Power Architecture VPX board for demanding embedded computing

May 29, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Kontron’s 3U VPX board with a quad-core Freescale QorIQ CPU supports hypervisor technologies to consolidate multiple applications into a single platform.

Kontron designed its latest 3U VPX PowerPC processor board for rugged embedded systems that need to process compute-intensive applications using the lowest possible power consumption. The VX3240 uses the power-optimised Freescale P2041 QorIQ quad-core processor. The headless VPX design has four 1.2-GHz Power Architecture e500mc cores, which helps engineers to successfully meet current and future challenges of Size, Weight & Power and Cooling (SWaP-C) requirements for constrained environments in the military, aerospace and transportation markets. Integrated hypervisor support enables the use of low level safety-critical virtualisation technologies from companies such as Wind River, RTS or Sysgo, makes the VX3240 the ideal SBC for consolidation of multiple applications into a single platform, further improving the SWaP-C balance.

Network-centric applications also benefit from the data path acceleration architecture (DPAA), which offloads packet handling tasks from the core, providing increased processor performance for critical tasks while the secure boot feature of the CPU can be used for trusted boot implementation, allowing only authenticated code to run on the board. Applications for the new Kontron 3U VPX processor board VX3240 include C4ISR, software defined radio and networked applications, and safety-critical railway applications.

An on-board PMC/XMC slot offers engineers a space-saving extension option to integrate dedicated I/O, field bus or storage modules without occupying an additional VPX system slot. The multi-core processor is also designed to execute application code written for legacy PowerPC versions, enabling simple upgrades of existing installations without the need to change the code basis.

The VX3240 is based on the 1.2 GHz quad-core Freescale QorIQ P2041 processor with up to 8 GB soldered DDR-3 SDRAM. Additional VPX boards can be connected over the backplane via four PCI Express lanes. For networking and peripherals there are two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0, two serial interfaces and 6 GPIOs. Storage media are connected via one SATA 2 port over the backplane. An on-board soldered SATA NAND-Flash up to 32 GB is optionally