Electronic Design

Signal-Processing Modules Increase PCI Bus Performance

PCI-based bus systems can perform high-end image and signal processing with the VantageRT 7400 system from Mercury Computer Systems. It consists of the RACE++ high-speed multiprocessing Interlink adjunct modules and the G4 vector-processing processor cards. RACE++ adds a 1.725-Gbyte/s peak bus bandwidth in a 32-bit switch-fabric configuration.

VantageRT 7400 lets developers keep their ubiquitous PCI cards, since they can be supplemented for higher performance. Developers also can add high-end image processing with Motorola's MPC 7400 PowerPC, which comes with the AltiVec vector-processing engine. In this scheme, PowerPC 7400 CPUs are connected via a RACE++ adjunct bus. The PCI bus can still remain the system bus, and the system can include existing or other cards.

Furthermore, the VantageRT 7400 is a 33-MHz 64-bit system. Each RACE++ has a crossbar that links two PowerPC 7400s (G4s) with the PCI bus, an SCSI III interface, and two RACE++ over-the-top ports. Each PowerPC 7400 is supported by its own 2-Mbyte Level-2 cache and up to 256 Mbytes of SDRAM.

The RACE++ Interlink modules provide an over-the-top RACE++ connection to each RT7400 card. Each RT7400 card has two RACE++ over-the-top connections, accommodating up to two Interlink modules. This modular system can support up to 16 cards, building a RACE++ switch fabric hierarchy in which each PowerPC 7400 can link to any other 7400 using the buses' packet-switching capability. Also, RACE++ is implemented using RACE++ switch nodes. Each of these has eight ports. The peak bandwidth through each node is 1.756 Gbytes/s (four port pairs, each at 264 Mbytes/s).

VantageRT supports Windows NT and Solaris development environments. Windows NT provides host run-time support. For target systems, Mercury Computer Systems supplies the MC/OS run-time multiprocessing environment, which includes the MCexec real-time kernel.

VantageRT 7400 is available now. Pricing for the 7400 PCI cards starts at $13,000 each (400-MHz PPC 7400).

Mercury Computer Systems, 199 Riverneck Rd., Chelmsford, MA 01824-2820; (978) 256-1300; fax (978) 256-3599; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: www.mc.com.

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