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Rugged PC/104 SBC sandwich runs on Kaby Lake

May 9, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 1,378 views
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[Updated: May 10] — VersaLogic’s Linux-ready, “Liger” SBC sandwich offers 7th Gen Core CPUs, ruggedization features, and mini-PCIe, SPI/SPX, and PC/104-Plus expansion.

The 108 x 96mm, PC/104 form-factor Liger is a two-layer assembly consisting of Versalogic’s Kaby Lake based Lion SBC on top, along with a down-stacking PC/104-Plus expansion bus adapter on the bottom layer. Like the feline Lion/Tiger hybrid that inspired its name, the Liger SBC mixes functionality and ruggedization aspects of Versalogic’s Lion SBC with the PC/104-Plus expansion attributes of the company’s tiger-branded PC/104 SBCs: the “Bay Trail” Atom based Bengal, and the aging Atom Z5xx based Tiger.



Liger sandwich top view, and angled view showing its PC/104-Plus expansion layer
(click images to enlarge)

The Liger’s Lion SBC upper level features Intel 7th Gen Core “Kaby Lake” dual-core U-Series i3, i5, and i7 Core processors ranging up to a 2.8GHz/3.9GHz Core i7-7600U. The board supports up to 16GB of DDR3L RAM clocked to 1600MHz, and includes a microSD slot. The Liger offers one SATA 3.0 port — or optionally two — and mSATA is available on the single full-sized mini-PCIe slot.

Kaby Lake’s Intel HD Graphics 620 supports DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, H.264, and MPEG-2. The graphics are expressed via 2x mini-DisplayPort++ outputs with HDMI and HD audio support, and up to 4096 x 2304 @ 60Hz resolution.



Liger upper board (Lion SBC) top and bottom details
(click images to enlarge)

Other Liger I/O includes 2x GbE ports with AMT and remote network boot support, as well as 2x USB 3.0 Type-C host ports and 4x USB 2.0 host interfaces. There are also 2x RS-232/422/485, 2x RS-232, 8-bit DIO, 3x 8254 timer/counters, an I2C connection, and an SPI interface that also supports up to 2x SPX modules.


Block diagrams: Liger’s Lion SBC (left) and PC/104-Plus expansion adapter
(click images to enlarge)

The Liger’s lower layer combines PCI and LPC signals from the upper board (Lion) and, with the help of an FPGA and several other active components, synthesizes a downward-stacking PC/104-Plus (ISA and PCI) expansion bus that supports a wide range of legacy PC/104 and PC/104-Plus expansion modules. Unlike the single-board Lion and Bengal SBCs, the Liger stack does not support PCIe/104 OneBank expansion, although it does offer mini-PCIe and SPI/SPX expansion. Many optional expansion modules are available for each, including wireless, I/O, and video modules, among other accessories.

The Liger is well suited for compute-intensive high-end applications such as flight navigation, guidance systems, and medical scanning/imaging, says VersaLogic. Like other VersaLogic SBCs, the Liger supports an industrial -40 to 85°C temperature range, and meets MIL-STD-202G specifications to withstand high impact and vibration. Latching connectors are available, and there’s a standard 5-year guarantee as well as 10-year long life support. Typical power consumption ranges from 12 to 13.5 Watts, says the company.

The 5V Liger stack ships with a standard heat plate, and offers optional heat sinks, heat pipes, fans, and other adapters. There’s also a standard TPM 2.0 security chip, an RTC with battery, and reset and hardware monitors. Linux is supported along with Windows, Windows Embedded, VxWorks, and QNX, and extensive customization services are available.

 
Further information

The Liger (VL-EPM-43) will be available in Q3 2017 from both VersaLogic and Digi-Key. Pricing is not yet available. More information may be found at VersaLogic’s Liger product page.
 

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