Here's news of a 3U-sized CompactPCI (cPCI) single-board-computer (SBC) that delivers mid-range performance at an entry-level price.
Released by Inova Computers (Centerville, Mass.), the German-based company claims its ICP-CM board--- based on an Intel Celeron M microprocessor---breaks price barriers of boards using the latest mobile microprocessor technology in entry-level industrial applications. The ICP-CM has a starting price of $995 in OEM quantities.
Why Is This Needed?
So, what's the deal? Well, at the high end of industrial boards, embedded applications are well served by commercial microprocessors and by industrial-strength cPCI bus wares. Deeply embedded applications, in particular, benefit from low-power microprocessors designed for notebook computers. These are supported on Intel's so-called long-life roadmap.
A different picture emerges for entry-level applications, where designers are typically on limited budgets. Many of their designs compromise on performance by designing around SBCs based on Intel Pentium III, AMD K6 or Transmeta Crusoe microprocessors.
Fast, Yet Reasonably Cool
With the price-vs-performance ratios of the Celeron M, Inova claims the ICP-CM will deliver mid-range performance at the entry-level price. The Celeron M has a 1.3-V core, and uses a 400-MHz bus and a 512-kbyte Level 2 cache. Thanks to Intel's Mobile Optimized Micro Architecture, and power management, the Celeron M offers fast instruction execution at a reasonably low level of dissipation.
Running a 600-MHz Celeron, the ICP-CM dissipates 9-W (max). A 1.3-GHz version dissipates 22-W.
The ICP-CM board, built specifically for environmentally challenging industrial, transportation, and MIL applications, combines a rich feature set with a high MTBF (mean time between failures) of over 200,000 hours.
A highly configurable and compact platform, the ICP-CM provides a suite of I/O interfaces, many of which are accessible via either the board's front- or rear-panel. In use, a BIOS-level switch fabric automatically recognizes the presence of rear I/O and routes the signals accordingly.Both 5-V and 3.3-V I/O signaling voltages are possible without board modification. A Phoenix BIOS is supplied.
Without altering your design, master or slave ICP-CM processors can be operated in an industrial environment through their ability to detect automatically the backplane system controller or peripheral slot. In addition, the ICP-CM family can communicate at high speed, with up to 255 x 7 cascaded peripherals such as graphics, industrial I/O, or fast data acquisition modules, on inter-linked passive backplanes.
In its basic single-width (4 HP) configuration, the ICP-CM provides one Universal Serial Bus (USB v2.0) interface, a pair of independent 82551-based 100-Mbit/s Ethernet ports, and a versatile graphics subsystem. Screen resolutions up to 2048 x 1536-pixels, with 32-bit color depth, are supported. With that, you can use full VGA, SVGA, XGA, SXGA, UXGA, HDTV and QXGA monitors.
The SBC also packs a CompactFlash socket that accommodates either a flash-memory card or a ruggedized micro-drive disk.
In its double-width (8 HP) configuration, the ICP-CM makes use of a companion carrier card to extend its storage and I/O capabilities. The carrier provides its own IDE interface, along with two additional USB 2.0 interfaces. It also offers configurable RS-232/RS-485 serial COM ports, mouse/keyboard ports, and a slim-line floppy disk drive interface. The 8 HP configuration also gives you a parallel port and provision for a 2.5-inch hard disk (or flash) drive.
For systems with extensive front-panel I/O requirements, a triple-width (12 HP) version of the SBC is also available.
In terms of processing horsepower, the ICP-CM accommodates either a 600-MHz or 1.3-GHz Celeron M microprocessor, with 256 Mbytes of soldered DDR 266 SDRAM, and up to 1-Gbyte of optional SDRAM.
For operating system software, the Inova's news SBCs can host Windows XP (Embedded), Windows 2000, or Linux, as well as a range of realtime operating systems, such as VxWorks, QNX, or Windows CE.
Industrial Temp Range Operation
The ICP-CM touts a standard operating temperature range of 0 to 70°C, but extended -40°C to +85°C versions are also available. Testing shows that an 8 HP ICP-CM with a 600-MHz processor can operate safely---without forced cooling---in ambient temperatures under 55°C, with a 50% loading factor, as reflected in this table (air flow is in meters/s).
Click to see table
With at least a five-year availability factor, small quantities are available from stock right now. Inova says orders of fifty or more boards are available within six to eight weeks ARO.
For more details, contact Paul Gaudreau at Inova Computers Inc., 1550 Falmouth Rd., Suite 25, Centerville, Mass. 02632. Phone: 508-771-4415. Fax: 508-771-4346. E-mail: email@example.com
Be sure to check out Inova's Web site, too.