Single board computer VX3106 for embedded systems in transportation

9th October 2018
Anna Flockett

Kontron has announced the VX3106. The 3U VPX SBC features an a 64-bit ARM Cortex-v8 A72 based processor with speeds up to 1.8GHz, main memory up to 16GB DDR4 and up to 64GB of eMMC. Its soldered memory, 1Gb FRAM technology for memory retention over power loss, low power consumption and tolerance of temperature ranges from -20 to 65°C makes it well suited for applications in the transportation, avionics, and defence industries.

Robert Negre, VP of Business Development at Kontron: "The new VX3106 is compatible with the existing Kontron 3U VPX blade ecosystem, which is already being used worldwide. Kontron supports long term availability options for this platform: The new SBC can be used as an addition, upgrade, or replacement for our VX3240, VX3030, and VX3035 products in safety-critical railway infrastructures, avionics, or defence applications. It offers three times the performance, and thus is a good fit for long term, low power, general purpose computing use cases. With a very competitive price tag, the VX3106 is here to stay, with product life and application domain extensions through CPU variants such as those offered by the NXP QoreIQ Layerscape family."

Depending on configuration, the VX3106 design allows multiple application profiles expanding to high performance networking, command and control, and signal processing. The CPU Neon SIMD vector unit is able to accelerate signal processing algorithms and functions, speeding up applications such as audio and video processing, voice and facial recognition, AR/VR, and deep learning.

The VX3106 firwmare is based on Uboot technology with integrated PBIT. It supports Yocto Linux with a small 30 MB image size. Other Linux distributions for ARM architecture can be supported using the VX3106 BSP files.

The VX3106 board management controller features multiple watchdogs, power sequencing, and LED management. Board control and monitoring registers are available to the system via VPX SMB bus signals.

VX3106 offers the option of fan-less operation. The memory devices are soldered to maximise shock and vibration resistance. In addition to soldered storage, VX3106 offers two sockets (one mPCIe USB/PCIe support , one M.2 SATA/PCIe support) on the top side. It provides 1Gb FRAM to retain data event during power cuts, preserving application context and allowing applications to restart quickly. Unlike classical FLASH devices, it also supports infinite write cycles.

VX3106 operates from a single +12V power rail and dissipates between 10 and 20W according to application code and I/O requirements. It features a 10Gb Ethernet and features multiple SATA, USB, GETH links. A SFP card cage on the front panel allows copper 10GETH Base T and fibre cabling. The VX3106 and provides two 10GBASE-KR ports per processor, with the option of using the latter as two 1Gb Base-KX. 1Gb ETHERNET is also available at the rear with one 1GBaseT (Magnetics on the board). Two more GETH Base-KX on RJ-45 connectors complement the front panel.

The VX3106 supports TPM V2.0 encryption for secure cloud connection. Optionally, the Kontron APPROTECT Security solution can be integrated. Based on an integrated Wibu-Systems security chip combined with a specifically developed software framework, it provides IP and copy/reverse engineering protection. Kontron APPROTECT Licensing also enables new business models such as ‘pay per use’, demo versions for limited time periods, or activation/deactivation functions. For additional security, furthermore, a personality module (M2 format, PCIe bus) allows using an addionat FPGA based secure element.

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