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Dual-core PPC AMC aims Linux at network-intensive apps

Jun 27, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Kontron has introduced an AMC (advanced mezzanine card) module based on a 1.5GHz dual-core Freescale PowerPC processor, with support for Linux and VxWorks. The AM4100 AMC offers the “highest Ethernet bandwidth” within the constraints of “modular AdvancedTCA carriers or highly-integrated, redundant MicroTCA… multi-processing systems,” the company claims.

(Click for larger image of the AM4100 AMC module)

The AM4100 is built around Freescale's MPC8641D SoC (system-on-chip), which integrates dual e600 PowerPC cores and dual Altivec 128-Bit vector processing units (VPUs), among other communications-oriented functions. Kontron notes that the MPC8641D's internal VPUs can handle functions typically performed by dedicated DSPs (digital signal processors), making the AM4100 module ideally suited to telecom and datacom applications. Other targeted markets include medical, industrial imaging, and military/aerospace.

Additional functions contained within the MPC8641D SoC include a dual memory controller supporting DDR and DDR2, a RapidIO serial fabric interface (useful in Linux/AdvancedTCA systems), and four 10/100/1000 Ethernet MACs along with various protocol accelerators. According to Kontron, the MPC8641D's TCP (transmission control protocol) and UDP (user datagram protocol) checksum acceleration functions, QoS support, and packet header manipulation features combine to provide “highest data rates,” while its built-in VPUs “minimize cache pollution while processing massive amounts of data.”

The AM4100 AMC also includes:

  • 2GB of soldered-on DDR2-SDRAM
  • 4MB of bootable NOR flash
  • Up to 4GB NAND flash
  • An EEPROM for user and configuration data
  • Either 4-lane PCI Express bus or 4-lane Serial RapidIO (“as a fat pipe fabric”)

Consistent with its high-reliability application orientation, the AM4100 is “fully hot-swappable,” according to Kontron, allowing its replacement without powering off an AdvancedTCA carrier board or a MicroTCA system into which it is plugged. To facilitate its fault-detection and hot-swap replacement capabilities, the module contains a module management controller (MMC) and supports standard IPMI (intelligent platform management interface) commands as well as PICMG command extensions, the company said.


The AM4100 AMC will be offered in both mid- and full-size variants. Small quantities are available now, and production is scheduled for September. BSPs (board-support packages) are offered for both Linux and VxWorks. Pricing was not disclosed.

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