Synergy Unleashes Rhino COTS Board with I/O Redundancy for Avionics

9/26/2003 - Synergy Microsystems, Inc. (Synergy) announced Rhino MXTM, its latest, ruggedized COTS board that enables avionics designers to dramatically upgrade current MIL-STD-1553 platforms, or devise powerful new configurations, without exceeding space, weight and power constraints in existing airframes. This board is the first to offer complete hardware fault-tolerance capability of all on-board I/O components, allowing for previously unavailable levels of redundancy and reliability.

The new conduction-cooled Rhino MX that marries either single or dual, 1.3 GHz+ G4 PowerPC 7457 chips to the highest-density, entirely redundant I/O offering available on a single-slot, 6U VME board. This extensive I/O offering includes two 10/100 Ethernet ports, up to six RS-232/422/485 serial ports, two IEEE 1394 channels, two USB 2.0 ports and 16 discrete I/O lines. Key to avionics system support are the two dual-redundant, multi-function 1553B channels which provide the crucial network fail-over capability and enhanced system fault-tolerance inherent in the 1553 standard. The board further extends I/O flexibility by providing two on-board, 64-bit PMC sites.

According to Synergy CEO Thomas Powell, "Rhino MX delivers on the three key attributes our OEMS were looking for in a next-gen, high-performance avionics board: a quantum leap in processor speed - more than twice that of previous boards, a full array of on-board I/O options - all of which provide a secondary channel for fail-over capability, and dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553 combined with the survivability needed to ensure sustained operation in harsh avionics environments. All without adding to total board count."

Powell noted that the Rhino MX was designed at the specific request of COTS customers needing to integrate a wide range of technological advances into long-established, ruggedized weapons and flight-control systems. "Inserting new technology into existing systems without having to change bus and networking standards was a strong mandate from many of our customers. Additionally, offering a host of contemporary communication I/O, with the same hardware fail-over capability as the veteran 1553 bus, provides designers a range of networking options that was not previously available to them," he added.

Unprecedented PowerPC Performance
Rhino MX features the PowerPC 7457 – the latest offering in the G4 family of PowerPC CPUs, in either a single or dual processor configuration. It is currently available in clock speeds exceeding 1.3 GHz, providing almost 12 GFLOPS of computing power per processor. The 7457 expands on the enhanced, three-tier cache architecture found on the 7455 by adding 2 MB of private memory to the 2 MB L3 cache, greatly increasing memory speed and efficiency. The Rhino MX complements the 7457 CPU with the DiscoveryTM advanced memory/system controller – integrating fast memory, dual PCI buses and abundant I/O functionality, all routed through a high-bandwidth crossbar.

Ruggedization Levels
The conduction-cooled Rhino MX features Synergy's exclusive, field-proven heat frame design offering superior rigidity and heat dissipation under the most demanding operating conditions. Rhino MX has passed the harshest environmental tests, executing code without errors while withstanding random vibration over 14 Gs, shocks up to 40 Gs, and temperatures ranging from -40 to +85 degrees C. The board’s heat frame provides both primary and secondary PMC thermal interfaces, ensuring proper cooling of SBCs and attached modules.

Air-cooled Version Available
The same high-performance features offered on the Rhino MX are also available in an air-cooled version, the Raptor MX. These new offerings continue Synergy's record of ongoing performance improvements that keep pace with the military's requirement for ever-increasing processing power.

Strong Software Support
Synergy has one of the most seasoned software engineering teams in the industry. Their in-depth working knowledge of real-time operating systems has enabled them to develop exceptionally robust board-support packages (BSPs) for VxWorks/Tornado, Linux, SMP Linux and Integrity. These BSPs have been fine-tuned to support fast boot-up, robust device driver optimization and ease of use. Synergy also provides STAR/ASTRixTM, a comprehensive firmware package comprised of system monitor and diagnostics, power-up and initiated Built-in Self-Test (BIST), as well as configuration, memory management and networking tools. In addition, Synergy offers an extensive hand-coded DSP Math Library optimized to support the PowerPC and AltiVec processors’ handling of intensive signal and image-processing applications.

Rhino MX is currently available at a starting price of $7,195.

About Synergy Microsystems
Synergy Microsystems, Inc. ( specializes in the design, manufacture and integration of single- and multi-processor, single-board computers for VME and CompactPCI systems to meet the needs of demanding real-time applications in military, aerospace, DSP, and industrial/commercial markets. Synergy has a long track record of extracting the highest possible performance from current and emerging SBC technologies, then supporting these technologies through extended product lifecycles. In business since 1985 under the original ownership, the corporation is privately held, with facilities in San Diego, CA. and Tucson, AZ.

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