[Updated: Sept. 28] — Perfectron’s new EPIC SBC runs Linux on 5th Gen Core CPUs, expands modularly with a rare PC/104 fork called “StackPC,” and supports -40 to 85°C operation.
The dominant formats for standards based, mid-sized single-board computers introduced over the past few years have been Mini-ITX and the so-called “3.5-inch SBC” form-factor. Although Perfectron makes SBCs in both of these formats, for its new “OXY5638A” SBC it chose the PC/104 Consortium’s 115 x 165mm EPIC format, which is slightly larger than the similarly rectangular 3.5-inch SBC spec. But in place of EPIC’s usual PC/104-Plus or PCIe/104 modular expansion, the company substituted an obscure PC/104 fork called “StackPC.”
OXY5638A viewed from two angles
(click images to enlarge)
The OXY5638A SBC is offered with a choice three of Intel’s dual-core, 15W TDP Broadwell-U processors, ranging from 2.1GHz to 3.2GHz CPU clock rates. The three processor alternatives also differ in their graphics subsystems, as follows:
- Core i3-5010U (2.1GHz; 15W TDP) — Intel HD Graphics 5500
- Core i5-5350U (2.9GHz, 15W TDP) — Intel HD Graphics 6000
- Core i7-5650U (3.2GHz; 15W TDP) — Intel HD Graphics 6000
OXY5638A top (left) and bottom views
(click images to enlarge)
Perfectron touts the OXY5638A SBC’s suitability for applications in punishing environments. The board’s specs show an operating temperature range of -40 to 85°C, and indicate that it meets MIL-STD-810G’s requirements for thermal, shock, and vibration resistance. To help meet these environmental specs, the SBC uses a pair of XR-DIMM modules for up to 16GB of rugged DDR3-1600 SDRAM, rather than depending on conventional SODIMMs. Also, there’s an option for up to 64GB of on-board, SATA-interfaced, uSSD NAND flash storage.
XR-DIMM RAM module installation
The OXY5638A’s display outputs include a pair each of DisplayPorts and VGA interfaces along with a dual-channel 24-bit LVDS interface, and there’s also a “Pen Mount 6000” touch interface controller. Other I/O includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, six serial ports, three USB ports, audio I/O, and several digital I/O lines.
For high-speed expansion there are eight PCI Express lanes, organized as four independent x1 lanes plus one x4 channel. The PCIe signals are routed to the board’s two mini-PCIe sockets and its StackPC expansion bus, although the specifics are not detailed on the product page and at this point there’s no block diagram to clarify matters. Both mini-PCIe sockets are full-sized, include USB 2.0 signaling, and are accompanied by SIM card slots.
The OXY563A SBC operates from a single 12V DC power source, and supports Linux (Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat) and Windows (8.1/7) operating systems, says Perfectron.
StackPC is essentially a fork of the PC/104 Consortium’s three-bank PCIe/104 bus. it maintains compatibility with PCIe/104’s first bank, but defines an alternative signal set for the second and third banks. PCIe/104 already offers “Type 1” and “Type 2” pinout options, so StackPC amounts to an ad hoc “Type 3,” which could eventually be incorporated into PCIe/104, much as OneBank has.
StackPC’s three-bank connector implementation includes these functions:
- 4x PCIe x1
- 1x PCIe x4
- 6x USB 2.0
- 1x SATA
- 1x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1x LPC
- 2x Fieldbus serial interfaces
- 3x SPI
- 1x SMB
- Power and related control signals
In addition to its three-bank connector alternative, the StackPC spec also defines an alternative to PC/104-Plus spec’s 120-pin stackable PCI connector, which is often paired with PCIe/104 on modules and SBCs. The new stackable bus connector, called “FPE” (Fat Pipe Expansion), carries an assortment “user” I/O signals, including some unconstrained pins that are reserved for application-specific definition, and is intended to minimize the need for I/O cabling to modules within a stack.
StackPC vs. PCIe/104 expansion module options (left) and StackPC stack features
According to Perfectron’s OXY5638A product page, “the main competitive distinction of the StackPC connector is the combination of most popular low speed interfaces such as USB, COM, CAN, SPI, LPC and high speed SATA, Gigabit Ethernet and PCI Express x1, x4 within one stack expansion connector.”
StackPC is documented at length in the StackPC specification, which is available for download in PDF format from StackPC.org. According to a source within the PC/104 Consortium, StackPC is not currently under consideration for potential addition to the PC/104 Consortium’s portfolio of specs.
The OXY5638A appears to be available now, at an unstated price. Additional details may be found at Perfectron’s OXY5638A product page.