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Motorola Announces New Generation of PowerPC Processor Boards on VME


Motorola Computer Group today announced a new family of VME processor boards based on its PowerPlus VME Architecture.

Designed to deliver all of the massive processing capability of the PowerPC microprocessor in compute-intensive and data-hungry applications, the PowerPlus VME Architecture maximizes both processor performance and I/O throughput. The first products in the family are the MVME2600 and MVME3600, which offer the performance advantages of the PowerPlus VME Architecture together with unmatched levels of on-board functionality.

The PowerPlus VME Architecture boosts processor performance by dramatically increasing the bandwidth of the processor interface to main memory. A new memory controller ASIC designed by MCG takes full advantage of the PowerPC microprocessor address pipelining and controls 2-way interleaved access to main memory to deliver a processor memory bandwidth in excess of 400 Mbytes/sec -- over three times as fast as previous implementations.

"PowerPlus VME Architecture will allow unprecedented levels of processing power and data throughput on VME," explained Jerry Gipper, director of marketing, Embedded Technology at MCG. "The PowerPlus family of processor boards are the clear choice for integrators of the next generation of high- performance VME systems."

A combination of FIFOs, read ahead and write posting allows the PowerPlus VME Architecture to eliminate bottlenecks on the PowerPC 60X bus (MPC bus), the PCI bus and the VMEbus, optimally decoupling each bus from the others. This approach allows the PowerPC processor to make full use of its bandwidth to main memory, with minimum performance reduction caused by data transfers to the slower PCI bus. The 64-bit PCI bus can use its 264 Mbyte/sec bandwidth to provide superb I/O throughput without performance degradation due to transfers to the slower VMEbus.

Both the MVME2600 and MVME3600 share a common hardware structure but differ in their level of on-board functionality. Both boards offer either a PowerPC 603 starting at 200 MHz (estimated SPECint_base95 of 4.4 and SPECfp_base95 of 4.6), or a PowerPC 604 starting at 166 MHz (estimated SPECint_base95 of 6.1 and SPECfp_base of 6.3). MCG anticipates future options on MVME3600 will include multiprocessor configurations of PowerPC 604.

MVME3600 consists of a processor/memory module and a base module, both 6U VME boards, which connect to form a VME-based board-level computer. Taking full advantage of the available board area, MVME3600 provides a high degree of functionality on VME. Options of up to 1 Gbyte of ECC DRAM support memory-hungry applications while protecting key memory-resident data.

Fast 20 Mbyte/sec SCSI and 100 Mbit/sec Ethernet interfaces maximize network and mass storage performance and optional secondary Ethernet and SCSI interfaces enable the implementation of disk-mirrored mass storage and dual-redundant networks in high availability applications. A complete human interface which includes VGA graphics, 2 Mbyte video buffer memory, four serial interfaces, parallel port, status LEDs and a floppy interface to facilitate system maintenance and software upgrades are also included.

The MVME3600 baseboard supports a single 64-bit PMC slot, enabling it to be tailored to the needs of applications with specialized I/O requirements. A PCI expansion interface allows the addition of an optional I/O carrier which holds two additional PMC modules or four IndustryPacks. Access to this level of I/O functionality is made possible by the inclusion of the new 5-row P1 and P2 connectors defined in the VME64 extensions standard.

The MVME2600 provides a sub-set of the MVME3600 functionality in a single-slot implementation. It delivers all the performance of the PowerPlus VME Architecture, making it ideal for multiprocessor implementations, as a cost-effective solution in applications which do not require the complete MVME3600 capability.

Both MVME2600 and MVME3600 incorporate Open Firmware, an ideal implementation of PC firmware, which supports booting a variety of operating systems including AIX(r) and Windows NT(r), from multiple media. Open Firmware is written in the Forth language and distributed as Fcode. This runs on a wide range of processor devices and provides plug and play functionality, making it simple to install and auto-configure PCI adapters and peripherals, without dependence on specific processor instruction sets and execution timing.

Several major real-time kernel vendors including Wind River Systems, Inc.; Integrated Systems, Inc.; Lynx Real-Time Systems; and Microware Systems Corp. are committed to supporting the new PowerPlus VME architecture with board support packages. Motorola will also be providing an AIX support package.

"With PowerPC's surge in popularity in the real-time embedded world, developers are continuously searching for the best board/development tool combination that will help them bring products to market quickly and with minimal risk," said David Larrimore, vice president of marketing for Wind River Systems. "We are pleased to offer our open and extensible Tornado(tm) development environment for MCG's newest line of PowerPC VME boards. Developers in the networking and process control markets will especially benefit from this solution."

MVME2600 and MVME3600 will be available in August and single unit pricing will begin at $4,495 U.S. As with all of Motorola's products, MVME3600 and MVME2600 meet the levels consistent with the Six-Sigma quality standard and have a five-year warranty on parts and labor.


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