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PC/104 Consortium adds chipmakers, announces contest winners

Apr 5, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Chipmakers AMD and Via have joined the PC/104 Embedded Consortium, an industry group that maintains PC/104 and related embedded board and interface standards. The Consortium, which now comprises more than 75 member companies, also announced winners of its annual design contest, at ESC this week in San Jose, Calif.

The Consortium says it hopes its new members will “leverage their expertise and industry clout” in helping maintain key board standards. Standards maintained by the Consortium include PC/104, PC/104-Plus, PCI-104, EBX, and EPIC. The membership of Via suggests the possibility that Via's mini-ITX and nano-ITX mini-motherboard formats could now come under the Consortium's stewardship, but both Via and the Consortium remained mum on that subject.

Tom Barnum, president of the Consortium, stated, “I look forward to [our new members'] active participation and guidance in evolving the Consortium to meet today's end-user needs.”

PC/104 design contest winners announced

Additionally, the Consortium announced the winners of its annual design contest, in three categories:

  • Commercial for Industrial/Medical/Transportation/Other — Devicia/Groupe LTI's entry, “Automated Decontamination Trailer”
  • Commercial for Military/Aerospace — Magnetic Test Bench's entry with the same name, “Magnetic Test Bench”
  • Research Project — “TYPE 1,” a small mobile robot designed for research purposes

All contest finalists are described in detail in our earlier story at DeviceForge.

Market perspective on PC/104, AMD, and Via

The market for PC/104 modules shows “strong and continuing viability,” according to a March, 2005 study of the global marketplace by VDC (Venture Development Corp.). PC/104, PC/104-Plus, and PCI-104 are set for growth over the next four years, with PCI-104 the fastest growth segment, the research firm said.

Via and AMD both supply chips to the embedded board industry. AMD's embedded processors include MIPS-based “Alchemy” SoCs; an x86-compatible Geode GX line acquired from National Semiconductor; and a higher-end Geode NX line based on embedded versions of AMD's mobile Athlon processors. AMD has also produced a mid-range “Geode LX” chip since acquiring the Geode line, and this week announced a free EPIC board design available to qualified Geode LX customers.

Via supplies processors and other board-level components to embedded vendors. It invented the mini-ITX board format, which is increasingly popular in embedded designs, and it produces a wide range of boards based on the format. Via earlier this week announced a new “single-chip chipset” targeting PC/104 boards and other small embedded systems.

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