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24 November 2008

New VMEbus PC Stands the Test in Particle Acceleration

The new VMEbus SBC from MEN Mikro Elektronik will be used in the world’s largest particle accelerator at the CERN research centre in Switzerland. The A20 supports a multitude of Intel Core 2 types, and pairs outstanding reliability in computing with fast data transmission.

A20 – rugged and powerful for harsh and communication-intensive applications

The A20 single-board computer is the latest 6U VMEbus board of MEN’s product range. This SBC was specially designed for industrial applications with the highest reliability in computing and graphics, and will be used in the world’s largest particle accelerator of the Swiss research organisation CERN. Being open for any user requirements, the robust card supports a multitude of Intel processors – from the Core Duo or Core 2 Duo with 1.5GHz down to single-core Celeron M versions.

Due to the Tundra TSI148 bridge controller the SBC supports fast and reliable data throughput using 2eSST. This protocol doubles the theoretical VMEbus transaction bandwidth to up to 320MB/s.

The A20 is one of only a few 6U computers that provide space for two PMC or two XMC modules. Its fast 64b/66MHz PMCs give the single-board computer particular communication strength. Users with a need for even more speed can make use of four of a total of six PCI Express lanes to connect XMC modules.

Standard I/O at the front of the A20 includes graphics via VGA, 1Gb Ethernet, one USB 2.0 or optionally a COM interface on RJ45. The rear side gives access to the I/O functions of the PMC modules, and also to seven USB interfaces and one SATA port.

With a size of up to 4GB, DDR2 RAM main memory is firmly soldered against shock and vibration. In addition, the board also offers a CompactFlash slot and a second SATA port. Management and supervision of the board functions complete the functionality of the A20. Since the card exclusively uses components of Intel’s Embedded Line, a minimum availability of five years is guaranteed.

Safety in industrial applications

The A20 has excellent characteristics regarding extended temperature range, shock and vibration, making it a brilliant choice for use in harsh and safety-critical applications. Due to its high data rates through 2eSST and PCI Express, and its low power consumption, the single-board computer is suited, for instance, for applications like the CERN research centre that require considerable processing power. Other main target markets of this board are industrial automation, multimedia, transportation, aerospace, shipbuilding, medical engineering and robotics.

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