Author: Barbara Schmitz, Chief Marketing Officer, MEN Mikro Elektronik
Whether CompactPCI Serial or CompactPCI PlusIO is better suited for a project or whether even the parallel CompactPCI still meets the requirements, depends among other factors on the data transfer rate and bandwidth required by certain functions in the existing and in the future application. Obviously, the processor performance has to be suitable, too, and be based on current CPU platforms.
For this reason, there already is a system slot board with a quad core i7 processor as well as a solution with Intel Core 2 Duo (SP9300) for CompactPCI PlusIO (PICMG 2.30). The F21P supports the new Intel features such as 2nd-generation PCI Express and 3rd-generation SATA, faster TurboBoost, improved AMT (Active Management Technology) as well as 8 virtual cores via HyperThread, and a faster monolithic graphics core
The F21P makes full use of the possibilities opened by the CompactPCI PlusIO specification, and leads 4 PCI Express, 4 USB and 4 SATA channels as well as one Ethernet channel to the backplane, to control 4 CompactPCI Serial peripheral cards (PICMG CPCI-S.0). This lets you set up hybrid systems based on standard backplanes which control both parallel peripheral slots complying with PICMG 2.0 and serial peripheral slots complying with PICMG CPCI-S.0. The system slot (PICMG 2.30) is located in the middle.
As PICMG 2.30 only fixes the signals of the P2 connector which had been free before and defines a connector with the same pin assignment but designed for higher frequencies, the same board can also be used in the system slot of a conventional CompactPCI 2.0 system. The signals on the P2 connector are then available for rear I/O, for example – with the advantage that the definition of these rear I/O signals is now also fixed.
So, the F21P is backwards compatible to all predecessor models according to PICMG 2.30 (F19P) and PICMG 2.0 (F18, F17, F15, F14) which makes it also long-term available. The scalability of the board family is achieved through a uniform front panel with 2 USB, 2 Ethernet and a VGA connector as well as an extension card connector with a fixed pin assignment and position. Using these extension cards, additional functions like digital video interfaces via DVI, a multitude of UARTs, USBs, SATA or HD audio can be implemented.
If more than the serial connections described above are needed on the backplane, CompactPCI Serial (PICMG CPCI-S.0) will be the first choice. While the mechanics are still based on the proven 19" technology and the Eurocard format, only modern point-to-point connections are supported on a new connector with a very high signal density and data transfer rates of more than 12 Gb/s.
Here the G20, a system slot board with the Intel i7 dual core processor is available, which will be complemented by a quad core solution in late 2011. The current computer controls up to 8 CompactPCI Serial peripheral slots on a standard backplane, leading 8 USB, 7 PCI Express, 6 SATA and one Display or HDMI port to the back for this purpose. Alternatively 1, 4 or 8 Ethernet links are directly led to the system connector P6 for building up mesh architectures via a mezzanine module (e.g., GM1). At the front, 2 Ethernet, 2 USB and 2 Display Ports are provided.
All boards mentioned here work with 64-bit CPU architecture and the computers which are based on the first and second generation Intel i7 are equipped with up to 8 GB soldered system memory with DDR3 and ECC support. CompactFlash and microSD card slots offer space for the application software.
And finally all the boards described above are suited for extreme environmental conditions. CompactPCI, CompactPCI PlusIO and CompactPCI Serial offer ideal mechanical prerequisites. In addition, all components are soldered against shock and vibration, prepared for coating to protect against humidity and dust, and specially developed heat sinks allow operation in the extended temperature range even in fanless systems.