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Rugged PC/104 SBC features stackable OneBank PCIe

May 15, 2014  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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VersaLogic announced a rugged, Linux-friendly PC/104 SBC based on Intel’s Atom E3800 series SoCs and featuring a unique new “OneBank” stackable PCIe bus.

VersaLogic’s “Bengal” SBC announcement is the third BayTrail-on-PC/104 story we’ve heard this year. Other recently announced E3800-based PC/104 form-factor SBCs include ADL’s ADLE3800PC, announced in February, and Adlink’s quartet of CMx-BTx SBCs announced in March. In Bengal’s case, the supported Atom SoCs include the quad-core E3845, dual-core E3826, and single-core E3815 parts, clocked at 1.9, 1.46, and 1.46 GHz, respectively. A single SODIMM socket, located on the underside of the board (relative to the CPU), supports up to 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM.



VersaLogic’s Bengal SBC
(click image to enlarge)

The E3800 SoC integrates Intel’s Gen 7 graphics core, which supports DirectX 11, OpenGL 3, and H.264,and provides hardware-based MPEG-2 encoding/decoding. The board’s analog VGA and dual mini DisplayPort video outputs are said to support multiple display modes, including Extended Desktop and Clone, and can deliver 24-bit output at up to 2560×1600@60Hz. Other I/O includes a SATA 2.0 interface, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, five USB ports, and a pair of RS-232/422/485 serial ports.


Intel Atom E3800 (“Bay Trail-I”) SoC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

 
PCIe/104 OneBank

The Bengal SBC is implemented on the PC/104 Consortium’s 4.2 x 3.8-inch “PCI/104 Express” form-factor, by exercising a new, single-bank PCIe/104 expansion bus option. We first noticed this downsized stackable-PCIe bus on the Diamond Systems Atlas SBC several months ago, while the new downsized PCIe bus option was still “in committee” at the Consortium. The tiny stackable-PCIe connector option apparently has now been adopted by the Consortium and named “PCIe/104 OneBank.”

This subset of the original PCIe/104 three-bank bus implements four x1 PCIe lanes along with several other signals, and is “mechanically and electrically compatible with existing PCI/104-Express Type 1 and Type 2 modules,” says VersaLogic. OneBank expansion uses a high density, 52-pin Samtec connector for board-to-board stacking, as we learned while covering Diamond’s Atlas SBC.



Bengal SBC connector locations
(click image to enlarge)

In addition to the stackable OneBank PCIe/104 bus, Bengal also offers stackable legacy PCI, by virtue of a Consortium-specified PCI/120 connector, also on located on the SBC’s underbelly. There’s also a mini-PCIe socket on the topside of the board, which supports standard mini-PCIe cards, but also VersaLogic’s own line of rugged mini-PCIe cards. The latter currently offer functions including WiFi, gig-Ethernet, serial I/O, analog I/O, GPS, encrypted memory, and more. And in case that’s not enough, the Bengal SBC also offers a connector carrying VersaLogic’s proprietary “SPX” expansion interface, to which up to four external SPX modules can be connected. VersaLogic currently supports SPX with modules that implement analog and digital I/O, solid-state relays, and CAN bus.

 
Summary of Bengal SBC specs

Specifications listed by VersaLogic for the Bengal SBC include:

  • Processor — 4th Generation Intel Atom E3800 SoC (“Bay Trail”); choice of:
    • E3845 — 4x CPU cores @ 1.91GHz
    • E3826 — 2x CPU cores @ 1.46GHz
    • E3815 — 1x CPU core @ 1.46GHz
  • RAM — SODIMM socket for up to 8GB DDR3L (1.35V) SDRAM
  • Storage:
    • SATA 2.0 port
    • mSATA via mini-PCIe socket (also listed below)
  • Display:
    • Analog VGA
    • Dual mini DisplayPorts
    • 24-bit output at up to 2560×1600@60Hz
  • LAN — 2x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 5x USB — 4x USB 2.0; 1x USB 3.0
    • 2x RS-232/422/485 serial ports
    • 16x GPIOs
    • SPX interface (supports up to 4x external SPX devices)
  • Other features — 3x 8254 counter/timers; I2C; PWM; Trusted Platform Module (TPM) module
  • Expansion:
    • Full-sized mini-PCIe socket; includes mSATA support
    • PCI/120 (legacy PCI), downward stacking
    • PCIe/104 OneBank (PCI Express), downward stacking
  • Dimensions — 4.2 x 3.8 inches; “PCIe/104 OneBank” form-factor
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Power — 5VDC +/-10% @ 3/5/8W idle, 5/7/10W typical, 7/9/12W max, for E3815/E3826/E3845 SoC
  • Thermal management — heat spreader (standard); other options available
  • Shock & vibration resistant per MIL-STD-202G
  • Operating system support — Linux, VxWorks, QNX, Windows Embedded, and various other x86 OSes/RTOSes

 
Further information

According to VersaLogic, the Bengal SBC (model EPMe-30) currently “is in early release and subject to very limited availability.” The board is expected become more generally available in the fourth quarter of 2014, priced as low as $769 in OEM quantities. More details maybe be found at the company’s Bengal SBC product page.
 

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