Curtiss-Wright announces VPX single-board computer

Jan. 17, 2006
LONG BEACH, Calif., 17 Jan. 2006. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing has introduced the VPX6-185, the industry's first VITA 46 (VPX)-based single board computer (SBC).

LONG BEACH, Calif., 17 Jan. 2006. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing has introduced the VPX6-185, the industry's first VITA 46 (VPX)-based single board computer (SBC).

The VPX standard, collaboratively developed by COTS industry leaders and prime military integrators, delivers a high-speed serial interconnect with a form-factor and feature set specifically designed to meet demanding military/aerospace applications.

Unveiled at the Bus & Board trade show here, the 6U VPX6-185 delivers features including a nominal backplane bandwidth of 8 GB/sec via four Advanced Switching Interconnect (ASI) ports, two PCI Express VITA 42 XMC/PMC sites, the processing power of Freescale's 8641 single/dual-core PowerPC processor, and an extensive list of standard features such as Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), serial ports, and mass storage interface options.

The VPX6-185's processing engine is the Freescale 8641 single/dual-core PowerPC device. With its dual integrated 64-bit memory controllers, the 8641 offers vastly increased memory performance compared to prior generations of PowerPC processors, translating directly to reduced execution times for user application software. For numeric-intense processing the 8641 offers the powerful Altivec instruction set extension which performs up to 8 floating point operations per cycle. For a dual-core device operating at 1.5 GHz this results in 24 GFLOPS of peak floating point performance.

For core backplane connectivity the VPX6-185 incorporates four Advanced Switching Interconnect (ASI) switch ports. ASI is based on PCI Express and extends PCI Express with peer-to-peer message passing protocols to provide efficient, low-latency inter-processor communications. The VPX6-185's four ASI ports together provide a nominal 8 GB of backplane bandwidth, sufficient to handle challenging data throughput requirements such as multiple streams of sensor video or receiver data. For integration with high-density computing products such as Curtiss-Wright's CHAMP-AV6 VPX-based DSP engine, the VPX6-185 also provides Serial RapidIO connectivity.

The dual XMC/PMC sites on the VPX6-185 conform to the VITA 42.3 standard and can accept either standard PMC modules or XMC modules featuring PCI Express, with automatic detection of the module type. With PCI Express connectivity, the two XMC sites provide the high bandwidth to memory required for high-performance graphics, networking, and data acquisition modules. By virtue of the increased I/O count of the VPX format, the XMC I/O connectors are provided with dedicated backplane I/O pins.

A key enabler to the unmatched capabilities of the VPX6-185 is the VPX format, which provides backplane connectors capable of handling signaling speeds of up to 6.25 Gbits/sec. The board's VPX connectors easily support the 2.5 Gbits/sec signaling rate of the ASI ports and also allow multigigabit/sec I/O to be handled from the XMC/PMC sites.

The VPX connectors also include an ESD protection mechanism that, when coupled with top and bottom covers at the module level, enable the VPX6-185 to be safely handled in flight-line environments where standard ESD precautions are not practical. The VPX6-185 (along with the CHAMP-AV6 DSP engine) represents the industry's first SBC support for 2-level maintenance requirements. 2-level maintenance can significantly reduce sparing and logistics requirements, thus reducing the total life-cycle cost of the systems within which the VPX6-185 is used.

"The VPX6-185 illustrates our continuing commitment to providing the mil/aero market with leading-edge single board computer products," said Tom Quinly, president of Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing. "At the same time as the VPX6-185 provides exciting new high-performance features, it still supports the qualities that have made Curtiss-Wright the leading provider of rugged single board computers for mil/aero applications -- reliable operation in harsh environments, a comprehensive software offering, and world-class customer support".

Software support for the VPX6-185 includes BSPs and driver suites for VxWorks 6.x with Wind River Workbench 2.0, INTEGRITY 6.x, and Linux 2.6. Backplane communications over the Advanced Switching Interconnect fabric is support by CWCEC interprocessor communications software. Pricing for the VPX6-185 start at $10,500. Evaluation units will be available in Q4 2006.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing is the industry's most comprehensive and experienced single source for embedded solutions, ranging from Processing, Subsystems, Data Communication, DSP, and Video & Graphics to the most advanced board level components and fully integrated custom systems. The Embedded Computing group serves the defense, aerospace, commercial and industrial markets and is part of Curtiss-Wright Controls Inc. For more information, see

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