November 19, 2008
Kontron New Processor Module Delivers 1.5 GHz Dual Core PowerPC Performance
By Richard Grigonis, Executive Editor, IP Communications Group
AMC or AdvancedMC (News - Alert) (Advanced Mezzanine Card) Mezzanine cards (also known as Mezzanine boards, plug-over modules, daughtercards or daughterboards) are small cards designed to plug into larger conventional AdvancedTCA (News - Alert) (ATCA) boards to add functionality (such as I/O).
AMCs are thus mezzanine cards designed to plug into the side of ATCA boards, which have up to about five “sites” in which such AMCs can be plugged, adding considerable functionality to the underlying “baseboard.” Another newer standard, MicroTCA, allows AMCs to be plugged directly into a backplane, allowing for a computing platfrom with a very small footprint.
And now, Kontron, a company that’s no stranger to building ATCA and AMC devices, has announced its new Kontron AM4101 Advanced Mezzanine Card for their processor boards. It can be used in multiple markets that require multi-core performance and flexible, versatile communication capabilities; it can handle, for example, such performance demanding applications as protocol processing or data management in ATCA and other systems.
Based on the 1.5 GHz dual-core Freescale PowerPC MPC8641D, the Kontron AM4101 delivers up to 2.3 MIPS/MHz computing performance and high Ethernet bandwidth delivered by 4 Gigabit Ethernet channels. Two channels are routed to the AMC ports 0 and 1, and two are available at the front panel. The integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet controllers feature advanced capabilities for TCP and UDP checksum acceleration, QoS support and packet header manipulation, making the board a suitable platform to run just about any communication-intense client or control application.
Designed in accordance with PICMG sub specifications AMC.0, AMC.1 (PCI Express), AMC.2 (Gigabit Ethernet) and AMC.4 (Serial RapidIO (News - Alert)) concurrently for switch fabric connections, the card sports many interconnecting capabilities to the AMC carrier or backplane. The PCI Express x4 interface assures extremely high data throughput for I/O intensive applications. The Serial RapidIO x4 interface provides high-speed interconnect technology with minimal latency. By offering this comprehensive set of interconnect capabilities, the AM4101 reveals itself to be a superlative platform to satisfy a wide range of application requirements.
A comprehensive range of “AMC everywhere” ATCA boards, such as ATCA carrier boards, CPU and hub boards, complement Kontron’s AMC product portfolio, including the AM4101 module. Optimized for packet-throughput and computing performance, the AM4101 fits the needs of telecom applications such as VoIP solutions and 3G wireless base stations based on ATCA system technology. Moreover, the AM4101 is suited to drive a system used for cost-optimized communication or general-purpose computing applications.
A careful design and selection of high-quality components in combination with a sophisticated heat sink ensures high reliability over a wide operating temperature range. Durable components, such as the Freescale MPC8641D Power Architecture processor, secure superior long-term availability for all applications.
With its integrated Altivec 128-Bit Vector Processing Unit, the Kontron AM4101 AdvancedMC can expand the system design capability in telecom applications and non-telecom markets such as medical, industrial imaging and military/aerospace. Processing-intense applications such as encryption, multimedia encoding and decoding, image and video processing as well in DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer), speech recognition and base station will benefit from the vector processing unit which works to minimize cache pollution while processing massive amounts of data.
The Kontron AM4101 AdvancedMC port mapping is aligned with the telecom specific SCOPE Alliance (News - Alert) AMC Gap analysis and has dedicated ports for PCI Express at AMC ports 4 - 7 and serial RapidIO at AMC ports 8 - 11. This implementation allows the use and re-use of the AdvancedMC module in AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA platforms for telecom-specific applications.
The Kontron AM4101 AdvancedMC includes up to 2GB of soldered DDR2-SDRAM, up to 2GB of soldered NAND Flash and EEPROM for user and configuration data. The Kontron AM4101 is fully hot-swappable, which makes it possible to replace the module without shutting down the ATCA carrier board or the MicroTCA system. A dedicated Module Management Controller (MMC) is used to manage the board and support Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) commands and PICMG (News - Alert) ATCA/AMC command extensions, which enable operators to monitor the state of the AdvancedMC module in the system.
The Kontron AM4101 AdvancedMC processor module will be available in Mid-Size and Full-Size variants. Samples are available on request and full production will start in December 2008. Board Support Packages (BSPs) are available for Linux and VxWorks.
Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC�s IP Communications Group. To read more of Richard�s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart