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October 31, 2010     

Micro/sys Expands I/O Flexibility on the First ARM Cortex-A8 SBC by Enhancing Access to the User-Configurable On-Board FPGA

Montrose, CA... For maximum off-the-shelf I/O flexibility, Micro/sys provides user access to a Xilinx Spartan 6 Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) on a low-power, high-performance Cortex-A8 single board computer (SBC) using Freescale Semiconductor's i.MX515 processor. The Micro/sys SBC1651 is easily embeddable supporting a 104 Form Factor and is available in extended temperature. Matching the newest Freescale i.MX processor series with Xilinx's vast library of IP modules for I/O expansion, this powerful SBC provides embedded users with the world's first completely integrated solution on a small, low-power, rugged board. OEMs reap the benefit of this integration realizing reduced development efforts, easily customized I/O, faster time to market, easier production builds, and lower total cost of ownership.

With flexible FPGA I/O options, the Micro/sys SBC1651 allows OEMs to efficiently configure boards with their exact I/O requirements, tailoring this SBC to address the embedded I/O requirements in markets such as automation, medical, transportation, energy, military, and communications. Validated IP cores are available for CAN-bus, Ethernet, serial interfaces (SPI Master / UART), I2C, and GPIO. This empowers the user to configure the SBC with the right mix of I/O. On-board headers then mate to cable breakout boards providing users their unique I/O mix on one small single board computer. For users with more customized I/O needs, Micro/sys also offers FPGA programming services. The flexibility enabled by this FPGA technology eco-system of IP cores and connector interface adaptors combined with the high-performance, low-power Cortex-A8 processor makes the Micro/sys SBC1651 an ideal single board computer for dedicated RISC platforms.

"The marriage of the Cortex-A8 with the Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA on a PC/104-sized board heralds a significant advance in embedded board level products," Susan Wooley, President of Micro/sys explains. "OEMs gain I/O flexibility with the on-board FPGA with the low-power, extended temperature performance of the Cortex-A8 RISC processor and it's very sophisticated multimedia user interfaces. OEMs maximize cost-efficiencies, because they adapt a single SBC to meet all of their I/O needs by simply 'tweaking' the FPGA. This can reduce the need for multiple plug-on I/O boards, eliminate the need for different hardware builds for different models in manufacturing, and consolidate versions into one IP install on the FPGA. These efficiencies continue into the future, because OEM product upgrades are easier to implement and product life cycles are extended with the elimination of specialized IC's. For customers who could not previously consider COTS solutions, because their application required a high-level of customizing, FPGA I/O customization offers them options. These users, with access to the FPGA, are able to install and integrate their own proprietary IP, maintaining the software differentiation of their application while realizing the efficiencies and gains of using off-the-shelf single board computers."

In addition to the I/O flexibility enabled by the on-board FPGA, the Micro/sys SBC1651 offers an abundance of features. 512MB SDRAM, 2GB flash, and 2 SD/MMC card slots answer the demand for portability and multimedia storage simultaneously. The dual 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, seven serial ports, four USB ports (one On-The-Go) ensure the SBC1651 provides design engineers every means of embedded communication their application requires. Additional on-board peripherals include a real-time clock, watchdog timer, 1-wire interface, 24 lines of discrete I/O, two PWM outputs, audio support TV out, 24-bit LVDS flat panel display output, 4-wire touchscreen interface, and a SATA HDD port. Since all components are validated for the extended temperature range from -40 C to +85 C, the SBC1651 is industrial temperature capable by design.

The SBC1651 starts at $595 in single quantity and mid $300's in OEM quantities. Turn-key development kits for Linux and Windows CE are available for $995 with an extensive tool base allowing immediate out-of-the-box development. Significant OEM discounts are available on all boards. Micro/sys also offers custom FPGA programming services. Contact Technical Sales Dept., Micro/sys, Inc., 3730 Park Place, Montrose, CA 91020, Phone (818) 244-4600, Fax (818) 244-4246, email:, URL:

About Micro/sys:
Since 1976, Micro/sys has been specializing in OEM high-performance, compact, low-power industrial single board computer products suited for demanding environments. Pioneering the USB movement within the stackable computer market, Micro/sys is a leading provider of Host and Client USB microcomputer and microcontroller boards. Micro/sys embedded computers are specified by OEMs in a range of applications including semiconductor processing, medical, military, mail handling, pharmaceutical, industrial marking, process control, and many other industries. For more information, visit the Micro/sys website,

About StackableUSB:
StackableUSB ruggedizes USB, I2C, and SPI into compact form factors enabling the technology to move into harsh environments such as industrial control systems, mobile, hand-held, military, medical, and remote communications applications. Visit for more information on StackableUSB and its ability to increase throughput as technology advances.


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