AcQ has developed a range of cutting-edge VPX processor boards (the “Medusa” boards) based on the NXP T4-series of System-on-Chip (SoC) devices. These devices include the T4240 (24 virtual cores), T4160 (16 virtual cores) and T4080 (8 virtual cores). This was an internal development to create an innovative new standard Single Board Computer (SBC) product and has since been deployed at several customers worldwide.
Looking for an upgrade to their existing range of processor boards, AcQ wanted to be at the forefront of available technologies and performance with their new design. The VPX form factor was quickly becoming the de facto standard for ruggedised applications requiring high-speed connections; the selected 3U VPX form factor would create a small, but powerful computing platform for a SWaP-optimised solution. The powerful T4-series of PowerPC SoCs by NXP perfectly complemented the intended applications for the design, thus this range of devices was selected for this design.
The wishlist for all features to go on the board was extensive, to best serve as many possible applications. Combined with the high-speed signalling and large amount of power supplies, this design required significant ingenuity from AcQ’s engineering department. A brief run-down of the hardware integrated on the board, aside from the main SoC:
– Up to 12GB of DDR3 RAM, divided over 3 banks, with a 64-bit bus plus ECC
– A powerful Xilinx Kintex 7 FPGA, for additional user-programmable functionality
– 64GB of eMMC storage
– 4x 1GB Ethernet links
– 2x SATA 2.0 and 2x USB 2.0
– Extensive on-board monitoring
– High-speed interfaces to backplane, such as PCI Express
Software support was created for a wide range of operating systems, such as Linux, VxWorks, Integrity and PikeOS. A Rear Transition Module is also available for the board, to expose the available backplane interfaces to users.
Note: the Medusa range of devices is now also available with the low-power T4241, T4161 and T4081 devices.