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MicroTCA system comes in 1U form factor

Posted: 10 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ATCA? MicroTCA? Advanced Mezzanine Card?

In the battle among Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) form factors, Performance Technology Inc. has been solidly behind MicroTCA; indeed, Marketing VP Ed Bizari has called full-size ATCA primarily a backplane form factor for Tier 1 carriers.

But rather than offer MicroTCA in the original carrier and cube form factors developed by the PCI Industrial Computing Manufacturers Group (PICMG), PTI has placed six Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) bays in a 1U rack system, bringing its MTC5070 architecture's form factor close to that of full-size ATCA.

Other OEMs have developed hybrid architectures, such as IBM Corp.'s mix of BladeCenter and AMC; but the hybrids have often imposed thermal constraints on the AMC cards. PTI has solved that problem by creating a front-panel airflow system with counter-positioned fans to send air over the AMC modules.

"Two things we heard consistently from the customer base were [the need for a] low profile, which meant a 1U form factor and a front-to-back airflow," said Tony Romero, senior product manager for MicroTCA and mezzanine cards at PTI.

While PTI's MTC5070 won't approach the $500 target price for MicroTCA systems that early proponents claimed would be achievable, the solution will sell for less than $2,000 each in high volumes. The price will cover the switching fabric and power supply but not the AMC cards.

The rack height is intended for non-central-office telecom applications, such as remote terminals, and military/aerospace systems, such as avionics and vehicle communications. PTI already offers CPU AMC cards based on AMD and Intel processors, as well as a video-audio board. For further characterization of the 1U MicroTCA system, PTI will offer serial interface, T1/E1 and security-processor AMCs.

PTI will ship the NexusWare 4.0 OS and development environment tools with the MTC5070 MicroTCA system.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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