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“Real-time” Linux to support new PowerPC SoCs

Sep 12, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 19 views

MontaVista plans to offer its commercially supported “real-time” Linux distribution for a pair of forthcoming AMCC SoCs (system-on-chip processors). The PPC405EX and PPC460EX respectively target WLAN and printing/imaging/networking applications, and will be the 22nd and 23rd AMCC chips supported by MontaVista Linux.

The company claims its MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 5.0 (Pro 5.0) OS “breaks all barriers” in real-time performance, while offering a reduced memory footprint suitable for high-volume, cost-sensitive applications. MontaVista says it will deliver “PhD-quality support” for Pro 5.0 on the two new AMCC parts currently under development.


The PPC405EX updates AMCC's (formerly IBM's) venerable PPC405 SoC with a more modern mix of peripherals, along with features aimed at “WLAN” applications. Based on a PowerPC core clockable from 333MHz to 667MHz, the SoC integrates PCI Express, USB2.0 OTG (on-the-go), dual gigabit Ethernet ports, cryptographic acceleration, and a DDR2/1 memory controller.

PPC405ex block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Additional PPC405ex features touted by AMCC include:

  • Processor speed:
      clock rate — 333 to 667 MHz

    • performance — 1.52 DMIPs/MHz (1014 DMIPS @ 667 MHz peak)
  • Dual 1-lane PCI Express ports
  • Supports up to 2 GBytes of DDR 1/2 DRAM
  • High performance Security Engine (optional) supports IPSec, SSL, DTLS and SRTP
  • DMA controller with four independent channels
  • Two 10/100/1000 Ethernet MACs with MAL DMA support
  • 8/16/32-bit external peripheral bus controller
  • External bus master interface (EBMI)
  • 2 x UARTs (one with full hardware modem flow control)
  • 32 x GPIOs
  • NAND flash controller
  • Universal interrupt controller; 10 external interrupts
  • USB 2.0 on-the-go port
  • JTAG and real-time trace support in processor core
  • RoHS compliant (lead-free) version available


The PPC460EX is a higher-end, general-purpose embedded processor suitable for imaging, industrial control, and networking applications, according to AMCC. Its PowerPC core clocks from 667MHz to 1.2GHz, and includes a floating point unit (FPU). It also boasts a modern peripheral mix, including USB 2.0, PCI-Express, SATA, gigabit Ethernet, security engine, and NAND flash interface.

PPC460EX block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Additional features touted by AMCC include:

  • 32KB instruction and data caches
  • 256KB L2 cache with parity protection, may also be used as on-chip SRAM
  • 64KB on-chip memory
  • DDR1/2-400 memory support
  • Single/double-precision floating point unit for math-intensive applications
  • Two PCI-Express interfaces
  • SATA controller
  • 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet support
  • Security (optional)
  • NAND flash support
  • Extensive connectivity by means of on-chip Ethernet, USB, UARTs, IIC, SPI, and PCI
  • Low power dissipation
  • Small form-factor

JOerg Berthold, director of marketing at MontaVista, stated, “By engaging with AMCC on these future roadmap products, MontaVista is demonstrating our commitment to provide the maximum benefit to our combined customer base.”

Charlie Ashton, director of software at AMCC, stated, “MontaVista's real-time Linux capabilities allow our customers to address the need for time-critical applications, including wireless LAN and printing/imaging applications.”

No timeframe for availability was mentioned. However, MontaVista said it will showcase its partnership with AMCC at the upcoming MontaVista Vision 2007 developer's conference, Oct. 8-10 in Santa Clara, Calif.

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