Such high-speed signals require careful grounding, so each differential pair has its own ground. The power supply needs are also minimized since the MXC card requires only two power supplies (5V and 3.3V). With no components on the actual cards requiring a higher voltage, power design can be significantly simplified. Power consumption is reduced as well.

Finally, MXC is a rugged form factor. The Searay connector is rigid and reliable, as is the removable heat plate (shown in Figure 4), which allows customers a simple interface for convection or custom conduction cooling. Both are designed to withstand severe shock, vibration, and environmental extremes. MXC board designs conform to RAIC design standards, MIL-STD-810 compliance, and are designed to IPC Class 3 solderability standards, providing an overall module that will stand up to the harsh operating conditions — -40°C to 85°C and high humidity — to which these systems are likely to be subjected.

Examples of modules that can be interconnected and configured in numerous ways include:

• A video processing card featuring an 800-MHz AMD Radeon E6760 GPU with 1 GB of 700-MHz GDDR5 memory and the ability to output six independent video outputs in combination of DisplayPort, LVDS, TMDS, HDMI 1.4a, DVID, or VGA;

• A module that can compress and output HD-SDI uncompressed video at 1080P60, as well as output compressed H.264 and encrypted AES128 video over PCIe, USB or Ethernet, with additional FPGA space available for customized features;

• A GPGPU card with an AMD Radeon E6760 parallel processor using OpenCL1.1 SDK providing 560 GigaFLOPS of processing power;

• A four-channel frame grabber with two NTSC/PAL/SECAM inputs and two VGA inputs; and

• A video mixer with TMDS, RGB analog and two SMTPE video inputs for mixing or overlay.

While a need will remain for the standard card formats in the domains where they dominate, designers are increasingly looking for alternatives like the MXC card for sophisticated, high-performance applications involving the management and creation of multiple video streams.

Standard COTS form factors — and in particular, COTS Open-VPX and VPX-REDI standards with their various interconnect capabilities and system compatibilities — will always govern the military, industrial, medical, and aerospace domains. The MXC form factor fully embraces the modern serial-fabric Eurocard 3U and 6U form factors with Open VPX and VPX-REDI MXC carrier boards, making it possible to create very sophisticated video graphic systems on a single VPX board. Likewise, MXC cards can provide excellent video graphics companion modules for designers building COM Express baseboards.

This article was written by Craig McLaren, CEO, Wolf Industrial Systems Inc. (Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada). For more information, contact Mr. McLaren at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit