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COM Express modules to tap multicore PowerPC SoCs

Jun 16, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Eurotech and Freescale Semiconductor announced a partnership to develop COM Express boards based on Freescale's multicore, PowerPC-based QorIQ system-on-chips (SoCs). Eurotech also recently announced a $1.5 million medical device win for its Linux-ready, ARM9-based Sphere II single board computer.

Eurotech says it will release a family of COM Express modules and development kits based on QorIQ processors. The modules will target a wide variety of embedded applications, ranging from established applications such as industrial real-time control to the latest LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G infrastructure applications, the company say.

Eurotech's earlier modules based on the COM Express format have been sold under the "Adbc" brand name. They have primarily been based on Intel platforms: For example, the most recent, Linux-ready Adbc8031 computer-on-module (COM) incorporates Intel's new Core i7 processor and Mobile Intel QM57 Express chipset.

Eurotech does, however, already offer an Adbc7515 COM Express module that taps Freescale's dual-core, Power Architecture (PowerPC) based MPC8572 PowerQUIC III processor. The company also manufactures modules compliant with other formats that are based on PowerPC processors from IBM and AMCC. Additional Eurotech modules have also supported Freescale processors, including a Turbo G5 module that builds around the ARM-based i.MX31 SoC.

Stated Giampietro Tecchiolli, VP and CTO of the Eurotech Group, "Through this effort, Eurotech extends its technology portfolio to include the most advanced Freescale multicore products available. This initiative will expand Eurotech's product portfolio and open new opportunities for growth in segments such as Networking, Defense and Medical." 

QorIQ background

Freescale announced the QorIQ line of SoCs in June 2008. The pin- and software-compatible successors to Freescale's PowerQUICC line of network processors are fabricated with 45nm process technology, and range from one to eight PowerPC e500 cores.

QorIQ P4080 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The single-core P101 runs at 400MHz on only four Watts while the eight-core P4080 (block diagram above) runs at 1.5GHz on a relatively modest 30 Watts. In December of last year, Freescale added the QorIQ P1012 and dual-core P1021 SoCs to the QorIQ family.

Eurotech wins $1.5 million medical device contract

Earlier this month, Eurotech announced a $1.5 million, six-month contract to supply Sphere II single board computers (SBCs) to a medical original equipment manufacturer (OEM) developing chemistry analyzer equipment. The devices will be used to quickly test for diseases, and are linked to a laboratory information management system that integrates results into an electronic medical record, says Eurotech.

Eurotech's Sphere II

The Sphere II can run Linux or Windows CE on its ARM9-based Cirrus EP9315 RISC-based processor, which is clocked to 200MHz, says Eurotech. The 4.0 x 4.6-inch (102 x 117mm) board is equipped with 128MB of RAM, and offers interfaces for Ethernet, three USB ports, three serials ports, as well as CAN Bus, I2C, IDE, SSP/SPI, and GPIO.

The Sphere II supports XGA displays, and also offers touchscreen support and an audio codec, says the company.


Eurotech offered no details on when its first QorIQ-based COM Express modules would reach market. More information on the Sphere II SBC may be found here.

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