AMCC Introduces Arches Reference Design Kit for PowerPC 460GT

Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (NASDAQ:AMCC), a global leader in embedded Power Architecture® processing, optical transport and storage solutions, announced the availability of Arches, an Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) form factor dual-processor reference design kit for its Power Architecture 460GT processor. The kit is a key component in the company’s comprehensive strategy to support Advanced TCA. Arches provides developers with options for hardware, software, development tools and connectivity interfaces and it represents the company’s direction to help accelerate time-to-market by creating a healthy product development ecosystem for its AdvancedTCA® customers.

AMCC will share its technical expertise, leverage its co-development efforts with industry-leading partners and demonstrate the Arches reference design during the AdvancedTCA/MicroTCA Summit and Exhibition, Oct. 21-23 in booth #304, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

“Individual ATCA developers, designers and system integrators all have their own unique development environments and they require more from microprocessor vendors than just the hardware,” said Charlie Ashton, Director of PowerPC Enablement at AMCC. “They require wide industry support to maximize the success of their products and AMCC has been hard at work engaging with leading providers so that our customers can build products in their own development environments, with a variety of operating systems to choose from, with off-the-shelf middleware that lets them add value and with proven hardware/software configurations that help them accelerate time to market.”

Ashton will be one of three company executives who will share insights about the latest in ATCA advancements during conference. He will discuss accelerating the development of high-performance AMC processor cards during a seminar entitled “Bringing in Advanced TCA and MicroTCA Projects On-Time and On Budget” on Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 1:40 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.

Arches is an Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) industry-standard solution supporting systems based on Serial RapidIO (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 board in the AMC form factor, industry-standard software development tools, open-source middleware for interprocess communications from Enea, a leading RapidIO® network management and diagnostic tool from FETCorp, system-level benchmarks, and a complete hardware/software design package.

“Now that AMCC’s reference design kit is available, developers will be able to witness the ease and effectiveness of the RapidIO network management and diagnostic tool in preparing next generation applications for market,” said Tom Cox, Executive Director of the RapidIO Trade Association. “The ATCA space is attracting substantial interest and we welcome solutions that help system designers achieve rapid time to market such as AMCC’s Arches.”

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 two 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, along with a file system that incorporates the RapidFET configuration software as well as the open source LINX interprocess communications (IPC) framework developed by Enea, plus a range of AMCC-developed sample applications, benchmarks and utilities.

“The Arches reference design kit will enable AMCC’s wireless infrastructure customers to accelerate their products’ time-to-market and use standard development environments such as ATCA and micro-TCA,” said Robert Applebaum, President of Silicon Turnkey Express. “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 to support lower volume and pilot run requirements.”

“As distributed, multi-core and multiprocessor systems become more complex, interprocess communication (IPC) services that facilitate transparent, high-performance communications between processors are becoming essential for maximizing scalability, portability, and upgradability,” said Terry Pearson, Vice President of Marketing at Enea. “LINX is the industry’s fastest, most versatile, most scalable open source IPC technology for building complex distributed software. Now, this technology is available, preconfigured for Linux and the dual 460GT configuration, out-of-the-box, on the Arches platform.”

“In today’s competitive landscape, OEMs are pressured to find new ways to provide more services for less money. This requirement inevitably pushes down to the board designer requiring processors with better performance to power ratios. The dual 460GT AMC solution from AMCC, is an excellent example of how two high performance processors on a single AMC card can help meet this challenge,” said Jim Parisien, President of Fabric Embedded Tools (FET) Corporation. “At the same time, higher performance often means higher densities per card which translates to debug and system integration challenges. To keep development and maintenance costs down, OEMs need efficient and comprehensive diagnostic tools. RapidFET, a RapidIO network management and diagnostic tool, is a very comprehensive and practical tool that helps OEMs 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 meet their performance and time-to-market goals.”

“We are excited to announce the availability of this 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. “Overall, our customers will be able to 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 solutions from Denx, Enea, and FETCorp. 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 reference design kit Arches complements AMCC’s twelve previously-introduced, easy-to-use evaluation kits, including 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.

To assist customers in developing their own system software based around the Arches platform, an Embedded Linux Development Kit (ELDK) CD from Denx is included in the kit.

Pricing and Availability
AMCC’s Arches dual-processor PowerPC 460GT reference design kit will be available in November 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® 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 and 3ware are registered trademarks of APPLIED MICRO CIRCUITS CORPORATION. Power Architecture is a trademark licensed by Power.org. PowerPC is a registered trademark of IBM Corporation used under license therefrom.