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Embedded PowerPC dev kits come with Linux

Apr 14, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 323 views

AMCC is shipping Linux-based evaluation kits for its Power Architecture 460EX and 460GT system-on-chips (SoCs). The “Canyonlands” board (pictured at left) for the general-purpose 460EX and the “Glacier” board for the wireless-oriented 460GT come with development tools, sample applications, benchmarks, and design… files, says AMCC.

(Click for larger view of the Canyonlands (460EX) eval board)

In a separate announcement, MontaVista Software reiterated its promise to support the 460EX with its MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 5.0 distribution and DevRocket integrated development environment (IDE).

Announced last Fall, the two PowerPC-based SoCs offer clock rates ranging from 667MHz to 1.2GHz, with a claimed 2.0 Dhrystone MIPS/MHz rating. The 460EX targets high-end industrial control, imaging, and networking applications, and the 460GT is aimed more specifically at the wireless infrastructure market. Both chips offer similar specs, with low power dissipation, a floating point unit, and an optional security engine. In addition, the 460GT offers interfaces for Serial RapidIO (SRIO).

The Canyonlands and Glacier kits are based on a 7 x 7-inch evaluation board that was custom designed by Embedded Planet, says AMCC. Each board is equipped with a 460xx processor clocked at 1.0GHz, along with 256MB of DDR2 SDRAM, 64M of NOR flash, and 32MB of NAND flash.

AMCC's 460EX-based Glacier (left) and 460GT-based Canyonlands boards
(Click to enlarge)

The Canyonlands (460EX) board's I/O includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 host port, and a USB 2.0 OTG port, whereas the Glacier board (460GT) replaces the USB and SATA ports with two additional gigabit Ethernet ports, for a total of four. Both boards offer expansion via two PCI-Express connectors, a PCI connector, two serial ports, a JTAG connector, and a trace connector.

Linux bundle

On both boards, the NOR flash image includes a Linux 2.6 kernel and U-Boot boot firmware, both supplied by Linux BSP and bootloader specialist Denx. Both boards also come with filesystems pre-loaded with AMCC-developed sample applications, benchmarks, and utilities, says the company. And both support third-party PowerPC-compatible embedded operating systems. Schematics and layout files for the boards can be downloaded for free from the AMCC website.

An included Resource CD contains benchmarks such as TTCP, DBench, Hint, Stream, and MPEG-4, as well as an AMCC security benchmarking environment that measures the performance of the on-chip security engine. Sample applications on the CD include a web server, telnet server, FTP server, an example game, and there are utilities for configuration reporting and setting the IP address and MAC ID. AMCC claims the kits can be set up in 15 minutes.

Embedded Planet also designed the evaluation boards for AMCC's 405EZ, 440EP, 440EPx, 440GR and 440GRx processors. Several of these processors and other AMCC SoCs will be demonstrated at various partner co-presentations at the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley this week at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.


AMCC's Canyonlands (EV-KIT-460EX-01) and Glacier (EV-KIT-460GT-01) evaluation kits will be available in May and are now available for order at a cost of $1,000 each. More information on the 460EX may be available here.

According to MontaVista, its MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 5.0 support packages for the two processors will be available in the second quarter.

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