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SPECIAL ISSUE The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

June 2008

www.rtcmagazine.com

SFF

Small Form Factors: An Explosion in Innovation

SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

PC/104

Grows in Two Directions

Two New Form Factors

QSeven and CoreExpress

Going Toward

Standardizing I/O Carriers

An RTC Group Publication


GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms

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ment Kit is included and custom FPGA cores are also available on request. The ICS-1554 delivers exceptional performance in demanding applications such as tactical communications, signal intelligence, radar, wireless test and measurement, 3G and 4G cellular base station development, smart antenna, radar beamforming and satellite ground stations.

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SMALL FORM FACTORS:

An Explosion of Innovation

44 Two VPX DSP Boards Combine Freescale PowerPC and Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs

45 New ESMexpress Spec Ruggedizes COMs Technology

58 High Speed Digital I/O for PCI and PCIe Bus on PC/104 Express and PC/104 Plus

TABLEOF CONTENTS June 2008

Departments

8Editorial An Explosion of Innovation Insider 9Industry Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace Form Factor Forum 12Small Computer-on-Module Solutions Offer Full Custom Benefits Without the Hassle

46

Products & Technology Newest Embedded Technology Used by Industry Leaders

60

News, Views & Comment On The Embedded Front

SPECIAL issue

14

20

Do We Really Need Yet Another New Standard for Computer Modules? Meet QSeven–A New Standard

28

Martin Danzer, congatec

34

Express104 Defines the Next Generation Robert A. Burckle, WinSystems

Pico-ITX–The Next Big Thing in Small Form Factors John Lin, VIA Technologies

Take the CoreExpress into a New World Hermann Strass for LiPPERT Embedded Computers

24

SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

Standard COM Carrier Boards offer Benefits Over Traditional SBCs Jonathan Miller and David Fastenau, Diamond Systems

38

New PCI/104-Express Standard Jim Blazer, RTD Embedded Technologies; Technical Chairman, PC/104 Consortium

Digital Subscriptions Avaliable at http://rtcmagazine.com/home/subscribe.php

June 2008




June 2008 Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, johnr@r tcgroup.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Warren Andrews, warrena@r tcgroup.com

Editorial EDITOR-IN - CHIEF Tom Williams, tomw@r tcgroup.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Colin McCracken and Paul Rosenfeld MANAGING EDITOR Marina Tringali, marinat@r tcgroup.com COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn

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To Contact RTC magazine: HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, www.rtcgroup.com EASTERN SALES OFFICE The RTC Group, 96 Dudley Road, Sudbury, MA 01776 Phone: (978) 443-2402 Fax: (978) 443-4844 Editorial Office Warren Andrews, Editorial Director/Associate Publisher 39 Southport Cove, Bonita, FL 34134 Phone: (239) 992-4537 Fax: (239) 992-2396 Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief 245-M Mt. Hermon Rd., PMB#F, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Phone: (831) 335-1509 Fax: (408) 904-7214 Published by The RTC Group Copyright 2008, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.

 Austin_01.indd 1

June 2008 6/3/08 4:59:02 PM


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EDITORIAL

JUNE 2008

An Explosion of Innovation by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief

W

elcome to a special edition of RTC celebrating what can only be described as an “explosion of innovation” in the arena of low-power, small form factor modules. In this issue we are presenting six articles exclusively dedicated to the latest introductions of small boards based on “high powered/low power” processors and high-speed serial connectivity. Well there. In the first paragraph, I’ve coined a new term— “high powered/low power” to indicate high processing power that uses minimal electrical power. This comes after struggling with how to characterize the new generation of CPUs that is a co-phenomenon of the new small form factors. The one that has gotten the most buzz recently is the 45nm Intel Atom family, but there are a host of other processors that fit the description from companies like AMD, VIA and ARM and there will be more. Drawing power down around 1 watt and running in the 500 MHz to 800 MHz range and beyond, these new chips pack the computing power needed for major applications into packages that are mobile, wearable and which will become ubiquitous in our lives. Now, of course, the high-end processors have not stood still with speeds in the multiple Gigahertz range, and with associated power and heat issues. But we’re just getting started, and that start is impressive. In these pages we are presenting new connectivity strategies and technologies, two of them on the venerable PC/104 form factor, two brand new form factors with new connector schemes, the SUMIT connectivity technology that is processor and form factor agnostic and an innovative approach to the issue of custom vs. modular I/O implementation. And like I said, we’re just getting started. I think we are seeing developments that will lead to yet another demonstration of the famous “Williams Law of Technology Utilization,” which clearly states that the developer of a new technology does not have the foggiest idea of how that technology will ultimately be utilized. One of the advantages of such small and powerful modules—down around the size of a credit card—is that they can be embedded into existing products and objects without changing the design or shape of the object. Now all of a sudden you can have a picnic cooler with inventory control, high-end graphics, temperature regulation, GPS and ant de-



June 2008

tection. Well, I made that up, but that is because the existence of such modules frees the imagination to consider possibilities that previously would have been dismissed out of hand. You could make such a cooler. Selling it might be a different matter. While these new small form factor modules can generally be described as computer-on-modules (COMs), we are by no means in an era of plug and play. There are detailed technical issues of matching them to the proper I/O subsystems, resolving power-up issues and what some of my colleagues in the press have gleefully referred to as a new era of “bus wars”—meaning lots of controversial stuff to write about. There will definitely be a competition between different connectivity schemes and connector implementations. There will be offerings in the future that complement and compete with what we are seeing today. And there will eventually be some shake-outs. Not all will survive. That’s the Law of the Jungle, Grasshopper. Today we are mostly thinking of applications expanding in traditional areas such as control and automation and instrumentation with small form factors bringing intelligence and connectivity to ever smaller, lower-cost devices. But these modules and their connectivity signal the end of the backplane bus paradigm. I predict this will eventually spill over into telecommunications and may signal the beginning of the end of huge, air-cooled NEBS facilities with more distributed smaller centers and modules. We may see intelligent distributed power systems, perhaps a whole take-off of green engineering with distributed monitoring of power usage and environmental conditions. There will definitely be more out-patient care with mobile and wirelessly connected medical devices freeing patients to pursue their lives and freeing up needed hospital space for those who truly need it. We could go on all day about possible new applications because the push for more processing power, smaller size, lower power and lower cost will continue, and that will continue to create possibilities while throwing up new challenges. We will be intensely following all of these developments in RTC and we invite you to join us as the small form factor phenomenon unfolds. Like we said, we’re just getting started.


IndustryInsider JUNE 2008

New IETF Group Chartered to Bring Interoperable IP Routing to Low-Power Wireless Networks Executives from Cisco and Arch Rock Corporation are co-chairing a new Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Working Group chartered for the development of a framework for using IPbased routing techniques over low-power, “lossy” networks—networks that wirelessly connect large numbers of sensors and other small, embedded devices in applications ranging from factory automation to the “connected home.” The efforts of the IETF Routing Over Low-power and Lossy Networks (ROLL) Working Group build on recent IETF advances such as those of the IETF 6LoWPAN Working Group (RFC 4944), which addressed the standardization of IP protocols over low-power wireless radios links. The new ROLL group’s focus is on developing efficient and interoperable routing protocols that support the use of open-standard, low-power IP networking over a variety of physical links, including IEEE 802.15.4, Bluetooth, Low Power Wi-Fi and wired links. An end-to-end IP-based routing framework will help enable systems of embedded devices that have limited power, memory and processing resources to be connected and managed seamlessly under the IP umbrella regardless of the type of physical links on which they are connected. This contrasts with earlier non-IP architectures that have linked entire networking and routing schemes to a single radio technology. Low-power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) have special routing requirements, such as the need for path selection mechanisms to be designed with the power capabilities and functional characteristics of LLN links and nodes in mind. Routing Over Lossy and Low Power Networks (ROLL) Working Group is chartered to provide an IPv6-based routing architectural framework for a number of application areas, including industrial, connected home/building and urban sensor networking, determining the specific routing needs of each and assessing the potential adaptability of existing routing protocols to these scenarios. The framework will take into account such requirements as high-reliability, low-power operation with small memory, and CPU pressure in networks comprising very large numbers of nodes. The group will pay particular attention to security and manageability issues. More information on ROLL can be found at: http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/roll-charter.html.

Device Authentication Service for ZigBee Smart Energy Devices

Certicom has launched its new Certicom Device Authentication Service for ZigBee Smart Energy, enabling secure, lowcost, low-bandwidth networking. The service uses Certicom’s Device Certificate Authority to issue Elliptic Curve Qu Vanstone (ECQV) implicit certificates based on Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) to secure wireless data communications and authenticate smart metering devices. As utility providers around the world embrace smart metering for more efficient energy management and to address environmental concerns, it is criti-

cal to ensure that their networks are protected from unauthorized access and that customer information is properly secured. ECC provides encryption for resource-constrained applications including ZigBee Smart Energy devices. ZigBee is a standard for (IEEE) 802.15.4 wireless devices enabling lowcost, low-bandwidth, massmarket networks. The standard is regulated by the ZigBee Alliance with over 250 members worldwide. ZigBee members, including Certicom, developed the ZigBee Smart Energy public application profile to meet the requirements of wireless smart metering applications such as demand response, load control and energy efficiency programs.

The Certicom Device Authentication Service provides a root of trust for ZigBee Smart Energy devices. The service delivers out-of-the-box security, lowering the total cost of ownership for utilities and metering companies while ensuring the integrity of the utility network. Certicom’s Device Authentication Service for ZigBee Smart Energy for bulk certificates will be available this month. Test certificates are available now.

Elma Electronic and DFT Microsystems Partner to Offer SerDes Test Solutions

Elma Electronic Inc., a manufacturer of electronic packaging products, and DFT Microsystems,

a supplier of high-density test solutions for high-speed semiconductor device interfaces, have partnered to offer high-speed SerDes Test modules for the embedded systems market. The first Test module the companies are releasing is the DV3200, designed for the VPX architecture. It is fully compliant to the latest VITA 46.0 base specification and comes in the 6U form factor. The modules can be used to test the true Bit Error Rate (BER) performance for the multi-gigabit per second signals across the serial links. Jitter, timing, voltage and pattern tests can be generated with the DV3200. The plug-in modules allow quick and accurate testing, without the expense of capitalintensive equipment. With direct plugging to a laptop via a USB connection and a user-friendly GUI software, the user can start testing within minutes. As the modules are easy to use and do not require equipment such as oscilloscopes, TDRs, signal analyzers or generators, the SerDes test modules also save on training/ personnel costs. Elma and DFT Microsystems will announce a MicroTCA test module solution in the summer of 2008. Other form factors and architectures are also planned.

NXP and CoWare Team for the Deployment of ESL Technologies

CoWare, a supplier of platform-driven electronic systemlevel (ESL) design software and services, has established a strategic relationship with NXP to deploy ESL technologies. The multi-year relationship covers a broad spectrum of ESL technologies from CoWare as well as a major services agreement to support the rapid deployment of these technologies across NXP’s business units. The relationship June 2008




Industry Insider

will provide significant time-tomarket benefits to NXP and its customers, and accelerate NXP leadership in system design and the application of ESL and virtual platform technologies. After several successful pilot projects in 2007, NXP has begun the rapid rollout and deployment of CoWare ESL 2.0 solutions. These solutions support processor design, platform architecture design and verification, software development and DSP algorithm design and are supported by key CoWare technologies including high-speed SystemC modeling, processor modeling, productivityoriented debugging and analysis capabilities. NXP will integrate CoWare solutions in their design flows and methods as well as deploy them in the NXP business units including: • Home business unit for the design of the next-generation set-top box and digital TV platforms. • Mobile and personal business unit for the design of 3G and 4G platforms, baseband and multimedia, and wireless USB platforms. • Automotive and identification business unit for the design of car infotainment platforms. In addition, CoWare and NXP are working together to jointly evolve and promote the use of standards for modeling languages and methodologies including SystemC and Transaction Level Modeling (TLM).

10

June 2008

Sun Adds Video Capabilities to Java Platform with On2 Technologies

Sun Microsystems has announced it has entered into a multi-year agreement with On2 Technologies to add comprehensive video capabilities, using On2 Technologies TrueMotion video codecs, to Sun’s JavaFX, a family of products for creating rich Internet applications (RIAs) with immersive media and content across all the “screens of your life.” Consumers are demanding a rich video experience across multiple screens and this deal complements the Java platform for RIAs by adding On2 Technologies TrueMotion codecs. Sun and On2 have come together to deliver the essential technologies and services that are designed to power compelling video applications. With JavaFX-rich client technology, the same high-resolution video and media applications can run across the billions of devices that use the Java platform—browsers, desktops, mobile and embedded devices. The first availability of On2 video codec for JavaFX software products is scheduled for the fall of 2008. The Java platform is the global standard that powers billions of devices—from desktop browsers and computers (91 percent) to mobile phones (more than two billion) and Blu-ray Disc players (13 million), TVs (nine million) and other connected consumer products. On2 addresses the quality, bandwidth and power requirements for video. The company’s TrueMotion video codecs dominate the video market, with more than two billion deployments on desktops worldwide and more than 200+ million in mobile. The combination of On2 TrueMotion video with the Java platform and JavaFX-rich client technology is aimed at bringing a new dimension to the immense breadth of high-fidelity media applications and devices.

VITA Radio Transport (VRT) Gaining Acceptance for Software Radio Market

Several companies, including Pentek, DRS Signal Solutions, Digital Receiver Technology and Eclipse Electronic Systems, appear to be sufficiently confident in a new communications standard for software defined radio that they are announcing intentions to develop and market products using it. VITA Radio Transport (VRT) has recently been approved by the VMEBus International Trade Association and the VITA VRT working group, and expects to move toward recognition as an American National Standard within the next six months. The VRT standard defines a transport-layer protocol designed to promote interoperability between RF (radio frequency) receivers and signal processing equipment in a wide range of applications. These include spectral monitoring, communications, radar and others. VRT enables high-precision time stamping to provide time synchronization between multiple receiver channels. VRT is an ideal building block to support data streaming for Software Defined Radio (SDR) applications. With the emergence of highspeed serial data links, it is now possible to allow wide-bandwidth communication signals to be exchanged using a packetized format. VRT standardizes this packet structure with features specifically useful to defense and aerospace communication applications. The VRT protocol was created by and is supported by a wide industry base of organizations, including RF receiver manufacturers, digital signal processor manufacturers, data recorder manufacturers, prime contractors and government agencies.

Wind River and Intel to Drive Open Source Platform for Auto Industry

Wind River Systems has announced it is collaborating with Intel to create an open source Linux platform for the automotive industry. Wind River, working with Intel, is developing an open source platform for the in-vehicle infotainment market. The open source platform will be optimized for the Intel Atom processor, which was introduced in April 2008 and will be suited for in-vehicle infotainment solutions that demand connected, multimedia and graphicsintensive application support in a low-power envelope. As part of a new product strategy for Wind River and the broader in-vehicle device industry, Wind River will make available open source specification and code from the platform to the open source community via a new in-vehicle infotainment segment within Moblin.org. Moblin. org is a community Web site for software vendors and Linux users to collaborate, share solutions and contribute code. The code, in combination with the Intel Atom processor, will enable the development of Open Infotainment Platforms that are based on interoperable, standards-based hardware and software components. This will allow manufacturers to scale software across devices, leading to cost and development efficiencies. Wind River expects to deliver the open source specification and code to the Moblin.org in-vehicle infotainment community in August 2008. Companies such as BMW Group, Bosch, Delphi and Magneti Marelli are actively supporting Wind River’s strategy to drive Linux into the automotive infotainment market, and its commitment to accelerate the defragmentation effort by creating a standardized platform so that OEMs and auto manufacturers may add differentiating services and solutions demanded by the modern day consumer.


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SMALL FORM FACTOR FORUM

Computer-On-Module Solutions Offer Full Custom Benefits without the Hassle

O

nce upon a time adding intelligence to a control application had two straightforward approaches—buy an off-the-shelf board (set) or design a custom board to meet specific application needs. Over the years, most of the off-the-shelf boards have used Intel Architecture (x86) CPUs of varying generations with a smattering of 68K, PowerPC and RISC architecture boards thrown in for good measure. On the flip side, most custom boards used anything but x86 CPUs, with low-power RISC architecture CPUs increasingly popular over the past few years. Few embedded designers went the route of designing a custom x86 board. Part of the reason may have been that all x86 designs need a fully compatible BIOS to enable off-the-shelf operating systems to boot and run properly. And getting that BIOS to work was a lot uglier than doing a board design. On the non-x86 side, considerable leeway exists for creating a boot ROM that simply turns over control to the OS/application without being expected to provide services to the OS. Over the years, it became clear that there was significant pentup demand for custom x86 designs. Force fitting an off-the-shelf x86 solution into some applications was downright cumbersome. The form factor of the off-the-shelf solution tended to drive the size of the application enclosure, forcing many to be much bigger than necessary. I/O connectors frequently used pin headers, requiring a rat’s nest of transition cables to PC-style connectors which could be accessed from outside the enclosure. Even when the SBC provided PC-style connectors, it frequently became like a Sudoku puzzle to try and get the connectors on the “right” side of the enclosure for access from the outside. Assembling and testing these systems became a time-consuming and costly mess. Maintenance and repair was not for the faint of heart. Ever try pulling apart two PC/104 cards? How about five? So, the industry faced the problem of how to enable custom x86 board design without incurring debilitating problems such as a custom BIOS implementation. Some smart folks came up with the concept of Computer-on-Module (COM) products, although it took another 3-4 years before we all figured out what to call them. COM products are small CPU boards that offer no I/O connectors on the board (in the sense that you would hook up a cable

12

June 2008

to them). All system buses and I/O signals are brought through a set of standardized (usually high-density) connectors to a carrier board or baseboard. The baseboard is responsible for routing the I/O signals to appropriate connectors placed at appropriate locations for the application enclosure. The baseboard must also supply power to the module. The form factor of the baseboard may be customized to fit in an enclosure designed to meet the specific needs of the application as opposed to the other way around. And, if the application needs additional I/O functionality it can be implemented on the baseboard. What a radical idea! The solution is truly custom. Internal cabling is usually eliminated except for display and disk drive. I/O connectors may be chosen as required and placed to match openings in the system bulkhead. Assembly and test are simple and easy. Maintenance and repair are straightforward. Baseboard design is easy—well at least compared to a full custom CPU design. And that little BIOS problem—well the BIOS comes with the COM module—all set up and ready to run. There may be a little tweaking required in a few rare cases. COMs have taken the market by storm. COM volume already exceeds SBC volume. COMs are available in multiple form factors with differing bus architectures that meet several pervasive and well-documented industry standards, such as ETX and COM Express. But COMs are not for everybody. Board design is required. Either you, or somebody you pay money to, is going to design a custom baseboard and put that board into production. Not everybody’s favorite pastime. And it may take a little longer than going with a complete off-the-shelf solution. So, if you are in a hurry and/or you don’t have board design expertise, or you’re just building five systems for lab use, a COM solution may be overkill. But if you are putting out an application with a couple of hundred or more units per year, particularly if you have somewhat unusual I/O needs that would justify a custom design, then you should look at COMs first. Now, which of the dozens of COMs to use gets us to the subject for a future column.

Colin McCracken

& Paul Rosenfeld sf3@rtcgroup.com


Phoenix International designs and builds Rugged COTS Data Storage Systems that “plug and play� in any application, ranging from Multi-Terabyte RAID and Storage Area Networks to plug-in VME/cPCI Solid State Disk Storage Modules. Our outstanding quality and service makes our products the proven choice for vital missions.

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SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

Do We Really Need Yet Another New Standard for Computer Modules?

Meet QSeven– A New Standard.

Incorporating a modern mix of signals with ultra small size and power footprint, the QSeven form factor includes a low-cost connector and heat dissipation strategy for small, mobile systems. by Martin Danzer, congatec

W

hen development teams at system and device manufacturers discuss ways in which development times and costs can be reduced, they usually end up turning to the use of Computer-On-Modules (COMs) for an answer. In addition to increased flexibility and scalability, this approach also leads to other benefits. The most common standards are ETX (defined in 2000), COM Express (2004) and XTX (2005). Since then, chip manufacturers have brought several new technologies to the market that, for obvious reasons, could not have been foreseen when these standards were defined. New interfaces have been defined, computing performance has increased dramatically and energy consumption—thanks to ever smaller chips— has seen significant decreases. While COM Express permits a maximum performance of 188 watts, contemporary processors such as Intel’s Atom Z5xx series feature chipsets (Intel System Controller Hub US15W) that consume less than 5 watts. We can expect to see the development of even more energy-efficient x86 processor platforms in the future. Unlike

14

June 2008

previous module standards, QSeven is specifically designed for mobile and battery-operated applications. Additionally, its interfaces look to the future and are compatible with state-of-theart mobile chipsets. The name QSeven is derived from “quadratic,” which is represented by the Q, and Seven refers to the 7x7 cm² size of the module. Such a footprint enables the development of high-performance and extremely energy-efficient x86 PC platforms with comprehensive interface possibilities. What’s more, this is achieved using a compact construction scale that facilitates integration into handheld devices (Figure 1). Unlike most previous module standards, QSeven does not require an expensive boardto-board connector. Instead, it utilizes a very affordable MXM card slot with 230 pins in a 0.5 mm configuration. This slot is already being used for graphics cards in laptop computers, so it is capable of the high-speed PEG (PCI Express Graphics) data transfers. Despite the small size, its construction is very robust (with a 1.2 mm thick PCB). This makes it very attractive for mobile applications. This MXM slot connector is produced by three manufac-


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

turers in two different heights, and there is also an inverted model available. This enables additional flexibility during the design phase of carrier boards. Such affordable MXM slots are only required for carrier boards. The CPU module has edge fingers that are inserted into the slot so an additional connector on the module is not required, thereby reducing costs. The reliability and efficiency of direct card connectors have been demonstrated by memory modules and the use of AMC computer modules in telecommunications applications (http://www.picmg.org/v2internal/AdvancedMC.htm). Unlike other memory modules, the QSeven module is not held in place by the card alone. Instead, four screws and spacers (5 mm or 2.7 mm, depending on the height of the slot) provide stability. This type of mounting meets high shock and vibration specifications. To support the feature set of current and future mobile chipset/CPU combinations, QSeven only defines current interfigure.ONE

QSeven is a new small form factor only 7 cm on a side with 5V supply targeted at powerful mobile and embedded applications using a host of modern interfaces and consuming under 12W.

faces. Older “legacy interfaces,” such as Parallel IDE and PCI Bus, have been deliberately omitted to avoid the additional effort and associated costs of supporting older interfaces (Figure 2). QSeven defines the following interfaces: • 4x PCI Express x1 Lanes • 2x SATA • 6x USB 2.0 • 2x ExpressCard • 2x SDIO • I²C Bus • High Definition Audio (HDA) • 1x Gigabit Ethernet • Graphic Interfaces • LVDS 2x24 Bit (with DisplayID flat panel detection) • SDVO • DisplayPort • HDMI • VIP (Digital Video Input) Together, the four PCI Express Lanes enable a data transfer rate of about 8 Gbits/s in each direction. Compared with the up to 22 PCI Express Lanes of COM Express, this may not seem like much. However, such high I/O bandwidth is only required for server side or high-end graphics applications rather than for mobile devices. SATA is the logical successor to the EIDE Interface. Until recently, the parallel IDE interface was frequently deployed in embedded applications to control the tough and affordable CompactFlash cards used as bulk memory. Over time, however, SD-Cards have become the cheaper alternative and are now also available for industrial applications. The two SDIO interfaces enable SDCards to be used as bulk memory, but the interface also allows further flexibility. The Secure Digital Standard enables memory devices and applications such as

WLAN, Bluetooth, RFID, etc. with the same card format. These add-on cards are very compact, tough and suitable for extending mobile systems. The audio properties of an embedded solution based on QSeven are determined by the carrier board. Thanks to HDA (High Definition Audio), an audio codec with numerous channels and a very high sampling rate can be placed on the carrier board. A dynamic configuration of the audio connector and multimedia surround sound are also thus possible. The video interfaces have been designed with increased flexibility: in addition to the digital video input, a total of four different output possibilities are defined. For the “classical” control of a flat panel display directly via Low Voltage Differential Signal (LVDS), the QSeven module requires additional information about the connected display so that it can adjust to the output resolution and data timing. This is accomplished using DisplayID (see www.vesa.org). In a nutshell, a standard data format, as defined by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), is read from the display unit with the help of the I²C Bus, and then interpreted by the video BIOS. This enables “plug and play” functionality and makes complicated display adaptations a thing of the past. The LVDS interface has been specifically designed with a higher 2x24 bandwidth so that it can deliver the benefits of technological advances in high resolution display to small displays as well. In addition to the local LVDS display, a second graphics port enables an additional display to be used no matter what resolution or content is displayed. The physical signals of this graphics port are used by SDVO, DisplayPort and TDMS. A hot plug mechanism detects what type of interface the customer is using and then configures the graphics controller accordingly.

June 2008

15


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

To meet the growing demands that customers are making regarding the control of displays, the graphics controllers from different chipset manufacturers are already making SDVO, DisplayPort and TDMS available via the second graph-

ics port. With the correct encoder components or via a regular ADD-2 adapter card, the Intel SDVO (Serial Digital Video Out) interface enables the implementation of a further DVI, HDMI or TV-Out interface.

figure.two

Physical dimensions of a QSeven board including the heat transmission strip and the 230-pin edge connector.

DisplayPort is one of the latest VESA definitions (www.vesa.org) and is being treated as a “hot candidate” to be the successor of today’s standard HDMI interface. Unlike HDMI, DisplayPort is a free open standard, thus guaranteeing widespread adoption. Compared with DVI, TDMS and LVDS, DisplayPort offers an extendable, packet-based protocol that can carry additional information, such as audio, in addition to pure display data. With a mere four differential channels, up to 10.8 Gbit/s (DVI 4.95 Gbit/s, LVDS 2.835 Gbit/s) can be transferred. This is the equivalent of simultaneous transfers of 6 HDTV video channels. DisplayPort defines both an external and an internal slot, thus ensuring that it can easily be used in embedded systems as well. The power supply for QSeven modules has been defined at an easily manageable 5V. This voltage is normally already available on the carrier board for supplying USB and other external devices. To make use of its advanced energy conserving abilities, an additional 5V standby voltage should also be available. All the signals required for the simple implementation of battery-operated devices are already defined by the standard.

16

June Month 2008 2008


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SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

QSeven embedded computer modules are equipped with additional functions for industrial applications. Examples of this include Watchdog Timer, I²C Bus, LCD brightness control, BIOS user storage area and the reading of system temperatures.

Due to the fact that no standardized software interface for these functions has been defined to date, the theoretical exchangeability of COMs has in practice proven to be more difficult than expected. In order to generally avoid the software modifica-

tions that such situations would require, the QSeven specification includes a consistent software API. QSeven modules from different manufacturers can thus be easily exchanged without modifications to hardware or software. At 12 watts, the maximum performance of QSeven modules matches that of modern mobile technologies. At around 5 watts, the first QSeven modules remain well below this upper limit. Keep in mind that even 5 watt performance generates heat that must be dissipated. There is therefore a 5 mm wide cooling strip in the upper area of the QSeven module. All internal and external layers of this cooling strip are made of solid copper and are thermally interlinked with numerous contacts. The internal layers are connected to the heat-generating components such as CPU, chipset and memory. Since all the components are soldered, most of the heat generated is transferred to the PCB. From there it’s transferred via the copper elements to the cooling strip. There the thermal energy can be directed via metal blocks to the system’s housing, the carrier board or another appropriate medium. Near the upper portion of the maximum 12 watt limit, it may be necessary to further improve the transfer of thermal energy to the cooling area via a metal strip. This solution is also foreseen in the QSeven specification. QSeven was initiated by congatec AG and Seco. QSeven is currently also actively supported by MSC Vertriebs GmbH, Hectronic, Portwell, Grossenbacher System AG and IEI. The specification is freely available and may be used without any license fees. Membership in the QSeven Consortium is also free of charge. For more details, visit www.Qseven-standard.org. congatecAG Deggendorf, Germany. +49 0991-2700-0. [www.congatec.com].

1 18Untitled-2 June 2008

3/10/08 10:30:24 AM


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Take the CoreExpress into a

New World CoreExpress represents an altogether new modular design the size of a credit card with a focus on the future. All legacy interfaces and functions have been eliminated. by Hermann Strass for LiPPERT Embedded Computers

T

raditional computer systems follow two basic designs. PCs and servers in commercial, home or telecom applications are built on a motherboard with few or no plug-in boards. Such systems are mostly identical and there is normally no need for changes or upgrades during their (relatively short) lifetime. Industrial computers and some telecom systems are completely modular. The electronic components are all on plug-in cards, which are plugged into a passive backplane. Industrial systems are orders of magnitude more diverse and have to perform for much longer periods than office systems. Initially most designs had the CPU, memory and other central parts on the carrier board. The fast pace of CPU development made it more economical to put the CPU (Computer) on the module for easy upgrade and system enhancement. This design is known under the name “Computer-on-Module� (COM). The user or system developer no longer needs to waste time with computer chip internals or interfacing, different types of memory, displays

20

June 2008

or I/O interfaces. He gets a tested and working system component. With such a product the user or system designer can concentrate on optimizing the application. In recent years, embedded PC manufacturers have developed many small modular computer system platforms that can be embedded into functional devices and computeron-module systems (COMs). These modules or boards were marginally smaller than traditional PC system components. They used available processor and chipset technology. Low power consumption and really small sizes for mobile applications were hard to achieve. The environmental and technical constraints were those of legacy PC technology. There are also speed issues with the existing COM platforms. They will experience problems with the high data rates of the newer and faster serial interconnects. The legacy connectors cannot transfer their high-frequency signals.

A New Approach

The CoreExpress design uses the latest chip and module production technology, creating an Advanced COM Specification (ACS).


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

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The CoreExpress specification targets a family of power-saving, compact and flexible modules that support transmission rates up to 5 Gbits/s and more in future implementations. This high-speed design is ready for future speed improvements of PCIe 2.0 (5 Mbit/s) and USB 3.0 (approx. 4.8 Gbit/s) without any changes. As the name implies, CoreExpress-compliant modules provide only the basic functional units of an embedded computer system, like the chipset (including the System Controller Hub), CPU, memory and voltage regulators for these chips. Additional management functions like power sequencing are handled by the System Management Controller (SMC). The BIOS software is stored in a flash memory chip. The module uses the well-established 220-pin high-density connector to connect to the carrier board or module. The carrier may be equipped with analog components, legacy and application-specific interfaces, as required (Figure 1).

The CoreExpress module at 58 mm x 65 mm (2.28” x 2.56”) is smaller than a credit card (Figure 2). This is currently the smallest embedded PC form factor in the industry. It weighs only 26g—just under one ounce. The analog interfaces and circuit traces have been removed from the CoreExpress-ECO module to avoid signal interference between digital and analog elements interspersed on the same module. Components have been and will be selected with guaranteed availability for seven years or more. Industrial applications may typically run pretty much unchanged for even longer periods of time. They may be upgraded or expanded from time to time with the same or compatible qualified products. The CoreExpress design is modular, flexible and designed for long productive life, including upgrades, as required in most industrial and professional applications.

The discussion about climate change and the ever increasing energy prices make power consumption a very important factor for coming electronic appliances. The CoreExpress-ECO module with a maximum power consumption of 5W compares very favorably with typical COM Express modules at 20W or more in power consumption. Two examples might illustrate the significance of this reduction in power consumption by a factor of four. Take a chain of department stores with a few thousand branches. If there are, on average, 10 POS systems in each branch, the amount of energy to be saved by using low-power embedded systems can be enormous. Banks and insurance companies, which use lots of thin clients to access their data, also benefit from these potential savings. This results in a positive influence on the environment. The CoreExpress modules are supported with an evaluation and development board or starter kit, based on the EPIC platform (Figure 3). This platform provides abilities to attach PC/104+, ISA and PCI components. The assortment of interfaces provides for flexible, application-specific system configurations. Operating system support is planned to include Windows, QNX and Linux. Lippert Embedded Computers and their licensees (cooperation partners) are currently refining test procedures for interoperability testing. The CoreExpress license is free of charge. But products that carry the CoreExpress name and/or logo must be tested and certified for interoperability. Mere compliance and compatibility with pin assignments and signal levels, as is found with some other specifications or standards, is not enough. CoreExpress products will be tested for true interoperability with other certified products. This ensures interoperability not only at initial installation but also later during the product’s lifetime when add-ons or

June 2008

21


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

replacements are needed. This is required in industrial applications.

Implementation

The first CoreExpress implementation, the CoreExpress-ECO, is based on Intel’s Atom platform and consists of the Z510 (1.1 GHz) or Z530 (1.6 GHz) CPU in 45nm feature size and the SCH US15W chipset. This Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) is designed for minimum power consumption and maximum integration density. It supports all interfaces that are of importance for embedded applications. The long list of CoreExpress interfaces includes these widely used serial interconnects: • 5 – PCIe x1 (optionally 1 x4 PCIe and 1 x1 PCIe) • 8 – USB 2.0 host (alternatively 1 client) • 4 – SATA 2.0 (alternatively 1 PATA) There are nine additional modern interfaces for applications that need graphics (SDVO & LVDS), digital I/O (8-bit SDIO/MMC), fast data transfer (Gbit MAC/GLCI), system management (SMB & SPI), fieldbus connectivity (CAN), audio (HD Audio) and for legacy I/Os on the carrier board, and LPC 1.0. The SDVO interface from Intel can provide several different graphics transport protocols, like DVI, TV-OUT, HDTV-OUT and others. LVDS provides an additional single-channel graphics interface for flat panel displays. The digital gigabit MAC interface (GLCI) keeps analog circuits away from the CoreExpress module. However, it provides the possibility to use either a traditional copper Ethernet-PHY or an optical transmission line on the carrier board. The heat sink for the processor has been designed to protect the CoreExpress module against Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI). This greatly simplifies the system designer’s task when using a plastic enclosure (Figure 4). The Fail-Safe-BIOS interface en-

22

June 2008

ables a new boot from protected BIOS if a BIOS update fails for any reason to facilitate a new start for an upgrade operation. No user intervention is needed for this task. Management functions, like power sequencing and others, are handled by the System Management Controller (SMC). These SMC functions are building blocks for customer-specific condition monitoring and system performance monitoring applications.

Applications

CoreExpress modules find application in many market segments, like: • Graphics (displays, cameras, machine vision) • Communications (mobile servers, switches, routers) • Medical (mobile healthcare) • Military • Processing (mobile embedded PC, POI, POS) • Control (robotics, traffic supervision/control)

figure.TWO

The CoreExpress-ECO module is slightly smaller than a credit or business card.

Graphics are very important in industrial systems to provide a visual representation of process flow, parts flow on an assembly, visual inspection of parts and similar operations. The flexibility and selection of graphics interfaces support such graphics-intensive applications. A broad selection of standardized communications interfaces meets the needs of complex industrial applications. In mobile healthcare, the small size, light weight and sensor interfaces meet the needs of such applications. Military applications benefit

figure.three

Exploded view of CoreExpress-ECO module (upper left) on an evaluation board.


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

CoreExpress module including heat sink and EMC shield ready for mounting on a carrier board.

from the robustness of the small size, low power and mechanically simple design. Very small, high-performance CPUs and the small size make CoreExpress modules an optimal solution for processing and control applications. The CoreExpress concept anticipates further component integration by several processor manufacturers who plan to integrate DRAM and a graphics controller with the CPU. When this is achieved, the only missing element for a highly integrated embedded PC is a really fast interface from the core to the I/O chipset. Multiple PCIe 2.0 lanes could handle the job, as well as a new generation of highspeed I/O bus or link. The designer can then create application-specific interfaces based on this ACS. Using an FPGA creates a very flexible design and secure type of copy protection for this type of system. The flexibility and functionality of the CoreExpress design will open other market segments in the future. The CoreExpress ACS is a very promising solution for future COM (Computer-on-Module) implementations that has been especially designed for lowpower applications using the latest semiconductor technology. The focus on the embedded PC’s core functionality while employing current high-speed interfaces,

together with its ease of use, opens many new market segments for this concept. With these interfaces, all on a single high-speed 220 pin connector, CoreExpress is well equipped for future chip technologies. Lippert Embedded Computers will also offer CoreExpress modules that are qualified for the extended temperature range E2 (-40° to +85°C). All CoreExpress modules will be constructed for passive cooling only. This new design is able to handle the technological advancements and serves as a base for new and future embedded PC applications. Today electronic circuits have become extremely small and highly integrated. In many applications there is only a carrier board and a smaller plug-on module. A CoreExpress module does not handle legacy I/O. These functions can be implemented easily on the carrier board using USB bridges, if required. There are no analog signals on CoreExpress-ECO modules. The purely digital concept gives the user maximum flexibility when selecting components for the required interfaces. Problems of signal-level attenuation and similar analog issues are avoided with this “digital only” concept. Although the first member of the CoreExpress family is based on the Intel Atom processor, it is by no means restricted to this platform. Future Small Form Factor (SFF) chipsets, which are suitable for industrial, medical or military applications, will also be supported. The CoreExpress design is flexible enough to support such embedded PC platforms. LiPPERT Embedded Computers Atlanta, GA. (404) 459-2870. [www.lippertembedded.com].

Highscore

for

Intel, Pentium, Atom, Core and Celeron are registered trademarks of the Intel corp. Geode is a registered trademark of the Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

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Lowest Power to Highest Performance Computer-On-Module Family

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AMD Geode™ LX800 500 MHz

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Complete Battery Managment Solution Rich Embedded BIOS Features Automatic Flat Panel Detection Design-In and Lifecycle Support

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June 2008

23

6/10/08 11:37:12 AM


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

Express104 Defines the Next Generation

of Small, Stackable Embedded Computing Modules

Addressing a new generation of processors, demands for low power, compact size and modern, high-speed interconnect technology, Express104 is the first form factor to put the new SUMIT interconnects to work for embedded applications. by Robert A. Burckle, WinSystems

T

he embedded computing marketplace is as fragmented as it is diverse, often creating painful “either/or” decisions for both suppliers and users of plug-in I/O boards. A new connector specification called the Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology (SUMIT) has been introduced to deliver a form-factor-independent interconnect that accommodates I/O boards small and large, fast and slow, simple and complex. Express104, which was introduced at the Embedded Systems Conference in April 2008, is the first application of SUMIT technology. Express104 is a small, stackable, cost-effective embedded board architecture designed for I/O-centric as well as high-performance applications. It is a bridge to the future with a legacy option for supporting the vast installed base of PC/104 modules and enclosures. SUMIT is the creation of a new trade organization called the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG). It was formed in the fall of 2007 with a charter to develop and promote specifications to help manufacturers and integrators of electronic

24

June 2008

equipment reduce the overall size of their next-generation systems. The philosophy of the SFF-SIG is to embrace the latest technologies available for long-lifecycle systems while maintaining legacy compatibility to enable easy transitions to new chipset interfaces. The SIG’s specifications are intended to accommodate today’s and tomorrow’s lower-power and more highly integrated processors, chipsets and memory based on 90nm, 65nm and 45nm processes, as well as robust higher-density connectors and the high-speed serial interfaces that are replacing the parallel interfaces of the past. Version 1.0 of SUMIT was released April 15, 2008, the same time as the Express104 specification. Express104 is defined as a stackable 90 mm x 96 mm size board with two 52-pin, high-speed connectors capable of supporting current and future PCI Express and USB data rates as well as other moderate speed interfaces for I/O expansion. It provides the basis for an I/O-centric, multi-board solution that is processor architecture and chipset independent. The specification contains support for very low


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

SUMIT is built on a very small, dense, high-speed connector containing 52 pins arranged in two rows. As shown in Figure 1, a ground blade is incorporated between the rows to help provide the impedance control that is critical for handling high data rates. Additional benefits include EMI performance and DC ground current return. The Samtec QFS/QMS

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Micro High Speed Series of pin-andsocket connectors, with a fine pin pitch of 0.635 mm (0.0250 inch), meets SUMIT’s requirements for density, signal integrity and ruggedness. Actual signal integrity test results demonstrate that a stack of Express104 modules will support data rates of 5 GTransfers/s, which is required for PCI Express Generation 2 and USB 3. The connectors are small, rugged and engineered to work with standoffs in a multiboard stack. Taking up a small fraction of the board real-estate required by traditional pin-and-socket connectors, the SUMIT connectors consume only 4% of the total board area of an Express104 card yet offer tremendous bandwidth and I/O connectivity. There are two major reasons to have two separate 52-pin connectors in SUMIT as opposed to a single two-bank connector. Some of the latest chipsets map very well to the first connector by itself, so SBCs are not penalized for the additional cost and precious board space of pins that are not even used. SUMIT is not only for 20-40watt three-chip x86 solutions, but for the new sub-10-watt two-chip solutions as well. Secondly, best practices for PCI Express routing and power filtering are achieved with separate connectors and enough space in between for traces and bypass capacitors, versus a two-bank connector that doesn’t satisfy either requirement. Imposing a sin-

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gle two-bank connector would have meant unnecessary compromises. On a single 52-pin high-speed SUMIT Type A (shorthand: SUMIT-A) connector, Express104 supports one PCI Express x1 (“by one”) link with 2.5 times the bandwidth of the old PCI-104 parallel PCI connector, three high-speed USB 2.0 interfaces, LPC (Low Pin Count) Bus, SPI/uWire and SMBus/I²C Bus signals. A second identical 52-pin SUMIT-B connector supports one additional x1 PCI Express link and one x4 (“by four”) PCI Express link plus additional power, ground and control signals. The total number of pins for both connectors is 104 (hence the name Express104) and its configuration is referred to collectively as SUMIT Type AB (shorthand: SUMIT-AB). Collectively, SUMIT-A and SUMIT-B unify the I/O requirements across virtually any standard or custom board form factor. All Express104 expansion modules must include the SUMIT-A connector,

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The SERIRQ signal is necessary to support ISA-style interrupts, for example with an external ISA bridge. Some legacy software and I/O still depend heavily on these interrupts, and SUMIT acknowledges the importance of a legacy-friendly architecture. With all these features, the Express104 Specification enables small, rugged and reliable SBCs and I/O modules for new computer systems that are powerful, easy-to-use, cost-effective and scalable. Low-cost, high-performance computer systems can be built for a variety of different embedded applications. These application areas include transportation, medical, industrial automation, Mil/COTS, homeland security, energy, and communications sectors.

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power and ultra mobile processors that support “green” computing initiatives for compact embedded systems. Express104 supports the following I/O connectivity technologies: • Two PCI Express x1 links • One PCI Express x4 link • Presence detect signals to allow SBCs to disable unused clocks • Three USB channels • Two SPI/uWire channels • System Management Bus (SMbus/I²C) • Low Pin Count (LPC) bus with SERIRQ • PC/104 (Legacy Option)

SUMIT-AB connector placement on an Express104 module.

June 2008

25


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

figure.Three 7

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which is the one on the upper right in Figure 2. All expansion boards must either include both SUMIT-AB connectors or must include a keep-out area where the Type B connector is located, both top and bottom. This keep-out area has a maximum height restriction of 5.08 mm (0.200 inch). The keep-out area ensures that modules with SUMIT-AB connectors can plug into modules with only a SUMIT-A connector without mechanical interference. The board-to-board stack height is 15.24 mm (0.600 inch) and is measured from the top of one board to the bottom of the next. This is the mated height of the Samtec QMS/QFS pair, as well as that of the appropriate standoff length for mounting boards together. A total of four 0.125inch (inside diameter) holes are defined for threaded spacers that are used to provide accurate board separation and rigidity. The stacking order for the Express104 modules is significant. An Express104 expansion module with a PCIe x4 link must be closest to the root SBC. Next would be an Express104 expansion module with a PCIe x1 link. Stacked above that would be any USB, SPI/uWire, SMBus/I²C and/or LPC modules. Finally any legacy PC/104compatible (ISA Bus) modules would be on the top of the stack. Alternatively, SBCs can support PC/104 Bus I/O cards below the SBC by using a stack-through connector on the SBC.

PCI Express on Express104 Boards

Routing signals up a board stack can be a challenging task, especially when it

26

June 2008

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comes to high-frequency signals. PCI Express in particular requires careful consideration when laying out a processor or I/O expansion board. In fact, for any extremely high-speed differential signaling environment, the symmetry of the circuit is of utmost importance. Matching each segment pair length, matching left hand and right hand turns for the pair, placing vias or components symmetrically in the signal path, routing the trace pair symmetrically to these features, and using only the outer layers of the board are critical to minimize impedance, reflection and flight time mismatches that degrade signal quality at these frequencies. Great care has been taken with the design and specification of Express104 to make sure that the high-frequency signals can be easily routed according to the PCI Express guidelines with the fewest number of vias both on the CPU and the I/O cards (Figure3). The PCI-SIG is the primary source for details about rules and best practices. Also, each PCI Express x1 link utilizes an auto alignment topology routing

up the stack in which links that are used by the expansion card are automatically selected and the remaining unused signals are simply shifted to the lower link’s pins on the top connector for use by the next board. This passing of signals “up the bus” is analogous to the way PCI interrupts have been routed in a rotating method on PC motherboards for more than a decade. Cards can use one or more links from their connector while the remaining links are routed to the next board or connector, justified back to the first pin. All expansion modules are exactly the same from the connector pin definition perspective. One of the design features of an Express104 stacking I/O expansion module is to not require any jumpers for address or slot alignment. This would be required due to the nature of implementing a pointto-point architecture in a self-stacking design compared to previous generations of parallel bus technologies using throughhole stacking connectors. By contrast, Express104 uses a pair of surface mount connectors that allows one or more PCI Express x1 controllers to be mounted on


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

an I/O expansion module. This feature allows automatic link alignment, which eliminates the need for jumpers or special stacking order. Boards not supporting PCI Express simply pass all signals straight up the stack from one connector to another. An Express104 expansion module with a single x1 PCI Express controller is always wired to Link A on the “bottom” side connector. On the “top” connector, Link A will be wired from Link B on the bottom connector. Link B has no connections on the top connector of a card that consumes and re-aligns PCIe signals (Figure 4). An Express104 expansion module that consumes the x4 PCI Express link has no connections on the top connector for these pins. The SUMIT-B connector is on the bottom of the module only. PCI Express links are point-to-point only, not multi-drop like legacy parallel PCI. When not using the x4 link, pass the signals straight up the bus from top to bottom. When passing through any PCIe x1 link, associated clock and presence detect pins for that link must also be passed up directly or auto aligned with the parent signals. There is a clock for each link so that all Generation 1 and Generation 2 devices can be supported. SBCs may choose to disable unused clocks to further save power and reduce EMI, a nice feature of SUMIT for “green” computing that is lacking in other board-to-board interconnects.

Legacy Support

Even though Express104 only needs SUMIT connectors, a special configuration has been defined to support PC/104 modules. PC/104 I/O modules are still heavily in use by system OEMs today. There are many I/O cards available that offer a wide variety of I/O interface solutions especially for embedded applications. Since PC/104 is well known and easy to use, a designer can either develop his or her own specialty I/O board inhouse or select from among hundreds of off-the-shelf solutions. The reliable, easyto-interface PC/104 Bus and a great number of various inexpensive I/O modules are worth preserving.

Express104 can maintain legacy support for the vast number of PC/104 standard and custom expansion I/O modules and enclosures available worldwide. This is done by defining the location and use of the legacy PC/104 connector, which maintains its same placement, physical dimensions and mounting holes. However, Express104 has the SUMIT-AB connectors located in the area where the PCI-104 connector was placed for PC/104-Plus and PCI-104-compatible boards and modules. This yields twice the bandwidth in a quarter of the space. Express104 provides a sensible transition from current-generation parallel busbased systems to next-generation systems based on high-speed, point-to-point interconnects such as PCI Express. Further, with Express104, there’s no need to make a sharp break from the past when it’s not necessary. This lets equipment makers continue to use legacy hardware and software while features and performance capabilities are still fine for their application. Express104 provides an inclusive next-generation vehicle for compact “green” embedded computers, providing a common set of well-supported low-, medium- and high-speed serial interfaces. The connector specified by SUMIT is both robust and low cost, and it satisfies a broad gamut of performance requirements ranging from an A-only implementation of a simple, low-speed serial bus to a high-bandwidth A/B implementation with two x1 and one x4 PCI Express lanes. That’s a set of characteristics to satisfy a broad slice of embedded applications and to offer unification as an answer to the fragmentation of the embedded computing world today. Small Form Factor SIG [www.sff-sig.org]. WinSystems Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [www.winsystems.com].

Untitled-5 1

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SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS INDUSTRY Insight

Pico-ITXâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;

The Next Big Thing in Small Form Factors With the new diminutive dimensions of the Pico-ITX form factor, you can expect to see a lot of ingenious devices that break ground in previously impossible applications. As a PC main board with such small dimensions, Pico-ITX-based computing can pop up just about anywhere. by John Lin, VIA Technologies

S

pace can be a major concern when designing embedded systems. Certain applications have requirements for dimensions. For example, a backseat entertainment computer should ideally fit within the dimensions of a seat. There is no exception and no flexibility in those space requirements. It would be completely unacceptable (not to mention hazardous) to have parts of the system sticking out of front end of the headrest. While it may be possible to extend cables from a display to a system mounted on the floorboard or under a seat, space in a vehicle is still limited. Generally, for an embedded system, small is a good thing because quite often, the embedded computer will be integrated as part of another object. In such situations, smaller dimensions make it easier for embedded systems designers to orient the embedded computer without affecting the outer design of the device too much (if at all). The Pico-ITX form factor is the smallest form factor currently available that is intended to support a complete x86 platform. Its

28

Month June 2008 2008

dimensions are a mere 100 mm by 72 mm. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about the size of a standard notebook hard disk drive. There are many choices in form factors. What makes the Pico-ITX stand out? Why choose this form factor over another? First, the small dimensions of the Pico-ITX form factor make it possible for you to design for small spaces instead of trying hard to design around a form factor. Trying to design around a form factor is like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. With enough persistence, it can be accomplished, but the end result is not likely to be pretty. The small dimensions of the Pico-ITX form factor make it so that the embedded system designer does not have to compromise too much on the aesthetics of the design. The small dimensions make it possible to orient the board in different ways. For example, the Pico-ITX form factor can be applied across many industries. One example is an industrial PC called the DeLOCK DL-18HD. This computer was designed for use in industrial zones. Its chassis is designed to be DIN rail mountable. Because it is based


SMALL FORM FACTORINDUSTRY BOARDS Insight

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Pico-ITX dimensions compared with two popular small form factors. figure.two

SUMIT expansion interface vs. traditional connectors.

on a Pico-ITX form factor mainboard, its overall size is ultra compact—making it suitable for industrial automation control applications where space is an issue. To give an idea about the size of the DL18HD, it is not much larger than a typical DIN rail circuit breaker. Even with such

Pico-ITX Express with SUMIT module stacked on.

compact dimensions, the DL-18HD affords full x86 computing power. Second, it is completely independent. Unlike COM Express or PC/104, the PicoITX form factor is intended to be a self-reliant mainboard. It does not need a carrier board or other boards to become a functioning system. Though the PC/104 and COM Express form factors are also similarly small, they require additional boards to become functional. These additional boards end up increasing the dimensions of the embedded system (Figure 1). Third, according to the Small Form Factors Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG), the official Pico-ITX form factor specification, which is being drafted by the Pico-ITX Incubator Group, will include support for the SUMIT expansion interface in the future. This new technology integrates common serial and legacy expansion buses into one compact connector. SUMIT connector A provides access to one x1 PCIe 2.0, three Hi-Speed USB 2.0, LPC, SPI, SMBus and ExpressCard devices.[3] SUMIT connector B provides additional support for one x1 PCIe 2.0 and one x4 PCIe 2.0 device (Figure 2).

Robert Kuo, the father of the MiniITX and Nano-ITX, commented that this new Pico-ITX specification will most likely be named “Pico-ITX Express” in order to differentiate it from the original Pico-ITX small form factor. Like the original Pico-ITX form factor, boards based on the Pico-ITX Express form factor will retain full functionality without the need for additional I/O boards. Though the Pico-ITX Express small form factor has the ability to use stackable modules with SUMIT connectors, it is not designed to be dependent on other I/O boards. The Pico-ITX Express is the only small form factor that possesses the duality of both independence and modularity.

Possible Applications for Pico-ITX

Because of the diminutive size of the Pico-ITX form factor, new areas of application are now more likely to be possible. One new area of application is in the education sector. More and more universities and schools are requiring students to bring a notebook computer to school. As far as education goes, there are several problems

Month June 2008

29


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS Software&DevelopmentTools

figure.four

Patent-pending educational PC using the Pico-ITX form factor.

with notebook computers: 1) they can be easily dropped and broken, 2) they can be stolen, 3) when open, they obstruct the view, and 4) when open they create a psychological barrier between two people. In a classroom setting, that would mean a barrier between student and teacher. So what kind of embedded system could solve all of these problems? An embedded system integrated with the school desk. In a classroom setting, the connection between teacher and student should remain unobstructed. Flipping open a notebook creates a barrier that impedes learning and enables students to hide a PSP behind the display. So a tablet PC might seem to be the answer. Yes, except that tablet PCs are prone to problems 1 and 2. On the other hand, it would be difficult to drop a desk because typical school desks are awkwardly shaped and easily weigh in at 30 to 70 pounds (never mind stealing one).

A Pico-ITX main board can easily be mounted under the desktop. Meanwhile, the desktop can also serve as the touch screen display, ensuring that nothing obstructs the view between the teacher and student (except other students) (Figure 4). Without a psychological barrier between student and teacher, information can be more easily communicated from the teacher to the student. Teachers can ensure that students are not cheating on tests if only the school desk PC is allowed. A common platform also makes it easier for a school IT department to control. It is easier to ensure that no one is installing programs they shouldn’t be installing. VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [www.via.com.tw].

MULTICORE SBCs, PCI Express, LEGACY CARD SLOTS

Visit www.TrentonTechnology.com

Trenton TQ9 Single Board Computer Trenton’s TQ9 is our latest long-life single board computing solution and is currently available and ready for deployment. The TQ9 is a graphics-class PICMG®

1.3 SBC that features a flexible x16 PCI Express™ interface while supporting up to 8GB of system memory on a single-processor SBC. The x16 link can be used for video cards or general-purpose option cards. The TQ9 features the latest dual- and quad-core processors from Intel®. To learn more, call us or visit us online at www.TrentonTechnology.com.

Trenton TQ9 features:

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processors (E8000, E6000 and E4000 series) Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processors (Q9000 series) ® • Intel Q35 Express Chipset featuring a1333MHz System Bus • Dual-channel DDR2-800 Memory (8GB maximum) • Enhanced backplane I/O interfaces including eSATA II 300, USB and Ethernet • On-board audio, video, USB and SATA II 300 interfaces with RAID support • Plus much more! • •

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: TRENTON Technology Inc.

Phone: (800) 875-6031 or (770) 287-3100 • Fax (770) 287-3150 • www.TrentonTechnology.com 1 30Untitled-2 Month 2008

6/6/08 9:23:40 AM


PC/104 SHOWCASE

Featuring the latest in PC/104 Boards technology USB-AI Series Analog Input Modules

ACCES I/O Products, Inc.

High-speed USB 2.0 device with up to 500kHz sampling rate All functions fully software configurable 16-bit and 12-bit models with 16 single-ended or 8 differential inputs Eight input ranges, unipolar or bipolar Autocalibration and real-time hardware calibration and oversampling for accurate data USB/104 form-factor for OEM embedded applications Extended temperature and DIN rail mounting provisions

Phone: (858) 550-9559 E-mail: contactus@accesio.com Web: www.accesio.com Fax: (858) 550-7322

USB-IDIO-16 Optically Isolated I/O Module

ACCES I/O Products, Inc.

Phone: (858) 550-9559 E-mail: contactus@accesio.com Web: www.accesio.com Fax: (858) 550-7322

PC/104 Plus Industrial Operating Temp- Intel Pentium M SBC Pentium M up to 2.0GHz with 915 Chipset 1GB Soldered DDR 2 GigE Ports, 2 SATA, 6 USB2.0 Dual Independent LVDS Display -40°C to +85°C Operating Range 3 Year Standard Warrantee Type I/II Compact Flash Win XPE (or CE), Linux or QNX (preinstalled) Fastwel Corp. Phone: (877) 787-8443 E-mail: info@fastwelcorp.com Web: www.fastwelcorp.com Fax: (718) 797-0600

16 individually optically isolated inputs Polarity insensitive AC/DC inputs accept up to 60 VDC or AC RMS Jumper selectable filtering per input channel for AC or voltage transients 16 optically isolated FET high-side switches capable of switching up to 2A each Internal, removable screw terminal board for easy wiring OEM version (board only) features PC/104 module size and mounting compatibility

XM1 Saves Cost, Time and Space in Harsh Embedded Systems

MEN Micro, Inc.

XM1 Saves Cost, Time and Space in Harsh Embedded Systems ESMexpress-based (ANSI-VITA 59): reduced design costs, advanced cooling, rugged components Compact, space-saving design 1GB soldered DDR2 SDRAM Dissipates 7W power Added EMC protection Temperature range: -40°C to +85°C

Phone: (215) 542-9575 E-mail: sales@menmicro.com Web: www.menmicro.com Fax: (215) 542-9577

PEB-2736

Procelerant™ Z500

Intel Atom Processor Based ECX Embedded Board Intel Atom processor Z500 One 200-pin SODIMM supports DDR2 SDRAM up to 1GB One Type II CompactFlash and one IDE connector Dual independent display TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and UDM (USB-Disk Module) could be added

85mm x 70mm COM based on Intel® ATOM™ Processor 1.6GHz and 1.1GHZ Intel ATOM processor Up to 1GB DDR2 memory down Utilizes PICMG COM Express R1.0 Type 2 pinout MicroSD socket option Gigabit Ethernet and SATA port option Perfect fit for mobile and hand-held applications

American Portwell Technology, Inc.

RadiSys

Phone: (510) 403-3399 E-mail: info@portwell.com Web: www.portwell.com Fax: (510) 403-3184

Phone: (800) 950-0044 E-mail: info@radisys.com Web: www.radisys.com Fax: (503) 615-1121

PCI/104-Express Dual Gigabit Ethernet: CM9222

PC/104 and PC/104-Plus Modules: Small, Stackable and Rugged

Two Independent Gigabit Ethernet Connections Intel® 82575EB PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Controller 1000/100/10 Mbps RJ45 on each channel PCI/104-Express: PCIe stack through bus Full Duplex Support

x86-compatible Single Board Computers Analog, Digital, Serial, GPS, and USB I/O Modules GSM Cellular, 802.11 Wireless, ZigBee, Ethernet, and Modems Communication Modules SBC Quick Start Kits for Windows® XP, CE, and Linux -40˚ to +85˚C Operational Temperature 30-Day Product Evaluation Available

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.

WinSystems, Inc.

Phone: (814) 234-8087 E-mail: sales@rtd.com Web: www.rtd.com Fax: (814) 234-5218

Phone: (817) 274-7553 E-mail: info@winsystems.com Web: www.winsystems.com Fax: (817) 548-1358


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SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS INDUSTRY Insight

Standard COM Carrier Boards Offer Benefits Over Traditional SBCs

Computer-on-Module technologies hold promise for powerful and small embedded systems. Adding the concept of standard carrier boards for application-specific I/O can greatly reduce cabling, thermal and time-to-market bottlenecks. by Jonathan Miller and David Fastenau, Diamond Systems

E

mbedded systems designers are under pressure to reduce the cost and size of electronics while improving time-to-market and overall system reliability. Today, many systems use off-the-shelf x86 single board computers (SBCs) with I/O modules stacked above or below to implement the special-purpose I/O that makes the hardware fit the application requirements. Designers understand the benefits of using a proven offthe-shelf processor board while focusing their design efforts on the application-specific and frequently custom I/O that makes their application different from others. Traditional SBC-based systems were built using EBX or EPIC form factor SBCs or PC/104 CPUs. These boards provide expansion buses (PCI and ISA) to enable the inclusion of off-the-shelf I/O expansion modules from a broad ecosystem of PC/104 I/O modules that has grown over time to hundreds of modules from dozens of suppliers to meet diverse system level requirements (Figure 1). Yet standard SBC-based systems with large I/O requirements have a number of sig-

34

Month June 2008 2008

nificant drawbacks that have vexed embedded designers, including: • Relatively large sizes due to the number of add-on I/O boards • Packaging difficulties resulting from the somewhat odd format of a stack of boards with I/O connectors on all sides • The cabling nightmare driven by the need for transition cables between the SBC and I/O modules’ pin headers to appropriate connectors on the enclosure bulkhead • The incredible assembly and maintenance difficulties associated with a tightly integrated stack of boardsIncreased purchasing efforts and planning complexity resulting from dealing with a large number of suppliers • Increased system cost due to the presence of expensive interconnects between boards In response to these drawbacks of SBC and PC/104-based system architectures, the embedded board industry introduced Computeron-Module (COM) products, which shrank the


SMALL FORM FACTORINDUSTRY BOARDS Insight

CPU to a minimum footprint and brought all I/O through a small set of standardized connectors to application-specific COM carrier boards (also known as baseboards). The form factor of each baseboard may be customized to meet the needs of the application enclosure, frequently eliminating all transition cables. Application-specific I/O functionality can be implemented on the baseboard, eliminating multi-board stacks and enabling the I/O to meet the exact needs of the application.

figure.two

figure.one

Top view of the Neptune I/O-rich baseboard replaces the stack of cards in Figure 1.

Older designs consisted of cumbersome stacks of CPU and I/O cards.

COMs Tradeoffs

The attractiveness of a COM-based solution is demonstrated by the fact that COM CPUs far outsell (in unit volume) all standard small form factor SBCs, including PC/104 CPUs, combined. However, COM products bring two significant new requirements to the embedded designer. They require the design of a custom I/ O baseboard for the application, which brings with it the requirement to attain expertise in the needed I/O circuitry Until now, these requirements have limited COM solutions to high-volume

applications for OEMs with board design expertise or the willingness to pay highNRE board development fees to third parties. Frequently, time-to-market is extended while the custom board is designed and put into production and all the technical hurdles are overcome. OEMs who lack the confidence or skill to design their own baseboard or the NRE budget to pay others to implement a custom baseboard, as well as most small and medium volume OEMs who simply cannot tolerate the development cost either way, have elected to stay with an SBC or PC/104-based solution due to the lack of suitable alternatives. Now, for the first time, a middle ground has been created in the form of offthe-shelf I/O-rich COM carrier boards in standard SBC form factors, giving designers the best of the SBC and COM worlds without the budget and schedule risk associated with a full custom baseboard solution. Even better, these off-the-shelf baseboards can be customized if needed to particular application requirements (form factor, type and location of connectors, specific I/O functionality) for far less

cost and with much less risk than starting a custom I/O baseboard from scratch.

Best of Both Worlds

This new design paradigm enables traditional users of stackable single board computers (SBCs) to gain many of the benefits of a COM-based solution without having to deal with most of the drawbacks. It consists of an off-the-shelf application-oriented I/O-intensive computer-on-module carrier board mated with an industry-standard off-the-shelf COM CPU. Using this approach, a two-board “sandwich” (COM CPU plus carrier) provides a complete application solution that may have previously required three, four, five or more stackable I/O modules in addition to a CPU card. By using off-the-shelf industry standard COM modules as the CPU, each of these new carrier boards can support a wide performance range of solutions—effectively an instant product line. The new approach offers significant advantages over traditional stacked solutions in addition to greatly reducing overall system size. The

Month June 2008

35


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

MEN Micro’s XM1 ESMexpress® System-On-Module Make the Most of Intel® Atom™ Technology! figure.three

Bottom view of Neptune single board computer with an ETX CPU installed.

MEN Micro unites the Intel® AtomTM processor with modern serial bus technology and delivers:

Exceptional Performance: 1.6 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, PCI Express®, GB Ethernet, SATA, USB, SDVO, LVDS and HD audio.

Rugged, Low Power Designs: Combines non-socketed components with low power Intel® architecture that dissipates a maximum of 7 W from -40°C to +80°C.

ESMexpress® Standard Conformity: ANSI-VITA 59 (in process) specifies EMC-proof housing for convection or conduction cooling, shock/vibration resistant connectors and a compact 95 mm x 125 mm format.

approach enables a more reliable, easier to assemble solution with reduced and simplified cabling. In addition, widely popular COM CPUs are frequently much less costly than an equivalent CPU on a larger single board computer form factor. An example of the new direction is Diamond Systems’ Neptune SBC, implementing a rugged, extended temperature, I/O-rich high-integration ETX baseboard (Figure 2). The baseboard integrates the capabilities of five traditional PC/104 I/O modules into a single EPIC-sized board.

Unlike ATX-style reference design carrier boards offered by COM suppliers, this baseboard is intended as a standard product for production deployment. However, as OEM production volumes grow, or if a different set of I/O is required, the baseboard design can be modified as needed. The use of the industry standard ETX interface offers a wide performance range of available ETX CPU modules. The ETX CPU plugs into the bottom of the baseboard, which allows the implementation of an efficient thermal solution by conducting the heat from the processor and chipset directly to the bottom surface of the enclosure. With an ETX module attached (Figure 3), the standard baseboard concept includes an extensive set of standard PC I/O such as four USB 2.0 ports, Serial ATA (S-ATA) and EIDE hard drive interfaces including CompactFlash socket and IDE Flashdisk interface, 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet controllers, six RS-232 serial ports (four with RS-422/485 capability), AC’97 audio, and legacy keyboard and

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36

Month 2008

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www.ESM-express.com

Untitled-1 1

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When it comes to rugged boards and systems for harsh, mobile and mission-critical environments, nobody delivers like MEN Micro!

MEN Micro, Inc. 24 North Main Street Ambler, PA 19002 Tel: 215.542.9575 E-mail: sales@menmicro.com

6/10/08 10:59:13 AM

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SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

The standard carrier board concept makes possible a family of single board computers, supporting different ETX CPU options installed on the bottom side, initially Neptune-LX with an AMD LX800 processor and Neptune-PM with a 1.4 GHz Pentium M 738 CPU. OEMs selecting a standard baseboard solution gain

Over the next several years, Diamond Systems will bring additional, application-specific ETX baseboards to market that will serve both as off-the-shelf solutions and as the starting point for a quick and easy customization to meet additional specific application needs. The goal is to deliver faster time-to-market with more efficient solutions, lower risk and lower cost. Many more embedded system manufacturers of all sizes can now move to the latest Computer-on-Module technologies and architectures without incurring the schedule, risk and cost of custom baseboard development. Diamond Systems Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. [www.diamondsystems.com].

Redefining the User Experience

PEG® GUI Development Tools

t

Customization

the benefit of COM CPU without the need to deal with the potential customization issues involved in the inclusion of other ETX CPU choices. For OEMs for whom the baseboard does not provide the specific I/O functionality required or who require a different form factor and/or connector implementation, Diamond Systems has announced their ETX-Based Application-Specific Program to customize the Neptune baseboard to a specific set of requirements. Due to the proven functional blocks of the design and components selected for long-term availability, customization of a COM baseboard is much less costly and time-consuming with much lower risk than starting a new baseboard design from scratch. Figure 4 represents how custom I/O blocks are attached to buses from the ETX module.

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mouse interfaces. While providing all this I/O, Neptune includes a PC/104-Plus expansion (PCI and ISA buses) interface to accommodate still more I/O if needed. This extensive collection of I/O features is organized conveniently as a row of pin headers along the front edge of the board. To eliminate transition cables altogether, an optional Panel I/O Board plugs directly into the front edge pin header row. Neptune also optionally offers advanced, comprehensive, integrated data acquisition capability, with 32 singleended (16 differential) analog inputs with 16-bit autocalibration A/D, 250 KHz sample rate and 1024 sample buffer, four analog outputs with 12-bit D/A and 100 KHz waveform output capability, 24 programmable digital I/O lines, 8 optically isolated digital inputs, 8 optically isolated digital outputs, and two counter/timers. The analog I/O circuitry supports interrupt A/D transfers and uses an enhanced FIFO with programmable threshold for maximum flexibility and data reliability. Unlike the typical ATX-style carrier boards that are large and require multiple input voltages, the embedded carrier board requires only a single input voltage. A wide input voltage range of 5-28V DC is supported on the board, without requiring an external power supply, making it suitable for many industrial and vehicular applications. Neptune packs all of the I/O and power circuitry into a tiny 4.5 x 6.5” (115 mm x 165 mm) board, in compliance with the EPIC 2.0 specification.

A family of portable graphics software for designing a high performance GUI for any embedded device. • Completely customizable • Multi-lingual support • High color depth support • Small footprint • Fast execution speed • Designed for cross platform application development

GRAPHICS SOFT WARE F OR EMBEDDED SYS TEMS WW W.SWE L L S OF T WA R E . CO M Untitled-5 1

810 - 3 85-2893

June4/13/08 2008

37

4:09:56 PM


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS INDUSTRY Insight

New PCI/104-Express Standard The PC/104 Embedded Consortium’s new standard, PCI/104Express, expands the usefulness of a host of existing standards in the PC/104 family while meeting users’ needs for increased speed with link throughputs up to 75 times faster than PCI via the PCI Express bus. by J im Blazer, RTD Embedded Technologies Technical Chairman, PC/104 Consortium

I

ncorporating the PCI Express bus within the industry-proven PC/104 form factor brings many advantages to users including fast data transfer, low cost due to PC/104’s unique selfstacking bus, high reliability due to PC/104’s inherent ruggedness, and long-term sustainability. The 68-member consortium chose PCI Express as its new standard for embedded applications because of its full PC market adoption, performance, scalability, and growing silicon availability worldwide. It provides a new high-performance physical interface while retaining software compatibility with existing PCI infrastructure. Twentytwo member companies participated in the PCI/104-Express specification development. The PC/104 Embedded Consortium adopted the PCI/104-Express specification by member vote in March 2008. In defining an addition of PCI Express to PC/104, the consortium board aimed to preserve the attributes that have made PC/104 so successful in embedded applications. The PCI/104-Express module size, like others in the PC/104 family, is a compact 3.6 by 3.8

38

Month June 2008 2008

inch (90 x 96 mm). The boards self-stack so stacks can expand without backplanes or card cages. Rugged, reliable connectors ensure reliability in harsh environments, and four corner mounting holes increase resistance to shock and vibration. Full PC compatibility reduces end-user development costs and improves their time-to-market. In addition, the PC/104 Embedded Consortium board determined that this new, stackable form of PCI Express had to maintain backward compatibility with the organization’s current specifications and form factors. The design needed to support automatic detection of up or down stacking and had to have automatic link shifting to allow simplified, universal add-on module designs. The PCI/104-Express design approach provides a consistent and interchangeable path for the stackable PC architecture across the consortium’s 104, EPIC and EBX form factors (Figure 1). PC/104 stackable embedded PCs have followed the desktop PC, leveraging on the hardware and software support developed for this popular platform (Figure 2). PCIe/104 is


SMALL FORM FACTORINDUSTRY BOARDS Insight

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PCI/104-Express Connector Overview

PCI/104-Express uses two connectors: the PCI Express bus connector and the PCI-104 bus connector. The PCI Express bus connector features four x1 PCIe links and one x16 PCIe link. The x16 link is optionally configurable as two x8 links, two x4 PCIe links, or two SDVO Inter-

faces. Power capabilities include +3.3V, +5V and +12V. ATX power and control signals include +5V standby, power supply on and power OK. The PCI Express connector was specifically designed and tested for the PC/104 Embedded Consortium. The connectors precisely match the PC/104 standard 0.600 inch (15.24 mm) stacking height and standoff tolerances. Multiple vendors will supply the connectors to ensure reliable part availability (Figure 3). PCI/104-Express also utilizes the PCI-104 32-bit, 33 MHz PCI Bus connector. It has four bus master capability, just as on PC/104-Plus and & PCI-104. Power capabilities include +3.3V, +5V, +12V, or -12V. Additional options include +5V standby, power supply on, and power man-

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agement event signals for an ATX power supply. The PCI Express bus has a +5V power capability of 84 watts and a +12V power capability of 100 watts. Users can stack four x1 and one x16 PCI/104-Express modules together, or two x4 or x8 modules. They can stack the accessory modules either up or down from the CPU board. The standard offers impressive data throughput rates, as shown in Table 1.

Month June 2008

39


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS Software&DevelopmentTools

Link Shifting and Stacking Examples

Link shifting allows universal add-in card design and automatic PCI Express link assignment. PCI Express is a pointto-point connection running at a 2.5 GHz data rate. Stacking such an architecture has some unique challenges such as how do you have multiple devices, how do you get signals with a 1.25 GHz bandwidth to all boards in a system, how do you allow add-in boards to stack above or below the host, and how does an add-in board know which PCI Express link to use? Getting 2.5 GHz signals to a stack of six or so boards requires a special connector. It first must meet the fundamental PC/104 mechanical issue of 0.600 +/0.005 inches between the boards. Then the connector must support the bandwidth, insertion loss, and return loss required by PCI Express. Finally, it must support all these electrical requirements when stacked six boards high! Connector selection and specification is very critical. Examples of the connector developed for the PC/104 Embedded Consortium by two member companies and an eye-diagram test are shown in Figure 3. Stacking multiple boards on a system that uses point-to-point connections requires a method for each add-in board to select a unique PCI Express link. This is done by having each board that uses a PCI Express link shift all other links. Each add-in board is designed to use the first link and shift link 2 to link 1, link 3 to link 2, etc. Link shifting gives you automatic PCI Express link assignment without user intervention. In a stacked architecture like PC/104, there are two ways to build a system. PC/104 form factor systems typically have the CPU host at the top to allow space for a cooling solution followed by add-in boards and the power supply on the bottom. EPIC

40

Month June 2008 2008

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SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

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The first PCI/104-Express serial card, the Xtreme/104-Express from Connect Tech, offers fast data communication speeds and up to 256 devices on a bus.

and EBX systems will have the CPU host on the bottom and add-in cards stacking up. In the case of stack down, the add-in cards PCI Express links come in from the top of the card, and in a stack-up system, the PCI Express links come in from the bottom of the card. To prevent having to build two different cards depending on the placement relative to the CPU or forcing stacking in only one direction, PCI/104Express uses a small, inexpensive PCI Express signal switch on the add-in cards. This makes all PCI/104-Express add-in cards universal so they can be used in systems that stack up or down and automatically know which link to use. The flexibility and expandability of the bus and mechanical layout allow many different stack configurations to support an array of diverse project requirements. For example, the CPU can be positioned at the top or the bottom of a stack. Figure 4 shows an example of a physical stack-UP configuration (A) and the corresponding link shifting (B). Stack-DOWN configurations are equally straightforward.

MSM945P | SMX945 | PCI/104-Express Peripherals

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132

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8,000

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10,000

75 times PCI

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Current Status of the PCI/104Express Standard

MSM945P incl. SMX945

Several companies already released PCI/104-Express boards. Many more have announced support and begun development programs based on PCI/104Express. Presently available products include a CPU Board with Intel 945 and Core2Duo, a board with an Express card slot for PCI Express and USB expansion, a 1 Gbit LAN controller, and a serial I/O card. Graphics options include a passively cooled graphics controller board, a PAL/ NTSC camera input and framegrabber board, and a complete image capture, processing and display system that utilizes a PCI/104-Express expandable EBX board and optional PCI/104-Express frame grabbers. Two new adapter boards allow users to install a PCIe/104 or a PCI/104Express card into a PCI Express slot so they can test the cards with a standard PC. Products in development include additional high-performance single board computers, packet switches to provide expansion beyond six add-in cards, highperformance data acquisition and control interfaces, and PCI bus adapters and bridges to name a few (Figures 5 and 6).

Untitled-5 1

_ PCI/104-Express Baseboard _ Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo L7400 _ DDR2-RAM 256 – 2048MB _ CoreTM Duo 2x 1.6GHz _ 6x USB V2.0, 2x SATA, 1x DIE _ LAN Ethernet 10/100BASE-T _ COM1-2, LPT1 _ Ext. Temp. -40°C to + 70°C

New PCI/104-Express Peripherals:

_ MSMGE104EX: 1x 1GB-LAN _ MSM4E104EX: 4x 1 GB-LAN _ MSMSA104EX: 2x SATA300 _ MSMG104EX: 4x Framegrabber, 16 channel Videoinput _ MSMEC104EX: ExpressCard 34/54 _ MSMMX104EX: PEG x16 Graphic with ATI E2400

DIGITAL-LOGIC AG offers reliable Embedded Computers in PCI/104e, 3.5”, EPIC, EBX, smartModule, COM Express and other formats. Further information:

www.digitallogic.com

June 2008

41

5/27/08 11:27:01 AM


SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS Software&DevelopmentTools

Other PC/104 Specifications

The PC/104 Embedded Consortium maintains the PC/104, PC/104-Plus and PCI-104 specifications on the 104 form factor as well as the specifications for the EPIC and EBX form factors. PC/104 is the original specification. It defined the 3.550 x 3.775 inch (90.17 x 95.89 mm) 104 form factor with a stacking ISA bus. Companies currently manufacture both 8-bit (XT) and 16-bit (AT) versions. PC/104-Plus added PCI bus to classic PC/104 on the 104 form factor. A 132 Mbyte per second transfer rate made high-speed processing possible in rugged embedded systems while the ISA bus allowed use of the extensive infrastructure of embedded modules. PCI-104 actually existed in the

PC/104-Plus specification, but it didn’t have a name. Instead of calling it “PC/104Plus PCI only” forever, the consortium decided to give it its own specification and PCI-104 was born with only a PCI bus. During a time when not much new development took place in PC bus architecture, the consortium adopted two form factor specifications. EPIC (Embedded Platform for Industrial Computing) was the first to be introduced. At 4.528 x 6.496 inches (115.00 x 165.00 mm), it is larger than the 104 form factor and allows room for tall cooling solutions for high-end processors and space for standard PC I/O connectors. EBX (Embedded Board, eXpandable) is the original 5-inch form factor of many single board computers. At 5.750 x 8.000 inches (146.05 x 203.20 mm), it has room

CoreExpress-ECO Small and powerful for rugged mobile computing! s Intel® Atom™ Processor Z510 or Z530 s Smallest size 65 mm x 58 mm, only 26 grams s 1 GB soldered RAM, max. s 100% legacy free s Best Performance-per-Watt (5 watts only) s Evaluation Kit available

Applications: s Wearable Computing s Mobile Healthcare s Robotics

the est ! requ epaper .com t i Wh reexpress .co www

LiPPERT Embedded Computers Inc. 5555 Glenridge Connector, Suite 200 Atlanta, GA 30342 Phone (404) 459 2870 · Fax (404) 459 2871 ussales@lippertembedded.com www.lippertembedded.com

1 42Untitled-4 June Month 2008 2008

6/6/08 9:49:02 AM

figure.six

This embedded system from Matrox Imaging performs image capture, processing and display utilizing PCI/104Express technology with Intel multicore CPU and GPU technology for image processing offload and acceleration.

for a complete computer with standard I/O and memory DIMMs but still features PC/104-Plus expansion for flexibility and expandability. Individuals and companies developing embedded systems can request copies of the PCI/104-Express specification. For further information and for updates to this specification, visit the PC/104 Embedded Consortium site at www.pc104.org. The consortium recently released their completely redesigned and updated Web site. Visit www.pc104.org for the latest consortium and member company news. Be sure to visit the completely updated new products section to locate members’ products for your next project and to keep abreast of the latest PCI/104-Express product releases. PC/104 Embedded Consortium Sacramento, CA. (916) 270-2016. [www.pc104.org]. RTD Embedded Technologies State College, PA. (814) 234-8087. [www.rtd.com].


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FeaturedProducts Two VPX DSP Boards Combine Freescale PowerPC and Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs Two new 6U VPX/REDI hybrid processing engines (HPE) integrate Freescale Power Architecture MPC8641D dual-core PowerPC processors for general-purpose processing with Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs in a single slot. Both the HPE640 and the HPE720 from VMetro are available in air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions and integrate the PowerPC processors with the Virtex-5 FPGAs, front-panel I/O and VPX backplane connectivity. These two new products are aimed at providing high-performance digital signal processing capabilities for a wide range of demanding Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications. The HPE640 is suited for applications that stream data from sensors to FPGAs over low-overhead, point-to-point protocols like Aurora or Serial FPDP. It can also be integrated with VXS products through the use of a hybrid backplane. The HPE640 integrates two MPC8641D PowerPC processors with a choice of two DSP-optimized Virtex-5 SX95T devices and LX155T devices optimized for high-performance logic and low-power serial connectivity. Each of the two MPC8641D processors has 2 Gbytes of DDR2 SDRAM. Each FPGA has six directly connected banks of memory to maximize performance; 36 Mbytes (18bits wide) of QDR2 SRAM memory across four banks and 256 Mbytes (16-bits wide) of DDR2 SDRAM memory across two banks. Front panel I/O is provided by an FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC/VITA 57) site connected to one of the Virtex-5 FPGAs. High-speed PCI Express links can be utilized for efficient data movement between the two MPC8641D processors as well as between the Virtex-5 FPGAs and the PowerPC processors. In addition, an onboard PCI Express switch supports highthroughput data movement to and from the board via the VPX backplane. An onboard Gbit Ethernet switch provides Gbit Ethernet links to each processor as well as four Gbit Ethernet links to the backplane. With an onboard Serial RapidIO (sRIO) switch and four x4 sRIO links to the backplane, the HPE720 supports a distributed switching system architecture that is well suited to distributed multiprocessing (DMP) applications. For high-performance DMP systems, full mesh architectures can be implemented with HPE720 and the previously announced MPE730 without needing to have a dedicated switch card in the system. The HPE720 integrates a single MPC8641D PowerPC processor with two Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs. The FPGA sites can be fitted with the largest Virtex-5 FPGAs available for the most demanding DSP applications, specifically the Virtex-5 LX110T, LX220T, LX330T, SX240T and FX200T devices. The MPC8641D PowerPC processor supports 2 Gbytes of DDR2 SDRAM. The FPGAs have 36 Mbytes (36-bits wide) of QDR2 SRAM memory across four banks and 512 Mbytes (32-bits wide) of DDR2 SDRAM memory across two banks. The HPE720 provides flexible front panel I/O with support for either two FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC/VITA 57) sites connected to the FPGAs or one FMC

44

June 2008

site and one XMC/PMC site. The XMC/PMC site supports PCI-X, PCI Express and Serial RapidIO options. The onboard RapidIO switch interconnects the MPC8641D processor, the FPGAs and the XMC site to the VPX backplane. VxWorks and Linux support are provided for the HPE640 and HPE720 boards. To aid developers, a Software and HDL development suite is provided, including FPGA IP blocks such as DMA and memory controllers, a software API for access to FPGA features, and sophisticated examples and utilities for FPGA configuration and development. All library functions are designed to leave a small logic footprint in the FPGAs so that the majority of the resources on all the FPGAs are available for user applications. VMETRO, Houston, TX. (281) 584-0728. [www.vmetro.com].


New ESMexpress Spec Ruggedizes COMs Technology A new computing specification in development to be the ANSIVITA 59 (RSE Rugged System-On-Module Express) standard has been announced by Men Micro. ESMexpress brings the cost and time savings of computer-on-modules (COMs) technology to rugged, harsh and mission-critical environments. The XM1, one of the first available ESMexpress products from Men Micro, features the first-generation Intel Atom processor (Z530 at 1.6 GHz or Z510 at 1.1 GHz) based on 45nm technology coupled with 1 Gbyte of soldered DDR2 SDRAM for significantly lower power dissipation, reduction in design costs and space-saving design flexibility. COMs, also known as systems-on-modules (SOMs), are complete computers on a mezzanine board that use a standard CPU with I/O configuration only required on a carrier board to allow for individual functionality tailored to the specific application. ESMexpress combines this model with advanced cooling technologies, the latest serial buses and rugged components to ensure safe, reliable operation in harsh environments found in areas as diverse as the railway, avionics, industrial automation, medical engineering and mobile industries. Although the ESMexpress-based XM1 dissipates 7 watts of power using the standard’s advanced fanless cooling system, ESMexpress itself enables power dissipation of up to 35 watts while providing added EMC protection by mounting the populated PCB to a frame and completely enclosing the module in an aluminum housing. The high pressure caused by the screw joints between the housing and the PCB facilitates the thermal connection of the components. If additional cooling is needed, the housing is either connected to an external heat dissipation system (conduction) or combined with a heat sink for heat dissipation (convection). ESMexpress provides for extreme resistance against shock and vibration. Eight screws secure the module to the carrier board. In addition, a mechanically robust connector specified for MIL and railway applications supports differential signals with up to 8 GHz, features a stacking height of 5 mm with a minimum tolerance of +/-0.3 mm, is equipped with fixed contacts for power supply and is specified for an operating temperature of -55° to +125°C. The Intel-based XM1 offers a screened temperature range of -40° to +85°C. The electrical signals are distributed on two 120-pin connectors and are only defined for modern serial buses. For PCI Express there are four single lane ports (4 x1) and one port that can be configured as 1 x16, 1 x8, 2 x4 or 2 x1. Other ports include three 1Gigabit Ethernet (also as 10Giga-

bit), eight USB, three SATA, SDVO, LVDS, HD Audio, several utility signals and a single 12V power supply. The pin assignment is fixed to guarantee that ESMexpress modules remain interchangeable. Via an adapter board that complies with the COM.0 Basic Form Factor Type 2 and adapts the mechanics and pin-out, ESMexpress modules can be used on COM Express carrier boards and vice versa. Pricing for the XM1 starts at $567. Delivery is two weeks ARO. MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].

June 2008

45


&TECHNOLOGY

Products

COM Express Module for Advanced Computation and Graphics

A new COM Express board features Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Intel GM965 chipset. With the introduction of ExpressMC800, a COM.0-compliant design that enables high-end graphic tasks and computer-intensive applications, Adlink rounds out its COM Express family of modules. Integrating high-power computing and graphics capabilities, the Express-MC800 enables OEMs to run sophisticated applications, such as video processing, biometrics, data analysis and visualization. Adlink’s COM Express modules, including the Express-DW400 for server applications and Express-MLC for low-power applications, are highly integrated off-the-shelf building blocks based on the PCI Express bus architecture that plugs into custom-made, application-specific carrier boards. The Express-MC800 COM Express module offers the combination of the Intel Core2 Duo processor family (up to 2.2 GHz) and the Intel GM965 chipset with integrated X3100 GPU. The latter provides exceptional flexibility for embedded applications by offering the 32-bit 3D graphics engine of the X3100 GPU and a system bus of up to 800 MHz for up to 20% faster data transfer rates over the previous system bus generation. I/O options include support for five PCI Express x1 lanes, one PCI Express x16 lane, four PCI slots, one IDE port, three SATA ports, and up to eight USB 2.0 ports. The Express-MC800 provides two SODIMM sockets for up to 4 Gbytes of 533/667 MHz DDR2 memory. The Express-MC800 can also be configured with the Intel Celeron M processor for low-power applications. ADLINK, Irvine, CA. (949) 423-2354. [www.adlinktech.com].

PC/104-CPU Board with PCI/104Express Extension Bus

A new PC/104 CPU board is based on the COMexpress module Microspace SMX945xxx from Digital-Logic with different Intel processors, a memory capacity of up to 4 Gbyes, two clock rates of 1.6 GHz and the i945GME chipset. Equipped with the Intel Core 2 Duo L7400 CPU, the new PC/104 CPU board features a wide variety of interfaces with up to six USB V2.0, one PS2, two COM, one LPT, and one 10/100Baste-T LAN port. In addition, it has optional DVI and CRT/LCD interfaces (dual screen) and one AC97-7.1/HAD sound controller. For connecting mass storages, one P-ATA and two S-ATA interfaces are available. For displays, the MSM945 board uses the graphic controller of the i945GME chipset with up to 224 Mbytes video memory. The PCI/104-Express bus (PCI & PCI Express) and the USB interfaces are available as functional extensions. The MSM945 runs on all common operating systems like Windows XP, QNX, Linux etc. Equipped with Flash BIOS, the CPU board allows to boot the operating system from different media such as hard disk, floppy disk, compact flash, USB, or LAN. Power consumption, cooling method, ambient working temperature, and performance are directly dependent on the smartModule945-xxx. The MSM945 was designed for low current consumption and thanks to its high video performance, it represents the ideal solution for applications in the field of video processing, video streaming, biometric data processing, home automation, and entertainment, as well as remote management of IT applications. Digital-Logic, Luterbach, Switzerland. +41 (0)32 681 58 40. [www.dgigallogic.com].

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June 2008

Load Sharing Module Eases Power Design

Getting the right distributed power architecture for a system is part art, part science. Easing the way, Calex offers its Load Share Series of modules, which provide a unique “plug and play” solution for paralleling multiple DC/DC converters. Calex is the first to offer a truly modular solution sig-

nificantly simplifying the task of paralleling DC/DC converters for increased current capability and/or power system redundant load sharing. No external circuitry is required with any of the Calex Load Share models. There are six models in the Series covering 3.3 to 48 volt nominal input voltages. Maximum output current is 60A. All models achieve 99 percent efficiency typically and utilize aluminium substrate technology for thermal management. The Load Share Series utilizes “active load sharing” with low-side sensing resulting in very accurate load sharing with minimal load regulation issues. The low-side sensing in combination with the differential load share bus communication technology designed into the Load Share module results in a very high level of noise immunity. The Load Share models are housed in a 1/4 brick package measuring 2.28 x 1.45 x 0.50 inches. The baseplate operating temperature is -40° to 100°C. Calex, Concord, CA. (925) 687-4411. [www.calex.com].


Dual-Channel 16-Bit Digital Receiver Rides XMC

Demanding signal acquisition applications—such as radar, software defined radio (SDR) and signal intelligence (SIGINT) platforms—have a heavy appetite for modular high-speed digital receiver technology. Delivering on such needs, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing has announced the availability of the XMC-E2201, a rugged and compact high-speed, dualchannel 16-bit digital receiver XMC/PMC mezzanine card. The XMC-E2201 supports analog sampling rates of 160 Msamples/ s and speeds the integration of high-performance signal acquisition into rugged deployed COTS VPX, VME and CompactPCI subsystems. Based on twin Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs, the XMC-E2201 combines input bandwidth in excess of 700 MHz, industryleading signal-to-noise ratio rated at greater than 77 db and high spectral purity. This small form factor mezzanine card delivers high dynamic range for sophisticated digital signal processing. Its twin FPGA architecture dedicates one “DSP” Virtex-5 FPGA for high-speed acquisition of the dual analog channel inputs. An eight-lane PCI Express (PCIe) interconnect provides direct high-speed off-board data throughput rates up to 2.5 Gbytes/s. The XMC-E2201 is designed to operate in rugged environments and is available in a range of air- and conduction-cooled formats. Pricing for the XMC-E2201 starts at $9,620. Availability is Q2 ’08. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Leesburg, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcembedded.com].

Development Kit Aids Multi-I/O Avionics Designs

The Multi-Function I/O subsystem trend has hit squarely into the thick of the military and aerospace design world. Data Device Corp. (DDC) has introduced newly enhanced Software Development Kits (SDK) for MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 data bus applications. The SDKs allow users to develop “C” source code to simulate, monitor, or troubleshoot 1553 and/or 429 data buses simultaneously or independently with support for the latest operating system versions including VxWorks 6, Linux 2.6 and Windows 2000/XP. These SDKs enable users to quickly integrate DDC’s multi-protocol avionics PMC (BU-65590F/ M) into their “C” code applications. A common SDK exists across all operating systems allowing the programmer portability across multiple platforms. The easyto-use high-level functions abstract all low-level hardware accesses and memory allocation such that specific hardware knowledge is not required. The BU-65590F/M is a multi-protocol PMC card that provides up to four dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553 channels, sixteen ARINC 429 receive channels, six ARINC 429 transmit channels, six user-programmable Digital Discrete I/Os, two RS-232 Serial I/O channels, two RS-422/485 Serial I/O channels and an IRIG-B time synchronization input. The card can be ordered with either rear or front panel I/O and is available for convection- or conduction-cooled applications. Data Device Corporation, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-5600. [www.ddc-web.com].

microETXexpress-SP COM Express Module with Intel Atom and Pinout Type 2

Offering full COM Express Pinout Type 2 compliance including SDVO graphics, a new microETXexpress module from Kontron is powered by the new Intel Atom processor. The microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module is designed to extend the COM Express specification to include a small module format (95 x 95 mm) with the commonly used COM Express Type 2 connector. This will enable the development of energy-saving, high-end graphics devices based on the Atom processor without having to stray from the secure development path of utilizing the established COM Express specification and its PICMG-defined Type 2 pinout. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP offers PCI as well as more sophisticated graphics support with SDVO. Via the PEG pinout, SDVO delivers additional video signals for VGA and DVI monitor outputs, SDTV and HDTV television outputs and TV tuner inputs that greatly simplify system graphics design. This feature makes this 95 x 95 mm Computeron-Module suitable for small mobile and extremely energy-efficient multimedia devices as well as for mobile test and measurement applications. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module comes with the Intel Atom processor Z5XX series from 1.1 GHz to 1.6 GHz and Intel System Controller Hub US15W and offers a 533 MHz FSB and a socket for up to 1 Gbyte DDR2 400/533 RAM. An array of interfaces are available via the COM Express Type 2 connector including 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x SerialATA, 1 x PATA, 7 x USB 2.0 (one of which is client capable) as well as two PCI Express x1 lanes and one PCI lane for application-specific expansions. In order to support small format SD/SDIO interfaces, the Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module offers a socket for SD / MMC media. The SDVO port for HDMI and DVI as well as the 18/24 bit LVDS single or dual-channel graphic performance with 256 Mbytes of graphic memory, HDTV support and integrated MPG2 decoder as well as H.264, offer more than mini devices require. Intel HD audio round off the feature set. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module supports Linux and VxWorks as well as Windows XP, XPe and CE. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com]. June 2008

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Products&TECHNOLOGY Graphical Development Tool Targets Industry-Leading ARM Microcontrollers

An extension of LabVIEW, the popular graphical system design platform from National Instruments, now directly targets the ARM 7, ARM 9 and Cortex-M3 microcontroller families. The module is the first product in an ongoing collaboration between the companies that combines the ease of use of LabVIEW with the performance of ARM microcontrollers. ARM is a provider of 32-bit embedded reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processors, with more than 75 percent of the market share and more than 10 billion ARM core-based devices shipped to date. Using the new module, engineers and scientists can create embedded applications in LabVIEW and deploy them to more than 260 microcontrollers created from microprocessor IP licensed by ARM and manufactured by the world’s leading semiconductor companies including Analog Devices, Atmel, Luminary Micro, NXP, Freescale Semiconductor, Intel and Texas Instruments. The LabVIEW Embedded Module for ARM Microcontrollers features LabVIEW drivers that make it possible for domain experts to graphically program all components of the ARM microcontroller including the analog and digital I/O. The module also features desktop simulation capabilities so that users can run the programs they develop for an ARM microcontroller on a desktop PC without any additional hardware. Engineers and scientists can use the desktop simulation with NI Multisim, the interactive SPICE simulation and circuit analysis software, to simulate the entire signal design chain for a truly comprehensive embedded system design simulation environment. Other new features of the LabVIEW Embedded Module for ARM Microcontrollers include a project wizard that automates configuration and overall setup to help users establish projects quickly as well as an interrupt manager that simplifies interrupt-driven programming by setting up LabVIEW code to run when specific hardware interrupts occur. In addition to the software, National Instruments offers a development kit that includes a choice of an MCB2370 evaluation board with an ARM 7 family-based NXP processor or a Stellaris LM3S8962 with a Cortex-M3 processor-based Luminary Micro processor. Pricing starts at $8,999. National Instruments, Austin, TX. (800) 258-7022. [www.ni.com].

Stepper Drive Eliminates Need for DC Supply

Advances in motion control are enabling some pretty significant levels of subsystem integration in embedded and control systems— particularly in the robotics segment of the market. Copley Controls has a panel mounting drive product called StepNet AC that runs directly on 115/240 AC at 7A peak current eliminating a separate DC supply. Pivotal benefits include servo mode operation for smooth, quiet stepper motor operation and freedom from lost steps. A range of sophisticated motion control modes are built-in: indexing, PVT trajectory tracking, camming and electronic gearing. The drive can operate stand-alone or be part of a distributed control network. StepNet AC drives incorporate Command, Encoder and Communications interfaces that allow users to apply the single model to a wide range of stand-alone and networked architectures and applications. Actual interfaces include CAN/open, DeviceNet, ASC11/ Discrete I/O, Stepper commands, ±10V position/velocity/torque command and PWM velocity/torque command. StepNet AC’s “onedrive-fits-all” versatility cuts inventory costs and simplifies user logistics. Measuring 146 x 119 x 55 mm, StepNet AC drives may be mounted flat or sideways. Copley Controls, Canton, MA. (781) 828-8090. [www.copleycontrols.com].

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June 2008

Ultra-Low-Power COM Express Module Based on Intel Atom Processor

The Express-MLC from Adlink Technology measures 95 x 95 millimeters, is a COM Express type 2-compatible design based on the Intel Atom processor Z500 series with the new Intel System Controller Hub (SCH) US15W. Adlink’s COM Express modules are highly integrated, offthe-shelf building blocks based on the PCI Express bus architecture that plugs into custom-made, application-specific carrier boards. Express-MLC allows for innovative designs in the area of mobile and “light” computing needs, including: portable and mobile equipment for the automotive and test and measurement industries; visual communication in the medical field, such as home care and video conferencing; entry level public gaming devices; and public points of communications. Using the Intel Atom processor and Intel SCH US15W chipset, developers can rely on a wide variety of mainstream software applications and middleware that will run unmodified and full function on this platform and that end users are familiar with already. Although much smaller, the Intel Atom processor shares the same architecture as the new Intel Core 2 Duo processors and additionally supports Hyper-Threading Technology, a feature earlier introduced with the Intel Pentium 4 processor, allowing more than one code thread to be executed simultaneously on a single core processor. The Intel SCH US15W, the single chip chipset accompanying the Intel Atom processor, offers an integrated 3D graphics core with dual independent display support on either the integrated 24-bit LVDS or through dual SDVO extension. The true power of the US15W’s graphic core, however, resides in the built-in video hardware decoding that offers acceleration for MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264, WMV9 and VC1. The integrated hardware decoding enables the system to achieve high transfer rates under very modest CPU loading. The Express-MLC will be available in a “basic” version that simply supports the feature set Intel Atom processor with the new Intel System Controller Hub US15W. The basic version supports Two PCI Express x1, LVDS, SDVO, 8x USB2.0, SDIO, Audio and LPC-bus. The same module is also available with an “Extended” feature set and offers in addition to the basic features: PCI-bus, PCIe-based GbE LAN and PCIe-based SATA. ADLINK, Irvine, CA. (949) 423-2354. [www.adlinktech.com].


nanoETXexpress-SP Card-Sized Computeron-Module with Intel Atom Processor

An extremely small (55 mm x 84 mm) nanoETXexpress Computer-on-Module based on the low-power Intel Atom processor is designed as an extension to the COM Express specification. The credit-card-sized COM Express COM.0 Type 1-compatible nanoETXexpress-SP from Kontron uses the Intel Atom processor Z5xx series for the next generation of ultra-mobile applications. With clock speeds between 1.1 GHz and 1.6 GHz, the Atom processor offers performance in a small and energy-efficient design. At 13 x 14 mm, the Intel Atom and single chip chipset (22 x 22 mm), now called the Intel System Controller Hub US15W, have a TDP of <5 watts. Compared with other low-power processors, the new chipset requires only one-seventh the size and uses only one-tenth of the energy. This makes the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-onModule suitable for ultra-mobile and embedded applications that require x86 processor performance, high-end graphics, PCI Express, USB 2.0 and Serial ATA combined with longer battery power. These applications can include handheld devices for medical or multimedia applications, small mobile data systems and a host of new applications that prior to now have not been possible due to size or power consumption constraints. A wide array of future-focused interfaces are available via the COM Express Type 1 connector including 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x SATA port, 8 x USB 2.0 (one of which is client capable) as well as a PCI Express x1 lane for application-specific expansions. 2 x PCIe is also possible if the Gigabit Ethernet is not required. An external PCIe to PCI bridge is also supported. In order to enable small format SD/SDIO interfaces such as SD, miniSD, MMC and DE-ATA, the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-onModule offers the relevant support via the GPIO pins of the COM Express-compliant connector. Additionally, the 18/24 bit LVDS single channel graphic performance offers 256 Mbytes of graphic memory, HDTV support and integrated MPG2 decoder as well as H.264—more than mini devices require. The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module supports Linux and VxWorks as well as Windows XP, XPe and CE. This extensive support underscores the versatility of use for this Computer-on-Module in a wide range of different markets. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

1-Watt x86 Processor on Pico-ITX Board Runs at 500 MHz

The Pico-ITX form factor squeezes a full feature set into a mere 10 cm x 7.2 cm—a complete system in the palm of your hand. The new EPIA PX5000EG from Via Technologies includes both LVDS/DVI and VGA support, integrated 5.1 channel audio, fast 100/10 Ethernet, both IDE and SATA drive support and up to six USB ports and a COM port. The Via EPIA PX5000EG uses a fanless 500 MHz Via Eden ULV processor with a maximum power draw of only one watt and supports up to 1 Gbyte of DDR2 system memory. The Via VX700 system media processor adds Via UniChrome Pro II IGP 3D/2D graphics with MPEG-2/-4 and WMV9 hardware decoding acceleration and pin support for LVDS, DVI and VGA display configurations. The Via EPIA PX5000EG has both onboard IDE and S-ATA connectors as well as an integrated 100/10 Fast Ethernet port. Connectors are included to support PS/2 keyboard and mouse, one multimedia connector to support external TV-out, a video capture port interface & LPC interface (add-on card required), one audio connector for line-out, linein, mic-in, S/PDIF in & 5.1 channel audio output and one Pico-ITX power connector VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [www.via.com.tw].

Digital Compass Is Compact and Tilt Compensated

Once an exotic idea, GPS and embedded digital compass technologies have become a pervasive requirement in a variety of embedded mobile systems. A new family of highly accurate, 3-Axis solid-state OEM digital compasses that measure 1-inch square and offer a wide range of connection options is being introduced by OceanServer Technology. OS5000 Digital Compasses incorporate 3Axis magnetic sensors with 3-Axis accelerometers to provide 0.5 degrees nominal accuracy, 0.1 resolution, ±180 degree roll, ±90 degree tilt, and include electronically gimbaled tilt compensation. Suitable for a variety of OEM applications, they measure only 1 inch square x 0.3 inch., weigh less than 2g and can be connected via RS-232, TTL, or USB. Featuring an ASCII interface, hardand soft-iron calibration and user-configurable data formatting, OS5000 Digital Compasses provide up to 40 Hz data update rate. Standard features include a 50 Mips processor supporting IEEE floating-point math, a 24-bit A-D converter, programmable baud rate from 4,800 to 115,000 baud, and less than 20 mA at 3.3V power consumption. OS5000 Digital Compasses are priced at $249 each or $199 each for 10, with larger quantity discounts offered. OceanServer Technology, Fall River, MA. (508) 678-0550. [www.ocean-server.com]. June 2008

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Products&TECHNOLOGY Conduction-Cooled 3U cPCI Processor with High-Speed Graphics

A new 3U CompactPCI single board computer provides 2.16 GHz in processing speed, along with extensive memory and high-speed graphics, dissipating only 40 watts of power needed for operation. This small platform with its high-end graphics capability is suitable for multi-port applications where exacting graphics performance is critical. The Pinnacle (CC70x) from General Micro Systems is powered by a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo processor with 4 Mbytes of L2 Cache, and (up to) 4 Gbytes of 667 MHz DDR-2 SDRAM running at up to 2.16 GHz. A Special Application Module (SAM) onboard for custom I/O provides up to 64 Gbytes of high-speed SATA Solid State Drive; custom high-speed I/O via 1 Lane PCI Express, SATA, USB and I2C buses; and up to 8 I/O lines to J2 rear I/O. It also incorporates an optional mini PCI-Module with rear I/O for 802.11 or GPRS, and an optional PCI Express Card for Vast Custom/off the shelf I/O. An optional Multi Media Module (CC70x-MMA) for Pinnacle will enable a 16-line PCI Express-type graphics interface simulating a VPX system. The MMA provides dual high-performance nVidia Quadro FX video ports. Each video port supports 2048x1536 resolution at 85 Hz, and each channel supports RGB Video and Digital Video (DVI-I). An HDTV output offers direct connection to TV HD monitors. Using the two additional video ports on the Pinnacle along with the two on the MMA makes the paired system a powerful blade server. A system with four graphics heads is suitable for military applications such as collision avoidance in UAVs, where several visual, infrared and radar data need to be processed simultaneously. Pinnacle comprises a fully hot swappable 32-bit/66 MHz cPCI bus, and includes a Baseboard Management Controller to meet PICMG 2.9. The board supports Windows Vista/ XP/2000, VxWorks and Linux. Pinnacle is available in a full rugged extended temperature version for -40° to +85°C. With its onboard heaters, Pinnacle can operate at temperatures below -40°C. Pricing for the conduction-cooled version of Pinnacle starts at $4,320, in quantity 100. General Micro Systems, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (800) 307-4863. [www.gms4sbc.com].

VME NAS RAID Blade for High-Availability Embedded Systems

A single-slot 6U network attached storage (NAS) blade provides the same automatic, transparent data replication and re-sync of traditional box-level RAID storage modules in a more compact footprint. The VME RAIDStor provides network access for up to 18 slots (up to 1/2 terabyte per slot) in a 19” chassis. The SATA-based VME RAIDStor is suitable for use throughout many industries in a number of high-availability, data-intensive applications including message processing, network-centric military environments, redundant self-hosted Web servers or storage repositories as well as transaction processing and logging. The blade can be configured in a single-star topology where the VME RAIDStor is connected to one network, or in dual-star where two networks are present, providing completely redundant network paths as well as port failover services and enabled or disabled with a single command for continuous system availability. The VME RAIDStor, which comes in either conduction- or convection-cooled versions, is configurable to RAID level 0 (data stripping) for increased capacity performance as well as RAID level 1 (data mirroring) for data redundancy and availability. Dual PMC-mounted solid state flash SATA drives and an extended temperature range of -40° to +85°C enable the VME RAIDStor to operate effectively in rugged environments. Users can manage the blade as an appliance or via an SNMP through a password-protected Web browser interface with event notifications sent by e-mail. Each RAIDStor is equipped with one front panel Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port and two ports via the P0 connector to enable connections to different networks. A 1 GHz Freescale processor provides 512 Mbytes of DDR-ECC memory, 64 Mbytes of NOR-based Flash memory and 128 Kbytes of SRAM. Pricing starts at $6,500 for air-cooled with rotating drives. ACT/Technico, Warminster, PA. (215) 956-1200. [www.acttechnico.com].

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June 2008

Power Modules Boast Densities up to 390 W/in³

More efficiency and more flexibility, those are the watchwords when it comes to robust power supply subsystems. Feeding those desires, the Brick Business Unit of Vicor introduced an advanced modular power platform: the VI BRICK. The VI BRICK family incorporates the superior technical attributes of VI Chip technology and a robust packaging that facilitates thermal management and throughhole assembly. VI BRICK BCMs provide a

highly efficient solution for Intermediate Bus Architecture or point-of-load (POL) designs that require multiple output voltages. They are available with nominal input voltages including 48 VDC (11 models) and high voltage up to 380 VDC (three models) and a wide array of output voltages from 1.5 to 48 VDC. The efficiency and compact size of these modules yields power density up to 390 W/in³. VI BRICK models are available in a base temperature grade of -40° to +100°C operating, and -40° to +125°C storage, with a slottedflange baseplate and throughhole pin style. All modules of the VI BRICK family are RoHScompliant and compatible with lead-free wave soldering processes. Pricing for modules of the VI BRICK family ranges from as low as $33 in OEM quantities. Vicor, Andover, MA. (978) 749-8359. [www.vicorpower.com].


Portfolio of 8-, 16- and 32-Bit USB Microcontrollers with Continuum of Design Options

A comprehensive portfolio of 8-, 16- and 32-bit USB microcontrollers (MCUs) is now available supported by a single integrated development environment—the free MPLAB IDE from Microchip Technology. Building on its 8-bit USB PIC MCU offerings, Microchip now offers the low-power, 16-bit PIC24F USB family, which is pin, peripheral and software compatible with the new highperformance, 80 MHz, 32-bit PIC32 USB MCUs. In addition, Microchip expands its 8-bit USB product offering at the low end with the lower-cost, smaller-footprint PIC18F1XK50 family. The entire USB PIC microcontroller line is supported with free USB software stacks and USB class drivers. The PIC18F13K50 and PIC18F14K50 (PIC18F1XK50) are low-cost USB MCUs and build on a broad family of existing USB PIC microcontrollers. They provide features not normally found on inexpensive 8-bit MCUs—enabling the addition of embedded USB into a wide range of applications. The PIC18F1XK50 MCUs include a variety of serial communications interfaces, such as USB 2.0, I2C SPI and USART, enabling them to transfer data between USB and other embedded serial networks. The 12-member PIC24F USB microcontroller family is a lowpower (2.6 µA standby current) large-memory (up to 256 Kbytes flash and 16 Kbytes RAM) 16-bit USB microcontroller family. As the only 16-bit microcontroller family with integrated USB 2.0 device, embedded-host, dual-role and OTG functionality, the PIC24F makes it cost-effective and easy to add advanced USB features to embedded designs. The PIC32 microcontroller family members with integrated USB 2.0 OTG functionality bring more performance and memory to embedded designers, while maintaining pin, peripheral and software compatibility with Microchip’s 16-bit microcontroller families. With a maximum operating frequency of 80 MHz, up to 512 Kbytes of flash and 32 Kbytes of RAM and USB OTG, the PIC32 USB family members enable lower BOM costs and smaller PCB real estate. All of the new 8-, 16- and 32-bit USB PIC MCU families are supported by the suite of Microchip’s development tools, including the MPLAB IDE, the MPLAB REAL ICE emulation system, the MPLAB ICD 2 in-circuit debugger and the MPLAB PM3 universal device programmer. Additionally, separate MPLAB C Compilers are available for all three families. Microchip also offers a complete online USB Design Center, located at www.microchip.com/USB. Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (888) 628-6247. [www.microchip.com].

3U VPX SBC Optimized for Space-Constrained Applications

A 3U VPX single board computer now features Core2 Duo processing technology combined with a server class memory controller. Available in five air- and conduction-cooled ruggedization levels, the SBC320 from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms is designed for demanding space-constrained embedded computing applications where leading-edge processing capability is coupled with low heat dissipation. At the heart of the SBC320 is an Intel Core2 Duo L7400 low voltage processor running at 1.5 GHz. Up to 2 bytes of DDR2 SDRAM with ECC are supported along with 128 Mbytes of user flash memory. Two 4-lane PCI Express ports running at 2.5 GHz to the backplane support the high levels of system throughput enabled by the serial switched fabric VPX architecture, while maximum connectivity is delivered via two USB 2.0 ports, two SATA 150 ports, two 10/100/1000BaseT Gigabit Ethernet ports, two UART (RS232) ports and an XMC-compliant PMC site. The Intel 3100 chipset combines server-class memory and I/O controller functions into a single component, creating the first integrated Intel chipset specifically optimized for demanding embedded applications. Covers for the SBC320 are optionally available to allow 2-level maintenance. Comprehensive operating system (Linux, VxWorks and Windows) and deployed test software (BIT, BCS) support is provided. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Charlotteville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [www.gefanuc.com].

19-Inch Enclosures Feature Thermal Management

As processors get ever more powerful, power dissipation in the form of heat becomes a real challenge. Addressing that issue, a series of 19-inch and half-width desktop cases, 19-inch vertical and horizontal case frames from Verotec offer outstanding versatility and thermal management. Available in 3U, 4U, 6U and 9U heights and depths of 322, 422, 522 and 622 mm, the Diplomat cases are equally suitable for use during system development and as a housing for production status units. The case frames provide direct mounting for Eurocard format PCBs in an easily configurable subrack system; the cases accept any standard 19inch component. With power densities steadily increasing, effective ventilation is of paramount importance. All horizontal versions can be fitted with an optional 38 mm deep filtered ventilation plinth that replaces the standard base cover, allowing cool air to be drawn into the unit from below. The ventilation plinth increases air throughput and provides a uniform airflow across the full width of the unit. The cool air is drawn into the unit through a removable filter in the plinth, and is then directed through the active board area by a rear duct plate that blanks off the space behind circuit boards. Verotec, Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. + 44 (0)2380 246900. [www.verotec.co.uk.]. June 2008

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Products&TECHNOLOGY Dual-Channel 10 Gigabit Ethernet XMC Family for Harsh Environments

The first in a family of conduction-cooled XMC products for 10GbE connectivity and packet processing addresses emerging requirements for open-standard, extremely high-bandwidth networking and point-to-point connectivity in high-performance, real-time systems in harsh environments. The V1120 from AdvancedIO uses a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA to optimize its performance and provide the functionality and flexibility required by high-performance, real-time processing and recording applications. To accommodate large line-rate bursts of incoming sensor data, the V1120 can buffer up to 115,000 jumbo-frame Ethernet packets in its onboard SDRAM memory. Additional interface signals are provided to facilitate precise time synchronization and other application-specific functionality that requires deterministic, low-latency access to the packets. The V1120 facilitates stable, rapid deployment of 10GbE technology into high-performance, real-time, sensor data flow applications such as signal intelligence, radar and high-speed record/playback. Boasting two 10GbE interfaces in a conduction-cooled package, the V1120 is designed for an extended temperature range of -40˚ to 85˚C. V1100 is a family of rugged open-standard form factor modules connecting real-time embedded systems to each other or to extremely high-speed Ethernet networks. Following the widely used VITA 42.3 XMC mezzanine module format, V1100 integrates with standard offthe-shelf platforms, such as VXS and VPX blades, providing system developers with multiple platform options. The V1100 family supports AdvancedIO’s udpXG protocol offload and streamXG data streaming acceleration cores and software, specifically designed for real-time applications. For easy integration and future software portability, AdvancedIO’s V1100 supports a standard sockets-based software API. With two 10GbE interfaces, the V1120 meets the needs of systems that cannot tolerate front-panel connections. The V1120 routes the 10GbE interfaces through Pn6, the standard secondary XMC connector. When the V1120 is placed on a host carrier card with an XMC site, the carrier routes the high-speed signals from Pn6 to the backplane. The V1120 uses PCI Express running over the primary XMC connector, Pn5, to provide a high-bandwidth interface to the host CPU. Upcoming members of the V1100 family will address different rugged requirements and options. Advanced IO Systems Vancouver, BC. (604) 331-1600. [www.AdvancedIO.com].

3U cPCI Card Offered in Air- or Conduction-Cooled Versions

CompactPCI, particularly in its 3U flavor, is becoming increasingly popular for rugged applications. Dynatem offers an Intel Pentium M-based 3U cPCI solution, available in air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions. The air-cooled C3PM (shown) supports an x86 processor that is ideal for embedded, rugged applications with its low power consumption. The high-speed 855GME & 6300ESB chipset supports a 66 MHZ PCI-X expansion bus that can fully utilize the two Gbit Ethernet ports available on the C3PM with no data transfer bottleneck. An attached sub-module supports CompactFlash for single-slot booting. I/O routed to the backplane includes a Serial ATA port, two Gbit Ethernet ports, SVGA, two USB 2.0 ports and two COM ports. The C3RM was designed in compliance with VITA 30.1-2002 so it comes with top and bottom cooling plates that are bonded to the major components through thermal conduction and to the heat conducting printed circuit board mechanically. Wedge locks secure the C3RM in the chassis and bring the module’s heat from the cooling plates and the PCB and, ultimately, the components to a heat plate in the chassis. The C3PM has no socketed components, other than the optional CompactFlash drive (PXE is supported for diskless booting), so it remains rugged in high shock and vibration environments. Dynatem, Mission Viejo, CA. (949) 855-3235. [www.dynatem.com].

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June 2008

LX 800 PC/104-Plus Embedded Computer Sports Fanless Operation

Using an efficient AMD LX 800 processor that provides very low power consumption without sacrificing performance, a new PC/104-Plus SBC achieves the benefits of fanless operation (no moving parts), soldered-on system memory and extended temperature operation (-40° to +85°C). The Cougar from VersaLogic delivers 800 MHz-equivalent performance while drawing less than 5 watts of power.

Standard onboard features include 256 Mbyte soldered-on SDRAM, dual 10/100 Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, IDE interface and three COM ports. A CompactFlash socket provides reliable, high-capacity on-board storage, with no moving parts. Flexible options for keyboard, mouse, external storage and other devices are provided via USB ports. The board includes integrated SVGA and LVDS flat-panel support with MMX & 3DNow! for video-intensive applications. The PC/104-Plus interface supports both ISA and PCI add-on modules. Standard pass-through connectors allow the board to be used either above or below other PC/104 modules. It may also be used as a CPU module for a larger system by plugging it into a proprietary base board that includes specific user I/O circuitry. The Cougar features a General Software Embedded BIOS with OEM enhancements. The field-reprogrammable BIOS supports custom defaults and the addition of firm base security applications, remote booting and other pre-OS software functions. The Cougar is compatible with a variety of popular operating systems, including Windows CE/XP/XPe, QNX, VxWorks, Linux and other real-time operating systems. It is fully RoHS-compliant. Customization is available, even in low OEM quantities. Options include conformal coating, BIOS customizations, revision locks, custom labeling, high-G shock and vibration treatment, custom testing and screening, etc. Pricing starts around $795 in OEM quantities. VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8675. [www.VersaLogic.com].


Industrial Servers Feature Advanced Remote Management

A line of 1U, 2U and 4U industrial servers supports up to the Intel Core 2 Quad processor as well as offering advanced remote management features. The new ultra quiet (<35 dB) KISS PCI 760 industrial servers from Kontron offer scalable CPU performance ranging from single core and dual core Intel processors up to the Intel Core 2 Quad processor Q6700 running at 2.66 GHz. Performance is boosted even further by a front side bus of up to 1333 MHz and up to 8 Gigabytes of DDR2 Dual-Channel RAM. In addition to performance, these latest servers come with built-in Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) 3.0, a remote management engine that offers enhanced security and remote management for easier maintenance, higher system availability and, therefore, reduced total cost of ownership. System managers can remotely carry out tasks such as installation of a new OS or setting BIOS parameters without

the need for additional remote management hardware or an on-site presence. If there is an operating system failure, managers can run diagnostics, update patches and reboot the system via the network from a central service system within a few minutes. System security is provided by Intel Trusted Execution Technology and there is an onboard trusted platform moduleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;TPM 1.2â&#x20AC;&#x201D;for software and data protection. These features make the Kontron KISS 1U, 2U and 4U servers suitable for companies that use distributed rack servers in comparatively harsh and difficult to reach environments. For example, railway operators and facility companies (gas, water, electricity) as well as operators of traffic lights, toll collection systems and weather stations. Large companies with distributed shop floor systems will also benefit from these remote management features. Interface flexibility for the KISS PCI 760 industrial servers is provided by up to 1 x PEG, 4 x PCIe x1 and 1 x PCI, 12 x USB 2.0, one parallel and two serial interfaces (16550 UART-compatible) and 3 x 10/100/1000 base-T Ethernet. Data storage media are connected via 300 Mbit/s SATA II interfaces and offer RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 functionalities. If high-end PEG graphics are not needed, the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 (Intel GMA 3100) supports DirectX 9.0c for full Windows Vista Aero compliance and resolutions of up to QXGA (2048 x 1536) at 75 Hz via a VGA connector. With a MTBF of 50,000 hours (approx. 5.7 years of continuous use), the systems come with either a desktop housing or for mounting in a 19-inch cabinet. The lockable front panel offers IP2x protection and optional IP 5x. Designed for continuous operation, the KISS systems are CE certified and UL suitable.

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5I21 "SERIAL ANYTHING I/O CARD"

Your Embedded System Specialists. Mesa Electronics is a U.S. manufacturer of a wide range of cards for embedded systems and industrial use.

PC104 . PC104 Plus . PCI . PCI Express . USB . IDE Adapters Also available: application specialties in Networking, Motion Control, custom and Embedded designs, RoHS available.

www.mesanet.com

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

Sales Support: sales@mesanet.com Technical Support: tech@mesanet.com

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Products&TECHNOLOGY ETX Module with Processor Choices up to 64-bit Core2 Duo

An ETX form factor CPU scales from an ULV Celeron processor operating at a frequency of 1 GHz up to a Core2 Duo—allowing it to be used in both fanless applications that require very low power and in applications that need high speed for high-end graphic support. The ETX-NR667 from Adlink Technology is based on the latest ETX 3.02 form factor standard that allows two additional SATA ports to the module while maintaining full backward compatibility with earlier ETX standards. The ETX 3.02 standard means that current carrier boards in production and based on earlier ETX revisions do not need to be redesigned to accommodate the ETX-NR667 and make use of its SATA ports. The ETX-NR667 supports an enhanced graphic feature set that includes support for dual-channel 24-bit LVDS and targets medical automation, gaming, instrumentation, pos, mobile computing and transportation markets. The Core2 Duo architecture introduces 64-bit processing to the embedded market and brings new features such as SSSE3, Trusted Execution Technology and Enhanced SpeedStep. This generation of Intel CPUs maintains the same power envelope as the earlier Pentium M generation while increasing performance and offering additional highend and power-saving features, making the ETX-NR667 an excellent choice for drop-in replacements to improve performance. The ETX-NR667 module provides one SODIMM socket that can accommodate up to a maximum of 2 Gbytes of DDR2 667 MHz memory. Graphic support on the module includes single- or dual-channel 24-bit LVDS, analog CRT and TV-out (SDTV and HDTV). The module further incorporates an Intel-based 10/100Base-T Ethernet port, a PATA EIDE controller, a dual-port SATA controller, four USB 2.0 ports, two serial ports, one parallel port (SPP/ECP/EPP) shared with FDD, one PS/2 keyboard/mouse interface, an AC’97 audio interface and power management functionality. The ETX-NR667 fully supports PCI and legacy ISA and comes with embedded features such as watchdog controller, RS-232 console redirection and CMOS EEPROM backup for BIOS settings and battery-less operation. The ISA bus is implemented through a PCI-to-ISA bridge, assuring both backward compatibility with ISAbased cards and the high performance of dual-core processing. ADLINK, Irvine, CA. (949) 423-2354. [www.adlinktech.com].

Atom Z500-Based Solution – COM Express in “Micro” Form Factor

A COM Express module, designed with Intel Atom processor Z500 series, takes advantage of all the benefits of the Atom platform in the new COM Express “Micro” form factor, which performs the same functions as traditional COM Express modules but with a smaller board size of only 3.74” x 3.74”. The SOM-5775 module and development board from Advantech will enable embedded developers to create more mobile and portable applications. The compact board size makes it more suitable for portable devices. The pin definitions of SOM-5775 are the same as a standard COM Express board and can work directly with existing carrier boards, providing a seamless upgrade path for those customers who are considering moving to the new Atom platform. The Intel Atom Z500 series processor is not only a fraction of the size, the thermal design and 45 nm manufacturing process uses 10X less power (under 10W total) yet still provides great performance. SOM-5775 supports DDR2 memory up to 1 Gbyte, 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet, 8 USB 2.0 ports and PCIe interface. In addition, the integrated graphic engine supports CRT and 24-bit LCD display modes. The target OS platform will be Windows XP Embedded and Vista. SOM5775 will ship with Advantech’s SUSI API software to help customers implement all the necessary functions. SOM-5775 will be available at 2008 Q2. Advantech’s System on Module (SOM) series is backwardly compatible with existing hardware and software systems. It is fully scalable for upgrades or changing application needs and features long life support, an important factor for embedded developers. Advantech’s own Secure and Unified Smart Interface (SUSI) API library speeds software development, and global logistics and support streamline the product development process. Advantech, Irvine, CA. (949) 789-7178. [www.advantech.com].

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Low-Power Atom CPU Moves into Compact PCI

A 3U CompactPCI SBC offers superior performance while using virtually no power. “CoolOne” (CC40x) from General Micro systems is a conduction-cooled board with a typical operating power consumption of 3.5 watts/5 watts maximum, establishing itself as the most energy-efficient board in its type and class. Because CoolOne is based on the Intel Atom processor, which packs an astounding 47 million transistors on one chip measuring less than 25 mm², the board achieves low power in an exceptionally lightweight, conduction-cooled package. The ability to withstand extreme temperatures, combined with its featherweight and energy efficiency, means CoolOne is suitable for handheld or UMPC device applications. The Atom processor operates at up to 1.6 GHz with 512 Kbytes of L2 Cache. With (up to) a 533 MHz front side bus, the board delivers as much as 1 Gbyte of 533 MHz DDR-2 SDRAM. Performance is further ensured by up to 16 Gbytes of bootable flash memory via CompactFlash, six USB-2.0 ports, two Serial ports with RS-232/422 support, and two 8-bit Secure Digital I/O or MMC ports for custom I/O. A Special Application Module (SAM) for custom I/O also provides up to 64 Gbytes of high-speed SATA Solid State Drive, and the use of an optional mini module and PCI Express Card for further individualized configurations. In addition, the board provides high-performance graphics with 3D acceleration, and supports video resolutions of up to 1280x1024 at 85 Hz. Dual video ports offer DVI and LVDS options. CoolOne utilizes IA-32 core architecture for 100 percent x86 code compatibility, and a baseboard management controller to meet PICMG2.9. The 32-bit/66 MHz cPCI bus is fully hot swappable, and the board supports Windows Vista/XP/2000, VxWorks and Linux. CoolOne is available in a full rugged extended temperature (-40° to +85°C) version for critical environment applications. With its onboard heaters, CoolOne can operate at temperatures below -40°C. Pricing for the conduction-cooled version starts at $3,110 in quantity 100. General Micro Systems, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (800) 307-4863. [www.gms4sbc.com].


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C OTS Reliable Real-Time Messaging over Unreliable Networks

Lossy networksâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;those that have uncertain or sporadic connectivityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are common in a variety of applications, such as defense, unmanned vehicles, oil production and other resource-management applications. Now there is support for lossy networks in the form of RTI Data Distribution Service 4.3 from Real-Time Innovations. Most distributed systems today rely on messaging middleware that uses the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for inter-application and inter-node communication. TCP is popular because it provides reliable delivery of messages and data. However, TCP has characteristics that make it undesirable for use in real-time applications where the underlying network itself is not reliable. RTI provides a built-in transport that is Internet Protocol (IP)-based and employs the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). RTI also provides a completely tunable reliability model to optimize transport utilization over transient, high-delay, bandwidth-limited and lossy networks. One of the many ways the RTI reliability model provides higher utilization of lowbandwidth networks is that it allows the frequency of heartbeats and acknowledgements to be fine-tuned. The result is efficient and reliable transport for unreliable networks that can be tuned as network conditions and bandwidth requirements fluctuate. In environments that typically experience up to three percent packet loss, RTI can achieve greater than 90 percent network utilization, which is far superior to TCP performance. The RTI reliability model is completely configurable, enabling developers to achieve the appropriate balance of determinism and reliability even in the presence of bandwidth-limited, high-latency and lossy transports. The use of UDP in conjunction with the RTI reliability model supports features not available with TCP, such as multicast, for extremely efficient data distribution. RTI Data Distribution Service is a messaging and data-caching solution for the development and integration of applications that require low latency, high throughput, high scalability, deterministic responses and minimal consumption of network, processor and memory resources. RTI Data Distribution Service meets the unique and demanding requirements of mission-critical real-time systems, including the ability to run in dynamic and autonomous environments and over unreliable or low-bandwidth networks such as wireless and satellite links. RTI Data Distribution Service complies with the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems (DDS) standard.

Your product

cPCI PMC VME PCI ATX choice of OS

Standard & custom designs Extended temp. conduction or convection cooled SBCs Fast, flexible, reliable

ISO 9001:2000 Certified 321-452-1670 Visit us: www.OTIsolutions.com Untitled-1 1

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Real-Time Innovations, Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 990-7400. [www.rti.com].

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Products&TECHNOLOGY Ultra-Low-Voltage, Fanless EBX SBC

A new low-voltage, fanless EBX Single Board Computer (SBC) features a 1.0 GHz Intel Celeron-M CPU and is fully RoHS-compliant. The Cobra from VersaLogic combines low power consumption and fanless operation (no moving parts) with high reliability and guaranteed 5-year availability. The Cobra product line is appropriate for high-end applications in transportation, industrial automation, medical equipment and military/aerospace. Standard onboard features include Extreme Graphics 2 video, dual 10/100 Ethernet, USB, serial communication, and analog and digital I/O ports. Specialized reliability features, such as TVS devices to protect against ESD damage, a watchdog timer and CPU temperature sensor, and an OEM-enhanced field-upgradeable embedded BIOS are also included. Customization is available, even in low OEM quantities. Options include conformal coating, BIOS customizations, revision locks, custom labeling, high-G shock and vibration treatment, custom testing and screening, etc. The Cobra is designed to work with embedded operating systems, including Windows CE/XP/XPe, Linux, VxWorks, QNX, DOS and other real-time operating systems. Pricing for the EBX-12v is about $1,000 in OEM quantities.

Mini-ITX Motherboard Features Intel Q35 Express Chipset

Two SCOPE-compliant boards are suitable for a broad range of demanding applications, including wireless base stations, media gateways, enterprise network access systems, test and measurement systems and server blades. The EP8548A and EP8641A from Embedded Planet help meet the goal of accelerating the deployment of carrier-grade base platforms for service provider applications. The EP8548A is powered by a Freescale MPC8548 PowerQUICC III processor and the EP8641A by a Freescale MPC8641D dual-core PowerPC processor. Both SCOPE-compliant boards include Linux, Wind River VxWorks and Green Hills INTEGRITY operating support. These highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) platforms include PowerPC cores, an integrated security engine, integrated PCI Express, Serial RapidIO and Gigabit Ethernet controllers, and an integrated DDR2 memory interface, improving performance, simplifying board design, lowering power consumption and reducing cost. In addition to their AMC configuration, both boards can operate as stand-alone modules and boot from onboard flash, allowing for rapid application development outside of the integrated ATCA or MicroTCA environment. For fabric connectivity both the EP8548A and the EP8641A offer great flexibility while maintaining standards compliance. All versions of the boards support Gigabit Ethernet on AMC channels 0 and 1, compliant with AMC.2, Type E2. Separate versions of the boards are available in one of the following configurations: Serial RapidIO on AMC channels 4-7, PCI Express on AMC channels 4-11, or SCOPE-Compliant PCI Express on channels 4-7 and Serial RapidIO on channels 8-11.

A new Mini-ITX motherboard utilizing the Intel Q35 Express chipset and ICH9 I/O controller hub, addresses the key requirements of embedded computing designs: cost, revision-stability and long-term availability. The BL 100-N from ITOX features an LGA 775 socket that accepts lower-cost desktop processors, including Intel Celeron 400 series processors, Intel Core2 Duo processors, Core2 Quad processors and 45nm technology processors. It also supports Intel Enhanced Memory 64 Technology (EMT64T) and Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology (EIST), required by high-performance and low-power applications. In addition, the chipset on The BL100-N incorporates an updated Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH), providing higher performance at lower power. With a 13 watt thermal design power (TDP), the Q35 Express chipset provides a 50 percent power savings over the Intel Q965 Express chipset. Using a standard 240-pin DDR2 DIMM socket, the BL-100-N supports cost-effective 667 MHz or 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM modules with a maximum of 2 Gbyte capacity. The onboard graphic features of the BL100-N include the integrated Intel GMA3100 graphics engine with up to 384 Mbytes of memory. A VGA graphics port provides up to 2048x1536 at 75 Hz resolution, supporting applications such as medical imaging, security & surveillance and digital signage. The onboard LVDS DFP interface provides dual-display capability for LCD panels with up to UXGA (1600x1200) resolution (18-bit or 24-bit). Six-channel 5.1 audio support is provided using a Realtek ALC662 High Definition audio CODEC with 24-bit audio output. Other BL100-N features include four SATA (Serial ATA) interfaces, providing transfer speeds up to 3 Gbit/s. Additional performance increases are realized through the incorporation of Intel Quiet System technology, which regulates system and processor fan speeds for increased noise reduction, and Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d) and improved I/O virtualization system reliability and security. The BL100-N is priced starting at $370.

Embedded Planet, Warrensville Heights, OH. (216) 245-4180. [www.embeddedplanet.com].

ITOX, East Brunswick, NJ. (732) 390-2815. [www.itox.com].

VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8675. [www.VersaLogic.com].

SCOPE-Compliant Boards Accelerate Development of CarrierGrade Base Platforms

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RTOS-Agnostic Tools for ARM, ColdFire, Power and MIPS

An integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded systems expands beyond the RTOS and middleware markets to address customer needs for low-cost, industrial-grade software development tools. Building on the Eclipse community’s contributions to IDE technology, Express Logic is delivering BenchX, a commercial solution for developers using the ARM, ColdFire architecture, Power Architecture technology or MIPS architectures. BenchX includes the industry standard GNU C/C++ development tools (compiler, debugger and libraries) with an integrated, enhanced debugger GUI that includes RTOS awareness for ThreadX, as well as many other Express Logic-designed productivity enhancements. BenchX integrates the GNU tools into the Eclipse Project Builder environment, enabling automatic or manual builds, and hands-on or handsoff use of standard make files. The GDB debugger is seamlessly integrated with the target debug probe, and the debugger GUI, providing the ability to control the execution of targetresident application programs from a user-friendly GUI on the host. Each BenchX component has been configured for embedded use, enhanced by Express Logic with added-value, and integrated together, creating a product that can be used out-of-the-box. Some developers, however, desire alternate compilation tools that offer better performance or code density, or that have other benefits relative to their particular project needs. For these developers, BenchX supports Eclipse plug-in versions of compilers for ColdFire, ARM, Power Architecture and MIPS architectures that are available from the processor manufacturers themselves, or from an ecosystem of third-party providers. Express Logic is in the process of validating BenchX operation with compilation tools from its partners, and integrations will be announced as they become available. IAR is the first C/C++ compiler to be available with BenchX. The BenchX IDE is not only available for use with Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS, but can also be used to develop embedded systems without any RTOS at all, with an in-house RTOS, or with another commercial RTOS. BenchX ultimately will be available for most popular 32-bit architectures. Initially, BenchX is available for the ColdFire, Power Architecture, ARM7, ARM9, ARM CortexM3/R4/A8, and the MIPS 4k/24k/34k/74k processor families. For each architecture family, BenchX is delivered with an integrated hardware debug probe designed to interface with that architecture. Just as BenchX can accommodate alternate compilation tools, alternate higher cost, higher performance or higher functionality debug probes also are available and may be purchased from Express Logic for use with BenchX. BenchX licenses are priced from $1,000 per seat, including debug probe, documentation and three months of technical support. There are no license keys. Express Logic, San Diego, CA. [www.expresslogic.com].

Development Kit for Customizable ARM7-based MCUs

A development kit helps designers develop, emulate and ultimately migrate ARM7-plus-FPGA designs to Atmel’s CAP7 customizable microcontrollers. Atmel’s CAP7 customizable MCU is an ARM7-based microcontroller with a metal-programmable (MP) block with 450K gates or the equivalent of 56K FPGA logic cells (LC), as well as a USB 2.0 full speed device, SPI master and slave, two USARTs, three 16-bit timer counters, an 8-channel/10-bit analog to digital converter, plus interrupt control and supervisory functions noted above. Any functionality that has been implemented in an FPGA may be migrated directly to a CAP7 device with no special EDA tools or customer-side engineering. Now the company’s AT91CAP7X-DK development kit may be used to develop ARM7-based MCUs with custom peripheral sets not available on standard MCUs (e.g. 10 USARTs or 20 PWMs). Atmel owns or has access to extensive libraries of well-documented peripherals that include TWI, SPI master and slave, SSC, MCI, USARTS, Ethernet MAC, CAN, EBI, full-speed USB host and device, image sensor interface, LCD and AC97 controllers, timer counters, analog to digital converters and AES/TDES encryption/decryption engines. There is no extra charge for including Atmel-owned peripherals on CAP devices. Customers may also implement their own or third-party peripherals in the MP block. The AT91CAP-DK motherboard has an extensive set of interface devices, which are controlled by the device controllers embedded in the AT91CAP7 customizable MCU. The motherboard includes a 3.5”¼ VGA TFT color LCD display, a 10/100 Ethernet PHY, USB 2.0 highspeed host and high-speed device ports, USB 2.0 full-speed device ports (x3), an I2S audio device, ADC inputs (x4), an AC97 audio CODEC, SD/ MMC card slots (x2), a USART serial communication device, a CAN interface device, a TWI serial EEPROM device, an image sensor device connector, a 16 button keypad, a PCI64 Slot, GPIO expansion slots (x4), software-controlled power indication and general-purpose LEDs. The CAP7-specific daughter board includes the AT91CAP7S MCU and a high-density FPGA with 80K logic cells, capable of interfacing custom logic directly to the AT91CAP7S AMBA architecture. The daughter card plugs directly onto the motherboard for not only software and hardware development, but also connection to real world applications for prototyping and end product evaluation. A memory expansion board includes 64 Mbytes of SDRAM, 8 Mbytes of NOR Flash and 256 Mbytes of NAND Flash. The same C-compilers, RTOS, OSs, ICEs and IDEs used with Atmel’s AT91SAM ARM-based MCUs can be used with the CAP. FPGA design may be done using any FPGA design software, including third party tools. Atmel’s AT91CAP7X-DK development kit is available now and priced at $3,500. Atmel charges a one-time fee of $150,000 for design, mask fees, and prototypes of the customized ARM7-based MCUs. Production unit prices are $5.44 in quantities of 50,000 for the AT91CAP7S250 device. Atmel, San Jose, CA. (408)441-0311. [www.atmel.com]. June 2008

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Products&TECHNOLOGY High Speed Digital I/O for PCI and PCIe Bus on PC/104 Express and PC/104 Plus

Two modules in the 104 form factor provide high-speed digital I/O with numerous features. Introduced by RTD Embedded Technologies, the DM9820 is a PCI/104-Express board that interfaces to a PCI Express x1 link. The DM7820 is a PC/104-Plus form factor board that interfaces to a PCI bus. These two products have identical features and use the same software driver, providing upwards compatibility with the latest generation of PCI/104-Express systems. Each board has 48 Digital I/O lines with diode protection to guard the board against transients. Each I/O is capable of 24 mA of drive current, allowing it to control a broad range of devices. Sample rates can be up to 12.5 MHz for continuous throughput, or up to 25 MHz for a single burst. Sample rates are fully adjustable and based on a 25 MHz clock. Extensive data buffering is provided with two 2 Msample FIFOs, which relaxes software latency requirements. These boards provide extensive software-selectable features beyond simple digital I/O. Eight Pulse Width Modulators with 16-bit resolution can generate either single-ended or differential outputs. Separate period and width clocks can be used to provide full resolution at low duty cycles. Four Incremental Encoder channels with single-ended or pseudo-differential inputs control a 16-bit counter. Adjustable digital filtering on the inputs eliminates erroneous counts due to noise or slow signal transitions. Counters can be combined to increase the range of a channel and reduce software interaction. The counter values can be sampled to the FIFO for automatic position sampling. The advanced interrupts can generate an interrupt on pattern match, change, or on a strobe transition. Any combination of the 48 I/O lines can be tested, and all 48 I/O lines are captured when an interrupt is generated. The board functions are controlled by four programmable clocks with a maximum frequency of 25 MHz. The clocks have several features that allow a great degree of automation in sampling, including the ability to start and stop from an interrupt or another clock, the ability to cascade clocks, and continuous and one-shot operation. RTD Embedded Technologies, State College, PA. (814) 234-8087. [www.rtd.com].

SBC Features 45nm Quad-Core Xeons with Extended Lifecycle, Times Two

A new dual-socketed PICMG 1.3 form factor Single Board Computer (SBC) incorporates two 45nm Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, L5410 and L5408, with extended lifecycle support. The MB-60630 from Win Enterprises enables OEMs to offer small, server-class appliances with the high performance of eight processing cores. Applications include intense computing applications, such as military and medical imaging, scientific analysis, digital media and oil/gas exploration. The new line of Intel Xeon processors features 45nm process technology, offering greater processing power on a smaller footprint and with less heat generation. With a processing clock speed of 2.13 GHz, the Intel L5408 has a power envelope of just 40W. It features 12 Mbytes of onboard L2 cache saving data fetching steps from the North Bridge to enable ultra-high throughput in intense applications. The Intel L5410 processor supports a core frequency of 2.33 GHz at 50W. The MB-60630 is a feature-rich embedded solution that supports Linux and MS Windows. Additional features include an Intel 6321ESB I/O Controller Hub and an LSI1068E SAS RAID controller, 8 ports at 3 Gbit/s and up to 48 Gbytes DDR2-667/533 FB-DIMM memory capacity. The semi-custom pin-out supports PCI-X & 20 lanes PCI Express and the board supports 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. There is an independent 1066/1333 Hz system bus for each processor and six SATA2 slots for up to 3 Gbit/s throughput. As an option, users can select an integrated ATI X300 64 Mbyte graphics (DVI and 2-channel LVDS). OEM pricing ranges from $1,500 to $2,000 for the SBC without processors. WIN Enterprises, Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [www.win-ent.com].

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32-Channel, Industrial Digital Output Boards in Either Current Source or Sink Two new industrial digital output boards each provide 32 channels of digital output—up to 600 mA per-channel continuous current with an output voltage drop of less than 550 mV. The Guardian DNA/DNR-DIO-432 and 433 outputs from United Electronic Industries are configured respectively as current sources (-432) and as current sinks (-433). The output ports are configured as single 32-bit words, the maximum output throughput rate is 1 kS/ s, and the boards have an operating range of 3.3 to 36 VDC. The boards are designed for

use with UEI’s Ethernet Cube family—PowerDNA, UEIPAC, UEILogger, and Modbus “Cubes” and RACKtangle chassis. As part of the Guardian design, the boards offer an input mode that monitors the output voltage and current of each channel and easily detects opens, shorts and off-normal operation. A powerful and convenient diagnostic tool, this function enables a technician to localize and correct faults quickly and accurately. In addition, channels not used as digital outputs may be used to measure 0-36 VDC analog voltage inputs with ±10mV accuracy. Each channel also offers a pulse-widthmodulated (PWM) “soft-start/stop” feature that applies and removes power gradually, greatly increasing the life and reliability of devices and components affected by thermal shock. A PWM output may also be used to drive a low-speed, high-current device or as a “dimmer” for indicating lights and similar devices. Software for the boards is provided in the UEIDAQ Framework API. Framework provides a simple and complete software interface to all popular programming languages, operating systems and data acquisition/control application packages such as LabVIEW, MATLAB/Simulink and DASYLab. Pricing ranges from $1,200 to $1,350 depending on model and configuration. United Electronic Technologies, Walpole, MA. (508) 921-4600. [www.ueidaq.com].


Evaluation Board & Reference Design Combine 16-Bit MCU and Secure IP Interface Chip

A reference design and a corresponding evaluation board bring together a 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) from Microchip for application control and the CO2128 iChip from Connect One for secure, reliable TCP/IP connectivity to LAN and GPRS networks. The marriage of Microchip’s PIC24 and Connect One’s secure iChip offers an opportunity to system architects needing to develop and manage an open and flexivble Internet-enabled application. Using the evaluation board, developers can develop an IPenabled embedded system where the application resides on the PIC24 MCU and the networking and security are provided by the CO2128 iChip. The kit also includes Microchip Technology’s flexible MPLAB integrated development environment along with Connect One’s black-box solution, where the application requests connectivity and security services from the iChip via the AT+i command set. In this system, the iChip connects to the PIC24 serial port and its ASCIIbased AT+i commands enable programmers to connect to IP networks and leverage iChip’s Internet Protocol features including HTTP (client and server), HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SMTP, POP3, SSL and routing capabilities. A detailed reference design for the combined solution facilitates the integration of specific M2M systems. The PIC24F MCU provides application developers with RS232/RS-485 serial connections, one serial peripheral interface, eight general-purpose I/O pins, an analog-to-digital converter, and 64 Kbyte flash and 8 Kbyte RAM memory. With simple integration of an MII or RMII PHY, a 10/100 BaseT Ethernet link can be created. A UART connection allows users to operate at a baud rate of up to 1 Mbit/s between the PIC24 and the iChip. The CO2128 supports LAN, Wi-Fi and all types of dial-up/ wireless modems (AMPS, CDMA, CDMA2000, CDPD, GPRS, GSM, IDEN and TDMA cellular protocols). CO2128 includes a fully secure TCP/IP stack, plus upper layer protocols like SMTP, POP3, MIME, HTTP, WAP, FTP and TELNET. It includes an integrated Web server for easy application management. With CO2128, developers can take advantage of 10 simultaneous TCP/UDP sockets; two listening sockets; SMTP, MIME, POP3, FTP, Telnet, and HTTP/HTTPs clients; a Web server with a Web site for the application and one for configuring iChipSec CO2128; and SerialNet mode for serial-to-IP bridging. Secure Socket iWiFi supports 64-/128-bit WEP encryption, WPA1 and WPA2 Wi-Fi encryption, AES-128/256, SHA-128/192/256, 3DES; the SSL3/TLS1 protocol for a secure client socket session and a secure FTP session. The CO2128 operates at an industrial temperature range of -40° to 85°C (-40° to 185°F) and is RoHS-compliant. IIEVB-PIC-2128-110/220 evaluation board is available today from Connect One for $149.

Virtualization Engine Runs Real-Time and Windows OSs on Single Multicore CPU

Getting the full potential out of multicore processors, especially for real-time, mission-critical applications, requires software technology that can exploit the potentials in the new hardware designs. A new virtual machine manager from TenAsys makes it possible to simultaneously host embedded RTOSs along with Microsoft Windows generalpurpose operating system. The eVM platform uses a single platform using multicore Intel processors to partition the hardware resources and provide standard communication channels between the embedded RTOS guest and the Windows host OS. The eVM software partitions the hardware resources and provides standard communication channels between the RTOS guest and Windows while isolating the two environments so that real-time determinism as well as the features of the desktop Windows system are fully maintained. Key to making the eVM system work is the Intel Virtualization Technology (VT), a set of hardware-assissted features first introduced in the Intel Core microarchitecture to improve virtual machine monitor (VMM) functionality. Intel VT is available on a wide range of their multicore products, including many of the Core2 Duo processors designed for embedded applications. eVM accommodates hardware (access to I/ O) and timing (interrupt latency) needs by giving the guest RTOS direct access to time-critical hardware. This is accomplished by assigning I/O exclusively to each guest OS—allowing the use of existing native device drivers for access to hardware. By utilizing multicore Intel VT processors, eVM software partitions resources, such as CPU cores, RAM, interrupts and I/O, between operating systems. Only shared and emulated resources need to be virtualized. Each OS is guaranteed direct physical access to its dedicated I/O, interrupts, RAM and CPU cycles. Partitioning allows the eVM platform to provide the embedded guest OS with the lowest possible interrupt latency, direct and highspeed access to I/O, non-paged RAM and guaranteed ownership of a CPU core—delivering maximum performance. Partitioning resources also enhances security by ensuring that only the guest OS has access to its time-critical I/O. The net gain for hosting an embedded application on the eVM platform, alongside Windows, is the elimination of redundant hardware, simpler and faster communication between the embedded applications and Windows, improved reliability and robustness, re-use of proven legacy code, and simplified development and debugging. Systems that previously required multiple discrete platforms can be combined onto a single multicore platform—saving design, manufacturing and maintenance costs. TenAsys, Beaverton, OR. (503) 748-4720. [www.tenasys.com].

Connect One, San Jose, CA. (408) 572-5675. [www.connectone.com]. June 2008

59


NEWS, VIEWS &

Comment JUNE 2008

On The Embedded Front…

L

ooking over the events of the past month—with the exception of HP passing IBM in the server market (see below)— the focus on our industry continues to be smaller, lighter and lower power. And more actors continue to get onto the stage challenging traditional players. Embedded computer market leader, Kontron AG, claims revenue increased by over 10% to €106 million while net income jumped over 38% to €6.8 million, all while recording a record backlog. The company claims strong drivers of its growth were Europe and the emerging markets including Russia and China. According to the company, order backlog reached a record level of €310 and represented a significant increase in design wins. Embedded computer companies on this side of the pond are, by and large, not faring quite as well as Kontron. Across the board, for the first quarter, companies I’ve spoken with report sales increases in the 4% to 5% range, with the second quarter—with still a month to go—looking like it’s falling into the same line. Sales into the military/aerospace market tended to fare somewhat better not only for companies in the extreme rugged space such as VME seeing gains of 6% to 8%, but also for manufacturers of small form factor boards including 3U cPCI, COM Express and PC/104, which are seeing better than 5% gains in the military market. Talk of recession, at least for now, has receded and many analysts, both within the industry and without, are looking forward to a pickup in the economy over the next several months. At least one prominent analyst believes the Dow Jones Average will top 15,000 by year end. I’m not exactly sure how that can happen, what with the cost of fuel and foodstuffs, but, who knows, this is an election year. The good news for embedded-computer makers is that the new breed of small, low-power devices is enabling literally thousands of new applications—impossible or unheard of previously. And while all these won’t come online immediately, expect to see dramatic growth over the next 12 to 18 months.

Smaller, Lighter, Less Expensive

Just to give some perspective to what’s happening, Intel long delayed the formal introduction of its family of low-

60

June 2008

power Atom chips and now it looks as if the company is already struggling to meet demand. Some trade publications have reported that there was a shortage of Atom chips in May and that the thin supply will likely extend well into the third quarter. Intel’s most recent entrant in the Atom family, Diamondville, is intended for use in what Intel calls Netbooks, which appear to be something of a hybrid between a PDA/cell phone and a laptop. Intel said the company is having no problems making the chip, but that orders have exceeded expectations. VIA continues inroads on small low-power processors with its latest VIA Nano—based on VIA’s own Isaiah Architecture. The Nano represents what it calls the next generation of x86 technology, providing the building blocks for new computing technology. In another development, VIA introduced a new “mini-note” reference design targeted at the same markets as Intel’s Atom, the ultra-portable notebooks. The VIA OpenBook reference design is based on the VIA C7 Nano above and features a flexible internal interface for high-speed broadband wireless connectivity that provides the ability to select for a choice of wireless approaches. VIA has not forgotten the embedded market and is also providing reference designs for embedded applications. The latest of these is the company’s Pico-ITX board claiming ultra low power of under 1 watt using its Eden ULV processor. The company claims it squeezes the full feature set into a tiny board measuring 10 cm x 7.2 cm including both LVDS/DVI and VGA support, integrated audio, Ethernet, IDE and ATA drive support and USB ports and COM port. In other processor news, AMD is expanding its accusations against rival Intel, claiming the latter pressured customers not to buy AMD chips. The latest filing in AMD’s antitrust case mentions Dell, IBM and HP among others. AMD is claiming that Intel pays people not to deal with AMD in order to preserve its monopoly. AMD also claims it has damaging passages from email and exchanges between top executives and computer makers. He said, she said, he said. The first of the suits by AMD began back in 2005.


Not Everything Is Small, Cheap or Light

While a great deal of emphasis is on the smaller, lighter and more power efficient, there is also a duel going on at the other end of the spectrum. HP just beat out IBM in the server market boasting sales of some $4 billion between January and March—now claiming a resounding 29.6% of the server market. IBM however, was no slouch with some $3.9 billion in sales. Third-place Dell saw server sales increase in the first quarter gaining 15%—faster growth than either HP or IBM. Overall server shipments increased 7.6% from last year. On the M&A Front, a lot has been happening with defense contractor DRS on its way to being acquired by Italian defense company Fimmeccanica, and most recently, another defense contractor, Harris has considered preliminary bids. Harris has enjoyed 113 years of independence involved in a variety of technical infrastructure from HDTV broadcast to air traffic control systems to advanced communications for military aircraft, land and satellite-based systems. It has also been a major developer of technologies for defense and space applications such as a dialectrical isolation semiconductor process for radiation hardening. While Harris has declined comment and no one company is yet to raise its hand, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and General Dynamics have been whispered of as possible suitors. Moments before this went to press, a headline in the national press has Harris remaining independent for the time being—the bids apparently didn’t meet expectations. It just seems a shame that great American Icons such as Harris and, yes, Anheuser-Busch, are falling victims to M&A activity. And while not really in the embedded computer space, one has to wonder what’s going on between Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. It does make for interesting speculation. Who’s next?

Memory Technology?

Every couple of years or so—perhaps even more often— some new memory technology is announced that will displace flash and perhaps even the traditional DRAM. The latest comes from HP in the form of a memory resistor it claims to have built. The theory of a “memristor” was postulated back in 1971, but it has taken until now to make a working version. HP’s claim is that it would be more energy efficient than flash or other technologies and can permanently store information. The prototype was made by putting a film of titanium dioxide between electrodes and applying a charge. As the charge flows through it, the atomic structure actually changes. And that is but one of many approaches that have been announced but not commercialized. Another such is Numonyx, a joint venture recently formed by Intel and STMicroelectronics that

is betting on a technology called phase-change memory. Phasechange memory takes advantage of the characteristic of certain materials to change structure with the application of heat. Further on the memory front, IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture of Intel and Micron Technologies, will delay initial production in Singapore until mid-2009 as a result of weak market conditions. See News, Views & Comment, RTC, May 2008 on the oversupply of the NAND Flash market. Speaking of ST Micro, the company swung to a loss last quarter based on spinoff and acquisition charges. STMicro recently acquired Genesis Microchip and got involved in the above joint venture with Intel, resulting in some of the charges leading to the net $84 million loss.

Lead Solder Update

Last issue I reported extensively on the concerns regarding non-leaded solder and the hazards it proposes. Thanks to those of you that have gotten back to me. Unfortunately, I have not been able to gain an awful lot more information to date. I did get the following from Verizon saying: • “Equipment manufacturers shall continue to use leaded-solder until alternatives have demonstrated reliability suitable for the telecommunications infrastructure,” and; • “Component suppliers shall continue to make available components compatible with leaded-solder manufacturing until alternatives have demonstrated reliability suitable for the telecommunications infrastructure.” Further, the company says it supports Telecordia in the statement on the continued use of leaded materials in the telecommunications infrastructure, which can be viewed at http://www.verizonnebs.com/docdb/NTTI-ReliabilityConcerns.pdf. More as it comes in.

Warren Andrews Associate Publisher June 2008

61


is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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Company

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Website

ACCES I/O Products.............................................................................................. 16..................................................................................................www.accesio.com Advantech Technologies, Inc.................................................................................. 18..............................................................................................www.advantech.com

Products

End of Article

Austin Semiconductor............................................................................................. 4...............................................................................www.austinsemiconductor.com Birdstep Technology.............................................................................................. 27................................................................................................. www.birdstep.com congatec............................................................................................................... 23................................................................................................www.congatec.com

Get Connected with companies and

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products featured in this section. with companies mentioned in this article. Data Devices Corporation....................................................................................... 7.................................................................................................. www.ddc-web.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

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Digital Logic AG..................................................................................................... 41............................................................................................. www.digitallogic.com Eurotech................................................................................................................ 8..................................................................................................... www.eurotech.it GE Fanuc Embedded Systems................................................................................. 2.................................................................................. www.gefanucembedded.com Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. Lippert Embedded Computers................................................................................ 42................................................................................................www.lippert-at.com

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Magma................................................................................................................. 19.................................................................................................. www.magma.com McObject LLC........................................................................................................ 53............................................................................................... www.mcobject.com MEN Micro, Inc...................................................................................................... 36.............................................................................................. www.menmicro.com Mesa Electronics................................................................................................... 53................................................................................................ www.mesanet.com Micro/sys, Inc....................................................................................................... 11........................................................................................ www.embeddedsys.com National Instruments............................................................................................. 64...........................................................................................................www.ni.com Orion Technologies,Inc........................................................................................... 55............................................................................................www.otisolutions.com PC104 Showcase.................................................................................................. 31............................................................................................................................ Performance Technologies...................................................................................... 5........................................................................................................... www.pt.com Phoenix International...........................................................................................13,55............................................................................................. www.phenxint.com Portable Design Conference & Exhibition................................................................ 43...................................................................... www.portabledesignconference.com RTD Embedded Technologies ..............................................................................32,33...................................................................................................... www.rtd.com Swell Software...................................................................................................... 37.........................................................................................www.swellsoftware.com Technobox............................................................................................................. 63..............................................................................................www.technobox.com Trenton Technology................................................................................................ 30.................................................................................. www.trentontechnology.com WinSystems.......................................................................................................... 17............................................................................................www.winsystems.com

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June 2008


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