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Intelligent quad gig-E card has Linux onboard

Oct 29, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

GDA Technologies is shipping a PCI Express board with four gigabit Ethernet ports, and equipped with an onboard PowerPC processor and embedded Linux OS. The “Data Cruncher” enables standard x86 boxes to be used for media server, storage networking, wireless infrastructure, or telecom applications, according to the… company.

(Click for larger view of the Data Cruncher)

GDA Technologies normally sells telecom boards based on Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC), AdvancedTCA (ATCA), and MicroTCA standards. (AMC processor modules can be used as daughterboards on ATCA blades, or plugged directly into the backplanes of MicroTCA systems.) With this PCI Express format board, standard x86 boxes can now be enlisted to run applications requiring high-speed networking and processor-intensive data management, the company says.

Data Cruncher block diagram

The Data Cruncher is based on a Freescale PowerQUICC III MPC8548E SoC (system-on-chip), which is in turn built on an e500 PowerPC core. The SoC is clocked at 1.3 GHz, and offers over 3065MIPS (million instructions per second) performance, according to GDA. The board also includes 512MB of on-board DDR2 memory, and offers up to 8 lanes of PCI Express verified in both target and host modes.

The company says the Data Cruncher's MPC8548E SoC simplifies board design, lowers power consumption, and reduces cost. Additionally, the company notes that the SoC addresses the heat constraints of x86 systems, and that its integrated encryption algorithms enable secure data transfer. The board also is said to include encryption capability for the ETSI implementation of the Kasumi (MISTY) algorithm (F8/F9), providing support for 3G GSM voice encryption.

The Data Cruncher comes with a bPCI Express messaging driver. GDA says this control-plane driver manages the MPC8548E's DMA engine, enabling data transfers to take place between host and target over the PCI Express bus without PC host processor overhead.

Key features and specifications of the Data Cruncher, as listed by GDA, include:

  • Processor — Freescale PowerQUICC III MPC8548E (1333MHZ), with e500 PowerPC core and 512KB L2 cache
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB flash
  • Bus Connect - 4 x PCI-E Connector; 4 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power requirements – 22W (12V and 3.3V DC via
    PCI-E Edge connector)
  • Size — 4.4 by 6.6 inches (111mm X 168mm)
  • Operating system — Linux Kernel v2.6.19.1, GNU compiler tools, U-Boot v1.1.4
  • Supported encryption algorithms – Kasumi (MISTY), DES, 3DES, MD-5, SHA-1/2, AES, RSA, RNG, and ARC-4

GDA says it is seeking partnerships to develop embedded Linux applications, such as TCP/IP offload and VPN, for operation on the Data Cruncher.


The Data Cruncher is generally available. GDA Technologies did not report pricing.

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