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Long-term support for parallel PCI bus to remain assured

1st February 2023
Sheryl Miles

At Embedded World 2023, EKF Elektronik will be launching two new 3U CompactPCI processor boards with 11th generation Intel Core and Xeon processors (codename Tiger Lake H45).

The boards will be available in two variants: the first is a CompactPCI Serial design, the second supports both CompactPCI Classic and CompactPCI PlusIO.

The latter supports the classic parallel PCI bus, for which there are still numerous COTS and proprietary expansion cards available today. This enables developers of CompactPCI-based systems to implement any CompactPCI system design and secure their investment in this PICMG standard, which was launched in 1999, long into the future.

The new boards will be available until at least 2032 – just like the existing CompactPCI CPU boards with 7th generation Intel Xeon E3 v6 processors (codename Kaby Lake), which the company also offers for all three CompactPCI sub-specifications.

Long-term security for existing investments

“Support for the PCI bus is essential for older CompactPCI system designs, yet some vendors are withdrawing from this market. The announcement that EKF Elektronik will continue to support the PCI bus for new CompactPCI designs therefore sends an important message to many users: They can safeguard their investment in this legacy technology for many more years, continue to upgrade their system designs with the latest processor technology, and reap all the benefits that come with it,” explains Manuel Murer, Business Development Manager at EKF Elektronik.

Advantages of such upgrades include higher energy efficiency, higher processor-integrated security and computing power, up-to-date software support, and above all support for artificial intelligence and the latest graphics features to provide the best possible user experience. As 11th Gen Intel Core and Xeon processors no longer support PCI natively, EKF Elektronik has installed a software-transparent PCIe-to-PCI bridge on the processor boards with CompactPCI Classic and CompactPCI PlusIO support. This allows developers to seamlessly port existing applications to the new boards.

New J2 for PlusIO

CompactPCI PlusIO users will find a new J2 connector on the new CompactPCI PlusIO (PICMG 2.30) boards, which is footprint-compatible with the CompactPCI Classic (PICMG 2.0) specification. This change was necessary because the J2 connector specifically developed for PlusIO has been discontinued. But there is no need to redesign the backplane. The only restriction is that high-speed backplane transfer is limited to 2.5GT/s for PCIe Gen 1, and 1.5 Gbit/s for SATA. Depending on the application and system, it is possible to use the full bandwidth. The CompactPCI‘s PCI bus can be used in the usual bandwidth up to 133Mbyte/s.

The new CompactPCI processor boards with 11th Generation Intel Core processors in the CompactPCI Serial (SC9-TOCCATA) variant are expected to be available in mid-2023.

The PC9-TOCCATA variants for CompactPCI Classic and CompactPCI PlusIO will go into series production later. Until that time, 7th generation PC7-FESTIVAL variants, which can be ordered now, provide a reliable long-term solution to existing availability problems for cPCI and PlusIO applications. All variants can be pre-ordered.

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