Features

Liquid Cooling Takes Aim at Gamer PC Applications

Recent technical advances in graphics processing units have accelerated the proliferation of high-power graphics processing units (GPUs) and multiple GPUs in high-end gamer PC applications. Characterized by very high heat loads, this application is causing increasing numbers of OEMs to investigate alternative methods, such as liquid cooling, to achieve the level of thermal management needed for dramatically higher systempower levels. Traditional GPU cooling strategies, such as those combining a heat pipe, heat sink, and fan, provide diminishing thermal performance at 120W per chip. Alternatively, the aggressive cooling requirements of gamer PCs and other high heat-flux processor applications are proving to be fertile ground for “non-traditional” approaches that offer at least 25% better thermal performance, as typified by advanced liquid-cooling systems (LCS) (see figure 1).

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MILS: An Architecture for Security, Safety, and Real Time

The unrelenting growth and integration of embedded controls, information processing, and communications has created a need for systems that provide robust protection for resources and services in the face of serious threats. Formerly diverse requirements for different kinds of systems are now being merged into combined requirements to be met by a single system. To address this trend, a partnership of government, industry, and research institutions are developing the MILS (Multiple Independent Levels of Security/ Safety) architecture. Although being pursued initially for defense applications, MILS provides a foundation for critical systems of all kinds. Its security, safety, and real-time properties make it suitable for such diverse applications as financial, medical, and critical infrastructures. Based on a new breed of commercially available high-assurance products, MILS provides a modular, flexible, component- based approach to high-assurance systems.

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Embedded Databases: Data Management for Real- Time and Embedded Systems

The term embedded database was coined in the 1980s to mean a database management system (DBMS) that is embedded into an application, in contrast to large central databases (nowadays, usually client/server DMBSs a la Oracle). The first embedded databases had little or nothing to do with embedded systems, which were largely 8-bit, or possibly 16-bit, devices that performed a very specific function. Any data processing requirements were promoted to a higher layer in the system architecture. Embedded systems, like all other facets of computing, have matured and gained faster (32-bit) processors, memory, and more complexity. This has further confused conversations about embedded systems and embedded databases. Today, the term embedded database encompasses databases embedded into software applications, as well as the more modern client/server database design (although embedded client/several varieties are much smaller than their enterprise-level DBMS cousins such as Oracle or DB2). In fact, while embedded databases comprise a sizeable chunk of the overall database market, they show remarkable diversity in important respects such as programming interfaces, storage modes, and system architecture. This article examines some of these differences to help in choosing the right embedded database system for a given project.

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Card Provides PCI-Based Multi-Axis Motion Control

Performance Motion Devices (Lincoln, MA) offers the Prodigy™-PCI motion card for multi-axis motion control. Available in 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-axis versions, the card provides trajectory generation, performance trace, on-the-fly changes, and commutation. Motor type can be software- selected on a per-axis basis, and includes DC brush, brushless DC, step, and microstepping. The card communicates via a PCI bus, CANbus, or serial port. Card features include S-curve, trapezoidal, velocity contouring, electronic gearing, and user-generated profile modes. The card accepts input parameters such as position, velocity, acceleration, and jerk from the host, and generates a corresponding trajectory.

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Telecom Adapter for Intra-Chassis Communication

Performance Technologies (Rochester, NY) has expanded its family of communication platforms with the PCE385, a quad T1/E1/J1 PCI Express telecom adapter. The device is enabled with NexusWare Core®, the company’s Linux-based software, and includes an onboard MPC8280 PowerQUICC II™ RISC communications processor. It offers various signaling and communications protocols including SIP, SS7 MTP-2, and ISDN and WAN connectivity with Frame Relay, HDLC, LAPD, and X.25.

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Motion-SPM Devices in SMD Packaging Optimize Board Space

Fairchild Semiconductor (South Portland, ME) has introduced the FSB50325S (250V), the FSB50250S (500V), and the FSB50450S (500V) Motion-SPM™ devices available in 29 × 12-mm surface-mount-device (SMD) packages. The Motion-SPM in SMD enables designers to achieve energy efficiency, compactness, and low electromagnetic interference (EMI) required by small inverter motor drive applications such as water pumps and fan motors.

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ZigBee™ Protocol Platform Includes Transceiver and Network-Analyzer Tool

Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) offers three tools for IEEE 802.15.4 wireless networking. The MRF24J40 is a 2.4-GHz IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver targeted for the ZigBee™ protocol in RF applications requiring low power and RF performance. The ZENA™ wireless network analyzer tool enables development of ZigBee protocol systems using Microchip’s semiconductors. The MiWi™ protocol is a free, small-footprint protocol developed by Microchip for customers who do not need ZigBee protocol interoperability but want to use IEEE 802.15.4 transceivers in peer-to-peer, star, and mesh networks. With the MRF24J40 transceiver, Microchip now offers a complete ZigBee protocol platform through the addition of an integrated RF transceiver that requires few external components. Microchip’s radio also offers low power consumption and performance that exceeds all IEEE 802.15.4 specifications, with full Media Access.

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