AMCC Unveils PowerPC 405EZ Processor Evaluation Kit

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) [NASDAQ:AMCC] announced availability of a low-cost, easy-to-use evaluation kit for its PowerPC(R) 405EZ processor. To accelerate customers’ system development time, AMCC’s 405EZ kit provides users with a comprehensive set of resources including a custom-designed evaluation board, industry-standard software development tools, sample applications, system-level benchmarks and hardware design files. The kit allows customers to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the 405EZ processor, use the base hardware/software design as a starting-point for their own product development and initiate their system software development using the kit as the target platform.

The kit includes an evaluation board named “Acadia” designed for AMCC by Embedded Planet, LLC. The Acadia board is configured with the Linux(R) operating system, but also provides the flexibility to load and run other PowerPC-compatible embedded operating systems. Schematics and layout files for the board are provided via AMCC’s website so customers can start their designs from a proven baseline. The board, with a 7″ x 7″ form factor, includes an AMCC 405EZ processor operating at a clock frequency of 416MHz. Other features include 256Mbytes of CRAM, 64Mbytes of NOR Flash, 8Mbytes of NAND flash, one 10/100 Ethernet port, two USB 1.1 host ports, one USB 1.1 device port, two CAN 2.0 ports, two serial ports, ADC and DAC connectors, JTAG connector, trace connector, Linux (2.6 kernel) in flash, and U-Boot boot firmware in flash. Also included in the evaluation kit is a suite of advanced processor and board diagnostics from Kozio, Inc., known as kDiagnostics(TM). This diagnostics package, which can be licensed by customers, performs in-depth testing of the processor and evaluation board.

This new kit joins the family of previously-introduced, easy-to-use AMCC evaluation kits, which include the Taihu 405EP kit, the Yosemite 440EP kit, the Sequoia 440EPx kit, the Yellowstone 440GR kit, the Rainier 440GRx kit, the Taishan 440GX kit and the Katmai 440SPe kit. AMCC’s extensive range of PowerPC evaluation kits was based on clear objectives to provide customers with easy-to-use platforms for processor evaluation and software development. Each of the kits can be set up in 15 minutes or less, facilitated by a clear, step-by-step Getting Started guide and user-friendly configuration software.

“The AMCC Acadia kit follows the strong example set by the prior AMCC evaluation kits: a proven, high-quality hardware reference design backed by complete software support from boot loader through operating system. With these kits customers can remove significant time from their already tight product development schedules and if a customer needs more customization AMCC’s development partners are well up the learning curve on the product,” said Matt Hoover, Embedded Planet’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“Many of our customers have selected AMCC processors because of these low-cost kits that make it so easy for them to evaluate the platform’s performance,” said John Weber, technology specialist for embedded processors at Avnet-Memec. “Our customers need a straightforward, painless way to check out a new processor and then start their software development. We expect the 405EZ Acadia kit to enable us to secure many more AMCC design-wins.”

“We are excited to introduce this 405EZ evaluation kit as part of our overall goal of improving our customers’ experience as they evaluate our processors and then start their own product development,” said Charlie Ashton, director of software at AMCC. “This kit retains the key concepts of our previously introduced kits, which have already been proven popular with customers. 405EZ customers will be able to move quickly through the evaluation phase, start their hardware design based on a proven baseline and start their software development before their own target hardware is ready.”

To assist with the processor evaluation phase, the 405EZ Resource CD included in the kit contains industry-standard benchmarks for use in processor performance analysis, such as TTCP, DBench, HINT(R), STREAM, Dhrystone and MPEG-4. These benchmarks allow customers to perform a detailed analysis of the processor’s performance using standard metrics without having to acquire and configure the benchmarks themselves.

Once customers progress to the software development phase and before their own target hardware (prototype board) is available, the evaluation kit enables them to start their software development early, thereby accelerating their time-to-market. The Resource CD offers a wide range of sample applications that can be used as a starting-point for customers’ software applications, as well as various utilities to aid in system configuration. The sample applications include a web server, telnet server, FTP server and example game, while the utilities provide a detailed configuration report on the board as well as utilities for setting the IP address and MAC ID.

The 405EZ evaluation kit is configured with the Linux operating system (2.6 kernel) along with U-Boot boot firmware, both provided by DENX Software Engineering. Customers can also load and run other PowerPC-compatible embedded operating systems, such as ThreadX(R) from Express Logic, Inc. and Micro-C OS from Micrium, Inc., both of which are provided on CDs included with the kit. Schematics and layout files for the board are provided free-of-charge via AMCC’s website so that customers can start their designs from a proven baseline. The Linux code and U-Boot code (both source code and executables) are available from DENX via links on AMCC’s website. Also included in the evaluation kit is kDiagnostics, a suite of advanced processor and board diagnostics from Kozio, Inc. This diagnostics package, which can be licensed by customers, performs in-depth testing of the processor and evaluation board.

To assist customers in selecting the optimum development environment for their 405EZ-based projects, software tools CDs from industry-leading suppliers such as DENX Software Engineering, Corelis, Inc. and Green Hills Software, Inc. are included in the kit.

Pricing and Availability
AMCC’s 405EZ evaluation kit will be available in May and may be ordered from AMCC or any authorized distributor using part number EV-KIT-405EZ-01. The suggested distributor resale price is $750.

About AMCC
AMCC is a global leader in network and embedded PowerPC processing, optical transport and storage solutions. Our products enable the development of converged IP-based networks offering high-speed secure data, high-definition video and high-quality voice for carrier, metropolitan, access and enterprise applications. AMCC provides networking equipment vendors with industry-leading communications processing, Ethernet, SONET and switch fabric solutions. AMCC is also the leading vendor of high-port count SATA RAID controllers enabling low-cost, high-performance, high-capacity storage. AMCC’s corporate headquarters are located in Sunnyvale, California. Sales and engineering offices are located throughout the world.

AMCC is a registered trademark of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation. The PowerPC name and logo are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation and used under license therefrom.

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