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Tiny PowerPC SBC stack runs Linux

Jul 27, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 126 views

Embedded Planet is shipping a credit card-sized single-board computer (SBC) powered by a highly integrated 440EPx PowerPC system-on-chip (SoC). The EP440xS SBC, together with a similarly-sized I/O expansion board, target space-constrained yet performance-hungry applications, and are supported by a “complete”… Linux BSP, according to the company.

(Click here for larger view of the EP440xS SBC)

The diminutive stack, at 3.5 x 2.2 x 1.5 inches, resembles a two-high PC/104 stack, though the footprint is smaller. Functions implemented on the main SBC include:

  • AMCC PowerPC 440EPx processor, clocked at up to 667MHz
  • Up to 256MB DDR2 RAM (with ECC)
  • Up to 128MB NOR flash
  • 1 x RS232 serial port
  • EEPROM and battery backed real time clock
  • JTAG debug connector

Expansion functions provided by the I/O board include:

  • Additional 512MB NAND flash
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports PHY and connectors
  • 12 x RS232 serial ports
  • USB 2.0 Host port; USB 2.0 Device port

SBC (left) and matching I/O board (right)

The board's AMCC 440EPx processor is a highly integrated SoC based on a PowerPC core that clocks up to 667MHz. It also includes a floating point unit, NAND flash controller, DDR2 RAM controller, USB 2.0 Host and Device controllers, and dual Gigabit Ethernet MACs. The SoC targets “pervasive computing” applications, such as printing systems, industrial control, wireless LAN access points and other general embedded apps. It is also suitable for VPN (virtual private network) gateway devices and secure Internet-based transaction-processing systems requiring throughputs up to 500Mbps, according to AMCC.

Support software available from Embedded Planet for use with the EP440xS SBC includes a U-Boot Bootloader, plus BSPs for Linux, Wind River VxWorks, and Green Hills Integrity. Embedded Planet's Linux BSPs are currently based on a 2.6-series kernel; further details available here.

AMCC's Director of Software, Charlie Ashton, stated, “With the EP440xS board Embedded Planet has demonstrated the flexibility and performance of the 440EPx processor. The integrated I/O and memory interfaces on the 440EPx processor allow system designers to create very small, power efficient, yet feature rich designs.”

Embedded Planet VP of Sales Matt Hoover stated, “Embedded Planet has found that the marketplace continues to require high performance computing platforms for extreme space constrained applications and the EP440xS is a platform that meets these difficult demands.”


The EP440xS and companion I/O board are currently shipping. Pricing was not disclosed. The company also can provide customized “short runs” to meet specific application requirements, Hoover said.

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