PCIe carrier card interfaces with XMC mezzanine for computing ease

Power, PCIe bus signals and cooling air is provided to an XMC mezzanine module for signal processing in small, embedded computer systems via the APCe8775 PCIe carrier card by Acromag.

The APCe8775 carrier card allows a PC to communicate with an XMC mezzanine module over a PCI Express bus. System developers can insert an FPGA module or other XMC module on the carrier card for signal processing. The 3/4-length PCIe card is intended for use in smaller embedded computers and servers with reduced-depth expansion slots. Low profile fans provide XMC cooling from within a single expansion slot. The carrier’s PCIe x8 interface supports up to eight serial lanes for rapid data transfer between the plug-in XMC module and the host computer.

The carrier cards are suitable for use in military and scientific research computing systems, where they can also help test advanced defence and aerospace systems for later deployment on rugged computing platforms such as VME, VPX, or CompactPCI.

“This 3/4-length PCIe expansion board offers great I/O versatility when using short-depth mission computers or rugged servers,” explained Robert Greenfield, Acromag’s business development manager. “The shorter, 10-inch length and low-profile fans allow the card to fit in a single slot and still provide adequate XMC cooling within a high-density computer chassis,” he added.

Several rear I/O connectors enable high-speed serial interfaces between neighbouring carrier boards using XAUI or Aurora protocols. An MD68 port and two Samtec QPairs connectors simplify board-to-board connections with a SCSI-3 or Twinax cables to left and right adjacent carrier cards.

One XMC socket interfaces up to eight serial I/O lanes to the carrier’s PCIe x8 edge connector. The other XMC socket routes to a pair of four-lane serial ports for board-to-board connections that support up to five high-speed (5Gbits per second) transmit/receive differential or LVDS pairs. A 64-pin XMC P4 rear I/O socket routes 32 LVDS I/O to a SCSI port for additional board-to-board communication.

Two integrated fans provide a constant airflow across the XMC module (most PCs cannot provide sufficient cooling to dissipate heat generated by large FPGA devices, says Acromag). The narrow fans do not encroach on the adjacent slot allowing users to fill all available PCIe expansion slots.

The company also offer compatible XMC FPGA modules with configurable logic elements for algorithm acceleration, DSP, communication, and adaptive computing functions in image processing, simulation, protocol conversion, signal intelligence, and in-circuit diagnostics.

Software development tools are available for VxWorks, Linux, and Windows environments. Function libraries provide example routines or DLL driver support with C source code to save time.


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