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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

December 2008

Solid State Storage: Capacity and Speed in Small Tough Spaces

Mezzanine Boards Fight Off Obsolescence Small Form Factor SIG Corrals New Standards Nailing Down What Security Really Means

An RTC Group Publication



Uncertain times call for strength and vision. Curtiss-Wright has built its leading

The combined forces of our technologies and expanded

reputation as a provider of advanced embedded boards and subsystems for the

global resources will result in new, powerful synergies,

aerospace and defense market by working closely with partners to exceed their

improving Curtiss-Wright’s ability to serve its aerospace

expectations. To better meet the unique demands of military applications in the

and defense partners world-wide. For more information

21st Century, we continually strive to build on our technology leadership.

on Curtiss-Wright’s products and enhanced capabilities to solve your board and sub-system requirements, visit

Now, Curtiss-Wright is even stronger. We have acquired VMETRO, one of the industry’s most experienced, largest, and best embedded COTS vendors. VMETRO brings unmatched expertise and product depth in high performance real-time processing, digital signal processing (DSP), data recording, rugged VPX Rugged Network Attached Storage


storage, and bus analysis.


a Curtiss-Wright Company

Innovation In Motion.




Solid State Storage: Capacity and Speed in Small Tough Spaces



Extreme Rugged System Features Core2 Duo and GME965 Chipset


StackableUSB Flash Boards for Increasing Storage in Embedded Systems

55 Family of 14 Data Acquisition Devices Leverages USB



Technology in Context

On-Board Storage

december 2008

System Integration

Software Security

6 Editorial SF’s $1 Billion Investment in Electric SSDs Take Hold in Embedded Secure Software and Systems: Vehicle Infrastructure Bodes Well for Applications Follow Five Principles and Prove It 12 36 Embedded To Defrag or Not to Defrag—That Insider Featured Products Is the Question for SSD 8 Industry Latest Developments in the 16 Embedded Marketplace Two Basic Motherboards with 45nm Intel Quad-Core Processor 40 Small Form Factor Forum Solutions Engineering 10 The CPU is the Chicken. No, it’s the Atom-Based Qseven Module Mezzanine Boards Egg. No, it’s the Chicken... Addresses the Portable Device 41 Developing an ObsolescenceMarket & Technology XMC for Safety-Critical 24 Proof 42 Products Newest Embedded Technology Used Applications by Industry Leaders Gary Drossel, Silicon Systems

David Kleidermacher, Green Hills Software

Yu Hsuan Lee, Apacer Technology



Alan Commike, Quantum 3D

Views & Comment 58 News, Winding Down or Winding Up? 60 Annual Article Index

Industry Insight

Standards Update

Form Factor Special Interest Group Pushes Ambitious 30 Small Standards Effort Paul Rosenfeld, President SFF-SIG

Digital Subscriptions Avaliable at

December 2008


U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation


Required by 39 USC 3685.1)Title of Publication: RTC magazine. 2) Publication Number 1092-1524. 3)Filing Date 10/01/2008 4)Frequency of issue is monthly. 5)Number of issues published annually: 12. 6)Annual subscription price: n/a. 7)Complete Mailing Address of Known Offices of Publication: The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County. 8) Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters of General Office of Publisher: The RTC Group 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, California. Publisher: John Reardon, The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, CA 92673. Editor: Tom Williams, 245-M Mt. Hermon Rd.BMP#F, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. Managing Editor: Marina K.Tringali. The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, CA. 10) Owners: James Lizzio, Jim Reardon, John Reardon, Zoltan Hunor. The RTC Group; 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, California.11)Known Bondholders Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: None. 12)Tax Status: The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during the preceding 12 months. 13)Publication Title: RTC magazine. 14)Issue date for Circulation data: August 2008 RTC magazine. 15)Extent and Nature of Circulation: average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months (Net press run): 20,001. Number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 20,001 a)Total number of copies (net press run). b)1. Paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions stated on form 3541. (Include advertiser’s proof and exchange copies)/Average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months:18,664, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 18,480. b) 2. Paid in-county subscriptions (include advertiser’s proof and exchange copies)/average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months/number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: n/a. b)3. Sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors, counter sales and other non-USPS paid distribution/average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: n/a, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: n/a. b)4. Other classes mailed through the USPS/average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: n/a, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: n/a. c)Total paid and/or requested circulation [sum of 15b. (1), (2), (3) and (4) average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 94,949, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 19,978. d) Free distribution outside of the mail (carriers or other means)/ average number

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

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Total distribution (sum of 15c and 15e)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months:22,443 number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 19,958. h) Copies not distributed/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 52, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 23. I) Total (sum of 15f and g)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 20,001 number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 20,001. i) Percent paid and/ or requested circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 92.64, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 93.42 16. Publication of statement of ownership. Publication will be printed in the December issue of this publication. 17)Signature and title of the editor, publisher, business manager or owner: Marina K.Tringali(Managing Editor)10/01/2008. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subjected to criminal sanctions(including fines and imprisonment)and/or civil sanctions (including multiple damages and civil penalties).

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, 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.


December 2008

s i e r u l i a ftware F

o S n e h W

! n o i t p O Not an

DDC-I, Safety Critical Software Solutions for Mission Critical Systems




SF’s $1 Billion Investment in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Bodes Well for Embedded



by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief


n what now seems a rather prophetic occurrence, the September issue of RTC ran an editorial titled, “The Network is the Automobile,” which described projects being implemented in Denmark and Israel—and now Australia—to take those countries off the use of oil for automobiles. The main contractor, Palo Alto, California-based Better Place, has designed the overall technology and is in partnership with Renault/Nissan, which has committed to building the first automobiles. Numerous other contractors will supply batteries and other aspects of the system, which includes the electric cars, removable batteries and an intelligent charging network infrastructure. Just recently, the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, California held a press conference to announce their intention of becoming the electric vehicle capital of the United States. They are starting an initiative in conjunction with Better Place, backed by $1 billion in investment, to design and build a charging and battery exchange infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay area for sedan-sized electric vehicles. The mayors, with the backing of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, recognize that government has a role to play along with market forces in the direction of technological development. In concert with the intelligent charging network, the cities have agreed to standardize and expedite their permitting, zoning and tax incentive policies to encourage the development of the infrastructure. The plan is to start designing the network immediately and actually deploy it starting in 2010. By 2012, the goal is to have the network in place so that mass sales of electric vehicles can begin. San Jose, for example, is looking into building charging stations into the posts of street lights. The key concept of the Better Place approach is that the cars will seat five, get from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds and not be limited by the charge capacity of the batteries, which today can take them 100 miles. Beyond that, a system of automatic battery exchange stations will allow drivers to drive into a bay resembling a car wash and have their battery automatically exchanged with a fully charged one in less time than it takes to fill a tank with gasoline. Cars have internal GPS systems and voice-activated computers to identify destinations and available charging facilities. RFID technology keeps track of billing because the charges are for electricity used in terms of miles driven. All these things represent enormous opportunities for embedded computing for control systems and networking and more.


December 2008

If successful, the effort will not stop with the Bay Area. There are longer-range plans to install infrastructure networks in California’s three other metropolitan areas: Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. These would be linked by a series of exchange stations along the major interstate corridors and the network would organically branch out from there. The key concept here is intelligent infrastructure—with the emphasis on the word “intelligent.” There will, for example, be times when the power grid might draw power from connected vehicles during peak usage hours. At night, when most cars are parked and charging, is an ideal time to utilize the surplus power from wind generators, which of course run all hours. As the power grid becomes more integrated with the transportation system, and more decentralized as a result of wind power and solar panels on increasing numbers of rooftops, it becomes more intelligent as well—and more in need of embedded computing to distribute power where needed and keep track of the amount used by or contributed from any given customer. None of this requires any technological breakthroughs. It will, however, engender innovation to improve and optimize the system and to design different vehicles for different market segments. And it will spur the manufacture and sales of vast numbers of semiconductors and embedded modules out of the Silicon Valley segment of the economy along with a revitalization of American manufacturing out of the Detroit segment. This assumes that we don’t want to buy all those cool electric vehicles from France and Japan. Again, the key word is infrastructure. The automobile industry grew up on an infrastructure of roads, steel and oil. The Internet with e-commerce and all its benefits grew up on an electronic infrastructure. The new age of electric vehicles—which is now to become a reality—will grow up on an infrastructure of heavy industry, digital communications, embedded intelligent control and new sources of clean renewable energy. All these have the common thread that they gain by the use of computer intelligence. So as we start the New Year with what looks like the economy in the tank and the auto industry in meltdown, there is light ahead and it’s an attractive shade of green. UPDATE: At this writing, Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle has just announced an agreement with Better Place to build a network consisting of some 50,000 to 100,000 charging stations that will cover the entire state of Hawaii. This is happening, folks!

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms

2 in 1.

One Processor AdvancedMC™. Two ways to configure it. It’s difficult to imagine that the same processor module can function both as a PCI Express® root and as a PCI Express node. Until now, that sort of flexibility hasn’t really been an option for system designers. And that is why we are pleased to introduce you to the ASLP11 Processor AdvancedMC and its reconfigurable PCI Express port.

important implications for both AdvancedTCA® and MicroTCA™. It means you can build robust ‘processor farm’ systems for extremely demanding applications. It means you only have to stock, and provision, and train for one module. And it means you can now quite confidently make the transition from CompactPCI® to MicroTCA.

Based on your instructions, the ASLP11 can be powered up to control the PCI Express subnet. Or it can become a node. Which has fairly

Go to for more information on the ASLP11, the one Processor AdvancedMC that’s really two.

© 2008 GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Inc. All rights reserved. All other brands or names are property of their respective holders.

IndustryInsider DECEMBER 2008

World’s First Operating System to be Certified to EAL6+ Security Level In what really is a world first, the Integrity-178B operating system from Green Hills Software has been certified by the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) and the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 6+ (EAL6+) High Robustness, against the U.S. Government Protection Profile for Separation Kernels in Environments Requiring High Robustness (SKPP). Only an EAL6+ High Robustness operating system is certified to protect classified information and other highvalue resources at risk of attack from hostile and wellfunded attackers. Many other operating systems are certified to EAL4+ or lower. The Common Criteria security specifications for these products claim “protection against threats of inadvertent or casual attempts to breach the system security.” Furthermore, Common Criteria states that EAL4 “is the highest level at which it is likely to be economically feasible to retrofit an existing product line.” No other operating system has even begun the stringent EAL6+ NIAP/NSA certification process. The NIAP Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme site in_evaluation lists products that have begun a certification process. Integrity was certified against the Common Criteria’s Separation Kernel Protection Profile (SKPP), whose high robustness designation represents the gold standard for operating system security certification, requiring “security services and mechanisms that provide the most stringent protection and rigorous security countermeasures.” The security gap between EAL4+-certified products and SKPPcertified products is immense: while EAL4+ does not even require examination of the product source code, SKPP requirements include the use of formal methods to mathematically prove the security policies, formal specifications, formal correspondence between design and implementation, complete test coverage of all functional requirements, and penetration testing by the NSA, which has complete access to the source code. The certification of Integrity to the SKPP began in 2005.

Agriculture Goes Wide Area Wireless for Soil Monitoring

GreenPeak Technologies has announced a new remote soil moisture monitoring application developed by its Spanish integrator Sensing&Cont rol.


December 2008

Sensing&Control has developed an application where EC-5 soil moisture probes from Decagon Devices for use in the measurement of water activity and soil moisture monitoring in vineyards or greenhouses, can wirelessly transmit their mea-

Integrity has been certified to meet the following government and industry reliability standards: • DO-178B Level A, the highest level of avionics safety certification granted by the Federal Aviation Administration • FDA Class III, the most life-critical medical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration • IEC 61508 SIL 3, the highest level industrial safety certification granted to an operating system by TÜV • CMMI Maturity Level 3 for the Integrity software development organization With its open standards, POSIX-conformant interface and ability to host arbitrary general-purpose operating systems, such as Windows and Linux, in virtual machines, Integrity has been certified with the ability to run application software supported by any hosted operating platform, while maintaining the highest level of security for critical components, algorithms, applications and subsystems. Target solutions include safe Internet browsing on corporate PCs; protection of critical enterprise servers; unhackable digital rights management (DRM); and multi-level security for government laptops, desktops, PDAs and servers. An EAL6+ certified operating system represents the level of security required to protect the nation’s critical cyber infrastructure. Critical infrastructure devices and operator computers are increasingly networked, perform critical functions requiring in-field maintenance, and discharge an evolving role requiring in-service software upgrades. Integrity enables computing control and management solutions that cannot be hacked. In a related move, Green Hills Software has announced that it has formed Integrity Global Security, LLC as a wholly owned subsidiary. The new company will market Integrity secure separation solutions, based on Integrity, the first and only operating system ever to achieve Common Criteria EAL6+ High Robustness certification. The new company’s charter is to use Integrity as the foundation to protect government and corporate cyber assets. Integrity Global Security offers solutions that close the security gaps and make computing environments secure. Integrity Global Security’s experts apply a methodology called Secure Separation Architecture to create absolutely secure and totally reliable software, including the Integrity operating system, secure call centers, secure PCs, secure Web portals, secure financial transactions and secure PDAs. Integrity Global Security, LLC will be led by chief executive officer David Chandler. surements in open field agricultural applications to remote monitoring sites. In this application, lowpower routers are mounted throughout the field to allow the formation of an extremely large wireless mesh network. The

configuration of this extended low-power sensor network is facilitated by the self-forming and self-healing mesh technology that enables the data to find its way to the gateway and to the rest of the world in a fully automated manner. By using

Industry Insider Partnership Program ensures graphics add-in board (AIB) es for applications that include smart power-up/power-down that customers will receive market, Jon Peddie Research telecommunications, computand duty cycling synchronizacomprehensive, application(JPR) reports an increase in ing, industrial and other hightion techniques, the network is specific solutions with guarAIB shipments tracking the tech applications. organized such that the energy anteed interoperability from a growth in the overall hardThe broad range of Muconsumption for each router single source. ware graphics market, which rata Power Solutions products is reduced to a fraction (<1%) Partners are invited by also includes motherboardstocked by Digi-Key is currentof what it normally would be, Emerson to the program and integrated products. Where ly featured in its online catalog allowing for an infrastructure participate at one of three prooverall shipments rose by and will be featured in future that can run on energy harvestgram levels based on a wide 17.8% (sequentially), unit print catalogs. These products ing without any maintenance, range of factors including techshipments for AIBs increased are available for off-the-shelf or on batteries for a long time. nology, ecosystem contribution 11% to 21.9 million, elevated delivery from Digi-Key in both Every node is connected to and business objectives. The by major introductions of new prototype and production quanthree Decagon EC-5 soil moisprogram levels are Strategic graphics technologies and AIB tities. Industry surveys of enture probes that gather inforPartner, Integrated Solution products. The market duopoly gineers consistently rate Digimation at 10 cm, 20 cm and 30 Partner and Emerson Compatof AMD and Nvidia was busy, Key #1 with for technology breadth ofand product cm depths below the surface to Get Connected solutions now ible Partner. with the two vendors ramping line, availability of product and report the soil moisturecompanies within providing Emerson Network Power’s volume on their newest highon-time the rooting zone of theGet crops. Connected is a newdelivery. resource for further exploration into products, and companies. Whether your end Radeon HD and GeForce Digi-Key Corporation uti-goal Strategic Partners include: CavThis allows the farmer to ac- technologies is to moisture research the latest datasheet from a company, speakand directly ium Networks, EMC CorporaGTX cards, respectively. lizes streamlined processes curately monitor soil Application Engineer,state-of-the-art or jump to a company's technical page, All things considered, the technologies tothe tion, Freescale Semiconductor, levels, which with are an crucial to ungoal uptake of Get Connected to put you touch with the right resource. Hybricon Corporation, Intel industry has to be somewhat a inglobal customer base derstand water by the isserve Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Corporation, Interphase Corheartened, albeit with several from its single 600,000 square roots and to assure proper irGet Connected will help you connect with the companies and products poration, MontaVista Software, caveats. Tempering the relafoot facility in Thief River rigation decisions. The hourly you are searching for. Inc. and Wind River Systems, tively positive story for units in Falls, Minnesota, USA. are stored in the Inc. Integrated Solution PartQ3 was a drop in average street nodes, sent to the coordinator ners include 6WIND, IP Infuprices (ASPs), a decline that of the wireless network, and Initiative Drives Partner sion and Red Hat, Inc. Emerson JPR attributes in large part to a then the collected information Product Interoperability Compatible Partners include more competitive AMD intenis transferred via GPRS on a Astute Networks, GoAhead sifying the pressure on market daily basis to a remote office. to Expand Market Reach Software, SANBlaze Technolleader Nvidia. The Sensing&Control applicaEmerson Network Power Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now ogy, Inc, SURF CommunicaAMD has by all accounts tion is based on GreenPeak’s has announced the Innovation Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether exceeded your goal is toexpectations research the latest tion Solutions, Tail-f Systems with its PeakNet LPR communication Partnership Program for its 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 and VirtualLogix. Radeon HD 4000 series. Priced stack, a wireless infrastructure embedded computing business. in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, aggressively yet delivering solid network protocol developedwill help Theyounew program, comprised Get Connected connect with the companies and products you are searching for. performance, AMD’s new line on top of the IEEE 802.15.4 of a broad range of Major New Technology not only took back some marspecifications in the worldtive software vendors, suppliers Releases Buoy Market ket share—jumping up to 40% wide certified 2.4 GHz band. and integrators, expands Emerfor Graphics Add-In from 35% the quarter prior—it son Network Power’s portfolio forced Nvidia (and partners) of solutions in multiple embedBoards to cut prices on its recently reded computing markets. One bright spot in a mostDigi-Key Inks Global leased GTX 200 series product. Within the program, parly dismal economy shows that Distribution Agreement Discounts cut into ASPs, takticipating companies work despite economic indicators with Murata Power ing a toll on revenue for both with Emerson to meet customtrending sharply down, the marSolutions Nvidia and the market overall, ers’ application-specific needs ket for graphics add-in boards Digi-Key Corporation has the latter down 27% (year-overby transforming leading-edge (AIBs) held up reasonably well announced that it has recently year) to $3.8 billion. embedded technologies into in Q3’08. The industry saw a signed an agreement for the globally available business somixed bag, with units rising worldwide distribution Mu- and Get Connected withofcompanies Get Connected lutions. Partner products are (sequentially) and revenue and rata Power products. productsSolutions featured in this section. with companies mentioned tested for compatibility and ASPs suffering, though under-in this article. Murata Power Solutions is a interoperability with so. manufacturer of DC-DC conson’s hardware and software After completing analysis verters, AC-DC converters, products. With a diverse array of last quarter’s results for the high-reliability power supplies, of partners spanning a broad digital panel meters, magnetrange of technologies and apGet Connected with companies mentioned in this article. ics, and data acquisition Innovation Get Connected with companies and plications, products featured the in this section.

Ad Index


End of Article

December 2008



The CPU is the Chicken. No, it’s the Egg. No, it’s the Chicken...


he history of popular bus architectures shows that the dominant player in the development of these architectures is the processor manufacturer. Intel has played a key role in all major PC bus architectures—ISA, PCI and PCI Express. The I/O folks mostly come along for the ride. But within the embedded world, bus architectures typically go hand in hand with form factors. And here it has become clear that without active participation by the I/O manufacturers, and the confidence that a robust I/O ecosystem will exist for any new form factor / bus architecture combination, any new specification is doomed. So while processor chip folks will continue to define the signals on the pins and SBC manufacturers integrate new processor / chipset components onto smaller and smaller form factors, the measure you need to look for to determine the longevity of any new form factor / bus specification is how many I/O suppliers are along for the ride. A look at the history of PC/104 proves revealing. PC/104 was initially conceived as the video expansion solution for EBX form factor SBCs. The integration of dozens of discrete components into the first chipset by Chips and Technologies allowed CPU boards to be built in this tiny form factor. At its peak, the PC/104 Consortium could identify well over 1000 PC/104 products on the market, and at most a few dozen of these were CPUs. The vast majority were I/O cards. And one of the reasons that PC/104 (and ISA) remain so robust to this day is that while CPU technology rolls over every six months or so, I/O technology evolves much more slowly, if at all. There are popular PC/104 I/O cards on the market today that were first introduced over 15 years ago. While CPU designs are driven by how many transistors can fit on the head of a pin and the need to use all that silicon available between the pads, I/O technology is more closely attuned to human speeds—vision, hearing, touch, DAQ, etc. A new super-fast digital I/O card that costs more isn’t going to gain much traction. The new PCI Express-based form factor / bus specifications may not garner much I/O support initially. First, the I/O players are looking for sockets to fill, and there just aren’t enough embedded PCI Express sockets available to pay for the cost of a new


December 2008

design. Secondly, these designs are complex, with high-speed logic requirements, and the high speed provides little benefit to the OEM customer. Perhaps the biggest push behind OEMs to PCI Express-based designs is fear of obsolescence of older ISA and PCI-based SBCs. Third, it just plain takes a long time to build up an ecosystem of a thousand I/O cards. So, if you can’t really count the I/O cards yet, how do you determine a “safe” SBC solution that will be around in 10-20 years? Does the specification enable easy migration from current solutions? Can currently available I/O boards be incorporated in the system? Even though the ISA bus is fading away, ISA cards can be enabled easily through bridge devices from the LPC or PCI bus. While bridging from LPC is fairly straightforward, bridging from the PCI bus requires that the SERIRQ (serial IRQ signal) be available on the connector. Since PCI can also be obtained with a bridge from PCI Express, ISA can be obtained from PCI Express with a double bridge implementation—ugly but functional. LPC is much simpler and less costly to work with. Note that while putting an ISA connector on the SBC makes this a very simple transition, it burdens every SBC with the double bridge cost since ISA support (and soon PCI as well) has been eliminated completely from the new generation CPU / chipset components. Secondly, look for membership of key I/O players in the various consortia. Ask your I/O vendor where they are placing their bets for the future. Finally, look for initial product introductions. A small form factor SBC with expansion connectors but without any available I/O cards is pretty useless. At least some I/O should be available at the same time the first SBCs are launched. I/O support is the key to the long-term viability of the new small form factor standards. Even if you don’t need expansion I/O today, the availability of a broad I/O ecosystem will most certainly determine if your new SFF SBC will be available three years from now. You can’t afford not to know the score.

Colin McCracken

&s f Paul Rosenfeld 3@r

Designing and building board level products and sub-systems for space applications is tough enough. Doing it in a true COTS environment is even tougher. It takes a very special company to do it right – and that company is Aitech. We not only designed and built the world's first harsh environment, open architecture VMEbus boards more than two decades ago, but we're fully qualified for use in today's most hostile environment – space.

The only COTS company...Aitech is the only COTS company in the world that offers embedded

products for space applications with this combination of features: • Designed and qualified specifically by us for space • Radiation-tolerant throughout • On-board triple redundant memory • Rad-hard SOI (silicon on insulator) ASICs • Single event effects and total dose radiation survivability

Total space applicability...Aitech embedded products and sub-systems for space are ideal for Low, Medium and High Earth Orbit applications, lunar and Mars robotic vehicles and much more. Our products are used in the Space Shuttle, CEV program, MIR Space Station, International Space Station and other high profile satellite programs where highest performance and reliability are required. Real space-qualified COTS...not custom off-the-shelf...but commercial off-the-shelf. COTS the way it's supposed to be! We don't compete with you...some embedded companies try to be systems integrators. We don't. We deliver board-level product and integrated sub-systems for space (and military/aerospace) applications. We leave the systems integration to the companies that do it yours!

We have what you need...from a full range of high performance, low cost, rad-tolerant, space-qualified CompactPCI SBCs, peripheral I/O boards and PMCs, memory boards and complete radiation and qual-testing, component obsolescence risk mitigation, lifecycle support and program management capabilities – with all the economy-of-scale advantages of off-the-shelf products.

Make us prove it...we can and we will. Call or visit us on the web. Embedded space is our space.

Aitech Defense Systems, Inc. 19756 Prairie Street Chatsworth, CA 91311 email: Toll Free: 888-Aitech8 - (888) 248-3248 Fax: (818) 718-9787

Technology In Context

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Solid-State Storage

SSDs Take Hold in Embedded Applications With lower costs, higher reliability, greater capacity and faster read/write speeds, solid-state storage devices are moving into embedded applications leading both to more alternatives as well as a move toward standardizing interfaces.

by G  ary Drossel SiliconSystems


mazing as it might seem, there has reliability and long product life required never been a “specific” solid-state in critical system applications. As a result, drive (SSD) form factor designed systems deployed in the field have experifor onboard storage for the embedded sys- enced high failure rates because of a varitem OEM market. Rather, designers have ety of endurance, power anomaly or envihad to use available SSD form factors and ronmental issues. The demand for SSDs interfaces compatible with the chipsets also spread in embedded system applicaoriginally designed for consumer appli- tions due to the affordability of higher cacations. The SSD market has been driven pacities in newer form factors such as 1.8by innovation and consumer demand for inch and 2.5-inch drives, beginning the smaller, more powerful consumer elec- evolution of hard disk drive replacement. nies providing solutions nowsuch as iPods, digital camEarly adoption of SSDs was primarily tronics devices ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research thebylatest made high-end industrial and military eras and smart phones, and it has begun ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you system designers who needed a storage to evolve for both consumer and indusyou require for whatever type of technology, solution that would overcome the perforapplications. Huge consumer and productstrial-grade you are searching for. mance and reliability issues of hard drives adoption has led to decreases in cost per in rugged and mission-critical applicagigabit in NAND storage devices, making tions. Initial applications included flight consumer-based SSD devices affordable and mission data recorders, troop and field to the masses. computers, GPS communication systems Likewise, SSDs for consumer applications began to find their way into a and industrial applications that mandated wide range of industrial applications due high shock, vibration and extreme temto lower costs. However, embedded sys- perature tolerances. As SSD technology tem OEMs quickly discovered that they and the industry matured, SSDs became did not deliver the high performance, high a more attractive solution for single board computing developers, which expanded onboard integration to include everything Get Connected from edge routers and switches in netwith companies mentioned in this article. com applications, industrial automation

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December 2008 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

and control equipment to ATM machines and other forms of interactive kiosks and medical devices. CompactFlash initially emerged as the form factor of choice for embedded systems due to its small footprint, performance, reliability and its adoption as a well-understood industry standard. The initial cost per gigabyte for CompactFlash was very high, limiting adoption to embedded applications where it was crucial to have no moving parts and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and high shock and vibration. As the cost decreased, demand exploded due to the merits of solid-state storage in many applications. However, looking to the future, there is a downside to using CompactFlash because of its limited interface compatibility with Parallel ATA (PATA). Demand also grew for SSD solutions as primary storage in embedded applications that did not require ruggedization or were not deployed in harsh environments. For these applications, SSDs were attractive for their lower power consumption and long product life in usage models that often required 24/7 “always on” capability. SSDs in 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch form

Technology In Context

factors became true drop-in replacements for hard drives in embedded applications that required high endurance, multi-year product deployments of up to 10 years, faster data transfers, less frequent product requalifications and protection from the effects of power anomalies.

Onboard Storage Meets Embedded

Demand for onboard storage that meets designers’ performance, reliability, size, low power, interface, scalability and security requirements has resulted in new SSDs with integrated technologies to match embedded system application requirements. Industrial-grade SSDs are available in a wide range of form factors from 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch drives, to CompactFlash and PC Cards and 40 and 10-pin modules plus new ultra-small modules with no compromise in performance, reliability, scalability and product life. Now that SSDs are viable for onboard storage, embedded system designers can choose from SSD technology that has evolved with faster read/write speeds and that supports popular USB and SATA interfaces, as well as traditional PATA, SD and MMC interfaces (Table 1). Important, too, the latest SSDs are available in capacities that match typical embedded system usage models. These tend to use SSDs for operating system storage, fast boot capabilities, event/error logging, look-up tables, etc. Optimal storage capacity for these functions is well within the capacity range of most SSDs: 512 Mbytes to 32 Gbytes. Because they only require a fraction of the system power of hard drives, SSDs are an appropriate choice for onboard storage even in the most spaceconstrained designs. Adding to the power and reliability advantages of SSDs, are integrated technologies that prevent drive or data corruption from power anomalies. The number one cause of storage system field failures is drive corruption from an ungraceful power-down, brownout, power spike or unstable voltage level. When power goes out, the result is often a corrupted drive and ruined data, resulting in costly unscheduled downtime as field technicians reformat drives, reinstall operating systems or return products. New

integrated voltage detection technology in SSDs eliminates drive corruption in the event of a power disturbance adding significantly to system reliability. Contributing to its high endurance and reliability, solid-state storage technology features robust wear-leveling and error correction code (ECC) algorithms. In addition, integrated technologies that act as an early warning system to forecast usable life are now standard features on advanced SSDs to virtually eliminate the

Figure 1

The proposed MiniBlade connector standard is targeted at storage, GPS, communication and other I/O devices.

Size Operating Voltage Max Capacity Protocol Interface Speed (MB/s) -40°C to +85°C Table 1

tems used in many embedded system applications prevented storage security options from extending beyond basic encryption technology. Today’s leaders in solid-state storage technology offer an array of advanced user-selectable security options that prevent IP theft, protect application data and software IP from theft, corruption, and accidental or malicious overwrites. Applications such as data recorders, wearable and field computers, medical monitoring and diagnostic equip-










3.3 or 5V

3.3V, 5V or 12V


















Solid-state drive interface alternatives.

chances of storage system wear-out. This allows OEMs to set usage model thresholds to schedule field maintenance and drive replacement without incurring expensive unscheduled downtime. Security breaches are on the rise for embedded systems, which means that robust security must also be a crucial feature for SSDs. In the past, system design challenges due to the small footprint and low-power requirements for storage sys-

ment, POS systems and voting machines are now requiring more advanced levels of security that make sure the SSD is usable only on the originally intended host system.

New Ultra-Small Form Factor SSD Option

The embedded industry has started to move away from parallel interfaces in general, preferring the faster serial interDecember 2008


Technology In Context

face. There is also a growing trend in embedded computing to migrate to smaller form factor boards such as Computer-onModules (COMs) where CompactFlash is actually too big for the computing platform. Addressing embedded system demand for an ultra-small advanced storage form factor that supports faster interfaces, SiliconSystems has developed the company’s SiliconDrive II Blade product family, which combines integrated advanced stor-

age technologies with the robustness and locking mechanism of the SiliconBlade Socket (Figure 1). The SiliconDrive II Blade was designed as an alternative to SD and MMC cards in netcom, embedded, industrial, military and medical applications. More robust, secure and a quarter of the size of a CompactFlash card, it offers improved shock and vibration due to the “lock down” mechanism of the connector. An-


Network Security

Military IPTV E n t e r p r i s e VoIP



More Options Match Market Requirements

Industrial V i d e o

There are a plethora of SSD options available today enabling OEMs to choose the onboard storage solution that matches their chipset, host interface, performance, reliability, power, usage model and security requirements. OEMs have the flexibility to design a wider range of products that match the needs of a variety of markets. Designers no longer need to work around form factors and interfaces compatible with the chipsets originally designed for consumer applications. Today, there is a good variety of SSD form factor options for onboard storage that offer the high performance, high reliability and long product life needed for the rigors of embedded system applications.

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1 14Untitled-7 December 2008

other benefit of the SiliconDrive II Blade is that it is upgradeable in the field for long deployments, unlike chip down solutions that are soldered to the PCB. The new form factor is available in capacities from 512 Mbytes to 4 Gbytes. Responding to market demand for open standards and the need for second sourcing of products, SiliconSystems has contributed its SiliconDrive II Blade specification to the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG) for the purpose of creating an official governing standard. With its growing membership of embedded computing suppliers who are interested in advancing small form factor designs and adoption, the SFF-SIG has formed a working group to develop a specification under the “MiniBlade” name that will define a wide array of storage, communications, GPS and other I/O products. Members of the SFF-SIG will have full access to the MiniBlade specification. The small form factor embedded system market will now have a standardized ultra-small mass storage solution.

5/6/08 4:28:41 PM

Technology In Context

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Solid-State Storage

To Defrag or Not to Defrag—That Is the Question for SSD Solid-state disks are becoming a popular storage medium in embedded applications. In real use, SSD suffers from file system fragmentation just like HDD. While defragmentation can restore performance, care must be taken not to incur too many write cycles in clearing file and free space fragments.

by Yu Hsuan Lee Apacer Technology


lthough the solid-state disk (SSD) is HDBENCH Scores Apacer 8GB SATA SSD (Higher Scores Are Better) not new and has a long history of its own, it has only recently received 120000 W/O SSD Optimizer quite a bit of media hype that makes it 102389 W/SSD Optimizer outshine other NAND flash products such 100000 as flash-based media players or memory cards. As big computer brand names like 80000 71854 Apple, Acer and Asus introduced their 67077 portable computers with built-in solid60000 state drives, people began to really notice the existence and the importance of this 40000 nies providing solutions now technology. ion into products, technologies Whether your goal is to research the 20000 latest The SSDand is companies. a true replacement tech17227 17246 15753 ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you nology for the traditional hard disk drive 3691 1742 you require for whatever type of technology, Yes. It is 0 and products(HDD). you are searching Really fast. It has no Read Write Random Read Random Write mechanical moving parts that slow down read/write. It endures shocks and vibraFigure 1 Benchmark scores on Apacer 8 Gbyte SATA SSD with HDBench software. tion to a greater extent. It operates without a sound. It tolerates a larger range of temrequiring a disk drive as small and light- fore SSD finds its place in your offices and perature. And it is tiny and lovely. But those who are more skeptical weight as possible that SSD serves as a home desktops. But SSD isn’t perfect. We only consider SSD to be a technology that better solution than HDD. The trend is can still find room for improvement, and competes with HDD in certain niche ap- there, obviously, but the price per Gigabyte costs will continue to drop. plications. The so-called netbook market, is still too high for SSD to become mainfor example, is such a niche application stream. For the time being we see SSD Fragmentation Not Just for and HDD versions coexist and compete Hard Drives with each other in the netbook market. As Anyone with experience in computGet Connected SSD’s price is dropping and its capacity ers knows that a computer just gets slower with companies mentioned in this article. is increasing rapidly, it won’t be long be- and slower after the day you first turn it

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December 2008 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.



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Technology In Context

SSDLife Erase Count RAW Average 35

Cumulative Erase Count



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Cumulative erase activity on Apacer 8 Gbyte PATA SSD as measured by SSDlife software

on. Depending on how you use it, your computer can become sluggish in just weeks or months. The main reason for this aging phenomenon is not in hardware but in software. Or, more precisely, it is file system fragmentation that slows down your computer. One might say that this is true for HDD because the read/write head needs to position itself to the right place during read/write operation and it takes time to do that. As a file is cut into pieces and stored in different memory area of the HDD, the read/write head travels to the locations of each file piece and spends one seek time to read and write each piece of data. Thus the read/write time naturally multiplies by a factor in proportion to how fragmented the file is. One might then conclude that file fragmentation will not cause a slowdown in an SSD because there is no read/write head and therefore the mechanical seek time is zero. In an SSD, every file tends to be broken up into pieces and stored in different physical locations of the flash memory cells because the logical-to-physical (L2P) mapping used in managing the flash memory seems to scramble the relationship between logical addresses and physical addresses of data. Since everything is done electronically, not mechanically, one might conclude that file fragmentation is not a problem for SSD at all. The above statements are right about HDD, but only half correct for the SSD

part. It is a misconception that SSD does not suffer from file system fragmentation. A large part of system slowdown can indeed be attributed to the read/write head spending too much mechanical seek time for highly fragmented files in HDD, and SSD does reduce that to zero. While this is a significant improvement, mechanical seek time only makes up a part of total access time, or I/O time, of any single input/ output request made to the disk. I/O time is the time a computer system takes to complete a request cycle all the way from application, OS and driver down to disk hardware, memory cells, and then back again. Zero mechanical seek time certainly does not mean zero I/O time. No matter how fast an SSD can be, its I/O time can never be zero. File system fragmentation affects I/O time in an SSD even when the mechanical seek time is zero. To put it another way, the misconception that SSD does not suffer from file fragmentation derives from seeing the performance degradation as a problem of the storage device alone, a problem of whether there is mechanical moving part or not, but not as a problem concerning the system as a whole. The question at issue here is I/O time, not seek time. Here we must distinguish between two different types of fragmentation under the name “file system fragmentation.” They are file fragmentation and free space fragmentation. File fragmen-

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Technology In Context

tation is the cause of slow read because the file is stored as a bunch of noncontiguous smaller pieces scattered around. Free space fragmentation, on the other hand, is the cause of slow write. It happens when there is no contiguous free space available for storing a file in one write such that the file system allocates a bunch of noncontiguous smaller slices of free space to store this file in several writes. Free space fragmentation leads to file fragmentation

during write operations. File fragmentation leads to free space fragmentation— this happens when fragmented files are deleted. It is obvious that the two types of fragmentation form a vicious circle. Kicking seek time out of our equation, one can understand that for an SSD the main factor that causes performance drop is file system fragmentation. This is a problem at the level of file system and MFT table (NTFS), where files become frag-

mented such that one access request for one file turns out to be several or more access requests for pieces of file fragments that make up the file. This “I/O multiplication” effect found in a fragmented file system is particularly noticeable during write cycles. The reason is the erase-before-write characteristics of NAND flash: data can be written into a memory block only after existing data has been erased. Since the erase/write speed is slow compared to read, a write multiplication due to free space fragmentation can slow down I/O time severely.

Defragmentation Comes to the Rescue

In September, Apacer introduced its first SSD bundled with optimization software to address, among other things, the problem of file system fragmentation. By applying defragmentation algorithms specially tailored for SSD, the Optimizer software can restore read operation 5.9x faster, write operation 19.5x faster, random read 3.9x faster, and random write 9.0x faster. Notice how file system fragmentation can degrade system performance in this test case. In a severely fragmented file system, sequential read can degrade to the level of random write, and sequential write and random write become extremely sluggish. Here we see to what extent SSD may suffer from file system fragmentation, and how defragmentation can bring performance back (Figure 1). Now comes a problem. Since the defragmentation routine will move file fragments in trying to consolidate files and free space, it causes additional write operations to the SSD’s NAND flash. However, NAND flash can only allow for a limited number of erase/write cycles for each memory unit—a lifetime issue. If you write too often, your flash will soon die out. It appears that, by shuffling files, defragmentation will increase the erase counts and shorten the life span of SSD. Indeed, having limited erase/write cycles is an SSD’s weak spot. The problem of how to minimize erase count in flash has been one of the key research areas for flash vendors. It concerns, at the level of memory controller and L2P table, how efficiently the memory controller manages data among memory cells. No matter how good the memory controller may be 1 20Untitled-1 December 2008

7/11/08 2:29:01 PM

Technology In Context

in reducing its “write amplification” factor, using whatever kind of wear-leveling algorithms, memory controllers in their present architecture seem incapable of doing anything to cope with the increase of erase/write cycles caused by the I/O multiplication in a fragmented file system. Thus we face a dilemma. On the one hand, we need to defrag our SSD to improve its performance. On the other hand, we cannot defrag too much lest too many

writes shorten SSD’s longevity. Traditional defragmentation aims to clear all fragments found in a target disk. But this strategy cannot work for SSD because of the life time issue. The solution to this dilemma is certainly one of balance and compromise. That is, how to devise a defrag strategy that will improve throughput while at the same time not incurring too many erase counts? It appears that the better defrag strategy is to prevent free space fragmentation

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1 22Untitled-7 December 2008

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from occurring without being too aggressive in consolidating files. Since free space fragmentation leads to file fragmentation, if free space fragments can be minimized, the chances of creating fragmented files can also be minimized. If such a defragmentation strategy is applied at the initial stage of an SSD, then the file system can be optimally maintained in a less fragmented state. This helps to turn the vicious circle of fragmentation into a virtuous one. On the other hand, by consolidating files only when needed, erase counts used in consolidating files are minimized. Figure 2 shows a test case done by Apacer where cumulative erase counts of an SSD test sample going through a series of procedures are documented. In this case fragmented free space is artificially created at stage 2 and stage 5. The optimization algorithm is applied at stage 6. HDBENCH is first run in a fragmented free space at stage 3, and then in an optimized, defragmented, space at stage 7. Defragmentation does incur erase count increase for 4. Running HDBENCH incurs 4 counts in a fragmented space, but only 1 in a defragmented space. That is, the optimization algorithm reduces HDBENCH erase count from 4 to 1. Based on the test, we can argue that although optimization will use some erase counts in consolidating fragments, it reduces erase counts incurred by other write activities that are done after it because fragments are already cleared. The total erase counts incurred in the case with optimization are only a fraction more than the total erase counts incurred in the case without optimization. It is as if applying optimization saves a number of erase counts from later write activities only to use them in advance. Since erase counts accumulate differently in different user scenarios, it is conceivable that the total erase counts incurred in the case with optimization can be the same as, or even less than, the total erase counts incurred in the case without optimization. This means a well-designed defrag algorithm can extend an SSD’s life span. Apacer Technology Milpitas, CA. (408) 586-1291. [].

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Mezzanine Boards

Developing an Obsolescence-Proof XMC for Safety-Critical Applications The time needed to safety certify rapidly changing commercial hardware can run up against end-of-life issues.Ad Making the product certifiable based on its firmware can guard against Index obsolescence. by A  lan Commike Quantum3D

Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now

Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly ne look at today’s videowithgames an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the proves that 3D graphics aregoal becomof Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. ing increasingly realistic. Whichever Beyondlevel of service you require for whatever type of technology, will help you connect with the companies and products gaming applications, 3D graphicsGet areConnected beyou are searching for.


coming ubiquitous in a host of markets— consumer devices, industrial equipment and medical equipment. The reason for this transition from 2D to 3D is simple: 3D delivers enhanced realism, whether for entertainment purposes or life-saving Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now technologies. Unfortunately, 3D graphics have Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connecte not yet become ubiquitous in safetytouch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, critical environments—despite inthe Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for. fact that such graphics could provide a significant increase in performance and realism. At the center of this roadblock is that safety-critical environments have strict testing and validation requirements for both software (DO-178) and hardware (DO-254). These certifications specify both how one tests for errors in a system, as well Figure 1 Real-time 3D mapping is one application whose development has been as how a system compensates for any stunted by the traditional development path of GPUs. prospective errors to ensure continual rendering and performance. But one is a lengthy and expensive proposiGet Connected with companies and Get Connected side effect of these strictproducts validation tion. Two contributing factors to these featured rein this section. with companies mentioned in this article. quirements is that certifying a system increased costs—that all subsystems for use in a safety-critical environment within a safety-critical environment



December 2008

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-40o to +70o C Fanless 1GHz Industrial SBC. List Price $595 Applications such as robotics, transportation, pipelines, MIL/COTS, medical, security, machine control, and industrial automation that must work in harsh, demanding environments need WinSystems’ EBC-855. This x86, PC-compatible SBC supports Linux and Windows ® XP embedded and other popular RTOS along with popular video and wired and wireless network standards. • Intel® 1 GHz ZCD CPU or 1.8 GHz Pentium® M with fan • Intel® Extreme Graphics 2 technology supports CRT & LVDS flat panels simultaneously with dual independent display • Custom splash screen on start up • 10/100 Mbps Intel® Ethernet controller • 802.11a/b/g wireless supported • 4 serial COM ports and 4 USB 2.0 ports • 48 bi-directional TTL digital I/O lines • Bi-directional LPT port • Two EIDE ports (UDMA100) for hard disk • 3.5-in. floppy disk drive supported • CompactFlash (CF) cards supported • PC/104 and PC/104-Plus connectors • Onboard AT keyboard and FDC controller • AC97 six channel 5.1 surround sound • +5 volt only operation • EBX-size: 5.75” x 8.0” (146mm x 203mm) • Industrial temperature operation • Long-term product availability • Quick Start kits for software development • Off-the-shelf delivery Contact us for additional information or OEM pricing. Our factory application engineers look forward to working with you.

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Sentiris AV1: Toward an Obsolescence-Proof GPU Sentiris AV1, developed by Quantum3D, Inc., was born out of a desire to meet the needs of the safetycritical market. The task here, insofar as safety-critical certification is concerned, became discovering a way to build a next-generation XMC that could achieve certification via its firmware. This would enable upgrades as the market’s needs change. To develop this “obsolescence-proof” GPU, Sentiris AV1 leverages an FPGAbased video and graphics processing core instead of the traditional approach of using dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs). The XMC Mezzanine Card contains a Vir tex 5 FXT FPGA that runs the core GPU engine, PCI Express communication path and video back-end features. The XMC also contains a wide memor y bus with ECC protected DDR2

must provide a long product lifetime and that these products must be ruggedized in order to withstand the harsh environments where these products are most often used—can be addressed by changing the way that graphic processing units (GPUs) are developed and deployed for the safety-critical market.

Figure 2 Figure

Sentiris AV1, an XMC designed for the safetycritical market by Quantum3D, leverages a Virtex 5 FXT FPGA as its core instead of using a dedicated GPU.

memories as well as analog and digital output drivers. A custom CRT Controller implemented in the Vir tex 5 drives the analog output DACs from the frame buffer in the external DDR2 memories. Digital outputs are driven from the same frame buffer using the highspeed SERDES available on the Vir tex 5. The video controller is fully programmable providing not only video format timings but also NTSC and STANAG voltage levels. Sentiris AV1, in addition to its safety-critical DO-178B and DO-254 certifiability, meets the shock, vibration, temperature and other requirements of MIL-STD-810F, making it well suited for the harsh and demanding environmental conditions posed by military and civilian field-computing implementations.


December 2008

But the needs of the safety-critical market are long product lifetimes and ruggedness. A real-time video processing system in a commercial aircraft, flightcertified helicopter radar, or a real-time map system (Figure 2) are all required to be designed for deployment for a decade or longer. With GPUs becoming obsolete

This map/location display is one application that is of major value to the embedded, safety-critical market.

Figure 1 illustrates one such application for the safety-critical market that is insufficiently met by today’s deployable systems. The need, then, is for an obsolescence-proof GPU, one that makes use of an FPGA-based video and graphics processing core instead of the traditional approach of using dedicated GPU ASICs. The very nature of the 3D graphics industry is in opposition to the needs of the safety-critical market. Historically, the next-generation 3D graphics ASIC is usually only 6-12 months away. What this enables for the gaming market—frequent improvements in performance—is counter to safety-critical applications. GPUs have typically had a lifecycle of a matter of years before becoming obsolete. When the application is a gaming console, a new GPU can mean the release of a new product.

in a matter of years, engineers in this market have been faced with a dilemma: to either forgo the benefits of 3D in a safetycritical application, or to develop a workaround that enables them to obtain a hardware waiver based on a statistical time test. They then must purchase enough material upfront to ensure availability over the projected lifetime of the product. This process, however, is a workaround that, while technically in compliance with the letter of DO-178B, fails to independently certify actual compliance. Thus, products that leverage GPUs with this waiver are fundamentally unproven—with people effectively looking the other way for lack of a better solution. The 3D graphic ASIC development cycle is not going to change, so the safety-critical market needs to resolve its obsolescence and certification issues by leveraging existing technologies in new ways.

SOLUTIONS Engineering

The Fully Certifiable, Obsolescence-Proof XMC GPU

Instead of trying to obtain DO-178B and DO-254 waivers for an older generation of commercial GPUs, the goal is to develop a GPU that specifically meets the requirements of the safety-critical market. This new GPU would be easily certifiable to DO-178B and DO-254, avoid having to customize XMC Mezzanine Cards based on commercial GPU reference designs, avoid rewriting commercial drivers, and be developed specifically to address the environmental issues facing safety-critical deployments. By eschewing the traditional approach to a GPU, we can design a GPU from the ground up—with the needs of the safetycritical market in mind. Objective number one is to pursue a rapid development process to get to market as quickly as possible. If we leverage an FPGA with an internal PowerPC core as the primary development platform, the FPGA will allow for rapid prototyping of the GPU blocks, with the ability to move to an ASIC after development is complete. The PowerPC core’s ability to run a full Linux kernel will allow for an easy and familiar development and debugging environment, thus helping to accelerate the development process. When moving to full DO-178B certification, Linux is easily removed and replaced with a simple executive that runs the same code developed under the Linux kernel. Objective number two is to select hardware and software platforms that are geared toward the needs of the safety-critical market. This was a primary consideration at Quantum3D during the development of Sentiris AV1, our newest XMC (see sidebar “Sentiris AV1: Toward an Obsolescence-Proof GPU”). In looking at the feature set needed for a safety-critical GPU, we realized that the determinism of the OpenGL SC API far outweighed some of the non-deterministic advanced rendering features available in OpenGL ES or OpenGL 2.x found in many of the commodity GPUs. For DO-178B certifiability, we leveraged an existing OpenGL SC software ren-

dering engine that already had artifacts leading to DO-178B certification. Then, we built up the hardware on a DO-254 XMC Mezzanine Card with the ruggedness needed for harsh safety-critical and military embedded environments. This approach allows for an entirely new type of GPU to be crafted—one that is based on a known DO-178B software renderer with a ground-up hardware design that

meets the rigors of the safety-critical market. Within the safety-critical and military embedded environment, there is no de facto standard for operating system or hardware platform. Understanding that the market is fractured and wanting to address as much of it as we can, the next goal is to design the system in such a way as to make it easy to port to

December 2008


SOLUTIONS Engineering

new systems. Moving much of the complexity of a typical device driver from the host into the PowerPC core makes it possible to deliver a small, lightweight and portable device driver. This ensures operating system independence, thus enabling the capability to easily port to and support the various real-time operating systems that are required in the safety-critical and military embedded markets. Typical operations, such as register setup for various operating states, are fully implemented in the on-chip PowerPC processor. This shifts the common paradigm of communication between the host and XMC from a register-centric view to a command-centric view where the host driver issues a command and the PowerPC executes the command with the knowledge of the appropriate registers to set. This means that, since the registers do not need to be mapped through the host hardware or exported to the host device driver, porting to new systems is radically simplified and provides for the wide range of hardware and operating systems common in this marketplace. Finally, it is important to consider the easiest path to DO-178B software certification. For Sentiris AV1, Quantum3D leverages an OpenGL SC rendering engine that is based on our company’s IGL 178DO-178B certifiable renderer. This approach gives the flexibility to start with a pure software renderer and move the rendering pipeline into hardware as the project develops. The OpenGL SC engine takes the same philosophy as the rest of the system, with the host driver being as simple as possible. The host driver is only responsible for tokenizing the OpenGL SC commands and sending those commands as payload packets to the core OpenGL SC engine in the XMC hardware.

A New Set of Applications

Engineering an obsolescenceproof GPU for the safety-critical market requires a revolutionary approach. To meet the long-life and ruggedness requirements of this market, it is nec-


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essary to buck the trends that have defined GPU development to this point in time. The benefits of such an approach are equally revolutionary. Because it is the code that is being certified—and because such code can be updated or put on subsequent generations of FPGAs without losing its certification—the safety-critical market will for the first time have a GPU that is legitimately certified, does not obsolete with EOL’d products, and is designed to meet the rugged requirements of the military/embedded applications for which safetycritical is so common. Quantum3D San Jose, CA. (408) 361-9999. [].


Standards Update

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Small Form Factor Special Interest Group Pushes Ambitious Standards Effort Four new specifications set direction for industry future as new processor and I/O technologies emerge, driving down the size, cost and power consumption of high-performance modules

by Paul Rosenfeld, President SFF-SIG


he embedded board industry has that produced specifications for single recently experienced a rapid prolif- board computers, the SFF-SIG is embraceration of standards for small form ing a wide range of technologies critical to factor single board computers, I/O expan- the embedded board marketplace, includsion modules and Computer-on-Module ing single board computers, I/O modules, products as a result of the upcoming tran- Computer-on-Modules and ruggedized sition from legacy (ISA/PCI) expansion mass storage. The SIG’s first standards specificabus technologies to PCI Express and USB. tion introduces a new interboard interface Different groups of companies are meetcalled Stackable Unified Module Interface ing to prioritize legacy interfaces against Technology (SUMIT). This specification new technologies whose role in embednies providing solutions now defines a connector and pin definition that ded products may not yet be well underion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest enables I/O modules to be stacked on top stood. This inflection point in embedded ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you of a single board computer. Unlike earlier computing provides an opportunity for you require for whatever type of technology, stackable interfaces, SUMIT implements players with and productsnew you are searching for. new and perhaps radical multiple bus technologies on a single, ideas to emerge on the embedded stage flexible, connector scheme that includes with an influence well beyond their size PCI Express, USB, LPC, I2C and SPI and history. (Figure 1). Designers can choose to impleThe Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG) is one of those ment one or more of the expansion buses new players. Established in April 2008 by on their SBCs or I/O modules. The SUMIT Specification, available seven industry leaders, and now up to 18 members, the SFF-SIG is bringing new on the SFF-SIG Web site at www.sff-sigand fresh ideas to the embedded board org, describes both a low-cost, single conmarketplace. Unlike earlier trade groups nector implementation providing a single x1 PCI Express lane along with three high-speed USB 2.0 channels, LPC bus, Get Connected SPI/uWire and SMBus/I2C. A second conwith companies mentioned in this article. nector may be added with one additional

End of Article


December 2008 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

x1 PCI Express lane, one x4 PCI Express lane plus additional power, ground and control signals. The physical interface for SUMIT is provided by one or two highspeed, high-density Samtec QFS/QMS connectors with a 0.635 mm pin pitch. Use of this connector pre-qualifies SUMIT for Generation 2 PCI Express and USB 3.0 data rates of 5 GTran/s.

Pico ITXe

Again, unlike earlier specifications of this nature, SUMIT does not specify a board form factor. Indeed, the SUMIT I/O expansion interface may be built onto any of a wide range of industry standard board form factors, such as EPIC, EBX, PC/104, Mini-ITX and more. The small PCB space requirements of the SUMIT interface are combined with a desire to take advantage of the super high level of integration found among next-generation, ultra-low-power processor / chip set combinations such as Intel’s Atom and VIA’s Nano. As a result, the SFF-SIG is offering a new, ultra-small SBC form factor standard called Pico-ITXe. This tiny 72 x 100 mm board enables a new class of compact footprint embedded applications with



Connector B (Optional)

x4 PCI Express Lane

x1 PCI Express Lane 1 51


Power, Ground, Control SPI, I2C, SERIRQ LPC Bus

Connector A

(3) USB 2.0

Figure 1



Small form factor boards, I/O expansion modules and a rigorous, multibus interface definition go a long way to

Power, Ground, Control


Solid-State Storage


X1 PCI Express Lane

SUMIT connector definition summary.

100.00 [3.937] 14.2mm

72.00 [2.835]




72.00 [2.835]


60.00 [2.362]

stackable I/O expansion. Optimizing for ultra-low-power platforms leads to a short stack height of only 15.24 mm. In another major break from the past, the Pico-ITXe specification does not specify a fixed location for the SUMIT expansion connectors. Since the location of the I/O module on such a small board has limited impact on overall system design, and since the routing of many hundreds of high-speed traces on a small PCB represents an enormous design challenge, flexibility in the module location makes the SBC much easier to design. The only requirement is that the I/O module not overhang the edge of the Pico-ITXe board and the relationship between the SUMIT connectors and expansion module mounting holes be maintained. The Pico-ITXe Specification will show several examples of module placement (Figure 2), any of which constitutes an implementation that is compliant with the standard. In addition, the SFF-SIG will provide examples showing potential I/O module placement, using the SUMIT interface, on other industry standard form factor boards including EPIC and PC/104. Such a small SBC form factor as Pico-ITXe mandates the definition of an ultra-small I/O expansion module. For use on Pico-ITXe SBCs (as well as any larger SUMIT-compliant SBC), the SFF-SIG has defined a new I/O module standard called Pico I/O. These stackable 60 x 72 mm boards can grab any of the bus interfaces available on the SUMIT interface while passing the remaining interfaces to the module above. Hence, Pico I/O could embrace a x1 or x4 PCI Express interface, LPC interface, USB interface, I2C, or SPI, or a combination of these. Both the PicoITXe and Pico I/O Specifications are slated for release to the public at the end of 2008. Draft versions are available now to SFF-SIG members.

4.7mm 3.25 [0.128] 5.08mm

16.51 [0.650] 43.01 [1.693]

Units: mm [inch]

8mm 73.66mm

Figure 2

Pico I/O module mounted on Pico ITXe SBC.

December 2008



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Figure 3

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MiniBlade device and its latching socket.

providing all the tools for a small, nextgeneration embedded system design. However, they alone are not sufficient. Embedded systems need additional elements to be complete. One of those key elements is mass storage. The SFF-SIG is addressing the need for small, rugged mass storage for embedded systems via the MiniBlade Specification. Adapted from the SiliconDrive II Blade Specification originally created by Silicon Systems and Samtec, the MiniBlade Specification defines a connector, pin definition and module form factor for small, rugged removable subsystems such as mass storage and other I/O technologies. Unlike consumer-grade dongles and thumb drives, MiniBlade specifies a latching socket mechanism for increased resistance to shock and vibration (Figure 3). Like commercial standards, the pin interface for MiniBlade is sufficiently flexible to enable I/O modules such as wireless interfaces, GPS and other I/O technologies. The creation of the final MiniBlade Specification is currently underway. Members of the SFF-SIG are invited to join the MiniBlade Working Group (MWG). The MiniBlade Specification should be published in the first quarter of 2009. Early drafts will be available to SIG members.

The last key specification to be included in this initial set from SFF-SIG addresses perhaps the most dominant trend within the embedded board space—Computer-on-Module products. There have been multiple attempts to create industry standards for COM modules that incorporate next-generation bus technologies. The bulk of these, however, are beset by issues that affect carrier board design ranging from a lack of interoperability among modules implementing the same standard to the need for custom BIOS development to support carrier board I/O. While dozens of embedded OEMs have brute-forced their way through these issues, SFF-SIG believes that the time has come for a next-generation COM standard that learns from these mistakes and eliminates these issues through the inclusion of an appropriate mix of legacy and leadingedge signals. This new specification, designated Computer-On-Module Interconnect Technology (COMIT), is still in its formative stage with the COM Working Group at SFF-SIG. The concept, as initially outlined in the October 2008 issue of RTC, is to bring back to the module those devices which made implementation of earlier standards such a headache. These include: • Two traditional serial ports to eliminate many if not all custom BIOS requirements • The LPC bus to enable easy support of legacy (ISA) devices on the carrier board • Ability of the module to operate on system power, generating all necessary voltages on the module • Providing all necessary power planes and control signals to ensure a full ACPI implementation Like the SUMIT specification described earlier, the COMIT Specification describes a connector and pin definition for Atom and Nano platforms, leaving the module form factor open. The COMIT interface can be implemented on any of the existing COM form factor standards such as ETX / XTX or any of the multitude of COM Express form factors. The single 240-pin COMIT connector (Fig-


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ure 4) eliminates registration problems and supports multiple insertions. The connector is designed for the high signal speeds to be found in Generation 2 PCI Express, USB 3 and beyond. COMIT signals include: • 3 PCI Express x1 lanes • 1 PCI Express x4 lane • 6 USB ports • VGA + PnP • Dual LVDS panel support (24-bit) • SDVO (Serial Digital Video Out) • 2 SATA channels • HD AC’97 audio • LPC Bus • 8-bit SDIO • 2 Serial UART ports • SPI/uWire • SMBus / I2C • Power, Ground and various control signals Manufacturers and system OEMs interested in participating in finalizing the definition of the COMIT Specification should contact the SIG. The first publication of the COMIT Specification is expected in the first quarter of 2009. A draft version will be available to SIG members late in 2008. This ambitious plan—the release of four significant new industry standard specifications in its first year of existence—provides a resounding basis for continued growth of the SFF-SIG. For as systems shrink in size, and technol-

ogy evolves to meet the needs of small form factor systems, additional areas need to be addressed. In addition to the requirements imposed by new processor / chipset solutions as well as new expansion bus architectures, the small form factor community would benefit from standards in the area of power supplies, cooling solutions, external graphics adapters, ruggedized RAM modules and many more. A small number of dedicated individuals have driven the SIG to this point in time. Growth to the next level will require more effort from subject-matter experts. The SIG provides an excellent vehicle for suppliers to gather with their competitors and customers to define longlived standards that will grow the market opportunity for everyone. Our industry, and the standards that drive it, are only as good as the standardization efforts made by the industry’s technology leaders. The SIG welcomes your membership, but more importantly, the contribution of your time, talent and resources to build sustainable, long-lived standards for the benefit of all. Contact the SFF-SIG at Small Form Factor Special Interest Group [].



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system integration

Software security

Secure Software and Systems: Follow Five Principles and Prove It To be truly secure, computer systems, their operating systems and software must meet stringent criteria—criteria not determined by the market but by expert testing up to and including the National Security Administration.

by D  avid Kleidermacher Green Hills Software


he world has become accustomed to the fail-first, patchlater mentality of insecure software and computing infrastructure. As Michael Vatis, a former director of the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center, has said: “The vulnerabilities are endemic because we have whole networks and infrastructures built on software that’s insecure. Any given day, some new vulnerability pops up.” Thus, much of the world’s critical infrastructure, financial networks, medical information systems, telecommunications gear and portable mobile devices are open to compromise by determined individuals, corporations, organized crime and nation states. While the world spends untold billions on snake-oil solutions— firewalls, filters and Patch Tuesdays—security experts know full well that the only true path to security is through high assurance. Users of high assurance software can have high confidence in the ability of that software to securely perform its intended function. Almost all of the world’s commercial software is low assurance, and our confidence level in its security matches. Yet recent developments have proven that high assurance software can be practical, even for complex applications such as operating systems. Green Hills has developed and applied an architecture—the Secure Separation Architecture—to create a wide variety of highly secure components, applications and complete systems. Such an architecture should help computer and security professionals as well as the average consumer understand what is meant by high assurance. The architecture prescribes a set of five principles to be


December 2008

used in the creation of secure software and systems. Some of these may be familiar, while others may not be obvious; all are critical: 1. Minimal Implementation It is much harder to create simple, elegant solutions to problems than complex, convoluted ones. Most software developers do not work in an environment in which producing the absolute minimal possible solution to a problem is an unwavering requirement. Spaghetti code is the source of vulnerabilities that run rampant in software and provide the avenue of exploitation for hackers. 2. Componentization Compose large software systems from small components, each of which is easily maintained by (ideally) a single engineer who understands every single line of code. Use well-defined, documented interfaces between components. An important corollary to this rule is that security-enforcing functionality should be placed into separate components, so that security functionality is protected from compromise by unrelated functionality. Componentization provides many benefits, including improved testability, auditability, data isolation and damage limitation. Componentization can prevent a failure in one component from devolving into a system failure. 3. Least Privilege Components must be given access to only those resources (e.g. communication pathways, I/O devices, system services, information) that are required. Access control must be mandatory

systemIntegration Name


Security Level

Threat Environment


Separation Kernel in High Robustness Environments

EAL 6+

“management of classified and other high-valued information, whose confidentiality, integrity or releasability must be protected” “presence of both sophisticated threat agents and high-value resources”


Controlled Access Protection Profile

EAL 4+

“non-hostile and well-managed user community” “inadvertent or casual attempts to breach the system security” “not intended to be applicable to circumstances in which protection is required against determined attempts by hostile and well-funded attackers”


Labeled Security Protection Profile

EAL 4+

“non-hostile and well-managed user community” “inadvertent or casual attempts to breach the system security” “not intended to be applicable to circumstances in which protection is required against determined attempts by hostile and well-funded attackers”


Single Level Operating Systems in Medium Robustness Environments


Multilevel Operating Systems in Medium Robustness Environments

Table 1

EAL 4+

EAL 4+

“low value data” or “closed environment” Not appropriate for “organization’s most sensitive/proprietary information” when exposed to “a publicly accessible network” “motivation of the threat agents will be average” “low value data” or “closed environment” Not appropriate for “organization’s most sensitive/proprietary information” when exposed to “a publicly accessible network” “motivation of the threat agents will be average”

Operating System Security Evaluation Standards

for critical system resources and information. This is a biggy. In most operating systems, it is the birthright of any program to access the file system, launch other programs, and manipulate system devices. This lack of least privilege design enables a simple vulnerability, such as a buffer overflow, to be exploited to maximum deleterious effect. 4. Secure Development Process For the critical security-enforcing components, the software development process must meet the highest levels of reliability assurance, such as DO-178B Level A (a standard for ensuring the safety of flight-critical systems in commercial aircraft) or equivalent—as well as the highest levels of security assurance—EAL 6/7 or equivalent. This assurance process will cover numerous controls, including configuration management, coding standards, testing, formal design, formal proof of security policy, etc. 5. Independent Expert Validation Intrinsic assurance evidence must be evaluated and confirmed by independent experts. Consumers who read about a vendor’s claim of “certifiable” should interpret such hyperbole as “not certified.” For example, to achieve certification to the high assurance Separation Kernel Protection Profile (SKPP) in the United States, a separation kernel must not only have all of its design documentation, testing and formal methods painstakingly evaluated by an accredited Common Criteria testing lab, but the product must also undergo penetration testing by the NSA’s penetration testing experts who have complete access to the source code and essentially unlimited resources with which to craft attack vectors. Software that fulfills all five principles (it’s easy to see how the lack of any one of them can be fatal) can be trusted to manage and protect high-value assets, even if those assets are under attack by the most determined and resourceful enemies (read “exposed to the Internet”). The Secure Separation Architecture

does not attempt to rigorously define “secure development process” or specifically how the principles of least privilege apply to a particular software component or system. Interpretations will necessarily vary depending on the situation.

Common Criteria

Common Criteria is an important part of the answer to this interpretation dilemma. Common Criteria—more formally known as ISO/IEC 15408—is the international standard for evaluating the security of IT systems. Under Common Criteria, IT products are evaluated against Protection Profiles, which specify the product family’s security functional requirements and security level called the Evaluated Assurance Level, or EAL. For example, there are protection profiles for firewalls, antivirus applications and operating systems. Protection profiles themselves must be evaluated, ensuring that products are measured against a well-understood, valid and accepted standard. There are five operating system-related protection profiles that have been evaluated by the U.S. Government ( These operating system specifications have varying security levels, making them more or less appropriate for certain threat environments. The operating system profiles and their applicable threat environments are listed in Table 1. As can be seen from Table 1, only the SKPP is appropriate to protect high-value information exposed to the threat of sophisticated and determined attackers. In agreement with the secure development process principle, according to Common Criteria, EAL 4 “is the highest level at which it is likely to be economically feasible to retrofit an existing product line.” There is more to security than using the word “secure” or “trusted” in product names and press releases. December 2008


system Integration

Defense Against the Dark Arts

In 2007, IEEE Spectrum published The Athens Affair (http://, detailing the recent incident in which the Greek Prime Minister and a slew of other high ranking dignitaries had their mobile devices bugged. Hackers infiltrated the cellular provider’s computer systems to inject software that maliciously redirected private communications. Investigators concluded that the computers were “reprogrammed with a finesse and sophistication rarely seen before or since.” The Athens Affair was a well-funded and determined breach of system security by hostile entities. The number of detected intrusions into U.S. government networks has been steadily on the rise. For example, the Department of Homeland Security suffered 850 known cyber attacks in a two-year period beginning in 2005. Security experts believe that the actual number of successful breaches is far higher. The truth is that we have no idea what has already been stolen or commandeered, awaiting the opportune moment to strike. Too many IT professionals believe that encrypted communications, Web filters, firewalls and other security appliances are sufficient to protect valuable assets. Talk to one of the leading ethical hacking firms (better yet, hire them to attempt to infiltrate your corporate network), and you will soon be convinced that these technologies are akin to putting a padlock on a screen door. Ironically, the security appliances themselves run insecure operating systems. Many of the security problems that plague IT infrastructure can be cured with a Secure Separation Architecture and its use of

high assurance certified products, such as SKPP-certified operating systems. The requirements of the SKPP are far more stringent than any other operating system security standard. The resulting assurance, or confidence, that developers, users and other stakeholders are therefore able to derive from this certification is extremely high and unprecedented in the world of computer security. The Secure Separation Architecture is now being applied to solve important security problems in corporate, civil and government computing infrastructure. Green Hills Software, Santa Barbara, CA. (805) 965-6044. [].

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Featured Products Two Basic Motherboards with 45nm Intel Quad-Core Processor Two new variants on a family of basic motherboards are based on the 45nm Intel Core 2 Quad processor: The KTG41/ ATX basic motherboard and the KTG41/ATXU Micro-ATX basic motherboard from Kontron use the Intel G41 Express chipset and LGA 775 socket for Intel processors up to the 45nm Intel Core2 Quad processor Q9650. These boards offer advanced design qualities for rugged environments plus 3 years long-term availability (standard boards are only available for a few months) and vendor support for OEMs. This is in contrast to embedded motherboards that offer up to 7 years availability and support. Basic motherboards focus on applications with fast innovation cycles and high demands on computing and graphics performance. Equipped with only the latest and most indemand interfaces, these Kontron basic motherboards are aimed at being extremely costeffective, making them attractive for high-volume applications with fast innovation cycles in the fields of gaming, digital signage, POS, check-in terminals, ticketing machines, hotel multimedia terminals or even industrial shop floor applications for quality control. The Kontron KTG41/ATX ATX and Kontron KTG41/ATXU Micro-ATX basic motherboards feature the Intel Graphics and Memory Controller Hub as well as the Intel I/O Controller Hub (Intel ICH7R) and support Intel processors up to the 45nm Intel Core2 Quad processor Q9650 with 3.0 GHz, 12 Mbyte L2 cache and a FSB of up to 1,333 MHz. For data processing intensive applications the Kontron KTG41 boards support up to 8 Gbytes of dual channel DDR3 SDRAM with one DIMM module per channel. Both Kontron KTG41 boards feature DirectX 10 graphics with shader model 4.0 for DVI, SDVO and DisplayPort via the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500 (Intel GMA 4500). If even more graphics performance is needed, the 16 lane


Month 2008 December 2008

PCI Express port offers support for an external high-end graphics card. In terms of communication and extension interfaces, both Kontron KTG41 basic motherboards offer 2 x Gigabit Ethernet, one PCI Express x4 slot, 8 x USB 2.0 ports and 2 x serial ports. Compared with the Micro-ATX version (9.6 x 9.6 inches) that offers 2 PCI connectors, the slightly larger ATX motherboard (12 inch x 9.6 inch) offers 5 PCI connectors with bus master capabilities. Data storage media are connected via 4 x SATA 3 Gbyte interfaces with RAID 0/1/10 functionality for enhanced transfer rates and/or data security. The Kontron KTG41 basic motherboards support Windows Vista, Windows XP and Linux. Kontron Poway, CA. (888)-294-4558. [].

Atom-Based Qseven Module Addresses the Portable Device Market The first computer module based on the new Qseven form factor was specially developed with an eye on the latest lowpower processor technology and demand for small physical size. With a typical power consumption of <5 watts, mechanical dimensions that are scarcely bigger than a credit card, integrated battery management and ACPI 3.0 power management functions, the conga-QA from congatec is specifically suited for all mobile applications. The conga-QA is fitted with the latest Intel Atom Z5xx range of processors and the Intel US15W system controller hub. The new module provides fast, serial differential interfaces such as PCI Express and SATA, although it consistently avoids old “legacy“ interfaces such as EIDE and PCI to ensure that future generations of CPUs and chipsets can also be used without problems. It provides 8x USB 2.0, 1x SATA, 1x SDIO, 1x PCIe, LPC bus, I²C bus as well as gigabit Ethernet and high-definition audio. The new module further offers up to 4 Gbyte onboard flash storage as an option for robust mass storage. The flexible SDIO interface means that SD cards can also be used as easy and robust mass storage. Thanks to the 8-bit bandwidth, MMC 4.0 cards can be used with a data transfer rate of up to 52 Mbytes/s. In addition to storage media, cards with functions such as WLAN, Bluetooth, RFID, etc. are also available for the SDIO standard. The conga-QA is available in two CPU variants. The lowercost version is based on the Intel Atom Z510 processor with 1.1 GHz core frequency and 400 MHz front-side and memory bus. In contrast, the high-end version contains a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z530 with 533 MHz front-side and memory bus. Both versions have a 512k L2 cache and can access 512 Mbytes of onboard DDR2 storage. The Intel US15W system controller hub contains the Intel GMA500 graphics engine. The 3D-capable onboard graphics use a frame buffer of up to 256 Mbytes and support DirectX 9.0E

and OpenGL 2.0. Video applications are accelerated by MPEG2 and MPEG4 decoding in hardware. Graphics output is either via a 1x24-bit LVDS channel or an SDVO port. The conga-QA module uses VESA standard “DisplayID” to automatically recognize any flat displays connected. All congatec boards are equipped with the congatec embedded BIOS. They also contain a board controller, which implements some of the embedded BIOS expansions. The independence from the x86 processor means functions such as system monitoring or the I²C bus are faster and more reliable, even when the system is in standby mode. Qseven is the first embedded module definition that defines a unique software API, which covers functions important to many professional applications such as watchdog timer, I²C bus, LCD brightness control, BIOS user storage areas or monitoring system temperatures. Qseven modules from different manufacturers can therefore be exchanged flexibly without any hardware or software modifications. The congaQA will be available from April 2009. The unit price with the Intel Atom Z510 is likely to be around € 125. congatec Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA. (760) 635-2600. [].

December Month 2008




DDC Announces New Multi-I/O MIL-STD-1553 / ARINC 429 PCI Card

A new multi-I/O PCI Card provides up to four dual redundant MIL-STD-1553 channels, sixteen ARINC 429 receive channels, four 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 IRIGB time synchronization input. With the BU-65590I from Data Device Corporation, each 1553 channel can emulate a bus controller, remote terminal, or a bus monitor. The card includes a combined RT/Monitor mode to monitor all 1553 communications on the bus including the 1553 channel’s own RT address. The card has an intelligent hardware offload DMA architecture that dramatically reduces host CPU and PCI bus utilization while storing 1553 monitor data in a convenient and portable IRIG-106 Chapter 10 file format. Each ARINC 429 channel supports high/low speed operation, message scheduling, label filtering and full error detection. A standard version of the card is available with just ARINC 429 to interface with up to sixteen receive and four transmit ARINC 429 channels. The card is available with C Software Development Kits (SDKs) for 1553 and 429 along with optional Windows-based graphical bus monitoring and analysis software (dataMARS). The dataMARS monitoring software allows for advanced monitoring through real-time displays and provides post analysis capability through recorded data replay, report generation, and advanced search capability for ARINC 429 and MIL-STD-1553 data buses. 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 versions of operating systems including Windows 2000/XP, Linux 2.6 with SMP support and VxWorks 6. A common SDK exists across all operating systems allowing the programmer portability across different platforms. Data Device Corporation, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567 5600. [].

SBC Breathes New Life into Low-End PC/104

Who says there is no market for low-end, moderate performance and especially low-cost PC/104 modules? Adlink Technology has released the Ampro by Adlink CoreModule 430 single board computer (SBC) to continue its line in the PC/104 market. The CoreModule 430 shows confidence that the venerable PC/104 ISA bus will be viable for years to come. With the highly integrated DM&P Vortex86 processor, the CoreModule 430 combines a wealth of legacy I/O interfaces with onboard video, DDR2 RAM, USB 2.0 and 10/100 Ethernet on a single 90x96 mm module. This announcement offers the broad installed base of 386 and 486 PC/104 users a path forward for continued production of existing medical, industrial control and avionics systems. CoreModule 430 offers a choice of 300 MHz or 800 MHz Vortex86 processors for Extreme Rugged environments including temperatures from -40° to +85°C, vibration up to 15 Grms, and shock up to 50 Grms. CoreModule 430 offers 2D graphics with a TTL flat panel interface along with legacy CRT. CoreModule 430 also touts a full 16-bit ISA bus and an Intel Ethernet controller for consistent performance over temperature.

Module and Development Kit Support Turnkey ZigBee Development

A 32-bit ARM7 ZigBee radio module along with an enabling development kit is based on the Freescale MC13224V 802.15.4 Platform-in-Package (PiP). FreeStar Pro from California Eastern Laboratories combines extensive processing capability with expansive on-chip memory and extremely low power consumption. The FreeStar Pro module enables designers to eliminate the external host processors typically required by 8- and 16-bit solutions, which helps simplify board designs, reduce component count and lower overall system costs. Consequently, the module enables product designs that benefit from high performance but require low costs to make economic sense. System designers will be able to take advantage of the new evaluation and development kit for the FreeStar Pro. The kit includes three individual evaluation boards with mounted FreeStar Pro modules, plus all the peripheral accessories necessary to simulate a point-to-point, point-tomultipoint, or mesh network. Also included is Freescale’s BeeKit wireless connectivity software. BeeKit provides developers an easy-to-use graphical user interface, plus a comprehensive code base of networking libraries, application samples and templates. These code libraries enable development of applications in ZigBee and ZigBee PRO, as well as Simple MAC (SMAC) and IEEE 802.15.4. Developers already using BeeKit can easily port existing designs to the FreeStar Pro platform. FreeStar Pro evaluation kits include a quick-start software package developed by LS Research, CEL’s ZigBee design and development partner. This software allows system designers to quickly set up and configure a network, then run tests for range and packet error rates. California Eastern Laboratories, Santa Clara, CA. (408) 919-2500. [].


December 2008

Onboard I/O includes one UDMA IDE port, Compact Flash socket, four serial ports, two with RS-422/485 capability, two USB 2.0 ports, Intel 10/100 Ethernet, parallel port, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, and 8 general-purpose digital I/O pins. In addition, the module brings out SPI and LPC Bus interfaces to offer more flexibility for attaching custom I/O. Prices start in the $200s for the CoreModule 430 in production quantities with 256 Mbytes of onboard DDR2 RAM. QuickStart Kits include embedded board support packages (BSPs) such as Windows CE 5.0 and 6.0, QNX 6.3, and a complete embedded Linux 2.6 distribution. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [].

PC/104 SBC with Low Power, Operates Fanless Up to 800 MHz

A new PC/104 form factor single board computer running the Vortex86SX/DX CPU at up to 800 MHz offers midto high-end computing power in a compact, low-power consumption and low-cost PC/104 single board computer. Ruggedized and operating fan-less over the extended temperature range of -40° to +85°C, Helios from Diamond Systems is a suitable choice for low-cost, embedded applications operating in harsh environments. Helios combines a low-power, highly integrated x86-based CPU with Diamond Systems’ high-accuracy autocalibrating data acquisition circuitry on a single PC/104 board. Helios utilizes the DMP Vortex86SX/DX single chip processor operating at up to 800 MHz and has up to 256 Mbytes of RAM soldered on board. The module offers standard PC peripheral features, including four USB 2.0 ports, one 10/ 100Base-T Ethernet interface, four RS-232 ports (two with RS-232/422/485 capability), an IDE interface and VGA/LCD graphics. Helios’ optional onboard data acquisition circuitry includes sixteen 16-bit analog inputs, four 12-bit analog outputs, up to 40 digital I/O lines, a 512-sample FIFO and two counter/timers. The analog I/O circuit includes Diamond Systems’ industry-leading autocalibration circuitry, which ensures accurate analog I/O performance to within +/- 2LSB over the entire industrial operating temperature range of -40° to +85°C. Helios features 256 Mbytes of soldered DRAM, -40°C to +85°C fan-less operation and low power consumption under 5 watts. Optional hardwired jumpers and latching connectors are available for increased resistance to shock and vibration. The Helios single board computer is available immediately both with and without data acquisition priced from $225 to $550 depending on processor speed and options. For large volumes, customized versions of Helios are also available, produced to meet the customer’s specific requirements. Diamond Systems, Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. [].

AMC Communication Modules Join Lineup of Integrated Hardware and Software

Two new AdvancedMC communication controllers are targeted at deployments in telecommunications, aerospace and defense, as well as commercial markets needing time-division multiplexing (TDM) communication controllers in an AMC form factor. The AMC304 and AMC305AMCs are part of Performance Technologies’ product strategy to increase the number of supporting AMCs with integrated software to its customer base who use the company’s MicroTCA platform, the MTC5070. Each AMC module features four individually selectable T1/E1/J1 connections and provides the ability to deliver a wide range of Voiceover-IP, wireless, and IP Multi-media Subsystem (IMS) infrastructure application elements. Both feature a Freescale MPC8560 PowerQUICCIII processor running at 833 MHz and up to 1 Gbyte of SDRAM. PCI Express and Gigabit Ethernet enable rapid exchange of payload information. TDM traffic can be transmitted to other modules in a system via an I-TDM-over-Ethernet interface that is available on the AMC305 model only. Both AMCs are fully integrated with the company’s NexusWare, a Carrier Grade Linux OS and development environment, as well as a complete suite of integrated communications protocols including MTP2 (SS7), HDLC, ISDN, X.25 and Frame Relay. The combination of the company’s tightly integrated hardware and NexusWare provides equipment manufacturers with a highly costeffective approach to rapid product integration and deployment that can help improve bottom-line results. Performance Technologies, Rochester, NY. (585) 256-0200. [].

Isolated, Embedded USB Data Acquisition Board Has 16-Bit Resolution

A new USB data acquisition board is aimed at embedded applications rather than the more common USB approach of connecting externally to the PC. Importantly, users do not need an external power supply since the module runs completely on USB power while at the same time offering ±500V galvanic isolation, a critical feature for industrial embedded systems. The DT9818 from Data Translation offers all the features of a high-performance data acquisition module without any limitations. The DT9818 board provides 8 or 16 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, 16 digital I/O lines, 2 counter timers and allows simultaneous operation of all subsystems at throughput rates up to150 kHz. This boardonly OEM version allows the user to embed data acquisition capability directly into their USB system. Many software choices are available for application development from ready-to-measure programs like Measurement Applets and quickDAQ, to full graphical programming with Measure Foundry rapid application development builder. Key Features include high flexibility with 16 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, 16 digital I/O (8 in / 8 out) and two 32-bit counter timers, all running on USB power. All subsystems run simultaneously at throughput rates up to 150 kHz. The module boasts 500-volt galvanic isolation to prevent ground loops and maximize analog signal integrity and protect the computer. Ultra-smooth sine, rectangle, triangle, or other waveforms can be generated with the analog outputs with less than 1.0nV/ sec glitch energy. Resolution is true 16-bit for both the analog input and analog output subsystems. And independent clocking and triggering is supported for input and output subsystems for maximum flexibility. Data Translation, Marlboro, MA. (508) 481-3700. []. December 2008


Products & TECHNOLOGY Reconfigurable FPGA AMC Module Features SFP/SFP+ Compact Optical Transceivers

A new AMC module features four small form factor pluggable-plus (SFP/ SFP+) transceivers that enable support of virtually any serial communication standard. The four SFP/SFP+ SerDes channels are connected directly to the onboard Altera Stratix II GX FPGA, which handles the higher level communications protocols. The SF/GXAM enables BittWare’s customers to meet their increased bandwidth needs while also maintaining a small board footprint and low power consumption. The SF/GXAM is a full-size, single wide AdvancedMC that can be attached to AdvancedTCA carriers or other cards equipped with AMC bays, and also used in MicroTCA systems. The fourcage SFP/SFP+ connector on the front panel with each transceiver provides support for virtually any serial communication standard, including: Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet, SONET, CPRI and OBSAI. The four SerDes channels are connected directly to the Stratix II GX FPGA. In addition, the SF/GXAM provides BittWare’s Atlantis framework implemented in the FPGA, a front panel I/O interface, a control plane interface via BittWare’s FINe interface bridge, an IPMI system management interface, and a configurable 11x SerDes AMC interface supporting a variety of protocols. It also provides 10/100 Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, two banks of DDR2 SDRAM, one bank of QDR2 SRAM and flash memory for booting the FPGA and FINe. The onboard Altera Stratix II GX was specifically designed for serial I/O-based applications requiring high-density, reconfigurable logic. The FPGA provides up to 15 full-duplex highperformance, multi-gigabit transceivers supporting Serial RapidIO, PCI Express, 10GigE, Gigibit Ethernet and SerialLite II standards. It contains up to 132,540 equivalent logic elements, over 6700 Kbits of embedded memory, 252 embedded 18x18 multipliers (63 DSP blocks) and 8 PLLs. The BittWorks software tools provide host interface libraries and a wide variety of diagnostic utilities and configuration tools. BittWare’s FPGA Developers Kit provides modules for Atlantis (I/O, routing and processing), memory interfacing and DMAs. Many third-party tools are also available to support BittWare’s embedded boards, including Altera’s Quartus II FPGA design flow tool and SOPC builder system-level design tool. The SF/GXAM is priced under $4,000 in OEM quantities. BittWare, Concord, NH. (603) 226-0404. [].

4267-4442 MHz VCO Targets Digital Radio, SatCom

A Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) operates from 4267 MHz to 4442 MHz with a control voltage range of 0.1V~16V. This VCO features a typical phase noise of -104 dBc/Hz @ 10KHz offset and has excellent linearity. Output power is typically +5.0 dBm. The model CVCO55CC-4267-4442 from Crystek is packaged in the industry-standard 0.5-in. x 0.5-in. SMD package. Input voltage is 8V, with a max current consumption of 40 mA. Pulling and Pushing are minimized to 3.00 MHz and 0.50 MHz/V, respectively. Second harmonic suppression is -20 dBc typical. The CVCO55CC-4267-4442 is targeted for use in applications such as digital radio equipment, fixed wireless access, satellite communications systems and base stations. Pricing will start at $18.46 each in volume. Crystek, Ft. Meyers, FL. (239) 561-3311. [].

Extreme Rugged System Features Core2 Duo and GME965 Chipset

An rugged computer system based on the Intel Core2 Duo processor and GME965 chipset integrates dual-core processor, RAM, graphics, networking, and PCI Express expansion in an Extreme Rugged enclosure that operates from -40° to +75°C. Designed from the start for extreme rugged environments, RuffSystem 840 from Adlink Technology provides the lowest total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) while improving time-to-market by integrating rugged designed boards and validating the complete system, saving customer efforts in trial and error integration and validation on their own wasting time and money.

The RuffSystem 840 showcases the Intel Core2 Duo L7500 1.66 GHz 45nm processor with support for 4 Mbytes of on-chip L2 cache, 800 MHz front side bus (FSB), and two SODIMM sockets for up to 4 Gbytes of DDR2 RAM. The board’s built-in graphics display subsystem utilizes Intel’s GMA950 with 224 Mbytes of 64-bit video RAM, and can drive CRTs, flat panels, and wide screen digital TVs at resolutions of up to 2048x1536 including 1920x1080 at 85 Hz (HDTV) on CRTs. An onboard video encoder adds TV-out capabilities such as HDTV (420p, 720p and 1080i), Component and S-Video. The highly integrated RuffSystem 840’s complement of I/O, includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, eight USB 2.0 channels, DVI, VGA, Multiple LVDS, HD audio, 4 serial ports, 2 supporting RS232/422/485, parallel interface, and two SATA II and one UDMA EIDE interfaces. The system also provides flexible expansion via CompactFlash socket, PCI Express Mini Card and Mini-PCI slot. The RuffSystem 840 is available at competitive prices with a range of popular embedded and desktop operating systems including a full Linux distribution (from Ubuntu), Windows XP Embedded, Windows CE 6.0 and VxWorks 6.x. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [].


December 2008

Products & TECHNOLOGY Fanless Extended Temperature EPIC SBC for Wired and Wireless Communications

An EPIC-compatible 1 GHz ultra-low-power single board computer (SBC) provides an open and powerful platform for management of geographically distributed machinery and sensors used in industrial environments. The EPX-855-G from WinSystems has two Ethernet and four USB ports plus four COM channels on board. As a population option, it supports 802.11 wireless Ethernet, GSA/GPRS cellular modem, CDMA cellular modem, ZigBee wireless RF modules, and 56Kbph global-compliant dial-up modem. The board measures 115 mm x 165 mm (4.5” x 6.5”) and is compatible with the Embedded Platform for Industrial Computing (EPIC) board standard. It provides a processor- and I/O-intensive solution for demanding applications in robotics, COTS/ military, transportation, pipeline and machine control. The EPX-855-G is a full-featured SBC based on Intel’s 855GME chipset with the ICH4 communications controller and integrated Extreme Graphics 2 video 3D controller. The EPC-855-G features an Intel 1 GHz Celeron-M. An optional 1.8 GHz Pentium M processor with a fan is available for very highperformance applications. Both CPU and system controllers are supplied from Intel’s Embedded Architecture Division for long-term availability. In addition to one Gigabit and one 10/100 wired Ethernet port, it also has SVGA and dual channel LVDS flat panel video, CompactFlash socket, Ultra-ATA disk interface, 24 lines of digital I/O, AC97 audio (5.1 codec), LPT interface and a PS/2 port for keyboard and mouse. The softwareprogrammable 24-line digital I/O controller provides input, output, or output with readback for each I/O line. Also included on the board are PC/104 and PC/104-Plus connectors that support both off-the-shelf or user-designed specialty I/O modules. Since the EPX-855-B architecture is PC-compatible, it supports Linux, Windows XP embedded and a vast software development tool set including device drivers and libraries. It also supports other x86compatible real-time operating systems, such as QNX and VxWorks. The module uses the Phoenix Trusted core BIOS. It supports advanced features such as a custom splash screen, APM 1.2 and ACPI 1.0b power management modes, PXE boot and multi-language support. It requires only +5 volts and typically draws 1.9 amps (typical) with 1 Gbyte of DDR SDRAM installed. The board is RoHS compliant. Quantity one pricing starts at $695. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

Mid-Range PC/104 CPU with Onboard I/O for Harsh Environments

A ruggedized PC/104-Plus form factor single board computer runs the AMD Geode LX800 CPU fanless at 500 MHz. Pegasus from Diamond Systems offers mid-range computing power in a compact, low power consumption PC/104-Plus single board computer. Operating fanless over the extended temperature range of -40° to +85°C and ruggedized, Pegasus is a good choice for demanding embedded applications operating in harsh environments. Pegasus also has 256 Mbytes of SDRAM soldered on board and offers advanced I/O features including four USB 2.0 ports, one 10/100 Mbits/s Ethernet interface, one RS-232 port, one RS- 232/422/485 port, an Ultra DMA 33 IDE hard drive interface that supports two devices, CompactFlash, VGA/LCD graphics and PC/104-Plus stackthrough expansion. Pegasus also offers a 2 Gbyte IDE flashdisk soldered on the board for highly reliable storage. Pegasus features 256 Mbytes of soldered SDRAM, an onboard IDE flashdisk and -40° to +85°C fan-less operation. Hardwired jumpers and latching connectors are also available for increased resistance to shock and vibration. Diamond Systems’ Pegasus single board computer is available immediately. Quantity one pricing starts at $575. Diamond Systems, Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. [].

Ruggedized MicroTCA ATR Chassis with Dual Cooling

A new MicroTCA chassis is an ARINC 404A Full-Size ATR Long Enclosure, used in commercial and military aviation. The 19” subrack chassis is 5U in height with a depth of 200 mm. Two MicroTCA Carrier Hubs (MCH), two power modules for – 48 V / – 60 V and two cooling units enable the tested system platform to be fully redundant. The cooling units feature 5 high-performance fans and have PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control. The Blu!box MicroTCA chassis from Elma Electronic can hold a maximum of 12 single module AMCs—8 full size and 4 compact size modules. All components are hot-swappable and Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) controlled. The backplane has a 20-layer structure that guarantees optimum signal integrity and supports all FRU (Field Replaceable Unit) functions. It holds six AMCs, one MCH and one power module. Dual Star technology with high-speed connectors specially developed for high-speed data transfer ensures high-speed routing. Blu!box meets the MIL-STD-810E shock/vibration requirements and MIL-STD-461 for electromagnetic interference. The Chassis has also undergone the IEC 61587-1 and VITA 47 standards vibration and shock tests in six axes. Shock absorbers/dampers can be added for extra protection. Thermal management is also possible to achieve either convection or conduction-cooling. Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. [].


December 2008

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Products & TECHNOLOGY Kit Provides Higher Performance for Microchip’s Low-Cost Development Platform

A new development and embedded programming kit makes it easy to explore the world of embedded control and to learn quickly, using the free MPLAB Integrated Development Environment from Microchip Technology. Connected to and powered by any personal computer via USB, the plugand-play kit provides in-circuit debugging functions such as halt, single step, breakpoint on data or address, and a stopwatch for measuring target application performance. The PICkit3 can supply target power to the 44-pin demo board, hence no external power is required. Additionally, with a 6-pin ICSP connector, the PICkit 3 probe is compatible with PICkit 2 demo kits and with Microchip’s MPLAB ICD 2 and 3-compatible demonstration/evaluation kits using an optional RJ-11 to ICSP adapter. The new kit includes: • PICkit 3 debugger and programmer probe • 44-pin demo board populated with a PIC18F45K20 MCU • the free MPLAB Integrated Development Environment • free version of the MPLAB C Compiler for PIC18 MCUs • easy-to-understand lessons and tutorials • a host of other software utilities, examples with source code and full documentation The PICkit 3 debug express works with 8- and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs) and dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs), and will support 32-bit PIC MCUs at a later date. Support for new PIC MCUs and DSCs, as well as the PIC32 MCUs, will be available as free firmware upgrades in future releases of the MPLAB IDE. The PICkit 3 debug express kit comes complete with the PICkit 3 probe, a 44-pin PIC18F45K20 flash MCU demo board, a USB cable and CDs containing the MPLAB IDE, tutorials and a user’s guide. It is priced at $69.99 and will be available January 2009. Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (888) 628-6247. [].

USB-Compatible Zigbee Transceiver Thrives in Harsh Environments

A new rugged Zigbee wireless transceiver paves the way for this wireless communication standard to be added to embedded systems and still meet the reliability demands of volatile environments. The “no strings/cables” benefit with the USB 1320 from Micro/sys is achieved by using the rugged StackableUSB electrical specification, which does not require a cable to access USB technology. As a result, industrial-grade shocks and vibrations are more easily tolerated. The very compact footprint of 1.85” x 1.78”, one-quarter the size of the form factor, makes the USB 1320 suitable for demanding applications confined to small, tight spaces and for reception in challenging environments. This RoHS-compliant board can be configured with any of three Digi XBee modules: the XBee ZB, XBee-Pro ZB, or XBee-Pro 900/DigiMesh. Each comes equipped with four 10-bit A/D converters, seven digital I/O lines and two pulse width modulators. The USB 1320 supports point-to-point, point-to-peer, point-to-multipoint and mesh topologies, and operates in extended temperatures. The USB 1320 can connect to desktop PCs and laptops via a Type B mini-USB connector for easy development. And with designers in mind, Micro/sys offers an easy-to-use development kit that includes the board with all options installed, a complete cable set, sample software, full documentation and more. Pricing starts at $135 in single quantity with significant OEM discounts available. Micro/sys, Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].


December 2008

Module Provides Digital I/O Expansion for Pico-ITXe SBCs

A new Pico-I/O module is designed for expansion on Pico-ITXe SBCs. The PCOUIO48-G from WinSystems is a 48-point digital I/O interface with interruptible event sense. An important feature of the card is that it can monitor 24 of the rising and falling digital edge transitions, latch them and then signal the host processor that a change of input status has occurred. This is the most efficient way of sensing and signaling a CPU of real-time events without the burden of continuous polling of the digital I/O points. Pico-I/O modules are designed to offer low-cost I/O expansion for Pico-ITXe single board computers from VIA and other manufacturers.

The PCO-UIO48-G’s I/O controller is based upon a Lattice FPGA programmed to support various input/output and interrupt configurations. Each I/O line is programmable for input, output, or output with read-back operation. Each line’s transition is latched so that even short duration pulses will be recognized. The module requires only +3.3 volts; however, an optional onboard regulator is available to allow it to be powered from +5VDC. Operational temperature range is from -40° to +85°C. A Pico-I/O module is small and measures only 60 mm x 72 mm, which is half the area of a PC/104 module. Pico-I/O is based upon the Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology (SUMIT) connector that was developed and standardized by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group last year. SUMIT is an electromechanical connectorization specification that enables stacking of common serial and legacy chipset expansion buses on I/O modules for next-generation embedded systems products. Single unit pricing starts at $59. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

Products & TECHNOLOGY StackableUSB Flash Boards for Increasing Storage in Embedded Systems

Two new boards address the needs of OEMs for maximum storage at high-speed data transfer rates. At only 1.85” x 1.78”, onequarter the size of the PC/104 form factor, the USB1411 and the USB1410 from Micro/ sys fill the role as true space-saver devices. Built with ruggedness in mind, the USB1411 is a RoHS-compliant, solid-state version of a hard drive that provides OEMs with up to 2 Gbytes of NAND Flash storage at transfer speeds up to 30 Mbytes/s and operates from -40° to +85°C (ET version). The StackableUSB technology combined with the onboard flash ensures that the USB1411 delivers enhanced shock and vibration performance on a small form factor. The USB1411 is ideal for data logging and application programs. An alternative way to provide mass storage for embedded systems is the USB1410. Designed for slightly less hostile environments, this RoHS-compliant board can accommodate micro SD removable media cards of up to 32 Gbytes while still maintaining transfer speeds up to 35 Mbyte/s. Powered by SMSC’s USB2240 Flash media controller, the USB1410 can support 4-bit microSD cards. Both the USB1410 and USB1411 can connect via StackableUSB, or the traditional Type B mini-USB connector, making them ideal desktop solutions. To ease interfacing into embedded systems, the USB1411 and USB1410 support the USB mass storage function and, when included in BIOS, they support the USB boot function. Compatible software includes many Microsoft Windows applications, Apple OSx and Linux. With designers in mind, Micro/sys offers easy-to-use development kits that include the board installed with all options, a complete cable set, sample software, full documentation and more. The basic USB1411 starts at $85 in single quantity. An extended temperature (-40° to +85°C) version of the USB1411 is also available. The basic USB 1410 starts at $105 in single quantity. Micro/sys, Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

Rugged Workstation Boasts 5.7-inch VGA TFT LCD

The spread of network operations into the outdoors and rugged environments has boosted the demand for all manner of display-based computer terminals. Along just such lines, the Industrial Automation Group of Advantech launches the IACP-4000D, a 4U 19-inch rackmount industrial workstation with a 5.7-inch VGA TFT LCD display that supports a Pentium 4/Celeron D processor. This design reduces the interconnections between the backplane and the CPU card, which enhances the platforms reliability. Features include: shock-resistant disk drive bay designed to hold up to three 5.25-inch and one 3.5-inch disk drives, front accessible USB interface for easy data transferring, dual front-accessible filtered cooling fans providing optimal airflow, front LEDs indicating system health, lockable front door, and supports 300W single PS/2 and redundant ATX power supplies. The IACP-4000D is compact and has a reliable design catered for use in limited space environments, such as test and measurement stations. Advantech, Irvine, CA. (949) 789-7178. [].

NAND Flash Solid-State Drive Provides Up to 32 Gbytes of Storage

A new high-performance, rugged solid-state drive card is offered in both XMC and PMC form factor versions and is suitable for use in legacy and latest rugged deployed applications. The XMC/PMC-550 from CurtissWright Controls Embedded Computing uses a standard Serial ATA interface that enables it to be easily supported and integrated into VME VPX, and CompactPCI systems. Its rugged small form-factor packaging makes it useful in space-constrained deployed applications and technology refresh opportunities. It speeds the integration of large quantities of media storage in harsh environments where operation while subjected to shock and vibration are critical. The XMC/PMC-550 NAND Flash solid-state drive provides up to 32 Gbytes of disk space in an XMC (VITA 42.3) or PMC (IEEE1386.1) form factor. It is available in configurations of 8, 16, or 32 Gbytes, and is visible to the system as two independent SATA drives. Using multitasking technology, the XMC/PMC-550 delivers data transfer rates of up to 30 Mbytes/s for simultaneous read to each drive. The XMC/PMC550 also comes with RAID 0 support that stripes data across the two independent SATA drives for maximum performance. With RAID 0, the 550 can achieve read transfer rates of up to 50 Mbytes/s The card supports industry standard ECC NAND Flash correction. Error correction codes can correct up to 8 random single-bit errors per 512-byte sector. It also supports wear leveling that spreads program/ erase cycles evenly across the media to mitigate premature device failure due to frequent erase cycles on the same block of flash memory. The XMC/PMC-550 can also support hardware write protect as an enhanced level of security to prevent unintentional data overwrite. The XMC/PMC-550 is interoperable with most host and carrier cards that feature support for XMC or PMC cards for popular operating systems, including VxWorks and GPPLE Linux. Pricing starts at $2,495. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Leesburg, VA. (613) 254-5112. [].


Month 2008 December 2008

Products & TECHNOLOGY Pico-ITXe Board with Stackable I/O Expansion First with SUMIT Connectors

What is claimed to be the world’s first single board computer based on the new Pico-ITXe specification of the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG), is aimed at providing a more rational approach to system design. Supporting up to four customizable I/O expansion modules, the EPIA-P710 Pico-ITXe from Via Technologies enables a highly flexible and affordable implementation of serial connectivity options. Designed as the perfect baseboard, the Via EPIA-P710 uses an intelligent board layout to allow efficient module stacking and to aid heat dissipation. The Via EPIA-P710 board features two Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology (SUMIT) connectors that integrate common high and low speed, legacy and serial expansion buses, including, most notably, PCI Express, LPC, SPI and USB 2.0. This extensive support sets Pico-ITXe apart from competing standards, facilitating an off-the-shelf solution to power the next generation of embedded devices. SUMIT is an open standard administered by the SFF-SIG. Measuring a mere 10 cm x 7.2 cm, the Via EPIA-P710 uses a 1 GHz Via C7 processor and the latest Via VX800 advanced all-in-one media system processor, which features the integrated Via Chrome9 IGP with DX9 Graphics and MPEG-2/4, WMV9 and VC1 video decoding acceleration. The board supports up to 2 Gbytes of DDR2 system memory, one IDE channel, two S-ATA channels and the Via Vinyl HD Audio. I/O configurations include two SUMIT QMS connectors that provide I/O support for up to three USB, one LPC, two PCIe x1, a PCIe x4, SMBus and SPI buses. Pin headers provide Gigabit LAN, VGA, LVDS, audio and front panel LED. VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. []

AdvancedTCA Blade with Dual QuadCore AMD Opteron and 10 Gigabit Throughput

A quad-core AMD Opteron processor-based PICMG 3.0-compliant processor blade combines low price with high performance for wireless access/edge, telecom fiber transport, media gateways, soft switches and Internet IP-based applications. The ATC6239 from Diversified Technology is equipped with dual AMD Opteron Socket F (1207) 1.8 GHz quad-core processors, each with 2 Mbyte L2 cache (1 Mbyte per core) and support for up to 16 Gbytes of memory. It utilizes a high I/O bandwidth Broadcom HT2100 and HT1000 server-class HyperTransport link interface chipset. I/O peripherals located on board are a 10/100/1000 Mbits/s auto-negotiating with dual-port Ethernet controller for the Base interface, a 10G dual port Ethernet controller for the Fabric interface, a 10/100/1000Mbits/sec auto-negotiating with dual-port Ethernet controller for one front panel interface, one AMC site for user configuration (the Fabric is x4 PCI-Express, Common Options Region supports a SATA drive port), and other peripherals designed for high-performance Telco needs. The board fully supports the AdvancedTCA concept of separate data and control plane traffic when paired with DTI’s ATCA switch boards. The ATC6239 is compliant with the ATCA 3.1 specification via Option 9. The ATC6239 utilizes an AMI Embedded BIOS with boot from USB, HD, CD-ROM, or the network. Console redirection, PnP and PCI auto configuration are also supported. Operating systems supported include Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, SuSE and Fedora. Diversified Technology, Ridgeland, MS. (800) 443-2667. [].


December 2008

Low-Cost COM Express Module Runs 1.6 GHz at 2.5W

A full function, low power consumption COM module based on the Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.6 GHz is code named “Diamondville.” With a product life of seven years, the ExpressAT module from Adlink Technology offers the cost-effective mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset. The Express-AT is an entry level COM Express module for systems that require a full set of graphics features. The module comes with integrated support for high resolution CRT, single/dual channel LVDS and TV-Out (SDTV and HDTV). In addition to the onboardintegrated graphics, the chipset’s SDVO bus can connect to DVI, TMDS, or additional LVDS or TV-Out device controllers on a custom designed carrier. Primary focuses for graphics applications include medical diagnostics, medical imaging, gaming, industrial automation, test and measurement, video preprocessing and industrial control. The Intel Atom processor, N270 (Diamondville) features a thermal design power of just 2.5 watts at peak levels while supporting Intel SpeedStep technology. Although much smaller, the Intel Atom processors share the same architecture as Intel Core2 Duo processors. Atom processors support Hyper Threading technology—earlier introduced with the Intel Pentium 4 processor— which allows more than one code thread to be executed at the same time on a single core. The Express-AT supports up to 2 Gbytes of DDR2 667 MHz memory on a single SODIMM socket. The Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset integrates an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator, 950 that provides CRT, single/dual channel LVDS, and TV-Out (SDTV and HDTV). The board also allows connection of up to three additional PCI Express x1 devices on the Intel I/O Controller Hub, 7-M (ICH7-M) Southbridge. The module also adds an onboard Gigabit Ethernet port and two SATA ports. It has legacy support for a Parallel IDE channel, 32-bit PCI bus and an LPC bus. The Express-AT comes equipped with an AMIBIOS8, supporting embedded features such as Remote Console, CMOS backup, CPU and System Monitoring, and a Dual Watchdog Timer for NMI or RESET. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [].

Rugged 6U VPX SBC Features Intel 45nm x86 Processor and Chipset

A new rugged 6U VPX single board computer is based on the Intel Core2 Duo processor T9400, which delivers significantly enhanced energy-efficient performance, making it an ideal x86 platform for space, weight and power (SWaP)-limited aerospace and defense applications. The VPX6-1952 from Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing uses the Intel Core2 Duo processor T9400, which integrates two complete execution cores in one physical package, providing advancements in simultaneous computing for multi-threaded applications and multi-tasking environments. Intel’s hafnium-based 45nm Hi-k silicon process technology enables even more processor performance by doubling transistor density and increasing cache size by up to 50 percent. The Intel Core2 Duo processor T9400 is validated with the Mobile Intel GM45 Express chipset, providing graphics core performance up to 533 MHz and up to 8 Gbytes of 800 MHz DDR3 system memory. This platform is suitable for a broad range of embedded applications such as interactive clients, embedded platforms and industrial automation equipment. The Intel Core2 Duo processor T9400 and its Mobile Intel GM45 Express Chipset feature faster cores @ 2.5 GHz improvement over 1.5 GHz Intel Core2 Duo, an SSE4 Floating Point Unit, 6 MB cache and a 1066 Front Side Bus improvement over 667 MHz FSB on 1201/1901. The Mobile GM45 Express Chipset offers DDR3 memory at 800 MHz, which is twice the performance from 1201/1901, plus built-in graphics core performance up to 533 MHz. The VPX6-1952 is available with 4 Gbytes or 8 Gbytes of highbandwidth SDRAM and comes with a complement of high-speed I/O, including dual Gigabit Ethernet, three serial ports, ten USB 2.0 ports, and an XMC site with 20 differential and two single-ended signal pairs mapped to the backplane. The board’s integral highspeed SERDES Gigabit Ethernet and XMC mezzanine module connectivity enable high-bandwidth data flows. Data can also flow from the VPX backplane to the XMC site to support demanding high-bandwidth applications. Operating support for the VPX6-1952 includes Wind River’s GPP Linux Edition 2.0. The GPP Linux Edition distribution provides a well tested and embedded distribution that is ideal for typical aerospace and defense applications. Also available for the VPX6-1952 is Windows XP Embedded. Other operating system support is under development and announcements will be made as they become available. Pricing for the VPX6-1952 starts at $13,500. Availability is 20 weeks ARO. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Leesburg, VA. (613) 254-5112. [].

Rugged StackableUSB Accelerometer Includes Analog & Digital I/O

A new accelerometer can be incorporated into an embedded system with USB and still meet the reliability demands of rugged and harsh environments. The RoHS-compliant USB 1600 from Micro/sys is a triaxial accelerometer solution that can be configured for sensing ranges from 1.5g – 200g making it a suitable solution for a wide range of motion sensing applications. Simple software algorithms can be used in conjunction with the module to determine linear as well as rotational motion, eliminating the need for an expensive gyro. Furthermore, the USB 1600 comes equipped with an RS232 level UART, SPI interface, I2C interface and 20 pins that are user-configurable as analog input or digital I/O. All of these features are packed into a footprint measuring only 1.85” x 1.78”, one-quarter the size of the PC/104 form factor. The USB 1600 communicates with a host through the USB interface via an onboard 48 MIPS microcontroller, which comes pre-programmed with firmware for use straight out of the box. The USB 1600 can also serve as a stand-alone module for applications where space may be limited. Micro/sys offers an easy-to-use development kit that includes the board with all options installed, a complete cable set, sample software and full documentation. The USB 1600 does not require a cable to utilize the USB technology, although one can be added if needed. Instead, the module uses the rugged StackableUSB connector. The StackableUSB technology ensures that the USB 1600 easily tolerates industrial grade shocks and vibrations. The basic USB 1600 starts at $275 in single quantity. Micro/sys, Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

Clamshell-Style Modular Instrument Case

A modular instrument case enclosure in a two-piece clamshell configuration allows access to the interior with a design that provides easy assembly and serviceability. The Type 33 case comes in standard, EMC and compact styles. The instrument case line features a sturdy extrusion-based modular design, making customization quicker, easier and more cost-effective. The chassis has mounting panels and grooves, optional tilt-up feet and carrying handle. The screws to assemble the enclosure are not visible and plastic bezels protect panel components and improve cosmetics. Applications for the Type 33 include test and measurement, laboratory, maintenance and control designs. Pricing starts under $100. Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3783. [].

December 2008


Products & TECHNOLOGY Single-Core SoC-Based, VMEbus Processing Blade Runs at 1.3 GHz

A fast, single-core, next-generation VMEbus processing blade features a 1.3 GHz processor and a host of best-in-class I/O options. The MVME4100 from Emerson Network Power enhances the company’s existing PowerPC technology roadmap and provides a number of migration options for legacy VME products. Specifically designed to allow users to bolster performance and features for competitive advantage, Emerson’s VMEbus computing blades also provide backward compatibility to protect their investment in existing VMEbus technologies. Equipped with expanded processing power for I/O and data-intensive applications, the MVME4100’s 8548E system-on-chip PowerPC processor features a double-precision embedded scalar and vector floating-point APU that delivers next-generation, floating-point processing performance for today’s demanding high-precision applications. The processor’s best-inclass supplementary encryption engine also allows users to address the industry’s ever-growing demands for network privacy and security. The MVME4100 also offers a range of storage capabilities including 4 Gbytes of fully programmable NAND Flash memory, 2 Gbytes of onboard DDR2 SDRAM and 512 Kbytes of cutting-edge, non-volatile MVRAM memory. The blade’s I/O capabilities include advanced 2eSSR protocol availability capable of bandwidth up to 320 Mbytes/s, 4 GigE ports, 3 serial ports, USB 2.0 compatibility and PCI-E expansion options for maximum performance and flexibility. In addition, the board’s I/O and firmware are fully backward compatible with existing MVME3100 & 7100 models to ensure easy interoperability with legacy hardware. Emerson Network Power, St. Louis, MO. (314) 553-2000. [].

High-Performance Image Fusion Solution for Harsh Environments

Designed to significantly increase the ease with which images from multiple sensors and cameras can be assimilated and interpreted, the IMP20 video processing mezzanine card from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms adds image fusion capabilities to the GE Fanuc ADEPT104 and AIM12 automatic video trackers. It allows the design of highly integrated, high-performance graphics capabilities in any environment where the input from multiple devices needs to be fused in order to provide a complete, easy-to-interpret image. When configured with the IMP20, the ADEPT104 and AIM12 automatic video trackers provide a powerful system for detection, tracking, stabilization and fusion that delivers better performance than existing software-based solutions and can be used in harsher environments than other hardware-based solutions. The IMP20 offers intelligent, real-time, full-frame, multi-resolution image fusion, which aims to maximize scene detail and contrast in the fused output, producing superior fused image quality with maximized information content. The image fusion algorithm embedded into the IMP20 is a new approach to multi-scale fusion that benefits from much faster execution times and reduced memory overheads. The algorithm gives significantly improved results over the baseline weighted average algorithm while still performing in real time on live imagery. The unit’s built-in warp engine provides rotation, scaling and translation for each video source to compensate for image distortion and misalignment between the imagers, reducing the need for accurate matching of imagers with a resulting reduction in overall system cost. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Charlotteville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [].


December 2008

Ethernet Copper-to-Fiber Media Converter with Flexible SFPs

A new Ethernet Media Converter family performs copper-to-fiber conversion and features a versatile design that allows different combinations of fiber and copper LAN port. The TX2FX from MPL is an Ethernet media converter that translates transmission signals from a twisted-pair 10/100/1000BASE-TX cable to a 100BASE-FX or 1000BASE-X fiber optic cable. It expands network data transmission distances beyond the 100 meter limitation of copper wire to over ten kilometers by using single-mode fiber optic cable.

For the optical port the TX2FX supports Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) transceivers. SFPs enable adaptability to different fiber types, distances and wavelengths, providing maximum flexibility across a variety of network architectures and topologies. SFP ports are ideal for flexible choices of the transceiver distance needed. On the copper side the TX2FX offers a 10/100/1000 Mbit port accessible on a standard RJ45 connector. Of course, the port supports “auto-crossover” and “autonegotiation” to enable attaching any 10 Mbit, 100 Mbit, or 1 Gigabit device to them. The products are available in two basic versions that differ in the mechanical port adjustment. Either the copper and fiber optical ports are placed side by side or opposite each other. The compact design of the module is suitable for industrial network edge installations. The single wide power supply input ranges from 5V to 28V, which further simplifies the integration of the module into a system. MPL AG, Dättwil, Switzerland. +41 56 483 34 34. [].

Compact 4GbE and 5GbE LAN Platforms with Intel EP80579 SoC

Two desktop platforms feature the Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor with Intel QuickAssist Technology. The EP80579 is the Intel system-on-chip (SoC) purpose-built for the embedded and communications market with highly integrated security features. The PL-10549 and PL-10550 platforms from WIN Enterprises are designed for SOHO/SMB network management and network security applications, such as firewall, VPN, anti-spam, anti-virus, and intrusion detection & prevention. The PL-10540 and PL-10550 support 4GbE and 5GbE LAN capability, respectively. OEMs are offered a scalable selection of 600 MHz, 1.066 GHz or 1.2 GHz versions of the Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor. Support for Intel QuickAssist high-bandwidth and low-latency accelerator technology is available on select Intel EP80579 SoC processors. The Intel EP80579 processor is significant for the embedded industry because combining the functions of four chips into one, Intel has simplified and sped up platform design while bringing the benefits of smaller footprint, lowered power consumption, enhanced performance and comprehensive I/O to the device. The Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor SoC was designed specifically for embedded market segments that depend on long product lifecycles. This SoC has a 45% smaller footprint with 34% lower power usage than traditional 4-chip board-level designs. Integration of the CPU, North Bridge, Southbridge and security coprocessor on a single die optimizes packet processing and enables the reduced-footprint design of the new WIN Enterprises networking platforms. Linux, Windows Embedded XP and FreeBSD are supported. Pricing in OEM quanti- Untitled-2 ties begins at $425 per unit for the PL-10540 and $455 for the PL-10550.


12/9/08 12:06:51 PM

WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].


Family of 14 Data Acquisition Devices Leverages USB

Thanks to USB, test engineers can craft instrumentation systems on the desktop instead of piecing together racks of boards and backplanes. Feeding such needs, Measurement Computing has announced 14 new high-performance, multifunction and special-purpose USB-based data acquisition products, targeting applications requiring high accuracy, measurement repeatability and high throughput. The list includes: high-channel-count and high-accuracy analog input and thermocouple measurement devices; several high-speed, simultaneous sampling, multifunction devices; and an eight-channel, simultaneous input quadrature encoder counter. The new devices are supported by the Universal Library, programming libraries and drivers for most popular Windows-based programming languages. In addition to the Universal Library, all the new USB DAQ modules ship with an impressive array of software, including TracerDAQ, a fullfeatured, data logging, viewing and analysis application; Universal Library for LabVIEW, VIs and program examples for LabVIEW; InstaCal installation, calibration and test utility; and support for DASYLab, icon-based data acquisition, graphics, control and analysis software, and Measurement Studio MCC Edition, Visual Studio 2005/2003 components and controls optimized for test, measurement, analysis and presentationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;powerful software solutions for programmers and nonprogrammers alike.


Phoenix International designs and builds rugged COTS Data Storage Systems that plug and play in any application -- from Multi-Terabyte Fibre Channel RAID and Storage Area Network configurations to plug-in Solid State Disk Drive VME/cPCI Storage Modules.

'PSPVSFOUJSFMJOFPGTUPSBHFQSPEVDUTXXXQIFOYJOUDPNt*OGP An ISO 9001: 2000 CertiďŹ ed Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

Measurement Computing, Norton, MA. (508) 946-5100. []. Untitled-3 1

December 2008


7/11/08 3:59:41 PM

Products & TECHNOLOGY COM Express Module with Graphics, Power Management and CPU Options

A new COM Express CPU harnesses the high-speed AMD Turion CPU with integrated ATI graphic engine and chipset to balance high performance and power consumption. The SOM-5781 from Advantech also works smart to maintain the reliability of applications through a “Smart & Secure” utility feature. The SOM-5781 has an onboard chip that will dynamically adjust the fan speed to regulate the CPU temperature. Because the CPU fan runs at high speed only when the system is under high loading, power consumption and noise created by the fan can be drastically reduced. Using Advantech’s “SUSI” API tool, a “reduce CPU speed” command can be immediately executed to prevent a system crash when SOM-5781 detects an abnormal status from the CPU fan. At the same time, an alarm message can also be issued to the system administrator via Ethernet. SOM-5781 uses the AMD M690E integrated chipset with high-performance ATI graphic engine, and an additional external 128 Mbyte graphic memory (Side Port) can be added on SOM-5781 for an extra 20% graphic performance boost. SOM-5781 also supports 48 / 24-bit LVDS TFT LCD panels, DVI and PCIe x8 for external graphic cards, and it provides several different kinds of multidisplay configuration options for customer applications. With AMD S1 CPU socket on board, SOM5781 provides flexible CPU support options for customers. From extreme low power consumption Sempron 2100+ 1 GHz at 8 watts, to Turion 64 TL-62 at 2.1 GHz with dual core engine. SOM-5781 also comes with I/O capabilities that include: four PCIe x1 and one PCIe x 8 or 1 x DVI interface, 1 x GbE LAN, 4 x SATA, 1 x EIDE, 8 x USB 2.0 ports and High Definition audio. Advantech COM (Computer on Module) series is backwardly compatible with existing hardware and software systems. They are fully scalable for upgrades or changing application needs and feature long life support so important to embedded developers. Advantech’s own SUSI (Secure and Unified Smart Interface) API library speeds software development, and global logistics and support streamline the product development process. Advantech, Irvine, CA. (800) 866-6008. [].

Touch-Screen Panel PC Supports Dual Displays

A full-featured, entirely fanless panel PC is targeted for intelligent display applications in demanding environments. Rugged, stable and flexible, the Vipro VP7710 from Via Technologies addresses an increasing demand for cost-effective, intelligent displays in commercial applications such as ticketing, ATM, vending and information kiosks as well as sophisticated fleet deployment infrastructures in transport, delivery and logistics enterprises. The Via Vipro is suitable for human-machine interface (HMI) industrial applications such as factory automation and control, supporting the addition of a second independently configured screen for dual-display applications. Powered by either a 1.6 GHz Via Eden or 1.0 GHz C7 processor, the Via Vipro VP710 supports up to 1 Gbyte of DDR2 system memory and boasts integrated Via UniChrome Pro II 2D/3D graphics and MPEG-2/4, WMV9 hardware accelerated decoding. It also supports an additional independently configured display through a VGA port for dual-display applications. The Via Vipro has a 10.4” TFT display with a wide viewing angle and light transmission of 82.5%. Its IP65 touch panel is water and dust resistant while the chassis is shock resistant up to 50G and can handle vibrations of up to 5G. Storage includes support for both IDE and S-ATA 2.5” hard drives and a compact flash socket. Connectivity includes Gigabit LAN support and an optional wireless module. The low panel I/O includes two USB 2.0 ports, three COM ports, with variable RC settings and PS/2 support. HD audio is accessible through standard audio jacks. VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [].


December 2008

STD Bus x86-Based SBC Targets Legacy Applications

A high-integration STD Bus single board computer (SBC) based on Advanced Micro Device’s (AMD) LX800 CPU is targeted to provide both an upward performance migration path and a continued source of supply for STD Bus SBCs while maintaining hardware, software and I/O compatibility. The STD Bus was first introduced in 1978 and is still in use by key industrial customers. The LPM-LX800 from WinSystems supports Windows XP embedded, Linux and other x86 real-time operating systems while offering continuing longterm availability. The LPMLX800 incorporates the low-power AMD Geode LX800MHz 0.9W CPU that offers product availability through at least 2015. The LPM-LX800-G can be populated with up to 1 Gbyte of system DRAM and up to 16 Gbytes of CompactFlash. A high-performance video engine is on board that supports LCD and CRT displays simultaneously. Also, an Intel 82551ER, 32-bit PCI 10/100 Ethernet controller supports networking. Further I/O support includes four USB 2.0 ports with in-rush and over-current protection, four independent RS-232/422/485 full-duplex serial UARTs, 48-lines of TTLcompatible digital I/O and AC97 audio. The LPM-LX800 contains the core logic to provide PC-compatibility for the I/O and bus interface logic including the UDMA100 controller for hard disks, keyboard/mouse controller, LPT interface, real-time clock and interrupt controller. A precision power-fail reset circuit, activity LED, PC/104-Plus expansion and watchdog-timer are also included. All of these features are included on the 4.5” x 7.0” STD Bus board. The LPM-LX800 can functionally replace other Pentium-based STD Bus SBCs from Ziatech, Versalogic and Micro/sys; and offers long-term availability with a lower cost. WinSystems offers free application engineering assistance. Single unit pricing for the LPM-LX800-G starts at $895. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

Electronic Compass Resides on Tiny PCB

Electronic compass technology is a critical component in a variety of mobile systems. A new addition to their low-cost line of tilt-compensated OEM digital compasses for embedded applications that is ultra-small and highly accurate is being introduced by OceanServer Technology. The OS4000-T Nano Compass features 3-Axis magnetic sensors with 3-Axis accelerometers and provides nominal accuracy of 0.5 degrees, 0.1 degree resolution, ±180 degree roll, ±90 degree tilt and includes electronically gimbaled tilt compensation. Offered in a 0.6-inch square through-hole package, weighing only 1 gm, this ultra-small device is designed for mounting on a system board and talking via a TTL interface for a wide range of applications. Available with a carrier board, serial and USB drivers, evaluation software and schematics to assist with applications/integration, the OS4000-T Nano Compass includes an ASCII interface, hard- and softiron calibration and user-configurable data formatting. Providing up to a 40 Hz data update rate, a 50 MIPS processor supporting IEEE floating point math, a 24-bit A/D converter and a programmable com rate from 4,800 to 115,000 baud are included. OS4000-T Nano Compasses are priced at $249 each or $89.74 (500s); with larger quantity discounts offered. Developer’s kits are $399. OceanServer Technology, Fall River, MA. (508) 67-0550. [].

Small 48-Point Digital I/O Module Uses SUMIT Standard

Earlier this year, the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group introduced the SUMIT (Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology) connector standard. SUMIT is an electromechanical connectorization specification that enables stacking of common serial and legacy chipset expansion buses on I/O modules for next-generation embedded systems products. Some of the first products supporting that standard have started to emerge. WinSystems, for its part, introduced the first Pico-I/O module designed for expansion on Pico-ITXe SBCs. The PCO-UIO48-G is a 48-point digital I/O interface with interruptible event sense. An important feature of the card is that it can monitor 24 of the rising and falling digital edge transitions, latch them, and then signal the host processor that a change of input status has occurred. This is the most efficient way of sensing and signaling a CPU of real-time events without the burden of continuous polling of the digital I/O points. Pico-I/O modules are designed to offer low-cost I/O expansion for Pico-ITXe single board computers from VIA and other manufacturers. The module requires only +3.3 volts; however, an optional onboard regulator is available to allow it to be powered from +5 VDC. Operational temperature range is from -40° to +85°C. A Pico-I/O module is small and measures only 60 mm x 72 mm, which is half the area of a PC/104 module. The PCO-UIO48-G lists for $59. A depopulated version with 24 lines, called the PCO-UIO24-G, lists for $49. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

PXI Card Blends Boundary Scan and Dynamic Functional Test

System developers can now get more bang for their buck when it comes to test instrumentation gear. That’s because multi functions are now available on boards that used to require several. Goepel Electronic has launched a new series of JTAG Digital I/O PXI modules named PXI 5396-x. The PXI 5396-x modules offer 96 individually configurable single-ended channels and support the structural JTAG/Boundary Scan test as well as dynamic I/O operation up to 100 MHz to execute functional tests. PXI 5396-x are 1-slot 3U modules, which differ in onboard memory depth of 72 Mbytes (PXI 5396-X) and 144 Mbytes (PXI 5396-XM). All modules offer 96 single-ended channels configurable as input, output and tri-state, which allow simultaneous driving, measuring and real-time comparison. While the signals are processed to test bus operations completely synchronous in the JTAG mode, the dynamic I/O mode enables functional testing with freely programmable clock frequencies from 500 Hz to maximum 100 MHz. That’s why first structural Boundary Scan tests and afterward functional tests can be executed with the same instrument. Goepel Electronic, Jena, Germany. +49 03641 6896-739. [].

FPGA-Based I/O Module Family Rides PXI

There’s always been conflict between the need for applicationspecific flexibility and standards-based I/O instrumentation. National Instruments tackles that head on with a new family of open, FPGAbased hardware for the PXI platform. With NI FlexRIO, engineers can add custom signal processing algorithms to their PXI-based field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware. Then, with interchangeable adapter modules, they can directly interface the FPGA to instrument-class I/O or create their own custom front-end hardware to meet their specific application requirements. NI FlexRIO FPGA modules feature high-performance Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs. Using LabVIEW FPGA, engineers gain direct access to raw digital pins on the NI FlexRIO FPGA modules, with 66 differential lines at up to 1 Gbit/s per pair or 132 single-ended lines at up to 400 Mbits/s. In addition, NI FlexRIO FPGA modules offer deep onboard memory and the ability to use external clocks. All NI FlexRIO implementations require two distinct hardware pieces—a PXI FPGA module and an adapter module, which defines the specific I/O capabilities of the system. The first NI FlexRIO adapter module is the NI 6581 high-speed digital I/O adapter, which is ideal for algorithmic pattern generation and protocol-aware tests. Pricing for the modules ranges from $999 to $4,999 depending on configuration and type. National Instruments, Austin, TX. (512) 683-0100. []. December 2008



Comment December 2008

Warren Andrews Associate Publisher

Winding Down or Winding Up?


s we look back on 2008 and forward to 2009, it’s a real tough call as to which way things are going. This year (2008) certainly ended on a sour note as the financial markets continued their downward spiral despite bailout efforts and some $700 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The technology industry in general took a nosedive as judged by the technology-rich NASDAQ index, which dropped some 50% in October and according to some in the financial industry may drop another 50% in the coming 18 months. For example, Intel Corp lost 50% of its value since the end of October and other technology companies shed similar amounts.

Translation to Embedded Computer Biz

The embedded-computer business hasn’t necessarily followed the technology shares, but it does have some relationship. Looking at previous dips and bumps in the industry, the embedded-computer business tends to lag the general technology business by some six to nine months. If that’s the case, we may be facing a bleak new year. Other evidence that things are slowing comes from the durable goods numbers, which fell by more than 6% last month. Business equipment spending, the heart of the business for non-defense spending on embedded computers, dropped 4% in October after more than a 3% drop in September. The good news is that spending is up year-over-year, but the trend is definitely in the wrong direction. Blame this on tight credit, or a sagging consumer market or whatever, it still doesn’t spell good news. Pipelines that were being filled since the end of the summer have not been depleted and the flow of finished products has slowed dramatically. And it gets worse. ChangeWave Research, which has studied tech spending plans of thousands of businesses since 2001, found that 45% say they will decrease tech spending or drop it completely in the next quarter. Some 39% say they have spent less this quarter, and 48% say they don’t think tech spending will pick up again until after the third quarter of 2009.


December 2008


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On the Down Side







Several related tech companies are reporting problems for the upcoming period. Intel, for example, slashed its sales outlook showing a 12% decline from the third quarter. However, not all news on the Intel front is bad news. Earlier this month the company rolled out its Core i7 chip, the first member of its highly anticipated processor family. The chip, code-named Nehalem, is targeted at high-end desktop computers. Chip equipment maker, Applied Materials, also gave a dire forecast saying revenue would drop 14% in the fourth quarter. The company is cutting some 1800 jobs or 12% of its workforce. It looks like the move to larger wafers will have to wait another six to twelve months. The semi-equipment maker sector is a strong buyer of embedded computers and electronics. On the finished-goods end, Nokia—the world’s largest mobilehandset maker—drastically cut its outlook for the fourth quarter. Other cell phone makers are also bracing for the shakeup. Qualcomm projects a major contraction in its sales of cell phone chips, and Vodafone warned of a shortfall in its earnings. Analysts are predicting declines of as much as 9% in cell phone sales next year. Can a dip in the cell phone infrastructure be far behind? And on the supply end, Longbow Research reports that con-

nector companies missed forecasts showing a decline in the low to mid-single digits. Once again, citing the burst of the dot-com bubble, connector companies are in a lot better shape. In 2001, companies double and triple ordered components to make sure they could satisfy current needs. When the bubble burst, sales went to zero (and in many cases below zero as companies began returning merchandise). And, unfortunately, layoffs are rampant. Sun had a major layoff recently, slashing some 5000 to 6000 jobs. Nortel let go some 1300, and overall, it’s been reported that through the end of October, computer, electronics and telecom industries have cut more than 140,000 jobs. Two-thirds of these have taken place since July, showing a trend being in the wrong direction.

A Bright Spot?

While a good part of the market may be looking flat, supercomputers may be the only bright spot. New chip technology, including the use of multicore chips initially designed for graphics such as the 240-processor chip from Nvidia, will bring supercomputing to the desk with systems selling for less than $10,000. Another entry from Super Micro Computer boasts 20, four-processor chips and sells for $30,000. Sales of the largest machines—above $500,000—grew 16% in 2007 to $2.9 billion. Smaller systems priced from $100,000 to $250,000 gained a whopping 26% to well over $4 billion. Research firm IDC projects the industry will enjoy annual growth in the area of 9% for the next five years in all price ranges. A list of the big supercomputer winners in terms of performance, at least according to researchers at the University of Mannheim, along with the University of Tennessee and the DOE National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, was compiled and looked at the top 500 fastest computers. A supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory squeaked by the closest contender from Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the top honors. IBM accounted for 188 of the 500 systems on the list. At the chip level, Intel topped the bill with its chips powering 379 of the top 500. AMD was next with 59 machines including seven of the ten fastest. The number one machine (Roadrunner) used both AMD and IBM processors, while the runner-up used only AMD’s Opteron chips. The new breed of graphics chips have yet to break into the top ranks.

Patent Trolls

Periodically in these pages we talk about patent trolls and how they impact our industry. In the past, we’ve had some of these patent-troll companies assert patents against some members of the embedded computer community. For the most part these have been largely nuisance attacks; however, some have caused vendors to trot out the legal beagles. Patent trolls are those companies that generally buy up patents en masse and take a scatter-gun approach to assert them against anyone they can—usually going after larger companies with big budgets that will pay off nuisance suits rather than be bothered to defend against the assertions. The politically correct term for the trolls is “non-practicing

entities” because they don’t make or sell products using the patents. The patent trolls rose to prominence when one of them successfully asserted a patent against Blackberry maker RIM and won a sizeable settlement—enough to jeopardize the financial health of the company. Most recently, a San Francisco start-up is offering a new service to address patent risks facing technology companies. The new firm, RPX Corp., wants to become what it calls a “defensive patent aggregator,” buying patents to keep them from patent-troll companies. It’s similar to the Allied Security Trust formed by a handful of large technology firms in June (see NV&C July), but RPX plans to make a profit from membership fees ranging from $35,000 to $4.9 million. Uhh, is there something I’m missing here? If you can’t beat them, join them? One of the leaders of the patent troll business is Nathan Myhrvoid. Over the past few years, the former Microsoft executive has amassed some 20,000-plus patents and applications and is pushing tech giants to sign some of the most costly patentlicensing deals ever negotiated. His firm, Intellectual Ventures, has received some $200 to $400 million in recent months from companies including Cisco, Verizon and others. He is not high on their popularity parade. The solution? I’m not so sure there is any on the horizon. In a system where companies such as Intellectual Ventures can flood patent examiners with hundreds of patents annually—most of which will be granted—then shake down businesses to avoid lawsuits, there isn’t much hope. It appears that a makeover of the U.S. patent system is going to be needed. Once the new administration takes care of the war on terror and the economy, it might want to look at the patent situation.

Seven-Year Boom

The worldwide chip industry is expected to see an end to the seven-year winning streak it’s been enjoying. The SIA (Semiconductor Industry Association) predicts that chip sales will drop by as much as 5.6% in 2009. While sales continued to grow for the first three quarters of 2008 (see NV&C September), the SIA projects a 5.9% drop in the fourth quarter, which is traditionally one of the stronger periods. The forecast is apparently echoed by market-research firm, iSuppli. Are we back to the fall of 2001? Apparently not, say researchers. In the collapse of the bubble of 2001, companies were saddled with huge inventories resulting in a total meltdown. This time around, companies have been more cautious with their ordering. The result is that while 2009 will be a down year, sales are predicted to rebound in 2010 and 2011 by 7.4% and 7.5% respectively.

December 2008


Annual Article Index December 2007

January 2008

PCI Express: Leaping the Bounds of Board and Box

COM Express: Small Modules Take on Big Jobs

Editorial Thinking Inside the Box................................................................. 7

Editorial The Illusion of Security.................................................................. 6

Solutions Engineering—CompactPCI Express PCI Express Outside the Box....................................................... 16

Technology in Context—COM Express Solutions COM Express – A Living Standard for Modular Solutions....... 12

Steve Cooper, One Stop Systems

CompactPCI Express Comes of Age............................................ 24 Stephen Cunha, MEN Micro

Industry Insight—Standards SAS Sharpens Blade Servers......................................................... 30 Cameron T. Brett and Jesse Molina, PMC-Sierra

Software & Development Tools—Multicore Software Multicore – What’s the Big Deal?................................................. 36 Sven Brehmer, PolyCore Software

Christine Van De Graaf, Kontron

Solutions Engineering—Ethernet Switching The Best Network Seems Like No Network................................ 16 Iain Kenney, SMC Networks

Industry Insight—Data Acquisition Doing More with Less (Hardware, That Is)................................ 20 Brett Burger, National Instruments

Data Acquisition: Harnessing Small Modules with Flexible I/O.................................................................................... 24 Scott Hames, GE Fanuc

News, Views and Comments Global Economy............................................................................ 62 Annual Article Index 2007 RTC Magazine Monthly Publications in Review........................ 66

System Integration—IP for Programmable Logic Enabling the Use of FPGAs with Optimized IP.......................... 28 Tom Hill, Xilinx

Software Developers Empowered by the FPGA Revolution...... 34 Eric Schneider, Eridon

Industry Watch—Data-Oriented Architecture Data-Oriented Architecture: Loosely Coupling Systems into “Systems of Systems”.................................................................... 40 Rajive Joshi, Ph.D, Real-Time Innovations Inc.

News, Views & Comment Embedded Computer Business on Fast Track Despite Economic Forecasts........................................................................................ 56


December 2008

Annual Article Index February 2008

March 2008

Intelligent Control Keeps Battery-Powered Devices Going and Going

Small Form Factors Get Automated Systems Moving

Editorial Broadband Everywhere? Don’t Hold Your Breath........................ 7

Editorial The Message of Nuremberg........................................................... 6

Technology in Context—ATCA Breaks Out of Telecom ATCA and RapidIO Meet Demanding Semiconductor Applications.................................................................................. 12

Technology in Context—Small Form-Factors Push Automation in New Areas ETX Takes Robotic Automation to a New Level......................... 12

Ian Shearer, Mercury Computer Systems

Solutions Engineering—Wireless Sensors Standards Will Fuel the Spread of Wireless Network Technologies.................................................................................. 18 Niek Van Dierdonck, GreenPeak

Industry Insight—Mobile Power Management Optimizing Mobile and Portable Power Management Systems.......................................................................................... 24 Kim Rowe, RoweBots Research

System Integration—Integrating with Middleware Prevalidated Hardware and Middleware Platforms Speed System Integration..................................................................................... 28 Jim Lawrence, Enea and Sven Freudenfeld, Kontron

No Processor Is an Island: Developing Multiple Processor Systems with the “New” CORBA................................................. 34 Joe Jacob, Objective Interface Systems

Industry Watch—Advanced Debugging RTOS Event Logging Enables Real-Time Systems Analysis....... 41

Christine Van De Graaf, Kontron America

Re-Thinking Small Form-Factor Embedded PCs....................... 18 Colin McCracken, Small Form Factor SIG

Solutions Engineering—Thermal Management New Materials and Techniques Tackle PCB Thermal Management.................................................................................. 26 Zulki Khan, NexLogic Technologies

Industry Insight—Embedded Web Servers Shattering the Myths of Remote Device Management............... 34 Joel K. Young, Digi International

System Integration—Embedded Windows Look, Ma! No RTOS! Getting to Know Microsoft .NET Micro Framework.................................................................................... 38 Sean D. Liming and John R. Malin, SJJ Embedded Micro Solutions

News, Views & Comment As Goes the Economy, So Goes…................................................ 60

John Carbone, Express Logic

News, Views & Comment Big Changes for 2008: New Technology on Nervous Economic Footing........................................................................................... 60

December 2008


Annual Article Index April 2008

May 2008

Medical Devices: Focused Treatment in Small Packages

MicroTCA: Not Just for Telecom Anymore

Editorial They’re Sproutin’ Up Like Mushrooms!........................................ 8

Editorial “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom”.................................................. 6

Small Form Factor Forum Small Form Factors Put the Squeeze on Chip Vendors.............. 14

Small Form Factor Forum Atom and Eden Have No Place in ARM’s Garden...................... 12

Technology in Context—FPGA-Based Board Solutions FPGAs Are Everywhere – In Design, Test & Control.................. 16

Technology in Context—MicroTCA MicroTCA: Destined for Greatness Across the Board................ 14

Wayne Marx, Xilinx and Vineet Aggarwal, National Instruments

FPGA-Based Board Solutions: One Platform, Many Apps........ 20 Neil Harold, Nallatech

Solutions Engineering—Machine-to-Machine Protecting Your Embedded Application from the Internet........ 24 Ariel Shulman, Connect One

Industry Insight—Medical Applications nvSRAMs Help Bring the Hospital Home.................................. 30 Chris Gilbert, Simtek

System Integration—10 Gigabit Ethernet 10 Gigabit Ethernet: Integrating a Standard Protocol into HighSpeed Real-Time Systems............................................................. 34 Rob Kraft, AdvancedIO

Industry Watch—Multicore Microkernel-Based Virtualization Meets Embedded Security Challenges..................................................................................... 40 Gernot Heiser, Open Kernel Labs

News, Views & Comment Consolidation Going Smaller....................................................... 64


December 2008

Gene Juknevicius, GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms

MicroTCA on the Road to Stardom............................................ 18 David Pursley and Sven Freudenfeld, Kontron

Tougher MicroTCA Tackles Applications Beyond Telecom....... 24 Clayton Tucker, Emerson Network Power and Bob Sullivan, Hybricon

Solutions Engineering—High-Density ATCA Designing Very High Performance ATCA Systems..................... 32 Thomas Roberts, Mercury Computer Systems

Industry Insight—IMS Brings Data, Voice, Video 10 Gigabit Ethernet Enables Broadband Multimedia Applications.................................................................................. 38 Jack Staub, Critical I/O

System Integration—Small Form Factors Express104 Modules Upgrade PC/104 Installed Base with SUMIT Interface........................................................................... 42 John McKown, Octagon Systems and Tom Barnum, VersaLogic

News, Views & Comment RoHS-Is it Worth the Chaos it Can Cause?................................. 64

Annual Article Index June 2008

July 2008

Small Form Factors: An Explosion in Innovation

USB Stakes Its Claim in Embedded

Editorial An Explosion of Innovation........................................................... 6

Editorial Embedded Control for an Era of Intelligent Energy.................... 5

Small Form Factor Forum Computer-on-Module Solutions Offer Full Custom Benefits without the Hassle........................................................................ 12

Small Form Factor Forum Computer-on-Module Proliferation Brings Selection Challenges....................................................................................... 8

Special Section—Small Form Factor Boards Do We Really Need Yet Another New Standard for Computer Modules? Meet QSeven–A New Standard................................... 14

Technology in Context—Fault Management Software Fault Management for Medical Devices...................... 10 John Greenland, LDRA Technology

Martin Danzer, congatec

Take the CoreExpress into a New World..................................... 20 Hermann Strass, LiPPERT Embedded Computers

Express104 Defines the Next Generation of Small, Stackable Embedded Computing Modules.................................................. 24 Robert A. Burckle, WinSystems

Pico-ITX—The Next Big Thing in Small Form Factors............. 28 John Lin, VIA Technologies

Standard COM Carrier Boards Offer Benefits Over Traditional SBCs............................................................................................... 34 Jonathan Miller and David Fastenau, Diamond Systems

New PCI/104-Express Standard................................................... 38 Jim Blazer, RTD Embedded Technologies

News, Views & Comment On The Embedded Front............................................................. 60

Industry Insight—USB USB Becoming a Staple in Embedded Systems........................... 16 James Kurtz, Microchip Technology

Franchisable USB Connectivity Solutions in Embedded SoC... 24 Sam Sanyal, MosChip Semiconductor

System Integration—Multicore Processors A Multicore Approach to More Efficient Embedded System Performance.................................................................................. 32 Robert Küffner, MEN Micro

Multicore Processors Bring out High-Performance Computing Potential in Real Time.................................................................. 38 Jeff Meisel, National Instruments

Industry Watch—Medical Systems Defense Electronics Evolution = Medical Device Electronics Revolution..................................................................................... 42 Mark Downey, White Electronic Designs

News, Views & Comment Embedded Market Grows Despite Soft Economy...................... 64

December 2008


Annual Article Index August 2008

September 2008

Remote Maintenance Saves on Service Calls

MicroTCA: On the Track for Rugged Apps

Editorial High-Powered, Low-Power—Plus it’s Neat to Beat the Heat....... 5

Editorial The Network Is the Automobile.................................................... 5

Small Form Factor Forum The COM Interchangeability Myth............................................... 8

Small Form Factor Forum PC/104 Gets a Refresh…or Two.................................................... 8

Technology in Context—PCI Express PCIe over Cable for High-Speed I/O, Bus Expansion and Networking.................................................................................... 10

Technology in Context—I/O Subsystems StackableUSB: The Right Amount of Umph to Get the Job Done.............................................................................................. 10

Steve Cooper, One Stop Systems

Solutions Engineering—Industrial PCs Industrial PCs Take Over a Broad Range of Applications.......... 18 Matt Wieborg, Kontron

Industry Insight—Remote Maintenance and Monitoring Railroads Get Rolling with Remote Monitoring......................... 24 Michael Heilmann, Wi-Tronix and Heidi Schubert, Real-Time Innovations

Secure Remote Device Management in Firewall-Protected Environments................................................................................ 28 Taqi Hasan, Lantronix

System Integration—Real-Time Java Real-Time Java Pushing Deeper Into Embedded Systems......... 32 Dr. Kelvin Nilsen, Aonix

Industry Watch—System Management Integrating High Availability with Network Management......... 36

Susan Wooley, StackableUSB Consortium

Solutions Engineering—Rugged MicroTCA Why Rugged MicroTCA?.............................................................. 16 Joe Pavlat, President, PICMG

The Working Groups Are Getting There: A Progress Report on Rugged MicroTCA........................................................................ 18 Jeff Marden, GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms

Industry Insight—Vision Systems Increasing Image Acquisition Rates for Bandwidth-Hungry Applications.................................................................................. 26 Neil Chen, Adlink Technology

System Integration—Virtualization Getting a Handle on Virtualization and Putting it to Work...... 32 Paul Fisher, TenAsys

Virtualization of Real-Time Operating Systems Means REAL Real Time....................................................................................... 38 Gerd Lammers, Real-Time Systems

Asif Naseem, GoAhead Software and Hakan Millroth, Tail-f Systems

News, Views & Comment Chip Makers Mixed...................................................................... 64


December 2008

News, Views & Comment Embedded Computer Market Shows Resilience; Retrenching May Be the Wrong Move.............................................................. 64

Annual Article Index October 2008

November 2008

Small Form Factors Spawn More Innovations

Low-Power CPUs Boost Performance but Keep Their Cool

Editorial I/O in Search of Identity................................................................ 5

Editorial “Digital Factory” Means More Than You Think........................... 5

Small Form Factor Forum Ruggedness: Have It Your Way, Please........................................... 8

Small Form Factor Forum Bus? Board? Or Both?..................................................................... 8

Technology in Context—Rugged Applications Mechanical Aspects of VPX and VPX-REDI Enhance Functionality and Ruggedness..................................................... 10

Technology in Context—Low-Power Processors Microprocessors Adapt Performance to Stay Cool..................... 10

Ivan Straznicky, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing

Having It All: Processor Solutions Shrink the Power, Not the Performance.................................................................................. 14

Solutions Engineering—I/O Technology and Subsystems Intelligent Switches: The Next-Generation PCI Express Interconnect.................................................................................. 14 Miguel Rodriguez , PLX Technology

Industry Insight—RapidIO Serial RapidIO 2.0 Switching Offers Enhanced Application Benefits.......................................................................................... 18 Tom Cox, RapidIO Trade Association

System Integration—Small Form Factor Update New Small Form Factor Interconnect Spec Supports Intel’s Atom and VIA’s Nano................................................................... 22 Colin McCracken and David Fitzgerald, Small Form Factor SIG

nanoETXexpress Paves the Way for Ultra-Small, Ultra-Portable Fist-Held Applications.................................................................. 28 Christine Van De Graaf, Kontron

News, Views & Comment A Deafening Crash........................................................................ 56

J. Scott Gardner, Advantage Engineering

Cameron Swen, Advanced Micro Devices

Solutions Engineering—ATX and PCs Application Is King; Understanding End Use Is Critical to Embedded Platform Options....................................................... 20 Curtis Chang and Christine Van de Graaf, Kontron

Thinking Inside the Box: An Overhaul of Box PCs for HighReliability Applications................................................................. 26 Colin McCracken and Dr. Qi Chen, ADLINK Technology

System Integration—Software Security OS Mechanisms Enable Secure, Survivable Systems.................. 30 Paul Leroux, QNX Software Systems

Improving Security with Static Software Analysis...................... 34 Paul Anderson, GrammaTech

News, Views & Comment Embedded Computer Industry Holding its Ground.................. 56

December 2008


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December 2008

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