Wednesday 10 July 2013

First SBCs to enable optimum price/performance, extend product life through easily upgraded

A further development in GE Intelligent Platforms's strategy to deliver high performance solutions for the connected world is the launch of the industry’s first family of modular single board computers (SBCs) designed specifically to deliver high performance over the long term with minimal expense and low total cost of ownership (TCO).

Single board computers can play a critical role in processing the significant amounts of data that characterize the connected world, and in ensuring that data is directed to where it is required in the shortest possible time. They are at the heart of many of the world’s most complex, most sophisticated, most demanding data-driven networks. The modularity that is at the heart of GE’s new family of SBCs will allow them to deliver the highest levels of functionality and performance over longer periods of deployment and at lower cost than is possible with current monolithic single board computer designs.

“GE’s vision for the advanced industrial and commercial networks of today’s connected world sees powerful, intelligent embedded computing subsystems interconnected to provide high performance, high speed nodes that can help transform business operations,” said Vibhoosh Gupta, Product Management Leader, GE Intelligent Platforms. “Single board computers have long been favored in these environments – but this new family of solutions from GE will make them an even more compelling choice.”

The new family of scalable, modular, single board computers takes advantage of GE’s decades of experience in engineering SBCs for critical infrastructure applications, affording organizations the opportunity for regular technology refreshes – but without the time-intensive and expensive requalification that would otherwise be involved. It also takes advantage of GE’s expertise in COM Express technology.

A wide range of applications is served by the new family – finance, medical, manufacturing, automation, communications, transportation, security and so on – where the requirement is to embed a powerful computing capability within a system or subsystem that is functioning in the highly connected world that is typical of today’s business operations.

“In order to remain competitive and to grow the profitability of their business, organizations need to continually refresh the computing framework of critical infrastructure applications, ensuring that the highest performance is maintained throughout their extended lifespan,” continued Gupta. “The problem is that this can involve significant time, effort and expense as new technologies are qualified for deployment. This new family of modular SBCs addresses that problem: critical systems can more easily be updated with less effort and at lower cost.”

The new family of modular GE SBCs achieve this by separating the computing core (processor, chipset and memory) on a COM Express module – from the carrier card (which typically contains system I/O ) on which the core is deployed. This allows the computing core to be simply and inexpensively upgraded to keep pace with increasing performance demands. It also minimizes the risk to the critical infrastructure from obsolescence issues, and reduces the cost to re-qualify the complete assembly.

“The rapid introduction of new generations of processor technology provide a significant opportunity to continuously maintain the highest levels of computing performance – and these new modular SBCs allow that opportunity to be leveraged more easily and at lower cost ,” continued Gupta.

The first product in the new VM601 family is the VM601P1 modular dual slot 6U VME64 SBC which features the QoriQ™ P1022 processor. Other family members will offer a choice of VIA Nano or Intel® Core™ i7 processors. They are designed to offer customers maximum flexibility and cost-effectiveness, with the ability to choose precisely the right combination of processor performance, power dissipation and cost. Additional SBC form factors will be added to the modular SBC family over time.

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