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PC/104 module runs x86 Linux on 1.85 Watts

Apr 22, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

Tri-M Engineering has started shipping a low-cost PC/104 processor module based on a low-power x86-compatible system-on-chip (SoC). Targeting industrial computing applications, the rugged, extended-temperature VSX104 runs Linux, Windows CE, DOS, and other popular 32-bit RTOSes on a Vortex86SX SoC clocked… at 300MHz.

(Click for larger view of VSX104)

Tri-M says it priced the VSX104 “in the $200s in low OEM quantities,” making it fairly inexpensive for a rugged board capable of operating in extreme temperatures. The VSX104 is touted as RoHS compliant, while benefiting from the wide array of low-cost I/O expansion boards available in the stackable PC/104 form factor.

The VSX104 is based on DMP Electronics's Vortex86SX, a 32-bit x86-compatible system-on-chip (SoC) known for powering ultra low-cost desktops. The Vortex86SX is also available on a low-cost 4 x 2.6-inch board from DMP subsidiary Icop Technologies.

The VSX104 boasts 128MB of soldered-on DDR2 RAM. I/O includes a 10/100 LAN port, four serial, and two USB 2.0 ports. Storage can be added via Type-I CompactFlash and microSD slots, and the system is expandable via its stackable PC/104 interface.

Specifications listed by Tri-M Engineering include:

  • Processor:
    • Onboard 300MHz Vortex86SX SoC
  • Memory and storage:
    • 128MB of soldered-on DDR2 RAM
    • Type I CompactFlash
    • microSD
  • I/O interfaces:
    • 4x serial ports
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • 10/100 LAN
  • Expansion:
    • PC/104
  • Dimensions:
    • 3.55 x 3.775 x 0.9 (90 x 96 x 23mm)
  • Power:
    • Single +5VDC power is supplied through the PC/104 bus or 2-position screw terminal
    • Total power consumption of 1.85 Watts
  • Extended temperature fanless operation from -40 to +85 degC (-72 to 153 degF)

Doug Stead, CEO, stated, “The VSX104 fills a void in the marketplace created after a number of embedded processors were recently discontinued. [It] allows OEM design engineers the opportunity to continue legacy projects or pursue new opportunities wherever a compact, rugged processor is required.”


Tri-M has offered the VSX104 since January. Pricing is “in the $200's in low OEM quantities.”

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