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MEN PC-MIP mezzanine card delivers FRAM

Posted: 15 Aug 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:men micro? p15? pc mip? mezzanine card? pci memory card?

MEN Micro Inc.'s mezzanine card for the new PCI-based PC-MIP mezzanine standard can provide up to 512KB of NVFRAM without needing a battery. The P15 mezzanine card is aimed at embedded-systems designers looking for a technology to store and safeguard firmware and other important system data.

"To maintain data in every memory even when the system is powered down, designers of embedded systems have had only two viable alternatives," noted Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro.

"They have used batteries to continually power traditional semiconductor memories, but since the batteries must be changed every so often, system maintenance can be problematic."

The other alternative, Godsey said, has been to use E2PROM or Flash memory, "but these devices typically have significantly slower access timings than standard SRAM memory. And this may add additional complexity to the system design and data partitioning."

MEN Micro is positioning its high-performance FRAM option as "a third alternative that avoids both of these difficulties," Godsey said.

The P15 PC-MIP mezzanine card holds 256KB or 512KB of high-performance FRAM. As many as six P15s can be mounted on a 6U PC-MIP carrier card for 3MB of FRAM memory, and three P15s can be configured on a 3U carrier card to deliver 15MB of nonvolatile memory.

System design is also simplified, the company said, because the access time for FRAM technology is the same as for standard SRAM memories. In addition, the number of write cycles supported by the FRAM components is practically unlimited, ranging up to 10 billion R/W cycles, according to MEN.

The P15 mezzanine card can operate in the industrial temperature range of -400C to 850C. The card is based on the emerging PC-MIP standard, developed jointly by MEN Mikro Elektronik of Germany and SBS Modular I/O, with support from the Motorola Computer Group and Schroff.

The standard combines the concept of an industrial front connection from M-Modules, the flexible form factor of Industry Packs and the electrical specification of the PCI bus. The PC MIP specification is administered by the VMEbus Industry Trade Association's Standards Organization and was approved by the American National Standards Institute in January.

Pricing for the P15 starts at $315 apiece for the 256KB version and $428 for the 512KB version.

EE Times

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