Electronics Technology


New module extends life of 486 in PC/104 market

20 November 2002 Electronics Technology

AMD has announced that it is going to stop making the 486 CPU. This means that all PC/104 computers based on 486 CPU (almost all are using the AMD 486) have a problem. This is according to Ampro Computers, the inventor and a leading supplier of PC/104 and EBX single board computers for non-backplane embedded systems. Ampro says it offers a solution in its CoreModule 400 PC/104 single board computer recently released.

This is the first new 486-based PC/104 CPU in years that is based on a new processor from a major microprocessor supplier - meaning that PC/104 users can count on the availability of 486-based PC/104 systems for the next five to 10 years or more, says the company. Since the new CoreModule 400 incorporates both 10/100Base-T Ethernet and high performance 2D graphics on the board, developers can economically build new products with the features and capabilities required in modern embedded systems.

A high-integration x86-based computer on a single PC/104 board, the CoreModule 400 is based on STMicroelectronics' new 133 MHz STPC Atlas processor. It provides complete embedded PC functionality, including Ethernet and video interfaces, normally found on larger boards.

Key features are: 133 MHz x86-based STPC Atlas processor; 64 MB SDRAM; EIDE (2) drive interface (ATAPI including DVD); two serial ports; floppy interface; ECP/EPP Parallel port; USB port; PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports; 10/100Base-T Ethernet interface; 2D CRT and TFT flat panel interface; Bytewide Socket for DiskOnChip 2000; Type II CompactFlash Socket.

In spite of its high level of integration, this SBC remains fully compliant with the PC/104 specification. It replaces earlier CPU modules that required two or even three PC/104 cards to provide equivalent functionality, reducing both package size and the cost of CPU electronics by as much as 50%, according to the manufacturer.

As other CoreModule boards, development with the CoreModule 400 is supported by Ampro's QuickStart kits, complete development systems (including power supply and disk drives) and Board Support Packages (BSPs) for popular operating systems. It measures 90 x 96 mm, requires 1,30 A at +5 V power, and operates from 0 to 70°C, or -40 to +85°C (extended).



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