PARK RIDGE, ILL. - Graphics board maker Peritek (Oakland, Calif.) this week rolled out a ruggedized PMC board that could dramatically cut the cost of graphics boards for military and aerospace applications.
Aimed at displays used in vehicle cockpits and instrumentation, the new Duros/PMC board offers two-dimensional graphics capabilities for a starting cost of $2,269. In contrast, the company said that competitors in the same space typically supply three-dimensional products at prices in excess of $4,000.
"Too often, in defense and aerospace applications, vendors are taking a 3-D approach, and throwing it at applications that just need 2-D graphics," noted Doug Patterson, director of marketing for Vista Controls, a unit of the Curtis-Wright Co., which recently purchased Peritek. "Right now, with customers being so price-sensitive, why would you throw a Rolls Royce at an application that calls for a Volkswagen?"
The new Duros/PMC is a conduction-cooled, high-resolution display controller that is said to be the first ruggedized graphics card to feature Silicon Motion's 128-bit SM731 2D/3D graphics accelerator. It supports screen resolutions up to 1,600 X 1,200 pixels (UXGA) at vertical scan rates up to 91 Hz. It is supported by 16 Mbytes of SDRAM display memory to provide local storage for images and off-screen data, such as texture maps and Z-buffer and is is designed to meet IEEE's PMC (PCI mezzanine card) standards for low-profile mezzanine cards for VME, PCI, and CompactPCI applications.
The new card is the first product to be released by Peritek since it became a business unit of Vista Controls in August. Vista Controls said at the time it made the acquisition because it needed graphics boards for its defense and aerospace line, and that it planned to ruggedize Peritek's boards and deliver them to military customers.
The board, available in two levels of ruggedization, is designed for displays running in VxWorks, Linux and Windows operating system environments.
Because many suppliers increasingly are rolling out costly 3-D graphics engines, Patterson said he expects the PMC/Duros to serve a vital niche in the military-aerospace market.
"We target systems in the tank, in the vehicle, or even down in the foxhole with the soldier," he said. "For the most part, those systems don't need a 3-D rendering engine. They just need simple graphics."