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EnCore module based on PowerPC helps speed embedded system designs
27 March 2002, Computer/Embedded Technology

PC/104 specialist Ampro Computers has introduced the EnCore PP1 module, the first entry in its new EnCore family of high integration embedded processor modules based on a PowerPC-compliant microprocessor. Ampro has combined Motorola's 300 MHz MPC8245 integrated host processor with a fast 66 MHz PCI-bus interface, SDRAM memory and additional I/O to provide a complete standards-based CPU subsystem on a small form-factor circuit board assembly.

The EnCore modules relieve developers of most of the processor-development overhead in creating an embedded system, says Ampro. Yet, unlike most single board computers, EnCore modules are easy to incorporate in a customised embedded design by interfacing to a custom logic board or baseboard. The modules communicate with a baseboard via a PCI bus interface and standard I/O signals. Since the EnCore-to-baseboard interface avoids processor dependencies, EnCore modules with various processor architectures can be easily interchanged on a common baseboard. Ampro also provides boot-ready operating system board support packages for the EnCore PP1 supporting both Linux and the VxWorks realtime operating system (RTOS) from Wind River Systems.

"The EnCore PP1 can shorten product development by up to 40 weeks," said Paul Rosenfeld, vice president of marketing for Ampro. "EnCore processors eliminate the need to design, bring up and debug the CPU and the need to port or configure an operating system. And since all EnCore processors are fully compatible, the new EnCore PP1 enables OEM designers to create a single application board and trade-off performance, power consumption and cost against Ampro's x86 and MIPS-based EnCore modules."

"Networking and communications equipment vendors are looking for faster ways of getting their next-generation routers, switches, and network storage systems to market," said Thomas Fehr, director of strategic marketing for Motorola's Networking and Computing Systems Group. "We are happy to see Ampro bring their EnCore family of high integration embedded processor modules to the PowerPC instruction set architecture and Motorola's MPC8245. Together, this module and our MPC8245 processor deliver a comprehensive off-the-shelf MPC8245 processor subsystem speeding time-to-market and time-to-revenue for advanced networking equipment."

EnCore PP1 details

The EnCore PP1 incorporates a 300 MHz MPC8245 processor with a built-in 66 MHz PCI bus interface. It supports up to 512 MB SODIMM SDRAM and provides 2 MB flash memory with Ampro universal bootloader/monitor software. It provides the functionality of a complete embedded CPU subsystem in a 100 x 145 mm format. On-board I/O includes a 10/100Base-T Ethernet controller, JTAG interface, two serial ports, two USB ports, enhanced Ultra 33/66 EIDE interface to two drives, floppy disk controller, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, IrDA port, an ECP/EPP bidirectional parallel port and an AC97 audio interface.

For further information contact Jaap Willemse, Electronic Products Design, 012 665 9700.

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