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Thales set to roll out Rapid IO multi-processor system

Posted: 05 Sep 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:thales computers? rapid io system? powermp4-60? powerpc? pentium-m?

Consists of a 7U rack, eight VME64x slotsMilitary systems vendor Thales Computers is about to roll out its first serial Rapid IO system for embedded computing applications. Significantly, the company's PowerMP4-60 rack and cards will combine both PowerPC and Pentium-M processors.

The company also contends the PowerMP4-60's Rapid IO packet-switched interconnect will fill an industry need for bandwidth and faster bus speeds. The product should be well-suited for computer systems that require multiple processors in a tightly-coupled architecture, as is often required by realtime embedded applications.

Thales says its PowerMP4-60 will be available later this year as one of the company's so-called Fast Track products. However, there are no datasheets for this product on the company's Web site. On the flip side of the coin, basic pricing has been set. Pricing will start at $18,000, depending on specs. The price will includes one year of hotline support, too.

The hardware
When it does debut for real, the PowerMP4-60 will especially take advantage of the low power dissipation of the PowerPC, as well as a spectrum of software tools for PC platforms.

The PowerMP4-60 will consist of a 7U rack and eight VME64x slots with P0 connector. Board configurations of up to eight PowerPC G4 7457 CPU boards, will operate at 1GHz, for a total computing power of 60 GFLOPs, with a PENTXM board operating at 1.6GHz. The PowerMP4-60's serial Rapid IO switch fabric will have an aggregate bandwidth of 2.4GB, a feature that will make it possible to interconnect in all possible directions, while sustaining maximum throughput between all processors. The PowerPC nodes will be interconnected through the low-latency high bandwidth RapidIO network, which can be routed either through the back-plane using P0 or through front-panel connectors.

The system will also use a FPDP (front panel data port) stage. It will be able to perform data acquisition at 100MBps. Finally, the PowerMP4-60 will also include MPI communications plus SNMP control and monitoring.

As for operating systems, the Intel boards will operate under Linux 2.4, and the PowerPC cluster is proposed under Linux SMP 2.4, LynxOS 4.0, or VxWorks 6.1 (2006).

Integrated development tools
A range of fully-integrated development tools (compilers, configuration management, debuggers, trace tools, etc.) are also part of the PowerMP software package. Development tools include Spyker, Totalview and VSIPRO, among others.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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