Board systems vendor General Micro Systems (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) is rolling out what it claims is the industry's fastest CompactPCI (cPCI) single-board computer (SBC).
Featuring a pair of hyper-threaded Intel Pentium-4 Xeon microprocessors, the company's Model CX269 SBC, with a starting price tag of about $2400, packs a six-channel video subsystem and a four-port switched-fabric hub.
The latter lets it achieve an aggregate I/O bandwidth of more than 10-Gbytes/s. The two processors also feature 2-Gbytes of on-die Level 2 (L2) cache, and a 533-MHz frontside bus (FSB).
The CX269 is also available with lots of memory. You can order one with up to 8-Gbytes of DRAM. In addition, the SBC touts no less than three Ethernet ports, eight Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, two 800-Mbyte/s FireWire IEEE-1394B ports, and an Ultra Wide SCSI 160/320 port. It also has PMC expansion; more on this in a moment.
"The CX269 provides the industry's fastest Pentium-4 processors, along with the cooling facilities and 100-W power budget needed to support even faster processors," avows General Micro Systems president Ben Sharfi.
According to Sharfi, the CX269's socketable Xeon-LP processors, part of Intel's Embedded Roadmap five-year minimum life-cycle plan, can deliver peak performance of 2.6-GHz while dissipating 35-W. The micros can also be replaced with faster parts (3-GHz is expected in the near term) as they become available (at 50-W per processor).
As it stands now, the CX269's dual microprocessors use so-called hyperthreading to boosts performance by making each processor look like two processors to a Windows XP operating system.
4-Port Hub-Link Memory Controller
The CX269 also combines a four-port switched hub-link memory controller with four independent 133-MHz PCI-X buses. These are used to eliminate conventional PCI bottlenecks. They also give the CPUs high-speed access to memory, mass storage, I/O, and networking subsystems.
One PCI-X bus provides direct access to the cPSB (Compact Packet-Switching Backplane, an IEEE-802.3 Ethernet standard). A second provides direct access to a SCSI-320 port and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. The third and fourth PCI-X buses provide direct access to high-resolution streaming video, the PMC expansion, FireWire, and other high-speed I/O devices.
The CX269's PCI-X buses are also non-bridged. They therefore operate independently, boosting usable PCI-X bandwidth and enabling the CX269 to support a larger number of high-speed I/O devices.
The SBC also provides three dual-display video ports. These can be used to support six independent displays. Or, they can be ganged under Windows-XP or Linux operating systems to provide a much larger display with a resolution exceeding 4,000 x 3,000 pixels.
Two of the SBC's video ports support resolutions of 2048 x 1536 pixels with 24-bit color and DVI-I and RGB outputs. They also support Sync-On-Green; that enables them to use defense legacy monitors. The third video port supports dual XVGA (RGB and DVI-D) displays with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels.
The board's two Gigabit Ethernet channels can be accessed through standard RJ-45 jacks, or signals can be routed to the backplane to support Ethernet Packet Switched Backplane data transfers as defined in PICMG 2.16. The CX269 also provides a third 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet interface that can be used for external debug or control.
Then there's the system's four USB v2.0 ports and two FireWire ports. Yow! The '1394-B FireWire ports support 800-Mbit/s data transfer rates (faster than Gigabit Ethernet. That permits you to design-in streaming full-motion (30 frame/s) high-resolution video from cameras and recorders.
For its part, the FireWire ports can also be used to network multiple CX269 boards in a daisychain.
As mentioned above, the CX269 also supports I/O expansion. The CX269's PMC site can be used to mount a single PMC module, or configured with a triple-PMC expansion interface that accepts up to three PMC modules.
The CX269's SCSI-320 interface also provides two IDE DMA-100-compatible ports. These can be used to support a range of mass-storage options, including external or on-board 2.5-inch, 100-Gbyte hard drives, or 20-Mbyte solid-state flash "drives." To support diskless operation, the CX269 has a 64-Mbyte M-Systems's Disk-On-Chip flash "disk."
There's also a health monitoring system. It complies with the PICMG Baseboard Management standard. The standard defines a protocol for managing and reporting system parameters such as processor temperature, on-board voltages, and fan speed. To optimize cooling, the CX269 provides separate variable speed control circuits for each of its fans, complete with tachometers!
Software support for the CX269 includes Windows 2000, Windows XP, Sun Solaris-X86, QNX, Vx-Works and Linux.
For more info, contact Ben Sharfi at General Micro Systems, Inc., 8358 Maple Place, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. 91730. Phone: (909) 980-4863, Ext. 205. Fax: (909) 987-4863. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or BSharfi@gms4sbc.com.
Visit General's Web site.