AMCC Unveils Arches Reference Design Kit for PowerPC 460GT Processor

Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (NASDAQ:AMCC), a global leader in embedded Power Architecture(tm) processing, optical transport and storage solutions, announced the availability of a comprehensive dual-processor reference design kit, “Arches,” for its Power Architecture 460GT processor. The Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) industry-standard solution supports systems based on Serial RapidIO(tm) (AMC.4), Gigabit Ethernet (AMC.2), and PCI Express (AMC.1) interconnects.

To accelerate customers’ development time for AdvancedTCA® and MicroTCA(tm) systems, AMCC’s new reference design kit provides users with a comprehensive set of resources including a custom-designed AMC form factor, industry-standard, software development tools, open-source middleware for inter-process communications, a leading RapidIO network management and diagnostic tool, system-level benchmarks, and complete hardware/software design package.

The Arches kit allows customers first to evaluate the PowerPC® 460GT processor in an ATCA® environment and then to use the turnkey hardware/software design as a starting-point for developing their own product, adding as much or as little custom design as appropriate for their product goals.

The Arches card, conforming to the standard single width mid-size AMC form factor (180mm x 74mm x 17mm), is a solution developed for AMCC by Silicon Turnkey Express. The card design includes dual AMCC PowerPC 460GT processors, each operating at a clock frequency of 1.0GHz. Other hardware features include 1GByte of DDR2 SDRAM, 128MBytes of NOR Flash, 1GByte Micro-SD flash, two serial ports on the front panel, two 10/100/1G Ethernet ports on the front panel, four 10/100/1G Ethernet ports on the AMC connector, x1/x4 Serial RapidIO port on AMC connector, x1/x4 Serial RapidIO/PCI-Express port on AMC connector, a shared JTAG® connector, and two trace connectors. The flash image includes Linux® 2.6 kernel and U-Boot boot firmware, both provided by Denx, along with a file system that incorporates the RapidFET configuration software as well as the LINX® (open source) inter-process communications (IPC) framework, plus a range of AMCC-developed sample applications, benchmarks and utilities.

“We are proud to have developed the Arches reference design kit for AMCC,” said Robert Applebaum, President of Silicon Turnkey Express. “We believe that this kit will enable AMCC’s wireless infrastructure customers to accelerate their time-to-market for AdvancedTCA AMC-based products. In addition, we are pleased to announce that the Arches dual-processor card is also available in OEM quantities as a standard product from Silicon Turnkey Express.”

“As systems’ topologies grow and become more distributed, the portable, open-source (https://sourceforge.net/projects/linx/) Inter-Process Communication (IPC) solution, LINX, can facilitate high performance inter- and intra-CPU messaging between applications. LINX offers IPC scalability from high end control nodes to low end data plane nodes as it has been ported to many OS’s and CPU’s including DSPs,” said Michael Christofferson, Director of Product Management from Enea. “AMCC’s support of LINX IPC on the Arches dual PowerPC 460GT reference design will provide customers with the opportunity to utilize a common IPC solution across all devices in a distributed processing system for which Arches may be one component.”

“As systems become more and more complex, the overall integration of all the components becomes much more of a challenge. With the turn-key AMC solution from AMCC, system integrators are able to focus on their value-add,” said Jim Parisien, President of Fabric Embedded Tools (FET) Corporation. “By utilizing RapidFET, a network management and diagnostic tool, the system architects are able to visually configure systems, isolate problems, manage system traffic, and capture device or system data. The combination of the high-performance AMC reference design kit from AMCC and RapidFET tools will enable customers to accelerate their time-to-market and allow them to focus on their core competencies.”

“AMCC continues to ease the development process for embedded designers and drive speed to market for next generation applications,” said Tom Cox, Executive Director of the RapidIO Trade Association. “The advanced RapidIO network management and diagnostic tool in AMCC’s new reference design kit is a valuable addition to the RapidIO ecosystem.”

“We are excited to introduce this new comprehensive reference design kit based on dual PowerPC 460GT processors for AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA platforms, which enables our customers to get to market quicker with a cutting-edge solution,” said Charlie Ashton, Director of Enablement at AMCC. “Our customers can move quickly through the processor evaluation phase and then start their system development based on a proven turnkey hardware/software baseline design. Overall, they will accelerate their development schedules while minimizing their development cost and risk. We are delighted that Silicon Turnkey Express has produced this high-quality reference AMC card for us and are pleased that the product incorporates leading-edge software from Denx, Enea, and FET Corp. We value our relationship with all these partners and look forward to further collaboration with them in the future.”

To assist with the processor evaluation phase, the Resource CD included in the kits contains industry-standard benchmarks for use in processor performance analysis, such as TTCP, DBench, HINT®, STREAM 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. Also included is a custom security benchmarking environment that measures the performance of the on-chip security engine on standard security algorithms. Once customers progress to the software development phase and before their own target hardware (prototype board) is available, 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 an 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 new Arches reference design kit complements AMCC’s twelve previously-introduced, easy-to-use evaluation kits, including (in the case of the PowerPC 460GT) the Glacier 460GT evaluation kit. AMCC’s extensive range of PowerPC evaluation kits is 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 quickly, facilitated by a clear, step-by-step Getting Started guide and user-friendly configuration software. The dual-PowerPC 460GT reference design kit is based on the same user-friendly concepts as the rest of the family, while adding new system-level solutions to further enhance customers’ experiences.

AMCC’s evaluation kits and overall “enablement” strategy were recently reviewed and commended in a white paper authored by Synchromesh Computing LLC and available at www.amcc.com/Company/SynchromeshComputing_AMCC_OOB-Final-copyright.pdf. The new dual-processor PowerPC 460GT reference design kit provides users with the same high-quality out-of-the-box experience described in this white paper.

To assist customers in selecting the optimum development environment for their PowerPC 460GT-based projects, software tools CDs from industry-leading suppliers such as Denx and Corelis, Inc. are included in the kit.

Pricing and Availability
AMCC’s Arches dual-processor PowerPC 460GT reference design kit will be available in July 2008 and may be ordered from AMCC or any authorized distributor using part numbers RD-460GT-AMC-01. The suggested distributor resale price for each kit is $2995.

About AMCC
AMCC provides leadership semiconductor solutions to process, transport, and store digital information for the world’s wired and wireless networks. As a leading supplier of Power Architecture(tm) based processors and with world-class expertise in SONET and Ethernet protocol processing and PHY technology and Storage processors and RAID controllers, our products are the foundation of the IP Communications Revolution. AMCC’s 3ware SAS and SATA RAID controllers deliver cost-effective, high-performance, high-capacity storage for enterprises and consumers worldwide in applications like disk-to-disk backup, near-line storage, network-attached storage (NAS), video, and high-performance computing.

AMCC is a registered trademark of APPLIED MICRO CIRCUITS CORPORATION. Power Architecture is a trademark licensed by Power.org.