Multimedia CPU Board fits CompactPCI format.

Press Release Summary:

Hot swappable C161 Aurora Pentium III board combines high-speed networking, audio, and video with PICMG packet backplane and system management. It has 1 GHz processor, up to 2 Gbytes of SODIMM memory, three 10/100 Base-Tx Ethernet channels, 5 USB ports, and 2 Card-Bus slots. Its audio and video subsystems have independent coprocessors. Processor provides two 32-bit PCI local buses. One bus operates at 33 MHz; second bus operates at 66 MHz.

Original Press Release:

General Micro System's Announces Industry's Most Versatile CompactPCI Multimedia CPU Board

Pentium III Board Combines High-Speed Networking, Audio And Video With PICMG System Management

Rancho Cucamonga, CA. June 3, 2002. General Micro Systems today announced the C161 Aurora, the industry's most versatile and highly integrated CompactPCI multimedia CPU board. Utilizing the latest PICMG packet backplane and system management technologies, Aurora is the first hot-swappable CompactCPI single-board computer to offer the I/O functionality of a sub-notebook computer while providing the computing power, memory capacity, multimedia facilities, networking, and disk storage of a full-size computer.

Aurora can operate as a system master or peripheral master. Equipped with a 1-GHz Pentium III processor and up to 2 Gbytes of SODIMM memory, the NEBS III-compliant C161 features three 10/100 Base-Tx Ethernet channels, five USB ports, and two Card-Bus slots. Aurora also features high-performance audio and video subsystems utilizing independent coprocessors, can perform redundant backplane packet transfers per the PICMG PSB standard, and utilizes PICMG-compliant system management.

"No single-board computer in any form factor can match Aurora's all around processing, I/O, storage, and multimedia capabilities," said Ben Sharfi, president of General Micro Systems. "Aurora is ideal for building telecom test equipment, call centers, military/aerospace and control systems, particularly those with tight space constraints that require high-speed video and utilize voice-activated response, and diagnostics and training."

"Detailed, PICMG-compliant system monitoring and health management also set this board apart," added Sharfi. "It's no longer enough to report failures. The CPU boards used in today's high- availability and mission-critical control, telecom, and military/aerospace systems must provide continuous updates on key operational parameters like voltage, temperature and fan speed so that the system can make the necessary adjustments in a timely fashion."

Aurora's processing, memory, and I/O subsystems are partitioned to enhance parallelism and maximize overall system throughput. The board's 1-GHz Pentium III processor, equipped with 256 kbytes of on-die L2 cache, uses an Intel 440GX Northbridge to access main memory. The Northbridge also provides two 32-bit PCI local buses. One bus, operating at 33-MHz, provides access to local I/O, CardBus, Ethernet, and audio subsystems. The second bus, operating at 66 MHz, connects to an AGP bus, which drives the high-bandwidth video display subsystem. Both the Pentium III processor and 440GX Northbridge/Southbridge are part of Intel's Embedded Roadmap, which guarantees a minimum five-year life cycle.

Aurora provides all the I/O, mass storage, and networking capability of a full desktop system. In addition to standard keyboard, mouse, and timer functions, Aurora provides five USB ports, two serial ports, four Mbytes of BIOS and user flash, and two IDE DMA-66 ports, one of which can be equipped with a 2.5-inch, 100-Gbyte hard drive, the other of which can be used to install a 32-Mbyte Disk-On-Chip flash drive on board. Aurora also provides two hot-swappable Type II Card-Bus ports and three 10/100 Base-Tx Ethernet controllers. Two of the Ethernet controllers support the 2.16 Ethernet Packet Switched Backplane, which provides a standard protocol for backplane communications between multiple boards or chassis. The third Ethernet channel is routed to an RJ-45 port on the front panel for use as a standard LAN.

Aurora's audio subsystem, which provides line-in, line-out, and microphone-in functionality, features an on-board CS4630 Crystal-Clear Sound Fusion PCI Audio Accelerator, which is equipped with a 420-MIPS DSP, 20-bit quad-output DAC and an 18-bit dual-input stereo A-D converter. The subsystem, which performs acoustic echo cancellation and features a 10-band digital filter/equalizer, is ideal for accelerating applications such as Microsoft DirectSound and Direct-Sound 3D, making it easy to add voice recognition functionality such as Dragon Software's Naturally Speaking or IBM's ViaVoice. This makes Aurora ideal for hands-free defense telecom and automation applications where operators must be able to navigate complex menus and input data without having to use a mouse or keyboard. Voice command systems can also be used to authenticate users without the need for passwords, and to train new operators.

Aurora's video subsystem is based on Asiliant's 69030 dual-mode video controller, which supports both standard RGB analog and DVI (Digital Video Interface) digital video via Digital Flat Panels. The video subsystem supports screen resolutions of up to 1600 x 1200 with 64,000 colors. Moreover, unlike competitive CPU boards, in which the video controller resides the main PCI bus, Aurora's controller resides on a dedicated 66-MHz AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) bus. Through the AGP bus, which is tied to a dedicated PCI local bus port on the Northbridge, the 69030 can access the Pentium III and system memory directly without interference from I/O and networking devices that reside on the Northbridge's second PCI bus.

Aurora's health monitoring system complies with the PICMG Baseboard Management standard, which defines a standard protocol for managing and reporting key system parameters such as processor temperature, on-board voltages, and fan speed. Aurora's key subsystems utilize a network of on-board I²C buses to report these parameters to a centralized management system. This system, based on Aurora's Vitesse Baseboard Management Controller, utilizes an R3000 CPU to boost performance and up to eight tachometers to precisely control fan speed and temperature. The controller uses an Intelligent Platform Management Bus (IPMB) to exchange management data with other CPCI boards within the CPCI chassis, and an Intelligent Chassis Management Bus to communicate with multiple chassis.

Software support for Aurora includes Windows 2000, Linux, QNX and VxWorks.

The Aurora C161 equipped with an 850-MHz CPU and 256 Mbytes of RAM costs $2800 in single-piece quantity, For more information on the C161, please contact General Micro Systems, Inc. at 8358 Maple Place, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. Phone: (909) 980-4863. Fax: (909) 987-4863. E-mail. World Wide Web site:

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