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Rugged box-PC runs Linux on quad-core 2.1GHz Core i7

Nov 28, 2014 — by Eric Brown 3,273 views

MPL unveiled a “PIP39” industrial PC with a quad-core, 2.1GHz Core i7, ECC RAM, dual SATA bays, and protection against extreme temperatures, shock, and ESD.

Most industrial computers are claimed to be rugged, but the PIP39 seems to go the extra kilometer, so to speak, even compared to MPL’s highly ruggedized CEC10. Entirely designed and manufactured in Switzerland, the highly customizable PIP39 appears ready to resist the worst that nature — or the factory floor — can dish out.

MPL’s rugged PIP39

The highly customizable system features a standard PIP housing (DIN-Rail or Flange), and runs on a soldered, quad-core, 2.1GHz Intel Core i7-3612QE (Ivy Bridge) CPU with up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC RAM.

An MPL spokesperson confirmed in an email that the “PIP39 as well as all other MPL CPU products are fully Linux supported.” Although a specific version was not mentioned, the PIP39 presumably is supported with the same Debian Linux distribution that’s available with the company’s CEC10 system.


Ruggedization and reliability features on the PIP39 are said to include:

  • Long-term availability up to 10 years, repair-ability up to 20 years
  • -20 to 60°C operating temperatures
  • Shock and vibration resistance per EN 60068
  • EMC resistance per EN 55022, EN 55024, EN 61000, MIL-STD-461E
  • Environmental and safety per EN 50155, MIL-STD-810F, EN 60601, EN 60950
  • Approvals including CE, IEC 60945, IACS E10
  • Optional IP67 MIL protected housing
  • PCB engineered for best thermal conduction to enclosure (high heat dissipation components located on bottom).
  • 6x GND planes in PCB for improved thermal conduction and signal transmission line reference path
  • Soldered CPU for better thermal conduction and reliability
  • ECC RAM for greater reliability
  • ESD protection on most components (SATA, GbE, DP, DVI-I, PS/2, serial)
  • Power rails with “controlled power up,” thereby reducing power up currents for less stress
  • Low impedance power distribution network for CPU, chipset, and all other high-speed devices, resulting in wide temperature range and stable parameters
  • Wide use of PCB internal capacitance, as well as X7R/X7S (-55 to 125°C) ceramic and polymer aluminum caps, for better power integrity
  • Power input protection against reverse polarity and load dump (details below)
  • Supports optional “galvanic separation” for marine or mining applications

PIP39 customizations, including military, open-frame, and railway
(click image to enlarge)

Aside from the two gigabit Ethernet ports, it’s hard to tell which of the many interfaces are available via real-world reports. Then again, the system is so highly customizable, there appears to be a lot of flexibility here, including special military and railway designs (see image above).

The PIP39 houses two 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD bays, supporting four available SATA ports, each with RAID 0/1/5/10 support. There’s also an mSATA combo socket that supports USB. The system provides dual-display support, with DisplayPort, DVI-I, and LVDS interfaces.

Eleven USB ports are available — four of them USB 3.0 — and there’s a PS/2 and a pair of RS232 ports, along with two more optional RS232/485 ports. For expansion, there is a Mini-PCIe x1 slot, plus a variety of PCI/104-Express options. The system is powered by a wide-range 10 to 36 VDC input, and consumes 17 to 46 Watts, says MPL.

Specifications listed for the PIP39 include:

  • Processor — Soldered Intel Core i7-3612QE (4x Ivy Bridge cores @ 2.1GHz/3.1GHz Turbo); 6MB cache; Intel QM77 chipset; Intel SpeedStep
  • Memory — Up to 16GB DDR3-1600 ECC via 2x SODIMMs; 8MB soldered BIOS flash
  • Storage:
    • 2x SATA 3.0 ports
    • 2x SATA 2.0 ports
    • Up to 2x 2.5-inch HDD/SSD bays
    • RAID 0/1/5/10 support
    • mSATA full-mini combo socket with SATA 2.0 and USB 2.0
  • Display:
    • DisplayPort with up to 2560 x 1600 pixels
    • DVI-I
    • 24-bit LVDS
    • Dual-display capability
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports with wake-on LAN
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.0
    • 7x USB 2.0
    • PS/2
    • 2x RS232 (full modem)
    • 2x optional RS232/485
    • HD audio (1mm header)with optional HDSOUND-1 card
  • Expansion:
    • Mini-PCIe Gen2 x1 (and USB 2.0)
    • PCI/104-Express:
      • PCIe x16
      • 4x PCIe x1
      • 2x USB 2.0
      • Optional PCI/104-Express to PCIe x16
  • Other features — TPM; LEDs
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 60°C (-4 to 140°F)
  • Ruggedization — see list farther above
  • Power:
    • 10 to 36 VDC ESD and EMC protected input
    • Up to -36VDC reverse polarity protection
    • Up to 150 V load dump protection
    • Reset and power buttons
    • Optional ignition input
    • Optional 4-pin mini-DIN connector
    • ACPI S1, S4, S5
    • Optional internal UPS with external removable battery
    • 17 to 46 W consumption
  • Dimensions/weight (chassis dependent):
    • DIN-Rail — 270 x 162 x 120/83mm; 2.2 k with HDD
    • Flange — 312 x 162 120/83mm; 2.2 k with HDD
    • Open-frame — 218 x 154 x 43mm and up; 1.5 k
    • IP67 MIL — 304 x 234 x 95/75mm; 3.6 k

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the PIP39. More information may be found on the PIP39 product page.

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