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Customizable PowerPC board comes with Linux

Nov 4, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 19 views

A company in Austin, Tex. is offering a customizable PowerPC 440 development board targeting low-powered embedded device and server applications. Available with hardware/software development services, the mini-ITX-format “Korat” board uses AMCC's 440EPx processor, and comes with an open source bootloader and Linux BSP (board… support package).

(Click for larger view of the Korat)

Ablyx says companies can use its Korat board to begin software development while awaiting custom hardware. The company's stands ready to help with hardware customizations, custom PCI and local bus adapters, and Linux driver development, it says.

According to Ablyx, the Korat board consumes just 8 Watts. This is likely a “typical” figure, as the board's 667MHz processor by itself draws 5 Watts, under “typical” usage, according to AMCC.

Still, says Ablyx, the Korat is frugal enough for solar-powered applications, and for remote sensing applications can connect via fiber optic links up to 100 miles long (160km). Alternative suggested uses include in web server farms, network appliances, media gateways, video surveillance devices, and industrial controllers.

The Korat is based on AMCC's 440EPx SoC, which clocks to 667MHz. The chip integrates cryptographic acceleration hardware, making it suitable for VPN (virtual private network) gateway devices and secure Internet-based transaction-processing systems requiring throughputs up to 500Mbps, according to AMCC.

AMCC 440EPx function block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Touted features of the Korat board include:

  • a SIM socket for crypto memory
  • 2 x gigabit Ethernet ports with both fiber and copper interfaces
  • Dual flash-memory system (for less risky remote software updates)
  • BMC, BlueLED, RTC, and temperature sensor
  • CompactFlash socket for flash-memory or hard-drive storage
  • 2GB of DDR-2 memory with ECC
  • 3 x high-speed USB host ports
  • PCI and local-bus expansion connectors
  • Industrial operating temperature range

The Korat board supports the open source U-Boot boot loader. And, board-support patches for the Linux kernel are available from Ablyx, it says.

Embedded Linux providers touting support for the 440EPx include MontaVista, Sysgo, Denx, and TimeSys.

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