Reach for the stars

The StarReach PMC carrier card extends Dy4’s StarFabric switched interconnect technology by allowing I/O modules to be incorporated into a network of processors.

Dy 4 Systems, a division of Force Computers, has introduced the StarReach PMC carrier card. The StarReach card extends Dy 4’s StarFabric switched interconnect technology by allowing I/O modules to be incorporated into a network of processors, breaking the traditional restrictions of how PMCs are employed in systems.

StarReach is a StarFabric-based PMC carrier, conforming to the 6U VME form factor standard. It provides sites for two PMC modules, each with a separate 64-bit, 66MHz PCI interface. StarReach connects with the network via four StarFabric links, which in total can sustain over 1 GB/sec of data throughput. StarReach is claimed to have more than seven times the bandwidth of competing tightly-coupled 32-bit/33MHz PCI carriers, enough to support the highest throughput PMCs on the market. Performance scales directly with each additional StarReach card, supporting systems with large I/O bandwidth requirements such as signal intelligence, software defined radio, radar and sonar applications.

Unlike a PCI-based carrier where all data transfers are controlled by a single host on a single PCI bus, the StarReach carrier communicates through a StarFabric switched interconnect network. Any node on the network can receive this data. Being relieved of dedicating PMCs to a specific host, StarReach allows designers to treat I/O devices as ‘just another node’ on the network, creating a more flexible, distributed system architecture. With I/O decoupled from processing, designers can develop systems with clean partitioning between the two.

By virtue of the StarFabric interface, StarReach cards may be placed up to 40 feet away from the host, compared with only a few inches for PCI. The product enables sensitive analog to digital converters to be mounted far away from noisy processors, in remote enclosures if desired. Similarly, StarReach helps designers struggling to cool high-power PMCs that previously needed to be co-located with hot processor boards.

StarReach is available in a configuration with dual Race++ interfaces. This enables designers to incorporate legacy I/O products based on the Race++ standard or upgrade existing Race++ systems.

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