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PC/104-Plus board runs Linux on x86 SoC

Jul 7, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Tri-M Engineering has begun shipping a low-cost PC/104-Plus processor module with dual 10/100 Ethernet ports. Targeting industrial computing and data collection applications, the rugged, extended-temperature VSX104+ runs Linux, Windows CE, DOS, and popular 32-bit RTOSes on a Vortex86SX SoC clocked at… 300MHz.

(Click for a larger view of Tri-M's VSX104+)

Like the VSX104 introduced earlier this year, the VSX104+ is based on DMP Electronics's Vortex86SX, a 32-bit x86-compatible system-on-chip (SoC). This SoC has previously been offered by DMP subsidiary Icop Technologies on a small desktop computer, the eBox-2300SX, and on a low-cost 4 x 2.6-inch board.

The VSX104+ adds to its predecessor's capabilities by providing two 10/100 Ethernet ports. In addition, unlike the VSX104, it is touted as offering PC/104-Plus expansion. Though a supporting chipset was not cited, this apparently means that the device employs a PCI-to-ISA bridge. Therefore, it can offer both 16-bit ISA and 32-bit PCI expansion, via its onboard stackable PC/104 and PCI-104 connectors.

Measuring 3.55 x 3.775 x 0.9 inches, the device is RoHs-compliant, and has an extended operating range of -40 to 85 deg. C. It sports four RS232-compatible serial ports, two EIDE ports, a parallel port, and two USB ports, according to Tri-M.

The VSX104+ includes 128MB of soldered-on DDR2 RAM, plus 2MB of flash memory that is configured to emulate a floppy drive. Storage can be added via either Type 1 CompactFlash or microSD slots

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:
    • 4 x serial ports (16550-compatible)
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • 2 x 10/100 LAN
    • 2 x EIDE
    • 1 x PS/2 for keyboard/mouse
    • 1 x SPI
    • 1 x GPIO
  • Expansion:
    • PC/104-Plus
  • Dimensions:
    • 3.55 x 3.775 x 0.9 (90 x 96 x 23mm)
  • Power:
    • +5VDC supplied through the PC/104 bus or 2-position screw terminal
    • Total consumption — 2.5 Watts
  • Extended temperature fanless operation from -40 to +85 deg. C (-72 to 153 deg. F)

Doug Stead, Tri-M President and CEO, says, “The VSX104+ is a logical addition to our line-up of rugged control modules. Its dual 10/100 Ethernet makes it ideal for applications such as a rugged mobile router or data collector.”


The VSX104 is available now, priced at $279 in quantities of 100. It is compatible with Linux, Windows CE, DOS, and popular RTOSes, according to Tri-M.

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