Motorola set to offer Intel on Compact PCI, but not on VME

TEMPE, Ariz. - Motorola Computer Group executives are unveiling a line of Intel-based Compact PCI single-board computers, yet have no plans to offer the Intel microprocessor on VME, says the group`s marketing chief.

Sep 1st, 1997

By John Keller

TEMPE, Ariz. - Motorola Computer Group executives are unveiling a line of Intel-based Compact PCI single-board computers, yet have no plans to offer the Intel microprocessor on VME, says the group`s marketing chief.

With this approach, Motorola officials may be abandoning the lion`s share of the military and aerospace market for Intel-based single-board computers to other suppliers, yet officials anticipate some military interest in their Compact PCI Intel boards.

"I have not ever indicated we are doing anything with Intel architectures on VME boards, and we do not plan to use Intel in VME," says Jerry Gipper, director of marketing at Motorola Computer in Tempe, Ariz.

Gipper says his company is expanding into Intel-based Compact PCI boards to accommodate telecommunications systems designers who are clamoring not only for single-board computers with mid-level reliability and modularity, but also for Windows NT software support.

Toward this goal, Motorola Computer executives reportedly are attempting to buy Pro-Log Corp. of Monterey, Calif., which focuses on Compact PCI.

On the other hand, Gipper says he is opting away from offering Intel on VME because he believes that market is saturated and because Motorola already has a strong VME single-board computer base with the Motorola 68000 and PowerPC microprocessors "that is well accepted in the real-time space."

Microsoft Corp. does not offer Windows NT support for the PowerPC, which is the cornerstone of Motorola`s VME single-board computer strategy.

"In real time, PowerPC is kicking butt," Gipper says. "It is faster than anything Intel has got, and for us our real-time focus is in VME, which makes absolute sense. But we also have a strong telecom market, and to compete there I have to have Intel and Windows NT."

Although Gipper admits that asking military and aerospace systems designers to switch from VME to Compact PCI may be too much, "I would not be surprised at all to see our Compact PCI make inroads into military applications." One promising application, he says, is ruggedized workstations and servers aboard Navy ships.

Still, Gipper says "for a guy doing simulation or larger programs where they put lots of processing power in the backplane, VME is the best solution and will be for many years."

Gipper says he expects Motorola Computer to begin offering single-board computers compatible with the new high-speed VME 320 backplane "probably next year." The availability of VME 320 interface silicon will help determine when Motorola starts offering the new boards, he says.

VME 320 moves data through the backplane at a maximum rate of 320 megabytes per second, while existing VME 64 backplanes move data at a maximum of 64 megabytes per second.

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