MEN Micro Targets Transportation Entertainment with 3U Eurocard SBC

11/4/2004 - A new CompactPCI single board computer (SBC) from MEN Micro ( meets the tough operating standards for transportation applications while providing the high performance of a Pentium III-equivalent processor. The 3U Eurocard SBC features Transmeta’s 800 MHz Crusoe TM5900 processor and is well suited for mobile or stationary entertainment and information applications in the transportation industry.

The F8 supports the industrial temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees C and meets or exceeds transportation specifications of the European EN50155 standard for railway systems. Because the Crusoe-based F8 is code compatible with Intel Pentium processors, the F8 is capable of running any PC software application.

“We’re seeing more and more interest in applications in transportation that combine entertainment and traditional information processing,” said Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro. “Embedding computer hardware in vehicles has its own set of stringent requirements, so the F8 has been designed to exceed the typical specifications for on-board transportation systems.”

The F8 meets all of the requirements for transportation applications, including reliability, operating temperature, humidity, shock, vibration and others. It can be deployed as a standalone computer or as a system-slot controller in a CompactPCI card cage. Both Windows and Linux operating systems are supported.

Robust Processing
The F8’s 800 MHz Crusoe TM5900 processor has an integrated Northbridge but it consumes no more than 5 W of power. The Crusoe is the only Pentium-class processor that supports the industrial temperature range up to 85 degrees C.

“With the introduction of the F8, MEN Micro has created an exciting new SBC which is ideally suited for harsh environments,“ said Arthur L. Swift, senior vice president of marketing for Transmeta. “Additionally, the robust F8 takes full advantage of the benefits offered by the Crusoe TM5900 processor, including an optimal price/performance ratio and long-term availability, all in a compact, energy-efficient form factor.“

The 235 MHz graphics controller on the F8 has 24-bit RAMDAC memory and supports resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 pixels. It can control two independent digital screens with different or identical images. And it can also simultaneously drive three monitors at once, two with digital video interfaces (DVI) and one analog cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor. For cable connections of considerable length, the F8 features two DVI connectors on its front panel.

Other resources of the F8 that are typically associated with PCs include double data rate (DDR) RAM memory up to one gigabyte, an on-board CompactFlash slot for scalable program memory, a USB port as well as a serial port and two Fast Ethernet interfaces, with either RJ45 or D-Sub connectors. In its standard three-slot (12 HP) configuration, the F8 can accommodate a shock-mounted 2.5-in. hard disk. The SBC also comes with a real-time clock and watchdog monitor.

Flexible I/O
With the F8’s myriad of input/output (I/O) options, system designers can configure platforms to meet the specific needs of a wide variety of applications. For example, the F8 includes a 250,000-gate Cyclone FPGA from Altera, which can be configured to provide a number of I/O interfaces.

The I/O modules that can be loaded into the Cyclone FPGA are all written in VHDL code and are linked internally in the device using a standard wishbone bus. Externally, the FPGA uses the PCI bus of the board’s processor. The FPGA can also be programmed with application software which is loaded dynamically at runtime.

In addition, the F8 supports small, plug-in I/O modules, called SA adapters that provide the physical interfaces on the board’s front panel for the FPGA’s I/O functions. The F8 can support as many as eight SA adapters, in which case the front panel will be seven cPCI slots wide (28 HP). A typical expansion of the F8’s I/O capabilities using the FPGA and SA adapters might include RS232, RS422/485, HDLC, binary I/O, CAN, AC’97 audio or PS/2.

Pricing and Availability
The F8 is available now from MEN Micro, Inc. Pricing starts at $1,434 for single units. In the United States, MEN Micro products are sold through a national network of technical manufacturer's representatives. For sales information, call 512-267-8883, send faxes to 512-267-8803 or email More information on the F8, this press release, a product photo and collateral materials are available at

About MEN Micro
MEN designs, manufactures and sells board-level industrial real-time and embedded computer products. The flexibility inherent in MEN’s standard products allows system platforms to be custom configured for a wide range of applications. In addition, the company develops custom boards and systems for OEMs, end users and system integrators. MEN’s products include Embedded System Modules (ESM), VMEbus and CompactPCI compute platforms with Intel Pentium, Motorola 68000 or PowerPC processors, and a wide selection of M-Module or PC·MIP mezzanine I/O modules. The MEN product lines support the most widely used operating systems, including Windows NT, VxWorks, OS-9, QNX and Linux.

MEN was founded in 1982 in Nürnberg, Germany, as MEN Mikro Elektronik GmbH. The company has subsidiaries in France, MEN Mikro Elektronik SA; the United Kingdom, MEN Micro, Ltd., and the United States, MEN Micro, Inc. A network of technical distributors services and supports the rest of the world.

Windows and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. OS-9 is a trademark of Microware Corporation. VxWorks is a trademark of WindRiver Corporation.

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