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Linux-friendly SBC is cool, rugged type

Jul 18, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

GE Fanuc announced a PowerPC-based single-board computer aimed at saving power and cooling costs in military and aerospace applications. The VG6 is based on Freescale Semiconductor's new single-core MPC8640 and dual-core MPC8640D system-on-chips (SoCs), announced last week.

Freescale announced it was sampling the new MPC8640D SoCs this week. The processors are pin-compatible with the popular MPC8641D SoCs, but claim to offer 27 percent less power consumption and a higher temperature range.

The 6U-VME VG6 can be configured with a single MPC8640 single-core, a single MPC8640D dual-core, dual MPC8640s, or dual MPC8640Ds, says GE Fanuc. The board can also be configured with similar configurations of the older MPC86401 and MPC8641D SoCs. In fact, until the 8640D chips becomes available in volume, the 8641D configuration is the only one available.

GE Fanuc's VG6
(Click to enlarge)

The VG6 offers x8 PCI Express adapters between nodes, each of which can be configured with up to 2GB of DDR2 ECC memory, says the company. The board supports three gigabit Ethernet ports, two Fast Ethernet ports, two SATA ports, and extension slots for both PMC/XMC (PCI-X 133 or x8 PCIe) and PMC (PCI-X 100). Additional I/O includes four serial /O ports (two RS232 and two RS422) and six USB 2.0 interfaces (three per node). Supported operating systems include Linux and VxWorks, with LynxOS and Green Hill Integrity support available on request.

The ruggedized SBC is primarily designed for harsh environments such as military/aerospace and industrial automation, says GE Fanuc, but it can also be used in medical and scientific applications. The VG6 is said to be aimed particularly at systems deployed in confined spaces where heat is difficult to dissipate.

MPC8640D block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Stated Glenn Beck, marketing manager for Freescale Semiconductor, “The announcement of the MPC8640 and MPC8640D offers high throughput but with lower power dissipation — a key requirement in the military/aerospace sector. GE Fanuc's VG6 platform brings attractive new options to those customers.”


The VG6 is available immediately with the MPC8641 and MPC8641D processors, with availability of versions with the new MPC8640 and MPC8640D processors coming in the near future, says GE Fanuc. More information on the VG6 may be found here.

The company also announced plans to provide versions of its DSP220 6U VXS quad MPC8641/MPC8641D and DS230 6U VPX quad 8641/8641D multicomputers with the MPC8640 and MPC8640D processors.

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