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cPCI SBCs run on next-gen Freescale microprocessors

Posted: 19 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Aitech? C901? single-board computers? SBC? Freescale?

Aitech's C901 SBC

Embedded computer supplier Aitech Defense Systems Inc. has announced two power-saving ruggedized 3U-sized CompactPCI (cPCI) single-board computers (SBCs). These SBCs operate as fast as 1.4GHz; they also include memory and I/O options.

Available in commercial, rugged, and MIL levels, the new SBCs can be used in applications ranging from mission computers and mission control subsystems, to fire-control processing, platform stabilization, and remotely piloted vehicles, to name a few.

Aitech's C901 SBC, and the low-power C901L version, feature next-generation Freescale Semiconductor 7448 PowerPC microprocessors. These include on-chip L1 cache and enhanced L2 cache. They also use Freescale's AltiVec Technology.

Both models can be used in cPCI subsystems as system controllers, or as CompactPCI peripheral boards. They're capable of supporting up to six additional cards on a cPCI backplane, while providing clock, arbitration, and interrupt functions.

Low dissipation
A fully populated C901 with 512Mbytes of DRAM operates at a typical power level of 24W (at 1.4GHz processor speed). The C901L version reduces that dissipation to less than 17W (at 1GHz). Obviously, it's for applications where dissipation is more critical than processor speed.

For additional power savings, both models offer a user-programmable Dynamic Frequency Switching mechanism, which reduces processor speed when processing demands are low. This permits an optimum balance between processing power and dissipation, giving the C901 SBCs a favorable power/performance ratio (MIPS/W).

Both board configurations provide up to 1Mbyte on-chip cache, 200MHz memory buses and 2Gbytes of flash. They also offer six standard variants of I/O, including multiple choices of GbE ports and Fast Ethernet ports. You also get USB ports, high-speed serial ports and up to eight discrete I/O channels.

An industry-standard PCI mezzanine card (PMC) slot supports installation of additional modules and functions.

A highly integrated Discovery III system controller functions as both a memory controller for the processor and as its bridge for the two PCI bus ports. Memory capabilities to support processor and user application needs include up to 1Gbyte of DDR SDRAM with error-check-and-correction protection.

You also get 64Mbytes of boot flash, 128Kbyte user flash, 128Kbyte of auto-store non-volatile SRAM (NVSRAM), and up to 2Gbytes of NAND flash.

Cooling options
These SBCs are available in both conduction-cooled and air-cooled formats. Thermal management features include two thermal sensors positioned at temperature-critical locations. These sensors monitor and report temperature data to a user's application software. Custom heatsink modules with metal frames also enhance optimal heat dissipation.

Both the C901 and C901L are compatible as energy-saving 1:1 drop-in replacements for Aitech's earlier Model C900 SBC based on the Freescale 7447A processor. Like all boards in Aitech's C900 Series, they're available with board support packages for WindRiver VxWorks and Green Hills Integrity RTOS. They include drivers for all on-board resources.

Pricing for the C901 starts at $5,300. Delivery is from stock.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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