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VME SBC taps eight-core processor

Dec 6, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

GE Intelligent Platforms announced a rugged, Linux-ready 6U VME single board computer (SBC) based on Freescale Semiconductor's QorIQ P4080 processor, which offers eight PowerPC cores clocked to 1.5GHz. The PowerXtreme PPC10A is equipped with up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, plus dual XMC/PMC sites, an AFIX expansion site, five ruggedization levels, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, and SATA connectivity.

The PowerXtreme PPC10A provides a significant increase in performance over its VME predecessor, the dual-core Freescale 1.33GHz PowerQUICC based PPC9A, claims GE Intelligent Platforms. Yet the new version operates within the same power envelope, says the company.

A "straightforward, cost-effective" upgrade is said to be available for the PPC9A. Previous 6U VME SBCs from GE include the Linux-ready Freescale PowerQUICC-based VG6.

PowerXtreme PPC10A

(Click to enlarge)

The venerable VME standard, also called VMEbus, is used in military, government and industrial embedded applications. VME is a processor-agnostic 32- and 64-bit backplane bus standard maintained by VITA (VME Industry Trade Association). Specifically, the PPC10A is claimed to be fully VME64 compliant, and offers Host/Slave support as well as the VMEbus two-edge source synchronous transfer (2eSST) protocol for data transfer rates above 300MB/s.

The PPC10A SBC features either eight or four e500mc PowerPC cores, each operating at up to 1.5GHz, says GE. This would suggest that in addition to its claimed support for  the eight-core P4080, the device also supports Freescale's quad-core QorIQ P4040 spin-off.

The P4080 and P4040 both provide concurrent handling of control-plane, data-plane, and application layer processing tasks. They're said to be designed for a variety of networking and industrial embedded applications.

Unlike other shipping QorIQ processors, the P4 versions offer private backside cache per core, tri-level cache hierarchy, and a datapath acceleration architecture (DPAA). Also unique to the P4 line is a CoreNet coherency fabric that provides an on-chip, high-speed interconnect between the cores.

The P4040 offers a sub-15 Watt typical power envelope, compared to 30 Watts for the eight-core model, says Freescale. GE did not list power consumption for the PPC10A board, but says that the SBC supports both symmetric- and asymmetric multiprocessing on the QorIQ processors.

The PPC10A SBC can be equipped with up to 8GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory, says GE. In addition, 512MB NOR flash and 4GB NAND flash are available, says the company.

As is typical with VME boards, the SBC offers dual XMC/PMC expansion sites. In addition, it offers an AFIX (Additional Flexible Interface Extension) daughtercard site, a GE technology said to "allow almost any customer application to be accommodated." GE's AFIX standard supports daughtercards for SCSI, VGA/graphics, digital IO, 1553, and flash drives, as well as customer-specific variants, says the company.

The PPC10A is supplied with dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and can optionally be purchased with two additional GbE ports for a total of four. Additional I/O includes dual SATA ports, 31 GPIO ports, and two USB 2.0 ports, with an additional three USB 2.0 ports optionally available, says GE.

The PPC10A can be purchased with one of five levels of ruggedization, says GE. Operating system support is planned for Linux, Wind River Hypervisor, VxWorks, and Green Hills Integrity, says the company.

Stated Richard Kirk, Product Manager at GE Intelligent Platforms, "The VMEbus architecture has been with us for more than thirty years and is at the heart of hundreds of thousands of deployed embedded computing systems, with more being added all the time. The PPC10A will be enormously attractive to existing VMEbus users as they look to increase performance — and it will also be attractive to new users who will be compelled by its combination of high throughput, enormous flexibility and low power consumption."


GE Intelligent Platforms did not provide pricing or availability information on the PowerXtreme PPC10A. More information can be found here.

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