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Ruggedized industrial computers pack Tualatin processors, chipsets

Posted: 22 Apr 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processor board? intel? ulv celeron Tualatin? microprocessor? parvus?

If you're designing ruggedized embedded subsystems, check out these four new embedded processor boards that are based around the new Intel ULV Celeron Tualatin microprocessor (in ball-grid array packages) and Intel's mating 815E chipset. The Celerons clock at 400MHz, pack on-chip 256KB Level 2 caches, and operate with a 100MHz FSB (front-side bus).

The new boards are debuting from board maker Parvus Corp. Part of Parvus's existing spacepc line, the new boards are designated the SpacePC 1450, spacepc 1451, SpacePC 1453 and SpacePC 1850. Three of these boards are in the stackable PC/104-Plus form-factor. One is a PCI-104 module. All operate from 5V sources.

The SpacePC 1451 and SpacePC 1453 are differentiated from the SpacePC 1450 in that they support USB 2.0 or Gigabit Ethernet at 1,000Mbps.

Look ma, no fans

The three PC/104-Plus models are designed to operate without a fan, working across the industrial temp range extending from -40C to 85C. As you'd expect for an industrial-strength product, they're all designed to withstand lots of shock and vibration, too.

The three PC/104-Plus models use an aluminum heat spreader plate on top of the processor boards. That means sealed embedded systems can reliably operate without nosy cooling fans, and they won't draw in dust and dirt. Not to worry; Parvus performed extensive thermal analysis to ensure that the on-board components aren't stressed by excessive temperature loading (this assumes Parvus-recommended mounting instructions are followed).

The three products also integrate 256MB of RAM. It's soldered directly onto the boards to enhance thermal performance, and ensure operation under shock and vibration stress when used in mobile applications.

For cost-sensitive apps
The PCI-104 form-factor SpacePC 1850 model is slated for cost-sensitive applications, and those with more moderate thermal requirements. It includes the same basic set of on-board peripherals as the three PC/104-Plus models (USB, an IDE port, Fast Ethernet, VGA video, serial I/O, audio output, and support for a keyboard and mouse), but it alternatively integrates finned heatsinks on top of the components, and packs up to 512MB of SO-DIMM-packaged SDRAM. It also includes an LVDS (low voltage differential signaling) video interface (in addition to its VGA port).

The PCI-104 form-factor SpacePC 1850 model follows the new PCI-only architecture of the PC/104 spec (known as PCI-104), while the other three models are PC/104-Plus types (for PCI and the older ISA bus).

They're OS flexible
Like Parvus's other SpacePC processor modules, these new boards are hardware-compatible with most popular RTOSs, including Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded, Linux, QNX Neutrino and VxWorks.

What's more, a pre-installed ROM-DOS kernel from Datalight, along with the system BIOS, come installed in the board's 1MB of flash. The flash facilitates rapid implementation.

Pricing, limited availability
According to Parvus, a limited quantity of the SpacePC modules is in stock at press time. They're priced from about $560 to about $980 each in volume orders of 100 or more units. Some of the associated cable sets, development kits, and adapters may temporarily be on back-order.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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