I'm sure you're all about as ready as I am to see this election season come to a close. It seems like we've heard enough promises from the candidates to last us a lifetime and then some. In this blog installment I'll talk about a few chassis design things that we did to help one of our customers turn the benchmarking and performance promises of multicore technology into operational reality in a surveillance aircraft application.
Benchmarks - Which multicore processor fits best in this application? Here's a small sample of the benchmark test results for a selection of multicore processors running on various Trenton PICMG 1.3 System Host Boards (SHBs). These test results were used to drill down to the processor architecture that would meet all of the performance and cost parameters of the application.
A single processor SHB architecture provided the best fit for all of the application's performance, cost and thermal specification parameters. The final system configuration uses the Trenton TQ9 board with the long-life, embedded Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9400. The non-embedded Q9450 processor performs about the same as the Q9400 in this particular application. Initial Q9400 availability lagged the Q9450 and that's why the Q9450 was used during benchmarking.
Chassis Airflow - We designed and built a four SHB segment backplane for the customer that allowed them to cluster four Trenton TQ9 cards in a single 4U chassis. The PICMG 1.3 backplane design also included PCI Express and PCI-X option card slots within each SHB segment to accommodate the COTS plug-in cards used for the I/O and communications of the surveillance systems on the aircraft. The chassis design includes high availability, high capacity, hot swap fans. The cable routings ensure that air flows unimpeded through the chassis as shown in the photo below:
So far the system is exceeding the end user's system performance parameters. Trenton's longstanding relationship with the various incarnations of the Intel Embedded and Communication Alliance group over the years has provided us with the knowledge and detailed Intel product information necessary to design the optimum multicore processor platform solution for this customer. Our ability to engineer and manufacture system host boards, backplanes and a rugged chassis to withstand the rigors of the aircraft installation has enabled the customer to meet and exceed the expectations of their military end users.
Just think if the folks running for elective office this year could deliver on some of their promises. Wouldn't that be something to see? Drop me a line if you have any comments or would like detailed technical information on the system solution discussed here, additional details on our benchmark testing results or other application information.