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SBC maker integrates EPIC systems, complete with Linux

Sep 13, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Ampro will market complete systems based on its EPIC form-factor single-board computers (SBCs). The ReadySystems will use the company's new ReadyBox enclosure, along with one of Ampro's eleven x86 ReadyBoard EPIC SBC models. They will come pre-installed with embedded Linux, and target volume OEM deployments.

(Click for larger view of ReadyBox EPIC board enclosure)

EPIC is a standard for expandable, embedded SBCs midway between the PC/104 and EBX standards. It was created by Ampro, along with VersaLogic, WinSystems, Micro/sys, and Octagon.

Each Ampro ReadySystem will include the ReadyBox enclosure, which measures 11 x 7.8 x 4.5 inches (280 x 200 x 115mm), or about the size of a 4-1/2 inch high piece of paper. They will include a 150-watt ATX power supply, and enough space for one or two expansion modules based on PC/104, PC/104-Plus, or PCI-104. Each ReadySystem will also include a 2.5 inch (laptop-sized) 40GB “removable” hard disk drive pre-loaded with a complete Linux distribution based on the 2.4 kernel.

The Ampro Linux distribution will have a full root file system, XFree86 graphics package, and GNU-based development tools. Drivers will be pre-installed for all ReadyBoard I/O, including the video controller. The system will boot to a Linux command prompt at power-on. A version based on the 2.6 kernel will be available in Spring, 2005, Ampro says.

The ReadyBoard family includes 12 models across five product lines:

  • The ReadyBoard 550 (with Via Eden CPUs) and ReadyBoard 700 (with Intel Pentium III and Celeron CPUs) offer a full complement of I/O with up to 512MB of SDRAM, according to Ampro.
  • The new ReadyBoard 800 provides three processor options including the 600MHz ULV Celeron M, 1.1GHz LV Pentium M, and 1.4GHz LV Pentium M 738 (Dothan core) with DDR PC2700 memory, USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • The ReadyBoard 560 and ReadyBoard 710, also announced today, offer low cost, low power consumption CPUs (1GHz Via Eden ESP 10000 or Intel 650MHz Celeron respectively) with a complement of advanced I/O including four USB 2.0 ports, dual Ethernet (both 10/100BaseT and Gigabit Ethernet ports) and built-in high performance AGP 8x graphics with hardware MPEG2 and MPEG4 decode

ReadySystems will also include an embedded BIOS that supports booting from a USB device (such as a CD or floppy), and a Managed Boot Agent, enabling booting from an appropriately configured network server with PXE or DHCP support, the company says.

Ampro CTO Paul Rosenfeld said, “ReadySystem is a complete, off-the-shelf, Linux-based system solution. OEM customers need only add application software.”


There are eleven models of ReadySystem with prices starting below $950 in single quantities. Pricing for moderate quantities starts in the mid $700 range. The systems will sample in October with full production starting in November, 2004.

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