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Rugged PC/104 SBC runs Linux on AMD G-Series APU

Aug 12, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Advantech has breathed new life into its Linux-friendly AMD-based PC/104 single board computer family with a fanless, ruggedized PC/104 model built around an AMD G-Series APU. The PCM-3356 offers up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, features dual gigabit Ethernet ports, SATA, four USB ports, three serial ports, and two Mini-PCie sockets, and supports -40 to 85°C extended temperature operation.

The PCM-3356 is intended as a replacement for Advantech’s older AMD LX800-based PC/104 SBC line, consisting of the PCM-3353 and PCM-3355. Instead of the aging 500MHz Geode LX800 CPU, the PCM-3356 adopts AMD’s more modern G-Series T16R APU, which combines both a CPU and GPU on a single chip. Although the new board’s clock rate is only slightly higher, at 615MHz, the G-Series APU supports DDR3 memory instead of DDR1. And thanks to its integrated GPU, it offers much higher graphics performance, including support for DirectX 11 and Open GL 4.0, as well as hardware-assisted UVD3 video decoding. Advantech says the T16R APU offers similar power consumption and cost compared with AMD LX800, but with more than three times better performance.



PCM-3356 SBC top and bottom
(click images to enlarge)

 

The 115 x 96mm “PC/104 with wings” form-factor PCM-3356 is designed for “high reliability and endurance in extreme environments,” including industrial, military, transportation, medical, and security applications, says Advantech. Power consumption ranges from 6.9 Watts to 8.25 Watts, says the company. The board is available in models rated for both 0 to 60°C (“standard”) and -40 to 85°C (“extended”) temperature ranges.

Additionally, Advantech says the SBC is built with “Japanese polymer aluminum electrolytic capacitors with small ESR and better MTBF than electrolytic capacitors,” and the board also features a high-isolation serial port driver IC that offers 15KV air protection and 8KV contact protection. Also touted is the board’s “high Tg PCB (TG-150),” said to offer more stability at high temperatures, as well as the inherent vibration resistance of PC/104’s stacking architecture.



PCM-3356 SBC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

 

The module comes standard with 1GB of 800MHz DDR3 SODIMM RAM, but this can be swapped out for up to 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 memory, says Advantech. As is typical with PC/104 SBCs, all the I/O is made available with onboard connectors and pin-headers, as opposed to real-world ports. These include two mini-PCI Express (Mini-PCIe) interfaces, one of which is dedicated to a half-sized mSATA port. A separate SATA 2 interface is also available.

The PCM-3356 provides dual gigabit Ethernet headers, as well as LVDS and VGA interfaces, which can be configured for dual display. Additional I/O includes four USB 2.0 ports and three RS-232/422/485 ports.

Other specifications listed for the PCM-3356 include:

  • Processor — AMD G-Series T16R 1x core @ 615MHz; 512 KB L2 Cache; AMD A55E I/O hub
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 (800MHz), or expandable up to 4GB (1066MHz) via 204-pin SODIMM
  • Display:
    • 18-bit LVDS (1440 x 900 or 1400 x 1050)
    • VGA (1920 x 1200)
    • Dual display (LVDS + VGA)
  • Expansion:
    • PC/104 with ISA/ISA DMA legacy support
    • 2x half-size Mini-PCIe slots (1x dedicated to mSATA)
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet interfaces
  • Other I/O:
    • SATA 2 (up to 300MB/s)
    • 4x USB 2.0
    • 3x RS-232/422/485 with auto flow control
    • SMBus
    • 8-bit GPIO
    • Audio (RealtekALC892)
    • I2C
  • Other features — watchdog with reset; SUSIAccess remote management support
  • Power:
    • AT/ATX
    • 5V +/-5% on boot-up; 12V optional for LCD inverter and add-on card
    • Typical consumption — 1.38A @ +5V (6.9 W)
    • Max. consumption — 1.65A @ +5V (8.25 W)
    • Lithium battery (3V/210mAh)
    • ACPI 4.0 support
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C (standard); -40 to 85°C (extended)
  • Dimensions — 115 x 96 x 19.5mm; PC/104 form-factor (with wings)
  • Operating system — Linux (Ubuntu 12.04 and Fedora 16); Windows 7/WES7/XP/XPe; Windows CE 7.0/6.0

Operating system support includes Ubuntu 12.04 and Fedora 16 Linux, plus Windows 7//XP, WES7, XPe, and CE7.0/6.0 . The G-Series SoC will be supported through 2019, says the company.

The PCM-3356 is shipping now at an unstated price. More information may be found at Advantech’s PCM-3356 product page.
 

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