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PC/104 elects officers, snuggles up to PCI Express

Jun 15, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

The PC/104 Consortium, which maintains the specifications for numerous board-level embedded computer standards, has announced its 2007-2008 officers, including representatives from RTD Embedded Technologies, Via Technologies, Kontron, and Versalogic. Additionally, the group said it plans to incorporate PCI Express buses into three of its form-factor standards.

The newly elected officers include:

  • Chairman, CEO, and President — Dr. Paul Haris, RTD Embedded Technologies
  • Vice President for North America and Asia — Johnny Wang, Via Technologies
  • Vice President for Europe — Matthias Huber, Kontron
  • Secretary/Treasurer — Tom Barnum, VersaLogic

The full board of directors consists of these officers along with Robert Burckle of WinSystems, Matthias Fellhauer of Lippert Embedded Computers, Bill Gallas of Intel, and Cameron Swen of AMD, the Consortium said.

PCI Express a priority

One of the Consortium's top priorities for the upcoming term will be to incorporate PCI Express into the group's PC/104, EBX, and EPIC embedded computer form-factor specifications. “This will provide a new path in product development for current and future users,” said Haris.

The effort to develop a PCI Express-enabled version of PC/104 was announced in July of 2006, and is based on the EPIC Express project initiated the previous year by the five single-board computer (SBC) vendors that created the EPIC SBC form-factor.

EPIC express replaces PC/104-Plus with a PCI Express equivalent

The new modules, currently known as “EPIC Express I/O Expansion modules,” are the same size as PC/104 and PC/104-Plus modules, but have up to three 28-pin self-stacking serial PCI Express connectors instead of the self-stacking PC/104-Plus PCI bus. The format thus trades PCI Express for PCI, but retains the P1/P2 ISA bus. Legacy PC/104 (ISA-only) modules can coexist in a stack along with the PCI Express-enabled modules, provided the legacy modules are on top.

Significantly, RTD (Haris's company) and Lippert collaborated with Digital-Logic of Switzerland to develop a competing approach to incorporating PCI Express into the PC/104 form-factor, in what was dubbed “PCI/104-Express.” That approach replaces the original PC/104 ISA bus connector with four 1-lane and either two 4-lane or one 8-lane PCI Express connections, for a total of twelve PCI Express lanes; the PC/104-Plus 32-bit PCI bus connector remains in tact. Digital-Logic announced the first board based on that approach, last November.

Meanwhile, Micro/Sys recently revealed a PC/104-like stackable architecture based on USB, and has already released two products.

Things are indeed getting interesting in the embedded SBC business.

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