Rugged Haswell-CPU-based 3U VPX SBC offers enhanced graphics/data processing

July 30, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Aitech Defense Systems Inc., has added to its embedded and mission-critical computing technologies for environmentally-demanding military, defense and aerospace and rugged industrial applications, with the C873, a rugged SBC based on Intel’s 4th generation, quad-core Core i7 Haswell processor operating at 2.4 GHz.

The single-slot SBC provides up to 20% more processing over previous generations of SBCs. The Core i7 processor includes Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 that enables temporary operation at higher frequencies for enhanced performance. It also features an integrated HD Graphics 4600 core for 2D/3D graphics and video processing and provides RGBHV and HDMI/DVI outputs. The C873 is coupled with a Lynx Point QM87 I/O Platform Controller Hub (PCH) that supports legacy and high-speed interfaces enabling system design flexibility. It also incorporates a variety of I/O interfaces as well as large memory arrays.

Standard I/O includes four GigE ports as well as five USB ports, two SATA ports and two serial I/O interfaces as well as eight general purpose discrete I/O lines. An industry-standard PMC/XMC expansion slot enables the integration of additional resources, including memory, I/O or multiple-monarch processor PMCs.

The C873 offers some of the highest memory capacities available on a 3U OpenVPX SBC; up to 16 GB of fast DDRL3 SDRAM with ECC protection as well as 64 GB of SATA Flash come as standard. Two 16 MB Flash BIOSs ensure reliable system boot, even if the primary device fails.

Capable of communicating with up to eight other PCIe OpenVPX modules without a backplane switch, the C873 is suited to embedded systems that require a rugged solution coupled with high data and graphics processing requirements. If a switch is used, even more modules can be accommodated.

The board can be either air-cooled or conduction-cooled, and can also be provided as a VPX REDI-compliant SBC, depending on user requirements. Supporting seven OpenVPX slot profiles (defined by VITA 65), the C873 can be incorporated in a variety of applications and environments.

An IPMI controller offers system-level monitoring of the C873’s health and status. Three onboard temperature sensors and an elapsed time recorder (ETR) further assist in monitoring board health. Both standard and avionics (windowed) watchdog timers as well as a real