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PC/104+ module uses one-Watt SoC

Oct 16, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Aaeon has announced a PC/104+ CPU module with a DMP Electronics Vortex86SX processor and 256MB of DDR2 memory. Targeting military, terminal, and transportation markets, the “PFM-535S” has dual Ethernet ports, four USB ports, and an onboard CompactFlash socket, the company says.

Aaeon's PFM-535S is the latest in a series of PC/104 or PC/104+ modules based on the Vortex86SX SoC (system-on-chip) created by DMP Electronics of Taiwan.

The Vortex86SX (right), claimed by DMP to use only 0.9 Watts at 300MHz, packs numerous functions into a 27 x 27mm package, including a 32-bit, x86-compatible CPU, plus extensive northbridge and southbridge functions. On-chip controllers include serial, parallel, USB, GPIO (general purpose I/O lines), watchdog timer, counter, and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet controller, DMP says.

Aaeon's PFM-535S

Unlike DMP's later Vortex86MX SoC, the 300MHz Vortex86SX includes neither floating point support nor a graphics controller. Aaeon says it has added graphics to its new PFM-535S (above) using the SMI712GF4 chipset, but doesn't discuss the issue of operating system support. However, it has been previously said to be compatible with Linux, Windows CE, QNX, and DOS.

In any case, the PFM-535S is limited to 256MB of soldered-on DDR2 memory, according to Aeaon. The device uses the classic PC/104 (3.8 x 3.6 inch) form factor, offering 16-bit ISA bus signals to the outside world via a stackable connector. And, also like others, the PFM-535S supplements its PC/104 connector with a multitude of pin headers spread around the edge of the board.

Incorporating a PCI-to-ISA bridge, the PFM-535S attains its PC/104+ status by adding a stackable PCI-104 connector. Therefore, it can offer both 16-bit ISA and 32-bit PCI expansion, according to Aaeon.

Aaeon's PFM-535S is said to offer two 10/100 Ethernet ports, four USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports (three RS232, one RS232/422/485), EIDE, and PS/2 keyboard/mouse support. Equipped with a CompactFlash socket for onboard storage, the module supports TFT and CRT displays, offering resolutions of up to 1280 x 1024 pixels either separately or simultaneously, the company adds.

Features and specifications listed by Aaeon for the PFM-535S include the following:

  • Processor — DMP Electronics Vortex86SX (clock speed unspecified, but presumably the usual 300MHz)
  • Memory — 256MB of soldered-on DDR2 RAM
  • Displays — LCD and CRT, with resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 pixels (CRT) or 1024 x 768 pixels (LCD)
  • Storage — via CompactFlash slot
  • Expansion:
    • CompactFlash slot
    • PC/104 connector
    • PCI-104 connector
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x serial (2 x RS232, 1 x RS232/422/485)
    • EIDE
    • 4 x USB 2.0
    • PS/2 interface for keyboard/mouse
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 140 deg. F (0 to 60 deg. C))
  • Dimensions — 3.8 x 3.6 inches (96 x 90mm)


Aaeon did not release pricing or availability information for the PFM-535S, but the module appears to be available now. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

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