Customers can also develop their own I/O adapter modules to meet their custom I/O requirements. The V5+C kit extends the ability to develop DSP algorithms in ANSI C by enabling C applications to directly interface to VMetro-provided hardware IP blocks, eliminating the need for developers to use VHDL to interface their hardware-accelerated algorithms to the VMetro’s IP blocks for the Virtex-5 FPGA. The Impulse C Platform Support Package (PSP) provides C-callable interfaces to the VMetro PMCFPGA05 PMC module’s PCI-X bus, the QDR and DDR memories, and more. The V5+C kit includes a PMC-FPGA05 on a PCI-X carrier card along with the Impulse C tools and PSP. Early adopters of this kit receive special factory training and design support on their first algorithm. The discount price for early adopter customers is $9,995.

VMetro Houston, TX. (281) 584-0728. []. Impulse Accelerated Technologies Kirkland, WA. (425) 605-9543. [].

80 DSP Cores on a Single ATCA Blade

RadiSys Packs Quad Cores on Modules with 10 GigE An Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) digital signal processing (DSP) blade is targeted at providing telecommunications equipment manufacturers (TEMs) a way to achieve a low cost-per-port for next-generation VoIP, media processing and media gateway solutions. With an architecture that hosts up to 20 multicore MSC8144 DSPs from Freescale Semiconductor, the Promentum ATCA-9100 Media Resource Module from RadiSys is designed to provide system designers with a time-to-market advantage and ensure their ability to handle future requirements. Based on a modular design concept that incorporates mezzanines to host DSP “farms,” the ATCA-9100 enables a smooth transition from one generation of DSP to another without a complete overhaul of the blade. RadiSys has developed a proprietary mezzanine form-factor and connector instead of using the AMC form-factor normally associated with ATCA. The current card, for which there are two sites on the ATCA-9100, hosts ten quadcore MSC8144s for a total of 80 DSP cores on the blade. Upgrading to next-generation DSPs can be done by installing new mezzanines rather than replacing the ATCA blade. RadiSys is working with Freescale and its DSP roadmap to provide an ongoing upgrade path. Ten Gigabit Ethernet fabric connectivity and direct Ethernet access to DSPs give the Promentum ATCA-9100 superior packet and media processing capabilities. Additionally, the module includes Serial Rapid IO (SRIO) switching and support for easy debugging of DSP code, helping to avoid costly project delays that may result from problems that are difficult to debug. The ATCA-9100 provides a complete solution and alleviates TEM application development with the inclusion of onboard carriergrade Linux, switching software; blade management software; and other APIs. TEMs can either leverage their existing DSP code from prior generations or leverage off-the-shelf DSP software to address their product DSP software needs. “The need for high-performance solutions that address the demands of TEMs developing applications requiring media processing continues to grow and is stronger than ever,” said Jeff Timbs, marketing director for Freescale’s Networking System Division. “Working with RadiSys, we’re breaking new ground with multicore technology that reaches an outstanding level of performance density for high-capacity infrastructure applica-

tions as well as reducing total system cost, board space and power dissipation.” The Promentum ATCA-9100, with such high-density capability, reduces the hardware footprint in the central office by over 50 percent while attaining the same capacity of media processing over conventional solutions. Additionally, the ATCA-9100 is fully optimized for the RadiSys Promentum SYS6010, the company’s 10 Gigabit ATCA platform. The SYS-6010 has been adopted for a multitude of customer applications including Radio Network Controllers, Media Gateways, IPTV media routers, Security Gateways and IMS application servers. Freescale’s MSC8144 takes single-chip DSP integration to a higher level. Combining four StarCore DSP cores at up to 1 GHz each, the device is designed to deliver gigahertz performance, equivalent to a 4 GHz single-core DSP. Additionally, it integrates one of the industry’s largest embedded memories (at 10.5 Mbytes) in a single package, virtually eliminating the need to attach external memories while maintaining a highly competitive cost and power per channel.

RadiSys Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. []. July 2007


SolutionsEngineering PC/104

New Stacking for PC/104: USB Grows Up – and Up and Up Speeding past bus limitations for a proven and popular form-factor, the addition of stackable USB connectivity to PC/104 keeps real estate small, vastly increases bandwidth and makes the system processor independent. by Jim Turley Micro/sys


exploration her your goal peak directly al page, the t resource. chnology, and products


sure sign of valuable real estate is dards all provide a way to build modular when the buildings start getting custom computers for a range of embedded taller. Manhattan, Tokyo, Los An- systems. Need more performance? Add geles—they all boast tall skyscrapers that another board. Need new I/O interfaces? attest to their ultra-premium property val- Add a board for that. Modular boards proues. When commercial developers stack vide bite-sized chunks of embedded goodfloor upon floor it’s a sure sign that you’re ness for designers around the world. in the right place. Part of the charm of board-level modThe same is true of embedded sys- ules is their standardization. Modules tems. A tower of tightly stacked boards from one manufacturer will (theoretically, means you’re looking at some desirable at least) plug and play with boards from mpanies providing solutions now real estate. Some of the best and most in- any other manufacturer. That compatibiloration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest teresting embedded systems have the least ity comes from standardization—along plication Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you oftype open space to spare. Industrial with a liberal sprinkling of trial and ervice you requireamount for whatever of technology, nies and products you are retail searching for. robots, kiosks, vision systems, aero- ror. After enough years, the compatibility space simulators—they all put a premium bugs have been ironed out and everyone’s on real estate. Packing more computing modules play nicely together. power into less space is what it’s all about. By which time all the technology is Maximizing MIPS per millimeter is the obsolete. Technical progress moves so name of the game. rapidly in our industry that chips, buses That’s why compact board-level buses and interfaces tend to have short halfare so popular among embedded develop- lives. By the time an “open” bus standard ers. They fill a need for premium perfor- has been tweaked, revised and sufficiently mance wedged into premium real estate. clarified it’s a decade old and no longer PC/104, CompactPCI and other bus stan- terribly interesting. Worse, the standard itself may be tied to a dying platform or chip family. VMEbus hit its stride just as Get Connected the Motorola 68000 family was on its last with companies mentioned in this article. legs. Multibus and other old bus standards

End of Article


July 2007 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

Figure 1

A stack of StackableUSB boards. A stack can include up to 16 boards.

are hopelessly tied to obsolete microprocessors or interfaces. Apple’s Macintosh has evolved through three different microprocessor families, and PC expansion cards change interfaces every few years.

Out with the Old, In with the New One of the more popular modular board standards is PC/104, with a name that makes its ancestry clear. It’s a 104pin embedded version of the IBM PC’s

Photographer: Remco Frank

What Do These Embedded Applications Have In Common? Each embedded application is unique. That’s why VersaLogic offers an extensive line of embedded products with choices of size, performance, and features. That’s also why VersaLogic works closely with customers to tailor standard products to meet their needs. Product customization is available in quantities as low as 100 pieces! More importantly, embedded customers have many common needs. Meticulous quality standards, dedicated customer support, and reliable product delivery are just a few that VersaLogic provides. That’s why customers from a wide range of industries rely on VersaLogic for their embedded computer needs. Could you use uncommonly-good support? Call today to see if your unique application is a good match with VersaLogic’s unique approach to service and support. We may have more in common than you think!

Call 800-824-3163. Visit

Rated a “Platinum Vendor” by Venture Development Corporation (2002-2005) for excellence in customer service.

(800) 824-3163 •

SolutionsEngineering old expansion bus. PC/104 boards measure about 3.5 inches on a side and they stack neatly one atop the other like highrise electronic office buildings. The stack shares a single bus, sort of a vertical implementation of an IBM PC/AT’s motherboard. With its compact size and PC compatibility, PC/104 became very popular indeed among developers who didn’t want to create their own boards from scratch. As useful as it is, PC/104 is also inextricably tied to that old PC/AT motherboard design. Now that the standard is set, it’s counterproductive to change it, even though the PC expansion bus is long gone. Called ISA at the time—for industry-standard architecture—it’s now anything but. PCs and PC silicon have

make it popular with users and developers alike. In a moment of Frankensteinian genius, a group of board makers combined their favorite parts of PC/104 with features of USB to create—StackableUSB. The evocative, if uncreative, name describes it pretty well. It’s a version of the USB standard created for modular board-level systems. In fact, it’s mechanically identical to PC/104 but replaces the wheezing PC/AT bus with the more modern USB interface. Same body, different brain. Okay, so USB is hardly brand spanking new, but while ISA has one foot in the grave, USB is still growing. New PCs haven’t included ISA expansion slots for DEVICE












Figure 2

USB’s star topology uses root hubs, each of which contributed to increasing the total bandwidth of the system.

moved on from ISA to PCI (with a detour at Micro Channel along the way) to AGP and PCI Express. Presumably, there’ll be another new PC expansion “standard” in a few years. In the midst of all this leap-frogging of standards came the ambitiously named USB, the “universal serial bus.” Unlike the motherboard buses, USB has shown real staying power and is now almost as universal as its name implies. USB interfaces show up on everything from PCs and Macs to digital cameras, handheld devices, instruments, dataacquisition systems and storage media. It’s small, it’s fast, and it’s got built-in “plug and play” characteristics that 22

July 2007

years. Heck, they don’t even have PCI slots any more. But they all sprout USB ports front and back, usually a halfdozen of them. It’s not hard to see which way the world is going.

Racks, Screws and Electrons

StackableUSB uses the same physical form-factor as PC/104, so the boards will at least look familiar to PC/104 aficionados. More important, USB stacks can use the same enclosures, mounting hardware, cooling plenums, wiring harnesses, and whatever else that already exists for PC/104 installations. The stack can have a motherboard at the top or bottom if you wish, or the mod-

ules can be used stand-alone. Up to 16 boards will go into a StackableUSB stack (Figure 1) and each board can draw almost 1A from the +5V and +3.3V supplies. Where StackableUSB differs from PC/104, of course, is in its electrical interface. That’s taken straight from the USB 2.0 specification, so it’s fast when it can be and tolerant of older USB 1.1 devices when it has to be. It’s also compatible with hundreds of USB components, soft IP (intellectual property) cores and peripherals. Peripheral chips aren’t really available with ISA/x86 bus interfaces any more; they generally have USB or PCI interfaces instead. Obviously, this makes it a whole lot easier to find chips for your USB stack than it does for any ISA-based design. USB is both faster and smarter than traditional processor buses. For example, it has some built-in error-recovery mechanisms. USB is modestly fault tolerant, in the sense that it accommodates noise on the USB lines, detects transmission errors, and retries operations when necessary. Those are all useful features in noisy or safety-critical embedded applications.


So how fast is StackableUSB? That’s a tricky question because the answer depends on how your boards are designed, what chips you use, and how fast you want them to be. Bandwidth and throughput are all under the control of the system designer. Paradoxically, the two-wire USB bus is faster than the 16-bit ISA bus in most cases. (Actually, PC/104’s bus is a lot wider than that because it includes a gaggle of control and handshake signals in addition to its 16 data lines.) In all, there are more than 100 signal lines passing through every PC/104 board, while StackableUSB has just two per link (plus power and ground). Apart from everything else, this makes the connector a whole lot smaller, so there’s more room for components and less wasted on overhead. Instead of a single shared bus, USB follows a hub-and-spoke (star) topology. It’s more of a network than a bus, so it fans out differently (Figure 2). This is all for the good; you get more total bandwidth with USB and the bandwidth isn’t shared the same way as with PC/104. The standard USB specification defines the concept of root hubs, which are


Processors and Software

One other characteristic of StackableUSB is less obvious: it’s processor independent. Developers don’t have to use x86 processors. They certainly can use Intel or AMD chips, they just don’t have to. Having a choice of microprocessor family is all very well, but a choice of software (including operating system and middleware) is even better. Although x86 processors are popular and well supported, they’re also victims of their own success. Their life cycles are driven by the PC market, not the needs of embedded designers, so Intel and AMD chips tend to be expensive, power-hungry and have short lives. Pentium, Opteron and Core 2 Duo go through product cycles faster than a fashion designer, so getting a stable long-term supply of these chips is problematic. No sooner do you

3500 3000


2500 Bandwidth

sort of like bus masters. (In a PC or Mac, the computer itself is the root hub while the keyboard and mouse are client nodes connected to the hub.) You can have several root hubs and each one increases total bandwidth. If they’re older USB 1.1 hubs, they provide 12 Mbits/s of bandwidth to their downstream peripherals. Newer USB 2.0 root hubs, however, can provide a whopping 480 Mbits/s of bandwidth. A fully loaded StackableUSB system could have as many as 16 root hubs—a total of 7.8 Gbits/s of aggregate bandwidth! We can also look at this another way. Even though the bandwidth of an individual USB 1.1 channel is less than that of the PC/104 bus, as Figure 3 shows, the bandwidth of the entire USB stack is greater. That means if you’re only connecting two boards together, PC/104 could be faster. But after the third or fourth board in the stack, USB offers more headroom. And if you’re using high-speed USB 2.0 chips, it’s a lot more. The upshot is, StackableUSB bandwidth goes up, not down, as you add boards. Other buses share their bandwidth among boards, so each new board gets a comparatively smaller slice of the bandwidth pie. It also means that one datahungry bus hog can adversely affect all the other devices. StackableUSB goes the other way: adding boards with hub chips increases bandwidth instead of usurping it from the others.






1000 500 0

Figure 3

960 480 133 1

133 2

133 3








StackableUSB PC/104

PC/104 bandwidth versus StackableUSB bandwidth as a function of board count. StackableUSB bandwidth increases as hubs/boards are added.

design a system around one processor than it becomes obsolete, replaced by a faster, bigger and more expensive version. StackableUSB breaks the connection between bus standard and processor family. It allows boards and systems to be based around PowerPC, ColdFire, ARM, MIPS, or just about any other processor—or combination of processors. With processor independence comes software independence. Here the software issue becomes a double-edged sword. To reap USB’s plug-and-play benefits you need a lot of software. That “anytime, anywhere” connectivity doesn’t happen by magic. USB drivers are actually pretty complicated because they need to recognize all sorts of potential devices that might be plugged into their bus. They have to configure new devices on the fly without any jumpers, switches or hardware resets. That’s tough to do. On the other hand, most of that work has already been done. Most USB chips and peripherals either come with USB drivers or will enjoy native operating system support. Windows and MacOS obviously have tons of USB support built in, but many embedded operating systems also understand and support USB. You might have to write the odd driver here and there, but chances are you’ll find offthe-shelf support for many mainstream chips and peripherals.

Progress is a funny thing. On the one hand, we want all the benefits of newer technology: faster speeds, lower power, better integration, and so on. On the other hand, we cling to established standards, products and habits. It’s a combination of innovation and inertia in equal measure. StackableUSB takes advantage of that: a combination of old and new that mates the mechanical popularity of PC/104 with the electrical popularity of USB. It promises to make embedded design easier and more rewarding for developers for many years to come. Micro/sys Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

July 2007


SolutionsEngineering PC/104

PC/104 Data Acquisition for Industrial Applications Computer-based measurement and control is based upon analog input and output variables from sensors, representing parameters such as temperature, pressure, acceleration humidity and others. In the “real world” a variety of analog sources must be accurately digitized for automation and control to be effective by Robert A. Burckle WinSystems


exploration her your goal peak directly al page, the t resource. chnology, and products


ersonal Computer (PC)-based au2.515 tomation and data acquisition have become entrenched over the years 2.510 in applications such as industrial process 2.505 control, factory automation, test equip2.500 ment and scientific instruments. In the “real world” of industrial applications, a 2.495 variety of analog sources must be accu2.490 rately sampled and digitized for automa2.485 tion and control to be effective. Transducers, sensors and thermocouples present 2.480 mpanies providing solutions now -50 -25 0 25 50 75 100 data in the form of analog voltages that oration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest Temperature (°C) represent parameters such as temperature, plication Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you Figure Stability of reference humidity, frequenvice you requirepressure, for whateveracceleration, type of technology, voltage over temperature nies and products you are searching for. cy, vibration, weight, flow rates and curshows a variance of less rent. Typically the analog source changes than 0.005V over the entire relatively slowly compared to audio or range. video signals so that very high-speed data acquisition is not required. The earlier widespread usage of the form is rich and standardized. These soludesktop x86-based PC platform has given tions include ISA-, PCI- and USB-based way to enormous markets for peripheral systems or even embedded industrial syscard and cable-connected (dongle) acqui- tems such as PC/104 or CompactPCI. The sition devices. A wide variety of solutions result is that a system designer is faced are possible because the computing plat- with the decision of which platform to use and then with selecting the corresponding analog I/O interface. For industrial and Get Connected deeply embedded applications, a standard with companies mentioned in this article. desktop PC approach can be unreliable Internal Reference Voltage (V)


End of Article


July 2007 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

because of its susceptibility to vibration, humidity, temperature extremes and even the rapid market-driven obsolescence associated with the consumer world. In other cases, it is simply too bulky to package into an instrument or OEM application. Enter PC/104. Not only is the tiny 3.6” x 3.8” industry standard form-factor a great size for compact, highly integrated data acquisition systems, but it is powered by a wide range of PC-compatible CPU modules from 133 MHz to 1 GHz and beyond. These processors run Linux, Windows XP Embedded and other x86-compatible real-time operating systems with networking support. A designer or system integrator can stack two boards (CPU and analog) with an industrial CompactFlash device for data logging, which can be integrated into a single enclosure as small as 4” x 4” and only 2” high. These minuscule systems are designed to tolerate shock, vibration, dust, humidity, and operate over an extended temperature range without a fan, depending on the processor speed. But even with a small, rugged solution like PC/104, there are still important analog signal design issues to be considered. The data acquisition system must

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5V 10°F






2 CHO 3 CH1




ADC+ 12







3V TO 5V 0.1°F


AGND2 AGND3 DGND 17 18 24










Overall stability and accuracy is achieved by integrating the key elements onto a single chip, in this case the Linear Technology LTC1588.

be configurable to handle a variety of full-scale voltage ranges and be accurate over a broad range to ensure integrity of the data. Ideally, the system should not require user calibration to maintain data integrity. Such a “No-Cal” implementation has great advantages. Old technology boards with trimpots (potentiometers) are prone to time- and temperature-related drift. Unpredictable and untraceable errors render data questionable and perhaps unusable. Additionally there is down time and the costs of a technician required to measure and adjust the system. User-initiated auto-calibration is better, but “No-Cal” solutions ensure the accurate results that are demanded by OEMs.

Precision Analog Input

In order to achieve good accuracy and resolution, a 16-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) converter is desirable. However, such precision comes with a cost. It takes specially designed circuits to mitigate noise and drift along with matching- and leakage-related inaccuracies over temperature. Frequent calibration helps, but 26





SDI 25 BUSY 22 SCK 26

9 CH7






Figure 2





10°F 20


July 2007

the optimal implementation would feature either automatic onboard calibration or no calibration (No-Cal) at all. The challenge to board and systems designers is to shrink all of this circuitry into a space-saving size while improving operation and cost of ownership over the long haul. To minimize the effects of drift error, analog board designers must approach calibration and drift from the ground up through careful design and component selection. The single most important component in any analog converter design is the analog voltage reference. Reference voltage drift directly affects analog conversion accuracy, expressed as full-scale (gain) error. The reference voltage tends to vary over temperature as well, although well-matched and compensated implementations keep the variations to a minimum (Figure 1). Drift contributions from any other source, whether from the converter itself or signal conditioning circuitry, can affect either zero (offset) or full scale trim (gain). Drift errors are predominantly functions of component drift over time

and how changes in temperature affect components in the system. Previous generation analog design techniques moved to onboard auto-calibration. However, in some manufacturers’ designs, these auto-calibration circuits would drift more over time and temperature than the analog converters they were intended to calibrate. At their best, auto-calibration circuits effectively compensate for drift error between calibration intervals over a limited temperature range on products with highly stable references. The worst auto-calibration circuits do little more than add marketing weight to a datasheet, and will likely reduce the functional accuracy in the field. The best solution today is to select an integrated data acquisition system on a chip. Linear Technology has integrated the key analog system design elements onto a single die in their “Soft Span” series of ADCs. By doing this they can match and trim each subsystem to compensate for errors introduced in the entire conversion process. With the small PC/104 board stacking architecture in mind, the Linear

SolutionsEngineering Technology’s LTC1859 is part of a family of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) that lends itself to 8-channel applications with 16-bit conversions at fast sample rates. The device includes input multiplexer, range select, sample and hold, analog-to-digital converter voltage reference and associated control logic. Each high-resolution, high input voltage range ADC in this family has an on-chip, temperature compensated, curvature corrected, band gap reference that is factory-trimmed to 2.50V. In addition, the use of precision, laser-trimmed thin-film resistors eliminates the need for user calibration. Zero error, zero error match, full-scale error, full-scale error match, linearity, reference voltage and conversion time are trimmed during production. The LTC1859 series attains the desired No-Cal implementation—no user calibration is needed. This ADC uses an easy serial interface for configuration, and can be software programmed for 0V to 5V, 0V to 10V, ±5V or ±10V input ranges. The 8channel multiplexer can be programmed for single-ended inputs or pairs of differential inputs or combinations of both. This replaces external analog switches, amplifiers and attenuators. In addition, all channels are fault protected to ± 25V for high reliability and low cost-of-ownership considerations (Figure 2).

Figure 3

WinSystems PC/104 Analog and Digital I/O card, the PCMMIO, provides high channel count and spans a -40° to +85°C temperature range for industrial applications.

A fault condition on any channel will not affect the conversion result of the selected channel. An onboard high-performance sample-and-hold and precision reference minimize external components.

Precision Analog Output

Thanks to the highly integrated input conversion circuitry, there is sufficient room available on a PC/104-size board for several output channels of precision analog voltages. Similar to the analog input section, it is important that no calibration be required for the analog output as well. In the past, designing a universal output module was a difficult task since the cost and board space consumed were problematic. However, with the new multiple output range DACs, all of this complexity is unnecessary. As a further example of a highly integrated D/C converter, let’s examine the Linear Technology LTC1588. It is a 12bit D/A with all the standard industrial output ranges (0V to 5V, 0V to 10V, ±5V, ±10V). All of the ranges are accurate with low drift, fast settling and low glitch operation. The LTC1588 DAC incorporates all the switches and precision resistors. A full implementation is PC/104-friendly, using less than 0.5” x 0.5” of board space including the dual operational amplifier, bypass and compensation. This analog output subsystem can be reconfigured under software control in real time. An advanced analog I/O module facilitates the migration from PCcentric automation to small selfhosted stand-alone DAQ systems, in the industry standard PC/104 form-factor. This is possible thanks to the availability of NoCal integrated circuits. Such a high-density analog and digital I/O card can operate from -40° to +85°C. This PC/104compliant card includes a 16 channel, 16-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) converter, 8 channel, 12-bit digital-to-analog (D/A) converter and 48 lines of digital I/O. Using Linear Technology’s fully integrated A/Ds and D/As eliminates the need for all of the outboard analog circuitry used in older designs, which causes the errors and offsets that lead to the former need for calibration. There are no missing codes and the mea-

surements are monotonic over the full temperature range from -40° to +85°C. An example of such a card, the PCMMIO from WinSystems shown in Figure 3, has been designed to minimize drift error effects while simply containing ultra low-noise power supplies and Linear Technology SoftSpan A/D and D/A integrated converters. The module optimizes converter accuracy over time and temperature while avoiding the pitfalls of trimpots and other conventional calibration techniques. It is compatible with isolated signal conditioners that will protect, filter and isolate the analog input and output signals from electrical transients for rugged industrial applications. There are many models available from third-party vendors to interface to a wide variety of voltage, current, temperature, position and other analog-based instrumentation. There was even room left over for 48 lines of digital I/O for a very complete digital acquisition system. Each line is individually programmable for input, output, or output with read-back. Edge detection can also be programmed to generate interrupts for each event change without polling. The lines are TTL-compatible and can source and sink 12 mA, which allow them direct connection to industry-standard (Dataforth, Opto-22, etc.), optically isolated AC and DC signal conditioners. Using state-of-the-art low-noise 16bit A/D and D/A converters with No-Cal auto-calibration gives a shot in the arm to the DAQ market. This clean, simple design yields smaller size, lower cost and much better accuracy by avoiding errorprone manual calibrations. The PC/104 Bus platform provides an efficient and long-lifecycle, 16-bit data path for these converters. The small form-factor is attractive to integrators and OEMs who need to integrate the PC and the DAQ circuitry together for their next designs. WinSystems Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. []. Linear Technology Milpitas, CA. (408) 432-1900. [].

July 2007


IndustryInsight DSP vs. Multicore Systems

DSP and x86 – Getting Past the Hype in Processor Architecture Matching processors and applications has become increasingly challenging because of the constant change in the types and capabilities of processors available. Recently the x86 general-purpose processor has been shown to outperform some DSPs for particular algorithmic solutions. But is that the whole story? by B  rian Peebles Dialogic


exploration er your goal peak directly al page, the t resource. chnology, and products


ore and more people are now form compared to modern DSPs, and making the argument that it is ap- what is an optimal design for using x86propriate to use x86-based gen- based processors. Media processing will eral-purpose processors for applications serve as a good context for comparison. traditionally reserved for Digital Signal Deciding what kind of processor to use for Processors (DSPs). Several reasons are media processing is especially important being advanced for this assertion. First, because of the complexity, volatility and the need to get to market quickly often density of media processing algorithms causes developers to favor the program- and the dependency of those algorithms ming environment provided by the x86 on the external environment. architecture. Second, recent advances in There are several classes of media mpanies providing solutions now x86 architectures have greatly improved processing algorithms, each of which has oration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest the general-purpose processors’ perforits own isperformance-related issues that lication Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected to put you plication metric. Third, an increas- require optimization to provide acceptvice you require mance-per-watt for whatever type of technology, ies and productsing you number are searching nies offor.applications are able to able service. In some cases, the optimizause the x86 platform. For example, host tions required for acceptable performance media processing, software defined ra- are so great that the entire function is dio (SDR), and financial analysis are now usually placed in silicon dedicated to the making heavy use of the x86 general-pur- task, such as an ASIC. This level of oppose CPU. Others disagree and feel that timization is found in call progress tone x86-based general-purpose processors detection and echo cancellation, where will never be equivalent to modern DSPs. dedicated silicon can perform many chanWhich side is correct? nels of these functions and be placed close We can start by asking how x86- to the line interfaces where time-critical based general-purpose processors per- response is needed. Audio and video play and record are a different matter. They do not require Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. time-critical response, but do require some means of accessing a mass storage device

End of Article


July 2007 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

where the file streaming that is critical to these functions is supported. Because DSPs are not a particularly efficient solution for file access due to a lack of native interfaces, such as SCSI and SATA, and because of the overhead of mounting a remote file system, a general-purpose CPU is preferable for servicing play and record media functions. Speech recognition and speaker identification previously required the computational performance of a DSP; however, the libraries required to support these algorithms have grown to the point where large amounts of memory are necessary, and such memory capacity is best served by a general-purpose CPU. Audio and video compression and decompression require the large amount of processing of which DSPs are capable, with minimal memory footprint and mass storage dependency (unless we are transcoding streaming files to and from a hard disk). So we see that while some functions can be optimized for dedicated silicon and run optimally on DSPs, others are best run on general-purpose CPUs. Figure 1 illustrates the relative efficiencies of various silicon technologies

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used in computational processing as a function of their “usability.” The term usability refers to a device’s overall flexibility in terms of the applications that can be implemented on it as well as the development environment (debug tools, compilers, profilers, etc.) that enable designers to implement those algorithms. The comparisons in Figure 1 are illustrated over time to show how the relative efficiency of the x86 CPU is improving. Key to many recent efficiency improvements is the trend toward multiple processing cores. When array processors emerged in the early part of this decade, they had ten times the performance of traditional DSPs. This efficiency gap was created because of the array processor’s architecture, which had many, simpler Arithmetic Logic Units (ALUs) and highperformance internal fabrics. These architectures are much more flexible than those of their traditional DSP counterparts both in terms of the types of algorithms they can support and the number of algorithmic instances they can provide. However, the array processor’s usability was impacted by the lack of tools necessary to make the multitude of processing cores perform, and as array processor tools are improving, usability is also improving. At the same time, both the DSP and the x86 CPU have an increased number of processing cores and are more competitive. In the x86 CPU, mathematical processing is limited to few integer ALUs and a floating-point engine. These functions are connected via dispatch ports to schedulers, register files and instruction queues in a tightly coupled fashion. Currently, the only way to increase the number of ALUs or floating-point engines is to replicate the entire core. However, this is likely to change for some variations of this kind of processor in the near future. The architecture commonly used for multiple core DSPs is currently much more efficient than that of the x86 CPU. In DSPs, a separate general-purpose unit (such as an ARM core) is often added to front-end multiple-execution engines. Therefore, the entire general-purpose structure is not replicated whenever an additional execution engine is added. The general-purpose core is responsible for load-balancing, scheduling, overhead processing and other management tasks.

Relative Performance Efficiency (Processing bandwidth per size/power)


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However, this architecture has its limitations in that only a few execution engines can be associated with a single generalpurpose core before the general-purpose core becomes a bottleneck. Array processors have a more uniform architecture, but many of them still require an external control processor in order to manage their overall operation. Most array processor designs are also somewhat deficient in floating-point arithmetic, so while they are adaptable to many different algorithms and applications (and many can be configured to do floating point), they do not do everything optimally. Despite the control processor, the array processor generally must perform its scheduling and load balancing based upon the configuration selected, and the array must process all overhead (such as protocols), which can keep it from attaining its peak efficiency.

Untitled-4 1

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3/1/07 10:31:23 AM

IndustryInsight More Instances/Faster Response


DSP Array Processor


Algorithmic Volatility

Figure 2


Progression of algorithmic volatility and performance across technologies.

July 2007

Figure 1 also shows that, in terms of size and power performance, x86 processors are not as efficient as DSPs. The x86 processor is designed for many different types of solutions, ranging from embedded and laptop to desktop and server versions. Higher-performance versions, which could compete with DSPs, require from 35W to 90W of power and often need a chipset that doubles the size of the design and requires another 15W to 20W. A high-end DSP or array processor requires from 2W to10W and does not require an additional chipset. This means that DSPs have an inherent efficiency edge of 2x in terms of size and 5x to 10x in terms of power. Even if the x86 CPU were to outperform the DSP or array processor in algorithm performance, it would still be far less efficient. Four key design principles are important when determining which technology to use in media product architectures: scalability, versatility, density and programmability. In telecommunications, the media product architecture may need to support a wide range of applications from entry level (a few dozen channels) to high density (several thousand channels). If a separate hardware design is optimized for several ranges, the best price/performance can often be achieved, but at the expense of maintaining numerous designs, perhaps with significantly different components and, worst of all, different code bases. The challenge is to establish a common code base, and, if possible, a common, modular hardware design. A modular design typically leads to replicating a processor and having 1-N of the same processor on some extensible fabric; however, the other principles must be considered before rushing into this kind of design. We conclude then that the x86 general-purpose processor is simply not competitive with the DSP in terms of efficiency. As a result, no x86-based architecture can produce the same number of channels for a given algorithm as a DSP can in the same space and with the same electrical power. Since the maximum number of channels determines the overall dynamic range of a product offering, a design must attain this maximum density to achieve the lowest cost, size and power consumption and lead the industry.

IndustryInsight But the only constant is change. New variations on old algorithms, new algorithms, varying demand on algorithmic instances (what we refer to as “algorithm volatility�) all require a versatile platform. A versatile platform enables a designer to maintain a market leadership position by quickly introducing new algorithms or new features that differentiate the product line. While DSPs have made some strides in this area, they lack the overall versatility of the general-purpose CPU. Designs that attain longevity achieve it through versatility and therefore require some level of general-purpose functionality. Changing the code on any processor is always problematic, and writing the code initially is even more of an issue. This is why many DSP manufacturers are now providing algorithmic solutions with optimized code that can be licensed by a designer for a fee. The advantage of this approach is that it saves considerable timeto-market and greatly reduces program risk. The disadvantage of this approach is that it eliminates the designer’s ability to include key differentiating value into products and ties the ability of products to roll out new features to the DSP manufacturer. To add timely, differentiating value to a product, a designer must program the device. To reduce time and risk, a solid set of tools must be made available to the programmer in a development environment that they are familiar with. Virtually every programmer is familiar with the x86 programming environment. It is, in fact, the basis for DSP development. However, optimized code can be produced on the x86 far more easily than it can be developed for most DSPs. Figure 2 illustrates the applicability of the technologies discussed to algorithmic demands. The best solution appears to be a compromise solution, one that requires a mixture of dedicated silicon (ASICs) and DSP-accelerated x86 CPUs. Functions such as tone processing and echo cancellation can run on dedicated silicon. Algorithms that are stable and optimized, but require high density, can be provided by DSP acceleration modules connected to the x86 CPU. Algorithms that require more versatility for system interaction (memory, mass storage) or are more volatile (many new enhancements over a short period of time) are best run in the x86 CPU.

The challenge that remains is determining the optimal mixture of these components and configuring them in a system solution that maximizes the principles discussed here. In order to determine the best system solution, the designer must take into account a wide variety of issues including overall cost of the design, the licensing of algorithms (which depends on where they run), intercommunications latency, the overhead processing required for partitioning the architecture, and the

overall efficiency of the design in terms of device utilization. Dialogic Montreal, Quebec. (514) 745-5500. [].

0707RTC_Advantech.pdf 7/3/2007 5:36:33 PM

July 2007


Software&Development Tools Linux

Linux and FOSS: End-to-End (and Top-to-Bottom, Too) Since its beginnings, Linux has permeated computing systems from enterprise to embedded. While not the only widely used OS, it has potential to achieve end-to-end acceptance with a uni-fied code base and development paradigm. by B  ill Weinberg LiPS Forum & Linux Pundit


eginning in the 1990s, Linux and other Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) began an inexorable march from hobbyist-ware into the enterprise and continued out to a range of embedded and ubiquitous computing applications. The penguin’s progress started modestly at first, waddling into noncritical utility computing roles, (departmental file and print servers, and intranet servers). Upon proving itself strikingly reliable, Linux then moved into increasingly crucial enterprise application server roles. On the enterprise desktop, Linux displaced legacy UNIX for technical workstation, documentation and data entry terminals. Free Software actually made its first appearance a decade earlier in embedded applications, with GNU tools gcc and gdb complementing and displacing proprietary compilers and debuggers, followed by the BSD TCP/IP stack, creating a de facto standard for IP networking implementations. Other FOSS components (like BerkeleyDB and Apache httpd) also found their way into larger-scale embedded applications through the mid 1990s. Starting in 1999, Linux began finding its way into a range of edge and access applications. Adoption came from a mix of organic use by developers at TEMs, NEPs and other OEMs familiar with UNIX in management and control plane applications, and from commercial tool kits and services from companies like

RedHat / Cygnus, MontaVista and Metrowerks, which is now part of FreeScale. Today Linux and FOSS experience broad and deep deployment across the entire spectrum of information technology (Figure 1). In the data center, Linux enjoys double-digit market share and rather more modest global desktop deployment in the single digits. 34

July 2007

Linux and FOSS actually garner an even greater number of embedded applications and constitute the industry’s leading platform: Venture Development Corporation reports up to a third of 32- and 64-bit designs were based on the open source OS in 2006.

Progression from Core to Edge, Deployment End-to-End

The incremental progress Linux made in the course of a decade represents a mix of commercial and community investments. On the technical side, key enablers included CPU and board support, architectural advances in scaling, memory access and storage and device drivers. These investments came from across the embedded device ecosystem—semiconductor manufacturers, board vendors, systems suppliers, ISVs and community resources. Business- and tech-savvy semiconductor suppliers like Intel, AMD, FreeScale, Intel and others not only saw the open source OS as an means to “fill sockets” but actually used Linux to bring up their new processors. Board vendors like Advantech, DTI, Kontron Motorola and RadiSys found they could offer richer board support, faster by leveraging community-developed kernels and device drivers. And systems houses like Fujitsu, HP, IBM and NEC saw an opportunity to span and consolidate diverse architectures and product lines while improving margins and expanding services offerings. ISVs saw an opportunity to consolidate and migrate legacy UNIXhosted products onto a single flexible, interoperable host platform. As such, Linux quickly accrued broad and deep hardware and software support and today runs on three dozen processor variants, thousands of SBCs and motherboards, across nearly every enterprise vertical and embedded application type (Figure 2).


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End-to-End Candidates

Certainly other applications platforms exhibit comparable reach and applicability. Japan’s iTRON and μiTRON run on a similarly broad range of CPUs. Sun’s Java extends from enter-prise to desktop to embedded, and Microsoft Windows family OSs span a gamut that reaches from the server room to the desktop to in-car and in-hand applications. What makes the GNU/Linux platform different? The main difference is that the GNU/Linux OS—kernel, libraries and utilities—constitute a single, unified code base. Whether compiled to run on an ARM or an IBM S/390, in an SoC or on a server farm, in an MMU-less microcontroller or a 1000+ CPU supercomputer, the same code implements the same functions, everywhere. The Linux kernel source tree carefully segregates and minimizes architectural idiosyncrasies. CPU-specific code constitutes less than 5% of the total. Contrast other candidates for end-to-end ubiquity. iTRON, μiTRON (and its stillborn enterprise sibling bTRON) are not OSs— they are de facto standard API sets implemented by dozens of different companies with diverse agendas and divergent interpretations of the instruction sets, APIs and protocols. Sun, for pragmatic, application-directed reasons, segmented Java into a range of profiles (J2EE, J2SE, J2ME, mid-p, CLDC, etc.), resulting in fragmentation of class libraries and separate code bases for the major virtual machines (to say nothing about coffee cup clones). Windows operating systems don’t pretend to offer continuity with server, desktop and embedded OSs supporting different code bases and API sets.

1 2007 36 Untitled-2July

Open Source vs. Closed Corporate Standards

Standardization is a very good thing. However, standardization and common, community-based implementation, trump standards compliance alone. Andrew Tanenbaum, creator of Minix (on which Linux is loosely based) expressed a key challenge with standardization when he said “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” Individual companies producing point products can usually manage to ensure standards compliance for a handful of standards for their products. Most corporate entities, small or large, are in a poor position to comply with, let alone implement, the alphabet soup of standards and protocols, or to build and maintain the tens of millions of lines of code that implement those standards. Companies boasting the wherewithal to create and implement standards, and presumably compliant products, also have the unfortunate tendency to improve the standards they help to define and later implement. They optimize and add value and otherwise ladle on their own secret sauces. Intentionally or not, these enhancements impact interoperability and drive vendor lock-in, in precise opposition to the original goals of open standards regimes. Open Source looks to standards as a source of requirements to guide implementation and to foster interoperability with other OSs and to support legacy code; GNU/Linux implements (among many others) POSIX, ISO/ANSI C/C++, X11, TCP/IP family protocols, and wireless and wire-line networking. The LAMP stack and Linux desktop applications offer the leading and most compliant implementations of derived protocols like HTTP and

5/30/07 3:46:22 PM


Mobile/ Wireless Wireless Access Multimedia Home GW Imaging SOHO

POS/Kiosk Retail


Infrastructure Server/Blades •DSLAM •Firewall •Gateway •PBX •VPN •Wireless

Desktop/ Workstation


TODAY Figure 1

Utility Server

Data/Content Store

Application Server




Progression of Linux and FOSS from enterprise/utility computing outward to infrastructure, mobile and other embedded applications.

document formats like HTML, XML, ODF, etc. and myriad other standards and API sets. When code and patches to Linux or other projects omit APIs, re-interpret RFCs or otherwise drift from compliance, a mix of community and corporate interests coalesce to “make things right.” A good example lies in POSIX threads. In the 2.4 kernel timeframe, Linux (and the GNU libraries) supported a sui generis threading scheme, and most Linux programs were processbased. As embedded applications for Linux grew in importance, having a pthreads-compliant scheme emerged as a key requirement (e.g., in Carrier Grade Linux). Initially, community figures saw no need for pthreads and lobbied against implementation and integration. In spite of this resistance, IBM offered up Next Generation POSIX Threads (NGPT), a hybrid user-space and kernel implementation. NGPT met with mixed reviews but actually spurred a community effort toward true pthreads APIs and semantics. The result was the development of the highly compliant New POSIX Threads Library (NPTL), which today is the mainline 2.6 Linux threading scheme.

Benefits of a Unified End-to-End Platform

Being able to scale and repurpose a single code base across a continuum of system types and applications yields a range of benefits, some obvious, others less so. In terms of interoperability, the identical implementation of APIs and protocols provides the greatest assurances of interoperability of applications (vs.

those based on published standards alone). Complemented by tradi-tional compliance and interoperability testing, developers and users have access to the “best of both worlds”—a standardsbased and compliant platform that is also open source, for applications on servers, on the desktop and in embedded applications. There is also an advantage in unified skill sets. Many organizations run businesses that span horizontally, from enterprise to embedded applications (like telecom carriers and operators, medical services suppliers and governments). Others run vertically integrated businesses (like consumer electronics manufacturers and networking equipment providers). Both types expend huge resources in attempting to level internal technology fragmentation and the training, maintenance and support challenges that fragmentation creates. For decades, these companies have been seeking a strategic end-to-end alternative to a patchwork of legacy platforms. A more consistent management model is also a boon to organizations. These companies, the eco-systems around them, and the end-users they serve suffer from poor support and quality of service due to disparities in how systems, on and off shared networks, are managed. A single platform with identical system management paradigms and a much smaller range of support issues greatly enhanced organizations ability to provide quality of service at both system and human interaction levels. July 2007


page 38 [ 38 ]


Challenges to Linux and FOSS for End-to-End

Mass Storage Modules for VMEbus and CompactPCI®

Linux and FOSS are not a panacea. They constitute a large, dynamic and, some would say messy, code base and technology cloud. A few key areas where Linux and FOSS present challenges to building and maintaining end-to-end applications include the many commercial distributions available. Linux and FOSS are embraced for the freedom of choice and flexibility they offer. Too much choice is not always a good thing, especially when it comes to desktop distributions (Fedora, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Xandros et al.), embedded toolkits (MontaVista Linux, Wind River Linux, Open Embedded, etc.), and OEM-derived platforms. Even if the base platform—kernel, libraries, APIs and core functionality—is preserved, differences among distributions, kits and devices can substantially hamper interoperability, especially those dealing with configuration, provisioning and support. At the very least, the multiplicity of Linux editions complicates the life of ISVs, PMC CompactFlash Module service providers and IT departments trying to deploy applicaTwo Type I/ Type II CF Sockets tions and services across them. Linux still lags in terms of application frameworks. The See the full line of Mass Storage Products at leading proprietary platforms (Windows and Java) offer developers common development environments and application works (even if the platforms do not interoperate as advertised). or call Toll-Free: 800-808-7837 The Linux desktop boasts two active and fruitful frameworks Red Rock Technologies, Inc. 480-483-3777 (GTK and Qt); emerging equivalents also exist for mobile. Open source Eclipse has become the standard for IDEs, but there exists no single widely accepted programming paradigm that can be applied end-to-end. Certainly there exist multiple excellent JVMs, ORBs, rIPCs, databases, web clients/servers, but no single edrock_04.indd in ways and means unavailable to most boutique embedded 1 2/2/07 plat1:21:52 PM end-to-end capable framework (although mono, the open source forms. However, Linux and FOSS have much to learn from the answer to .NET, is evolving nicely). formal testing regimes of proprietary OS suppliers. Today, most The culture has tended to pay less attention to formal testing formal testing comes from commercial FOSS-based OSVs (Red regimes. “Many eyes make all bugs shallow,” touts open source Hat, MontaVista and others), but centralized community-based philosopher Eric Raymond. Indeed, the breadth and depth of the testing is catching up, as with the test projects hosted by the Linux user base exercises, prods and pokes the FOSS code base Linux Foundation, the home of the Linux Standards Base. The intent here has not been to promote Linux and FOSS as a candidate platform for end-to-end infrastructure. Rather, it has been to explain why Linux and FOSS are already attaining the Massively status of a ubiquitous platform—one that spans the continuum Scaled from server to desktop to blades to embedded. Certainly viable alternatives to Linux and FOSS exist at each node; readers need only look to the fragmented embedded OS market for examples of this long tail. End-to-end, a few contenders today pretend to bridge those nodes in a unified fashion, but fall short from a mix of proprietary burdens and fragmented code bases. Robust Enterprise This momentum enjoyed by Linux belies the well-known Client Server shortcomings of FOSS. Indeed, in many cases, Linux and FOSS are not deployed because of their attributes, but in spite of them. However, only Linux and FOSS have accrued the unity, critical mass and evolutionary velocity to qualify for this strategic platform role. Deeply Embedded

Figure 2

The long reach of Linux scalability.

Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum []. Linux Pundit []. July 2007




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A family of USB digital I/O solutions offers system designers a compact, low-cost alternative for interfacing any USB-equipped computer with real-world signals. For maximum reliability, all SeaDAC Lite products include Sealevel’s patent-pending SeaLatch locking USB connector to prevent accidental cable disconnection. SeaDAC Lite modules are intended for a wide variety of applications including process control, facility management, security and broadcast automation. The optically isolated inputs protect the host computer from damaging voltage transients and ground loops commonly found in industrial and OEM applications. The 8111’s SPST Reed relays are rated to 500 mA, and the 8112 uses high-current SPDT Form C relays to switch up to 6A loads. To simplify installation and troubleshooting, status LEDs display I/O activity and USB connection information. All SeaDAC Lite modules are powered by the USB connection to the host computer. For easy software integration, application programs or third-party software can use Sealevel’s SeaMAX library or industry standard Modbus protocol. A variety of diagnostic utilities and sample programs are included. SeaDAC Lite modules are available now and prices start at $159. Sealevel Systems, Liberty, SC. (864) 843-4343. [].


July 2007



Adlink Technology, Irvine, CA. (970) 377-0385. [].




A series of PCI Express-based highspeed and high-performance analog output multifunction data acquisition cards can update up to 8-channel 12-bit analog outputs simultaneously at a OS CB T sustained rate of 1 Msample/s. The DAQe-2500 series from Adlink also BOOTH features a hardware-based arbitrary waveform generation that frees up CPU 1716 resources for optimal system efficiency, even when all analog outputs are updating at full speed. This family of DAQe cards integrates up to 8-channel, 400 Ksample/s, 14-bit single-ended analog inputs with programmable polarity. The cards are able to perform simultaneous analog input and output functions at full speed. The DAQe-2500 series features a system synchronization interface (SSI) bus to allow up to four cards to be synchronized for simplified expansion of testing capabilities. The DAQe-2500 series of data acquisition cards is also equipped with auto-calibration that adjusts the gain and offset to within specified parameters to ensure testing accuracy regardless of the environment uncertainty. These cards also offer scatter-gather bus mastering to allow the acquisition of a large amount of data at a high speed by transferring data directly to and from the memory through the DMA controller. Pricing starts at $690 with volume discounts available.

Built around the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the new ETXexpress Computer-onModule from Kontron runs at up to 2.2 GHz with Intel’s latest 965GM Express chipset. The module features up to 800 MHz FSB. The clock speed can be dynamically reduced, as



required by the operating workload, offering an improved fit for a range of embedded applications including those that are temperature- and power-sensitive. Additionally, the processor can to go into a deeper sleep state for enhanced power efficiency. The chipset logic recognizes whether data is stored on the processor’s on-chip cache memory or in RAM so the chipset does not have to wake up the processor to check the onchip cache memory. The inclusion of onboard TPM 1.2 ensures a fit for applications that call for enhanced security options. The ETXexpress-MC will offer support for GEN4 graphics. It contains Intel’s DirectX9-compliant Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100 for piping video data through the pixel shaders. The integrated Display Power Saving Technology (DPST) 3.0 saves up to an additional 400 mW of power by switching between progressive and interlaced display modes. The ETXexpress-MC supports fast dual-channel memory up to 4 Gbytes via two 533 MHz or 667 MHZ DDR2 SO-DIMM sockets positioned on the top side of the module. It has 5x PCI Express x1 lanes, 3x SerialATA ports and 8x USB 2.0 ports along with Gigabit Ethernet. Kontron America, Poway, CA. (858) 677-0877. [].

6U cPCI Multi-Function Card Is Ethernet Capable

Ethernet is finding ever more uses as an embedded networking solution—for networking sensors for example. Along those lines, North Atlantic Industries has rolled out an improved single slot, 6-module, 6U cPCI multi-function card. This universal card eliminates the complexity and size constraints of using multiple, independent, single-function cards. The 78C2 cPCI card can include the functions of Synchro/Resolver Measurement (4 channels), LVDT Measurement (4 channels), A/D (10 channels), D/A (10 channels), Function Generator (4 channels), Discrete I/O (16 channels), TTL I/O (16 channels), Transceiver I/O (11 channels) and RTD (6 channels). The 78C2 incorporates an Ethernet interface that can be used to transfer data to and from the board, without using the backplane bus. This Ethernet port allows the board to be used as a stand-alone remote sensor interface, without using a separate computer board. Multiple 78C2 boards can be distributed in a system and networked together using Ethernet for complete data acquisition capability. The 78C2 is available with operating temperature ranges of -40° to +85°C and 0 to +70°C. Conduction-cooled versions with wedge locks are also available. Pricing for NAI’s 78C2 starts at $2,600 (100s). North Atlantic Industries, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-1100. [].

Designed to the space and cooling demands of dense computing environments, the Perform Series 14-slot AdvancedTCA shelf from Asis was created for dense blade server environments. The shelf offers greater computing density by its ability to fit three 14-slot, 12U shelves mounted in a standard 42U rack while maintaining critical cooling performance of 300 watts per slot. Exceeding NEBS (GR63) and PICMG 3.0 cooling requirements, the Perform Series includes 2, 5, 6 and 14-slot chassis featuring a fault-tolerant airflow design based on comprehensive thermal studies. Incorporating advanced fan systems and patented airflow technology, Asis’ cooling scheme enables customization of the airflow according to the user’s specific needs—allowing extreme high-power dissipation from selected slots. For applications of more than 300 watts per slot, the Perform Series airflow can be easily customized to meet specific thermal requirements. The Perform Series also features a 10 Gbit/s backplane that exceeds the AdvancedTCA standard. Through comprehensive signal integrity studies, Asis engineers were able to optimize the speed of the backplane without compromising signal integrity.

TEWS Technologies, Halstenbek, Germany. +49 (0) 4101 4058. []. OS CB T


Asis, San Diego, CA. (858) 880-3967. [].

A new conduction-cooled PMC module offers four high-speed synchronous/asynchronous serial interfaces. TMPC363 serial communication controller from Tews Technologies is implemented in FPGA logic, combined with the bus master-capable PCI interface, and guarantees long-term availability with the option to implement additional functions for customers. Each of the four channels of the TPMC363 is fully programmable for several serial communication protocols such as asynchronous, isochronous, synchronous and HDLC mode. In addition, a maximum data rate of 10 Mbits/s is provided for synchronous protocols and 2 Mbits/s is supported for asynchronous protocols. Multiprotocol transceivers are used for the line interface. The physical interface of each channel can be independently software selected for EIA-232, EIA-422, EIA-449, EIA-530, EIA-530A, V.35, V.36 or X.21. In order to offload host CPU processing, the TPMC363 features receive and transmit FIFOs of 512 long words (32-bit) per channel. Data transfer on the PCI bus is handled via TPMC363 initiated DMA cycles with minimum host/CPU intervention. In addition, several interrupt sources can generate interrupts on INTA for each channel, and interrupts may be enabled or disabled separately. Asynchronous and basic synchronous support for major operating systems such as Windows, Linux, VxWorks and QNX is available


14-Slot ATCA Shelf for Dense Computing Applications

Conduction-Cooled High-Speed Quad Serial Communication PMC Module


Embedded Systems Conference September 18-21, 2007 Boston, MA July 2007


Products&TECHNOLOGY PC/104 Board Supplies Power Over Ethernet

An 11W power-over-Ethernet (POE) power supply for PC/104 and PC/104-Plus systems allows a remote PC/104 system to get power and high-speed communication from a single CAT5 cable up to 100 Meters long. The 4P20 from Mesa Electronics supplies 5V at up to 2A, +12V at up to 200 mA and -12 at up to 100 mA via the bus connectors to the PC/104 stack. The POE connection is done as a feed-through tap so the Ethernet connection can be routed to a local Ethernet endpoint. Auxiliary power inputs are provided to allow external 18 to 60 VDC sources to power the 4P20 if POE is not available. PC/104 power is electrically isolated from POE or auxiliary source power. Price of the 4P20 with PC/104 or PC/104-PCI connectors is $77 in quantity 100.

Hazardous-Classified Product Displays Are Class 1 Zone 2 Certified

Designed to meet the operational needs and strict safety standards of harsh environments in the oil and gas industry, the “Barracuda” from




Mesa Electronics, Richmond, CA (510) 223-9272. [].


Media Servers Step Up to the Challenge of IMS

The processing of XML-based scripts for IVR applications, storing and retrieving multimedia files for messaging applications, as well as the growing use of low bit rate audio codecs, high complexity video codecs and sophisticated VoIP security, including media encryption, require increasingly powerful and flexible IP media processing platforms. RadiSys has just announced two media servers to address these needs in the form of the Convedia CMS3000 and CMS-9000. The media servers have been designed to enable fixed mobile convergence by delivering a shared IP media processing resource for any access network, including wireless, broadband, cable, PSTN or satellite. The CMS-9000, a carrier-class IP media server, incorporates a family of new modular media processing cards. The processing cards are backward compatible with CMS-6000 deployments, allowing existing customers to benefit from recent hardware advancements while fully protecting their investment in CMS-6000 systems. The CMS-3000 media server, targeted at enterprise customers and smaller service providers, incorporates eXMP media processing technology in a 1RU network appliance packaging. Both products are backward compatible with management and control interfaces from RadiSys, and meet or exceed Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) environmental standards for telecommunication equipment. The media servers provide a standards-based Multimedia Resource Function Processor (MRFP) that can be shared across a broad range of IMS applications from multiple application suppliers. Increased processing power and I/O throughput results in dramatic performance improvements for XML-based IVR and messaging applications, while expanding multi-service versatility for numerous IMS applications, including multimedia conferencing, IP Centrex, ringback tones, network gaming, video communications and complex audio/video transcoding. RadiSys, Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. [].


July 2007


Kontron is a rugged product family, class 1 Zone 2 certified and designed for maximum protection in hazardous-classified location environments from drilling and pipeline monitoring to chemical processing. The Kontron Barracuda family, which includes workstation and display configurations, was designed to meet the tough safety and environmental standards needed by the world’s leading oil and gas service companies. The new product line continues the company’s leadership legacy for offshore and land-based oil and gas operations. It features a corrosion-proof NEMA4 and IP65 high-strength aluminum enclosure to provide the highest system reliability. The Barracuda’s touch-screen display is suitable for outdoor use under direct sunlight. The high-bright technology also results in improved image quality by means of optimized transmission of display graphics The addition of a front panel on/off switch allows the backlight to be turned off and the touch-screen disabled while cleaning the unit, without turning off the complete system. Able to withstand operational temperatures of 0 to 50°C and offering a -40°C option for use in low temperature extremes, the fully sealed unit withstands corrosive liquids, high shock and vibration. The Kontron Barracuda offers unsurpassed durability, reliability and safety. Kontron, Poway, CA. (858) 677-0877. [].

Visit us at Booth #913



Products&TECHNOLOGY AdvancedTCA Processor Blade Has Dual 4 Gbit/s Fibre Channels



A new ATCA processor blade features dual 4 Gbit/s Fibre Channel (FC) links powered by the Qlogic EP2432 PCI-E Fibre Channel controller. The aTCA6892 from Adlink Technology offers remote setup, and can be configured with the FC links at the front panel via SFP optical transceivers, or to the backplane with Zone 2 connectors, supporting PICMG 3.1 option 4/7 connectivity. When combined with FC switch and storage blades, the aTCA-6892 can directly access integrated, high-performance Storage Area Networks (SAN) in the same chassis without the need for additional fiber optic cabling. OS CB T By combining the dual 64-bit Low Voltage Intel Xeon processors BOOTH with up to 16 Gbytes dual channel PC3200 DDR2 REG/ECC memory, the 1716 aTCA-6892 provides computing power for mission-critical applications. In addition to the Fibre Channel links, the PICMG 3.1-compliant dual 1000BASE-BX GbE fabric interface ports offer gigabitspeed data transport options inside the shelf. The front of the processor blade offers a variety of I/O options including analog UXGA graphics, USB v2.0 ports and a serial console. The blade also offers a PCI/PCI-X 64-bit/133 MHz PMC site for further function expansion as well as reserved resources for a SATA RAID 0/1-enabled RTM interface. OEM pricing starts at $3,490. Get Connected with technology and Adlink Technology, Irvine, CA. (949) 727-2099. []. companies providing solutions now

Ad Index

Port Card Adds 1 GigE for up to 48 CAT5 Connections to Physical Layer Switch

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing has introduced a new Ethernet Port Card for use with its GLX4000 Physical Layer Switch products. The ET1000 supports all Ethernet speeds up to 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) via 48 RJ45 front panel connectors. The ET1000 port card is designed for use in Curtiss-Wright’s space-saving, high-density 144- and 288port GLX4000 switches, which provide managed layer-1 connections from any of its input ports to any of its output ports. Each ET1000 port card brings 10/100/1000 Ethernet communication directly into the GLX4000, and supports up to 48 CAT5 cables. The incoming copper media signals can be converted to optical signals via the GLX4000’s SFP port cards (RT4000 or NRT2500).

The ET1000 card also supports automatic speed negotiation and cable re-wiring (MDI/MDIX). The design of the GLX4000 port cards provides customers with flexibility to support a wide range of serial protocols. All GLX4000 port cards, such as the ET1000, are designed to fit both the GLX4000 144-port and 288-port switches. This modular design provides unique scalability enabling port cards to be easily added as the customer’s application grows. Offering the highest port-density in the industry, the GLX4000 switches also save valuable rack space. The switch’s unmatched high port-density also reduces costs, enabling the purchase of fewer spares and reducing the time required for inventory management. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Charlotte, NC. (704) 869-4600. [].

Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jumpTrain to a company's technical page, the Converter Chipset Shrinks Power Footprint goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. by 45 PercentWhichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected help you connect with the companies and products A new generation of scalable will multiphase converter chipsets proareflexible searchingway for. to implement a complete Intel or vides a full-featuredyouand AMD CPU power solution. And with simple six-bit voltage programming, the IR3500 control IC and the IR3505 phase IC from International Rectifier is easily configured for use in general-purpose, multiphase applications. The latest XPhase chipset reduces external component count by 25 percent, which combined with a higher switching frequency, reduces Connected with technology and companies providin the power train area by 45Get percent in a five-phase design compared to Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into produc previous-generation technology. The solution features the IRF6622 and from to a company, an Application Engineer, IRF6628 DirectFET powerdatasheet MOSFETs achieve speak a two directly percentwith efficiency in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require fo improvement compared to competing solutions. Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products The XPhase chipset features mable dynamic voltage identification (VID) slew rate, programmable VID offset and load line output impedance, hiccup overcurrent protection with delay to prevent false Connected withgood companies andto indicate correct operation triggering, Get and simplified power output products featured in this section. and false triggering. In 10,000 unit quantities, pricing is $1.95 each for the IR3500MPBF and $1.65 each for the IR3505MPBF.



International Rectifier, El Segundo, CA. (310) 252-7148. []. Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

July 2007


Products&TECHNOLOGY FPGA-Based 3U CompactPCI Quad High-Speed Serial Communication Controller

Designed for data communications, LAN/WAN networking, military communications, traffic control, simulation and telecommunications applications, a synchronous/asynchronous serial 3U CompactPCI module from Tews Technologies provides the functionality as well as full connector and pin-out compatibility of earlier models at higher speeds and densities. The TCP863 serial communication controller is implemented in FPGAs, combined with the busmaster-capable PCI interface. The use of an easily reprogrammable FPGA design guarantees long-term availability and grants customers the option to implement additional application-specific functions. The TCP863 is a standard 3U 32-bit CompactPCI module that has four high-speed communication channels, which are fully programmable for several serial communication protocols such as asynchronous, isochronous, synchronous and HDLC mode. In addition, a maximum data rate of 10 Mbits/s is provided for synchronous protocols and 2 Mbits/s is supported for asynchronous protocols. To reduce the processing overhead, the TCP863 features receive and transmit FIFOs of 512 long words (32-bit) per channel. Data transfer on the PCI bus is handled via TCP863 initiated DMA cycles with minimum host/CPU intervention. In addition, several interrupt sources can generate interrupts on INTA for each channel, and interrupts may be enabled or disabled separately. Physical connection is either through front panel I/O with an HD68 SCSI-3 type connector or rear I/O via J2. TEWS Technologies, Halstenbeck, Germany. +49 (0)4104 4058-0. [].

Expanded PICMG 1.3 Backplane Product Line

A family of five new PICMG 1.3 backplanes supports SHB Express system host boards and a variety of PCI Express (PCIe), PCI-X and PCI option cards. These five new backplanes from Trenton Technology include the BP6FS6605, which features six flexible system host board segments capable of supporting graphics-class or server-class PCI Express slot configurations. Trenton’s BPG6615, BPX6610, BPG6714 and BPX6719 backplane configurations support additional PCIe, PCIX and PCI card slots. Trenton’s PICMG 1.3-compatible backplanes have all of the power supply connections, including +12V AUX, on the backplane for increased reliability and faster Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). All Trenton backplanes are engineered to ensure that controlled impedance conditions exist regardless of the application’s option card loading requirements. The BP6FS6605, a multi-segment PCI Express backplane, for example, has six system host board (SHB) segments designed to accommodate SHBs with low-profile heat sinks. Each segment contains a x16 PCI Express mechanical slot and three of the segments also include a x8 PCIe mechanical slot. The backplane’s SHB segments can operate independently of each other or as a network of SHBs by virtue of the backplane’s optional Ethernet fabric network. The fabric option enables the backplane and its SHBs to operate in cluster computing applications. There are other options available including a graphics-class and a server-class backplane. Typical backplane pricing starts at $474. OEM volume discounts are available. Trenton Technology, Atlanta, GA. (770) 287-3100. [].

Core 2 Duo COM Express Module Aims at Telecom Apps

A COM Express module aimed at supporting telecom and other communications applications allows developers of enterprise-class and carrier-grade equipment to take advantage of a proven computing platform for a variety of wireless and wireline applications. The ProcelerantT CE3100 from RadiSys is suited for embedded applications that require a standard processor module and Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory without the added expense of video and audio functions, while delivering the robustness required for demanding telecom applications. When incorporated with the RadiSys PromentumT ATCA-2210, system designers gain a switch and control module well suited for radio network controller, media gateway, IMS and IPTV applications. The CE3100 also utilizes a Core 2 Duo L7400 processor and offers flexible storage options with Serial ATA (SATA) and Serial Attached Small Computer System Interface (SAS) configurations in an effort to meet reliability and cost requirements of both equipment manufacturers and service providers. The type 3 module also provides dual gigabit Ethernet capabilities to maximize I/O bandwidth. RadiSys, Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. []. 46

July 2007

Pump Up Your ARM ® Powered Design! October 2-4 2007 Santa Clara Convention Center

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An evaluation board supports the Connect One iChip CO2128, the company’s lowest cost IP controller, which provides Internet connectivity, encryption and security in architecture and software for a host processor or device. The II EVB-630 supports integration of many upper-layer Internet protocols using either AT+i commands or the iChipConfig Utility and can be used for evaluation and development of secure WiFi, LAN, cellular or dial-up networking, offering developers flexibility in designing machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. The II EVB-630 acts as a stand-alone platform that enables developers to fully test out, develop and debug the functionality of the CO2128’s firmware with no modifications to the customer’s development environment. The chip features an open architectural design so that developers can choose the Internet protocols required for their applications. The initial firmware, which is locally updateable, supports up to 10 simultaneous TCP/UDP sockets or secure sockets (SSL3/TLS1); two listen sockets; HTTP/HTTPS, SMTP, FTP/ FTPS and TELNET clients; and SerialNET serial-to-IP bridging, HTTP (Web) server, MIME attachments, POP3 client and RAS. Future versions will support remotely updateable firmware. The features include the ability to send and receive emails with or without attachments, a built-in Web server with two internal Web sites, one for remote control and management of the II-EVB-630 and the other for the device; and the SerialNET (Device Server) mode, a plug-and-play operating mode that enables the connection of any device with an RS-232 interface to the Internet, without changing anything on the device’s hardware or software. Complementing the two iChipSec CO2128 chips included for prototyping, the RoHS-compliant II EVB-630 offers two USB host and device connectors, two male-female RS-232 DB-9 connectors, RJ-45 connector, RJ-11 connector, SocketModem, WiFi daughter board with antenna, 4-pin TWI connector, two 6-pin SPI connectors, one 10-pin SSC connector, and SIM holder with either 110- or 220-V power supply. LEDs provide valuable feedback. Serial cables are included. For high-bandwidth applications like video streaming, CO2128’s high-speed parallel interface supports up to 32 Mbits/s with UDP/IP hardware acceleration. Data encryption/decryption also is accelerated in hardware, which tremendously speeds up SSL3 transaction processing time. The II EVB-630 for secure WiFi, LAN, cellular or dial-up access costs $1,725.

A new VITA 41 VME Switched Serial (VXS) switch fabric backplane for military and aerospace applications allows users to integrate a cost-effective, high-performance upgrade to the latest VITA standards while still supporting the legacy capability of the VME64x bus structure. The VXS backplane from Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions is designed for maximum versatility and can be customized with multiple configurations for each unique embedded, development, testing or measurement application. The VXS backplane retrofit capabilities help achieve the fastest data transfer rates without the cost of adopting VPX technology. OS CB T The company engineers solutions BOOTH for the military, industrial and telecom industries 1121 and offers core product lines in electronic packaging, serial I/O and system expansion. All products are manufactured in the United States and comply with VITA, PICMG and PCI-SIG standards. ES

Evaluation Board Supports Low-Cost IP Controller

VITA 41 VXS Backplane Offers Latest VITA Standards While Supporting Legacy VME

Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions, Brockton, MA. (800) 926-8722. [].

LIN Extension for USB-to-CAN II Interface

Aimed at the automotive arena, a USB-to-CAN II in an automotive version with integrated Local Interconnect Network (LIN) interface and switchable high/low-speed CAN interfaces has been developed by IXXAT. The device delivers an interface with its driver DLL (VCI V3), which enables time-synchronous layer-2 analysis of CAN and LIN networks for the connection to the PC and the integration into customer-specific applications. LIN communication is supported on the USB-to-CAN II either in LIN master or slave mode. In LIN slave mode, the interface responds automatically to received master requests. The response data is updated by means of a buffer via the PC-API. In LIN master mode, master requests are processed by the PC application. All received LIN messages are passed on to the application with time stamp, master request, response and status information. Furthermore, IXXAT offers with its canAnalyser a versatile Windows-based tool for analyzing CAN systems. IXXAT, Bedford, NH. (603) 471-0800. [].

Connect One, San Jose, CA. (408) 572-5675. []. July 2007


Products&TECHNOLOGY Embedded 802.11a/b/g Radio Module, Enables Rugged M2M Applications

The Airborne Performance Embedded Radio Module is the latest in the most advanced line of 802.11 radios for reliable, high-performance WiFi networking from Quatech. This product adds 802.11a/b/g dual band radio technology and enterprise-class security. With its flexible small form-factor, CompactFlash, SDIO and Bluetooth Coexistance interfaces, the radio enables users to integrate the latest WiFi technology utilizing a solution designed specifically for M2M, medical and telematics applications. The Performance 802.11a/b/g radio has been developed to support the extended temperature ranges, rugged environments and small form-factors required by today’s harshest applications. As the next generation of wireless technology, the radio family has been developed in the United States as the next platform in the Airborne radio product family and is the first to offer support in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ISM bands. Taking advantage of an advanced architecture, the radio supports the latest media streaming, roaming, power management and security standards; and has the most flexible system implementation options available on the market. When it comes to 802.11 wireless communications, security is of the utmost importance. The Airborne Performance radio’s advanced encryption supports the latest 802.11i security standards and implements WEP, WPA and WPA2 along with a broad range of EAP supplicants. The family of devices also supports the development of both station and access point applications from a unified platform. Quatech, Hudson, OH. (330) 655-9000. [].

Elma Bustronic Releases VXS Payload Extender Boards

New VXS payload extender boards from Elma Bustronic are designed to bring a circuit card completely out of a card cage or enclosure so that it can be tested or debugged. This provides access to both sides of the test board. There are test points for all of the lines on each 160-pin connector and the MultiGig P0 connector. Elma Bustronic used creative engineering to solve a major problem in developing the VXS Extender Board—the lack of a right angle receptacle for VXS in the marketplace. The company produced a rigid-flexrigid PCB design to get around the problem. The solution entails a right angle pin connector that plugs into the backplane, connected to a flex circuit that wires to the straight receptacle to receive the plug-in board. The VXS Extender Boards come in a 10-layer stripline design for the rigid PCB and microstrip design for the flex circuit portion. Also featured is an ammeter, which measures the current and has a digital indicator on the front panel showing the status. Elma Bustronic also offers extender boards in VXI, VME, AdvancedTCA and CompactPCI architectures. Other system accessories include load boards, power interface boards, shelf managers, system/voltage monitors and more. Pricing is under $3,000 depending on volume and configuration. Elma Bustronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 490-7388. [].


July 2007

Tundra Enters PCI Express Market with Tsi384 Bridge

A four-lane PCI Express (PCIe) to PCIX Bridge from Tundra Semiconductor is pincompatible with competing PCIe bridge products and the company claims it offers superior performance, lower latency, better throughput and lower power consumption than the competitive offering. The Tsi384’s PCIe Interface supports 1, 2 or 4 lanes. This enables the

Bridge to offer throughput performance of up to 1 Gbit/s. System performance is increased and latency is minimized by the Tsi384’s deep buffering and queuing architecture. In addition, the device supports a maximum payload size of up to 512 bytes to allow better throughput efficiency. Its PCI/X Interface can operate up to 133 MHz in PCI-X mode, or up to 66 MHz in PCI mode. This interface offers designers extensive flexibility by supporting three types of addressing modes: transparent, opaque and non-transparent. Non-transparent bridging is needed for applications such as intelligent I/O adapters that have a processor on the secondary (PCI/X) bus. The Tsi384 has typical power consumption of 1.3W and incorporates power management to minimize power consumption during operation. The Tundra Tsi384 is general sampling now and will be in volume production later in 2007. It is currently sampling in lead-free RoHS-compliant packaging and will be available in both standard and RoHS-compliant packaging. Volume pricing starts at $19. Tundra Semiconductor, Ottawa, Ontario. (613) 592-0714. [].


New digital I/O expansion hardware combines simultaneous operation on all channels with an isolated ground to protect applications from both ground currents and timing errors in digital I/O. The MSXB 078 from Microstar Laboratories provides sixteen digital inputs and sixteen digital outputs on an HD62 connector, with headers for alternate connectors. Eight MSXB 078 boards connected to a single DAP board give it 128 digital inputs and 128 digital outputs—all operating simultaneously and with a ground isolated from the PC. More digital outputs, up to a total of 1008, can be driven by a single DAP board simply by adding more MSXB 078 boards.

A line of custom module displays designed for critical medical, industrial, military and automotive applications is now available from LXD. The custom module displays can be configured for a OS CB T wide variety of applications with character, cusBOOTH tom icon and graphic capabilities. These 924 module assemblies have builtin digital control and drivers to suit a wide variety of specialized displays. All feature a highcontrast, wide viewing angle and low-power operation. Backlight type, operating temperature range and other options are available. Three display types are available: reflective, transflective and transmissive with either positive or negative image types backlit by either LEDs or electroluminescence. The operating temperature range is from -20º to +85ºC or down to -40ºC with optional heater. The displays have an operating voltage range from 3.0 to 5.0V and offer three types of connection: FPC, FFC and Heat Seal. ES

Digital I/O for High Channel Counts Isolated Ground, Simultaneous Samples and Updates

Module Displays Are Built for Critical Applications

LXD, Cleveland, OH. (440) 786-8700. []. MSXB 078 boards slot into a backplane in a standard industrial enclosure like other signal-conditioning products that conform to the external hardware specifications of the Microstar Laboratories channel architecture: signal connectors on 3U (100 mm high) Eurocard B (220 mm deep) boards—Eurocards—that preprocess a signal in some way. A backplane connector on each board connects it to a digital backplane factory-fitted into the industrial enclosure. An interface board also plugs into the backplane and connects to a DAP board controlled by a PC. A 19-inch rack-mountable industrial enclosure can hold twenty MSXB 078 boards connected to a single DAP board for a total of 128 digital inputs and 320 digital outputs. Every DAP board includes an onboard processor running a real-time operating system that Windows applications supporting DLL calls can communicate with and control. The user can communicate with and control a DAP board from DAPstudio—a Windows application from Microstar Laboratories—as well as from third-party software. DAP boards also communicate among themselves independently of Windows to synchronize their clocks with one another. They then all work synchronously as a networked data acquisition system. So, even applications with hundreds—or even thousands—of digital inputs and outputs on MSXB 078 boards distributed over a network, all these channels sample sensors or update actuators simultaneously, as a single synchronized system. And none of these channels introduce noise from ground currents. The MSXB078 board costs $330 and is available now. Microstar Laboratories, Bellevue, WA. (425) 453-2345. [].

Data Logger Supports Logging from CAN, ARINC-429 and RS-232/422/485

A new version of the UEILogger series from United Electronic Industries can now log CAN and ARINC-429 bus data as well as RS232, 422 and 485 ports. The new capability is now combined with the logger’s existing ability to log analog and digital input data. Combined with the logger’s small size and ruggedness (50g shock, -40° to +85°C, 0 - 70,000 feet), this makes it a suitable data logging solution for in-vehicle testing in the aerospace, aircraft, automotive, marine and rail transportation industries. The UEILogger is also a match for a host of other applications requiring a combination of traditional data logging with the ability to log CAN/429/Serial data. One of the most powerful capabilities of the new support is the UEILogger’s ability to transmit sequenced and scheduled “query strings” over the various communications interfaces. Simply capturing all the data on a communications bus or port is straightforward. However, some devices on the bus might only transmit their information when requested to do so. The logger allows the user to schedule data transmissions over the bus to issue these data requests without requiring any programming. The user need only enter the query string(s) desired and how frequently they need be sent. The UEILogger does the rest. Logging may even be started and stopped based on CAN-bus communications, allowing the user to define events in the vehicle that will initiate and stop the logging. Pricing for the UEILogger 300 with three I/O slots is $1,495 and for the UEILogger 600 with six I/O slots is $1,795. United Electronic Industries, Canton, MA. (781) 713-0023. []. July 2007


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July 2007

Products&TECHNOLOGY Dual-Processor AdvancedTCA Server Blade Targets Wireless Infrastructure Apps

A quad-core AdvancedTCA blade for communications infrastructure applications features a pair of dual-core, Intel Xeon processors, a high-speed ATCA switched fabric, a mid-size AdvancedMC expansion bay, redundant IPMI system management, and an optional 2.5-inch SAS hard drive. Emerson will demo the new blade from June 1921 at NXTcomm in booth number 2875. The KAT6200 from Emerson Network Power features a pair of serverclass Woodcrest Xeon LV5138 dual-core processors, each running at 2.13 GHz and equipped with four Mbytes of L2 cache. The two processors, utilizing an Intel 5000P memory controller hub, share access to 16 Gbytes of RAM. The KAT6200 also provides carrier-grade features including 16 Mbytes of persistent SRAM for event logging, and redundant 2 Mbyte firmware banks, which protect existing firmware in the event of an unsuccessful upgrade. To maximize system throughput, the KAT6200 provides separate ATCA control/management and data planes. The KAT6200 also features a high-performance ATCA fabric interface, which makes it suitable for converged packet-based telecom infrastructure applications requiring high data throughput. An Intel 6321ESB I/O Controller provides two Gigabit Ethernet channels to the ATCA base fabric. The memory controller hub provides two Gigabit Ethernet channels to the ATCA High-Speed Fabric. The KAT6200 features redundant PICMG 3.0 Intelligent Platform Management Interfaces (IPMI), which extend to the AdvancedMC (AMC) site. This interface, which incorporates dual I2C-based Intelligent Platform Management Buses (IPMB), enhances system management by making it easy for shelf management controllers to monitor, control and manage the KAT6200 and attached AMC modules. The KAT6200’s onboard AMC expansion bay can support a single mid-size, hot-swappable AMC card, or an onboard 2.5-inch SAS hard drive. The KAT6200 baseboard provides three high-performance interfaces to the AMC site: Gigabit Ethernet (x2), PCI Express (x4) and dual SAS interfaces. Software support for the KAT6200 includes Carrier Grade Linux. Emerson Network Power, Madison, WI. (608) 831-5500. [].

Touch Panel Computer Features PC/104 Expansion

A new VGA TFT Touch Panel Computer is designed for small-sized operator interface applications. The integration of a fanless kernel, touchscreen and non-volatile storage makes this machine a reliable solution for rugged environments. The TPC-660G from the eAutomation Group of Advantech is based on the AMD LX800 and has a 16-bit PC/104 expansion slot that provides a dependable and convenient way to add on functions. Common PC/104 cards for a variety of applications can fit in the TPC-660G. The display’s backlight life is rated at 20,000 hours and has a 180:1 contrast ratio and a luminance (cd/m2) of 150. Maximum color setting is 263k, with a maximum resolution of 640 x 480. I/O functions include one PS/2 port, a 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN port, a RS232 and RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 serial port, two USB 2.0 ports and an optional CompactFlash card slot. The TPC-660G is super slim with a compact design, plastic housing and a front panel that is NEMA4/ IP65 compliant. Also, it supports Windows XP/CE and WinXPe. The TPC-660G is priced starting at $1,090. Advantech, eAutomation Group, Cincinnati, OH. (513) 742-8895. [].

Ready-to-Deploy Service Availability Forum AIS Implementation Spans Platforms

A comprehensive implementation of the Service Availability Forum (SA Forum) Application Interface Specification (AIS) is now available for deployment on multiple leading hardware platforms including ATCA, cPCI, BladeCenter, MicroTCA and others along with leading operating systems such as Carrier Grade Linux, VxWorks, Solaris and Windows. The SAFfire 2.0 middleware implementation from GoAhead Software also works across processor architectures such as the Intel Xeon family and other leading CPU architectures. The new product includes the high-availability (HA) and management capabilities found in the company’s flagship product, GoAhead SelfReliant, which is already in over 20,000 deployments around the world.

IC Delivers Fast PWM Generation for Motor Control

A compact, single-axis IC for motor control provides advanced, fully digital velocity and torque control of brushless DC motors. Using the MC73110 from Performance Motion Devices with fast 40 kHz PWM (pulse width modulated) waveform generation, only a MOSFET or IGBT triple half-bridge is needed to create a complete intelligent motor controller. The MC73110 operates in one of three modes: internal velocity profile mode, velocity mode with an external command signal, and torque mode with an external command signal. It provides software-programmable velocity and current loops, six-step and sinusoidal commutation, analog or digital command input, profile generation and digital current loop. It can be operated as a standalone intelligent motion IC, or via serial commands as a programmable axis controller. Additional functions of the MC73110 include PI current loop compensation, trajectory generation, commutation, velocity loop, encoder input and Hall sensor input. The MC73110 is suited for low-cost brushless motor amplifiers. The new higher-speed PWM output is suited for low inductance motors, and with applications that require high motor velocity or high acceleration. The MC73110 is packaged in a 64-pin PQFP (plastic quad flat pack), and operates from 3.3V. Prices start at $18.00 in OEM quantities. Performance Motion Devices, Lincoln, MA. (781) 674-9860. [].

For equipment manufacturers aiming to achieve standards compliance, GoAhead SAFfire 2.0 supports the SA Forum Application Interface Specification AIS B.02 and some services featured in AIS B.03. Specific functionality supported includes the Availability Management Framework, Information Model Management Service, Cluster Membership Service, Checkpoint Service, Event Service, Message Service, Log Service and Notification Service. GoAhead SAFfire 2.0 also features a core base of technology designed to lower project risk and enable shorter development cycles. Highlights include system modeling; discovery; monitoring; platform management; hot swap management; alarm management; high performance with millisecond stateful failover; fast messaging and low CPU usage. GoAhead SAFfire 2.0 features pre-integration and pre-validation with leading hardware platforms, enabling equipment manufactures to begin adding value with an application-ready platform, while focusing resources on innovation. Pre-integration of GoAhead SAFfire 2.0 is offered on IBM BladeCenter T, RadiSys Promentum ATCA and Performance Technologies Advanced Managed Platforms. The integration highlights platform management and comprehensive high-availability and system management achieved via SA Forum HPI.

Development Tools Support Atmel AT91SAM9263

GoAhead Software, Bellevue, WA. (425) 453-1900. [].

Hitex Development Tools, Irvine, CA. (949) 863-0320. [].

Atmel’snew AT91SAM9263microcontroller is now supported with a complete tool chain from Hitex. The AT91SAM9263 is based on a 200 MIPS ARM926EJ-S core and employs 27 DMA channels as well as several communication interfaces. This makes it well suited for data-intensive applications with a graphical user interface. Hitex’s Tantino JTAG debug tool has been extended to support the whole on-chip debug functionality of the AT91SAM9263. The USBpowered Tantino is operated by the universal HiTOP user interface and provides flash programming and functions as unlimited flash breakpoints, condition-sensitive breakpoints, exception assistant and update on running. For debugging complex designs in real time, the modular Tanto emulation system is available. Supported by the HiTOP user interface, Tanto offers additional features and improved performance and can be upgraded for complete on-chip ETM-support by simply adding an optional trace module. Since all Hitex tools are controlled by HiTOP, the same universal user interface can be used for all project requirements.

July 2007


Products&TECHNOLOGY 1U MicroTCA Deployable Unit with Advanced Cooling

A new 1U MicroTCA solution from Elma, called MicroBox, was created in cooperation with the MicroBlade, an early developer of MicroTCA infrastructure products. The MicroBox has the smallest form-factor of any deployable MicroTCA unit in the industry. It features up to 10 modules (mid-size, single width) in a 45 mm height x 465 mm width x 210 mm depth. The five module bays can be filled with a wide range of module configurations in single or double modules or full, mid, or compact sizes. The side-to-side cooling configuration of the MicroBox does not have any bends in the airflow path and offers the most efficient use of space. The MicroBox can cool the chassis with fans on the side of the unit within the overall 1U height. Thermal studies show that it dissipates 35W per module (mid-size, single width) and has eight (2 x 4) fans providing 20 CFM each at 1.5” of water.

4-Channel Quadrature Encoder Input Board for UEI’s DAQ Cubes

A four-channel quadrature encoder input board is designed for use with United Electronic Industries’ PowerDNA, UEILogger and UEIPAC data acquisition and control Cubes. The board provides standard A, B and Z (index) inputs for each channel and is designed to handle quadrature applications with a maximum input frequency of 16.5 MHz, and 32bit counters.

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The Index pin may be set to perform a variety of tasks. It may be set to The MicroBox features a 384 watt Power Module and a J-TAG (1) reset/load the counter Switch Module (JSM) from MicroBlade, and one MicroTCA Carrier immediately, (2) reset/load the Hub (MCH). It also offers hot-swap pluggable fan trays and filters. countersolutions on the now next A/B cycle (low/low, low/ Get Connected with technology and companies providing They are separately removable and managed and the fans detect if the high, high/low or and high/high), generate or the (4)latest Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies companies.(3) Whether your an goalinterrupt, is to research filter is removed. The backplane for the MicroBox features slots for generate a cube-wide trigger pulse. The be read is to put you datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the counters goal of Getmay Connected six AMC, one power module, one MCH, one JSM and connections to in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require whatevercommand type of technology, on for software or the board may be set to transfer the two cooling units. Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for. at fixed timing intervals. counter data into buffers Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA (510) 656-3400. []. The DNA-QUAD-604 provides 4 digital inputs (in addition to the four A, B, Z channels) and 8 digital outputs. These digital I/O lines may be used as auxiliary digital inputs and outputs or configured as trigger in, trigger out, or clock out signals for each of the channels. The digital I/O is compatible with both +5 and +3.3 volt logic, and the digital outputs are rated to supply ±12 mA of drive current. The board offers 350V of isolation and 7 kV of ESD protection. Single unit pricing starts at $695.


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United Electronic Industries, Canton, MA. (781) 821-2890. [].


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July 2007

Peer-to-Peer Active Ethernet I/O Server Configures with No Programming

A new I/O server that uses the Ethernet and IP networks to extend the distance between digital inputs and digital outputs has been introduced by Moxa Technologies. The ioMirror E3210 uses an existing Ethernet and IP network infrastructure, a wide range of applications such as multiple intrusion detection, fluid level sensors and alarm signals, and can be extended to multiple locations without the need to lay additional transmission lines. The transmission speed between a DI and DO can be as high as 20 ms over an Ethernet network. By keeping the time delay small, the ioMirror E3210 can be used for applications such as fluid level monitoring and transmitting the optical sensor signals used in conveyor belt systems. Configuration can be carried out with a browser over the network,

Server-Class COM Express Extended Module

Server-level performance and features are built into an embedded COM-Express-compliant form-factor using the latest Intel technology. The Plug-N-RunT E1 module from PFU Systems combines Intel CoreT2 Duo performance, server-class I/O support and data reliability in a PICMG standard formfactor. The company says it addresses a class of embedded applications that require more than just CPU performance; they also require substantial data throughput with high reliability. The Plug-N-Run E1 offers Core 2 Duo processors at 2.16 and 1.5 GHz. CPU performance is augmented with the E7520 and 6300ESB I/O controllers. These server-class components provide a FSB at 667 MHz, support for dual channel access to up to 4 Gbytes of ECC memory, two x8 and one x4 lanes of PCI Express and two Serial ATA channels with RAID support. In addition to these major throughput features, the E1 includes Gigabit Ethernet, eight USB ports, and much more. The module is packaged on the standard COM Express Extended 155 mm x 110 mm (6.1 in. x 4.3 in.) form-factor. PFU Systems, Plymouth, MN. (763) 8261. [].

PICMG 1.3 Full-Size Quad-Core SBC Has Five PCI Express Lanes

Moxa Technologies, Brea, CA. (714) 528-6777. [].



and with only 4 steps required, all signal mappings can be set up in under 5 minutes. In fact, the process is made even easier since no programming is required. The ioMirror E3210 features I/O status updates within 20 ms and direct input-to-output signal communication over IP. Configuration uses a hot-pluggable LCD attachment in lieu of a PC for onsite configuration in four steps without programming. The unit offers local alarm and remote alarm messaging and supports Modbus/TCP for remote monitoring.

An SHB Express (PICMG 1.3) system host board supports the combination of the Intel Core2 Quad / Core2 Duo family of processors and the Q965 chipset for improved system manageability, graphics and stability. The NuPRO-965 from Adlink Technology also supports the Intel Pentium D, Intel Pentium 4 and Intel Celeron D processors on a front side bus at up to 1066 MHz to support a wide range of performance requirements. This performance is further enhanced by backplanes that allow 10 Gbits/s of bandwidth to and from the system host board to eliminate data bottlenecks between the I/O cards and memory. The four DIMM slots support up to 8 Gbytes of dual channel DDR2-800 RAM with a peak transfer OS rate at 12.8 Gbytes/s. CB T The NuPRO-965 also integrates a 3D BOOTH 1716 graphics engine based on the Intel GMA 3000 architecture with DirectX 9.0 to provide highend graphics performance. A PCI Express x16 lane offers the possibility for additional high-end graphics options. There are four PCI Express x1 lanes for a variety of high-bandwidth I/O applications, two Ethernet connectors for redundancy, support for four 3.0 Gbit/s SATA storage devices, four USB 2.0 ports and an UltraATA/133 IDE interface. OEM pricing for the NuPRO-965 starts at $460 (board only). Adlink Technology, Irvine, CA. (970) 377-0385. [].

July 2007


Products&TECHNOLOGY New, Smaller x86 Form-Factor: the Pico-ITX at 72 cm2



The latest miniature full-featured x86 form-factor for a new generation of smaller, lighter and quieter embedded PCs, systems and appliances measures just 10 cm x 7.2 cm. Called the Pico-ITX, the form-factor was first announced by Via Technologies and its first product is the EPIA PX mainboard, which is built around the 1GHz VIA C7 processor. The 10-layer EPIA PX mainboard supports up to 1 Gbyte of DDR2 533 SO-DIMM system memory and features the single-chip VIA VX700 system media processor, which features the VIA UniChrome Pro II IGP 3D/2D graphics core, MPEG-2/-4 and WMV9 hardware decoding acceleration and display flexibility, including support for higher display resolutions of up to HDTV for HD DVD playback. Onboard connectors and I/O enable developers to harness the mainboard through the VIA PX-O, a dedicated daughterboard with multiple digital media I/O ports, which is available on request to assist project developers in early system testing. Power efficiency is integral to the platform, with the maximum power (TDP) of the processor and chipset at 9W and 3.5W respectively, combined with low power DDR2 memory enabling the VIA EPIA PX to run standard productivity and multimedia OS applications at CB T under 13W. BOOTH This scale of platform miniaturization has been 306 made possible by the reduction in size of the core silicon; the 21 mm square nanoBGA2 package of the Via C7 processor and 35 mm square Via VX700 system media processor have a combined area of just 16.7 cm2, a board real estate savings of over 50% from previous-generation EBGA processors plus twin-chip core logic solutions, and more than that over competing solutions. Onboard options include: four USB connectors for four ports, one COM port connector, one PS2 mouse/keyboard connector, one LVDS/DVI connector, one multimedia connector to support external TV-out, video capture port interface and LPC interface (add-on card required), one audio connector for line-out, line-in, mic-in, S/PDIF in and 7.1 channel audio output, one CPU fan connector and one PicoITX power connector. VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [].


July 2007

PCI Express Module Features DualChannel, 14-bit Analog I/O at 400 Msamples/s

A mezzanine I/O module features two 14-bit, 400 MSPS A/D and DAC channels with a Virtex-5 FPGA computing core and PCI Express host interface on a standard XMC module. The Xilinx Virtex-5 SX95 FPGA with 1 Gbyte DDR2 DRAM and 4 Mbyte QDR memory provides a very high-performance DSP core for applications such as emerging wireless standards. The close integration of the analog I/O, memory and host interface with the FPGA enables real-time signal processing at rates exceeding 300 GMACs per second.

The X5 XMC modules from Innovative Integration couple Innovative’s Velocia data flow architecture with an 8-lane PCI Express interface that provides over 1 Gbyte/s sustained transfer rates to the host. Private links to host cards with over 1.6 Gbyte/s capacity using J16 are provided for system integration. The X5 family can be fully customized using VHDL and Matlab using the FrameWork Logic toolset. The Matlab BSP supports real-time hardware-in-the-loop development using the graphical, block diagram Simulink environment with Xilinx System Generator. Additionally, C++ libraries and drivers for Windows and Linux are supplied to support OEM integration. The module provides an off-the-shelf solution in the construction of highspeed software radios, RADAR systems and MIMO development platforms. The integrated PCI Express facilitates the development of ultra-performance data loggers and waveform generators using conventional RAID controllers and ubiquitous Windows or Linux-based desktop or industrial PCs. The X5-400M quantity one pricing is $6,995. Innovative Integration, Simi Valley, CA. (805) 578-4261. [].


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Company................................................................Page................................................................ Website ACCES I/O Products.............................................................................................. 32................................................................................................. ADLINK Technology America, Inc............................................................................ Advanet Technologies............................................................................................ 36..........................................................................................


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Advantech Technologies, Inc.................................................................................. 33............................................................................................. American Arium .................................................................................................... 14.................................................................................................... Ampro Computers, Inc............................................................................................ 9....................................................................................................

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Fastwel Corp......................................................................................................... 43.......................................................................................... GE Fanuc Embedded Systems.............................................................................. 2, 15..................................................................................................... Harting, Inc. EPT.................................................................................................... 16............................................................................, ICOP..................................................................................................................... 35................................................................................................ IEI Technology....................................................................................................... Kontron America.................................................................................................... 35................................................................................................. McObject LLC......................................................................................................... 4................................................................................................ MEN Micro, Inc...................................................................................................... 52.............................................................................................. National Instruments............................................................................................. 12.......................................................................................................... One Stop Systems................................................................................................. 38.................................................................................... Performance Technology..................................................................................... 27, Phoenix International.............................................................................................. Portable Design Conference.................................................................................. 48..................................................................... Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference...................................................... 57..................................................................................................... Red Rock Technologies, Inc................................................................................... Spectracom.......................................................................................................... 35.................................................................................... TRI-M Systems...................................................................................................... 31...................................................................................................... Ultimate Solutions, Inc.......................................................................................... 25.................................................................................................... VersaLogic Corporation....................................................................................... 21, WinSystems.......................................................................................................... 11...........................................................................................

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July 2007

PCI Express® Full-Range Series of DAQ Cards M-946 / M-885 MicroATX / FlexATX Industrial Motherboards • Intel® Core™2 Duo processors • Dual-Channel DDR2 memory • Dual GbE ports via x1 PCI Express® • Intel® 945G express chipset family

DAQe-2000 Series: • x1 lane PCI Express® interface • 4-CH differential analog inputs • 14-bit or 16-bit A/D resolution, up to 2 MS/s simultaneous-sampling rate • Up to 8 k-sample A/D FIFO • Programmable gains: x1, x2, x4, x8 • 2-CH 12-bit multiplying analog outputs with waveform generation

DAQe-2200 Series: • x1 lane PCI Express® interface • 64-CH single-ended or 32-CH differential analog inputs • 12-bit or 16-bit A/D resolution, up to 3 MS/s simultaneous-sampling rate • Programmable gains: x1, x2, x4, x5, x8, x10, x20, x40, x50, x200 (DAQ-2204), and x1, x2, x4, x8 (DAQ-2205 & DAQ-2206) • 512-conguration channel gain queue

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DAQe-2500 Series AO Multi-Function DAQ Card • x1 lane PCI Express® Interface • Hardware-based arbitrary waveform generation • Up to 8-CH 12-bit 1 MS/s analog output simultaneous update rate • Up to 8-CH 14-bit 400 kS/s single-ended analog inputs For more info, go to:

cPCI-3915 3U CompactPCI • Low Power Intel® Pentium® M / Celeron® M Processor • Dual-PCI Express® GbE • Mobile Intel® 915GME Express chipset family with 400/533 MHz FSB For more info, go to:

DAQe-2208: • x1 lane PCI Express® interface • 96-CH single-ended or 48-CH differential analog inputs • Up to 3 MS/s sampling rate • Programmable gains: x1, x2, x4, x5, x8, x10, x20, x40, x50, x200 • 1024-conguration channel gain queue

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ETXexpress®-IW400/DW400 COM Express™ Module • Intel® Core™ Duo and Core™2 Duo (DW400) • Intel® Celeron® M and Pentium® M (IW400) • PCI Express® two x4 or one x8 with EDMA For more info, go to:

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