System-on-Modules from PFU Systems

Take the Hard out of Embedded Hardware Design

By Kishan Jainandunsing, Vice President Marketing, PFU Systems

System-on-Modules made their appearance nine years ago in the embedded industry. PFU, a Fujitsu company, and Seiko Epson initially introduced 486 “CardPC” products. Since then, PFU and its U.S. subsidiary, PFU Systems, have led the market with advanced System-on-Module (SOM) products. System-on-Modules have fundamentally changed the way OEMs design embedded computing solutions. This change has helped them gain advantage in time-to-market, reduce their development cost and risk infusing new technology into their products, and keeping them focused on core strengths.

System-on-Modules are here to stay

The importance of the SOM approach is evidenced in the embedded industry with a growing number of manufacturers building SOM products for embedded applications. According to Venture Development Corporation, a market research company, there are over 30 suppliers of SOM products worldwide. VDC has forecast healthy growth for the SOM business at 67.5% compound annual growth rate of $28M to $364M from 2001 through 2006.

System-on-Modules and carrier boards defined

System-on-Modules are components that integrate all the necessary and sufficient elements to create a bootable, generic host subsystem. System-on-Modules used in embedded system designs are either components or mezzanine modules. SOM products may be integrated with functionality not required of a bootable-host subsystem.

Carrier boards integrate application-specific I/O functionality. They serve as “system boards” for System-on-Modules. Application-specific I/O functionality may include for example, FireWire, CardBus, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth, data acquisition or DSP hardware.

Plug-N-Run G3 System-on-Module

SOMs and carrier boards from PFU Systems

PFU Systems specializes in Intel® x86-based SOM products and application-specific carrier boards for a wide range of portable and stationary embedded solutions. These include solutions for markets such as industrial automation, medical, defense, avionics, security, transportation, storage and test & measurement. The modules integrate the processor, chipset, graphics, I/O controller hub, Super I/O and BIOS. A high-density mezzanine connector brings out PCI buses, and other interfaces like IDE channels, USB ports, serial ports, display interfaces, etc.

PFU Systems serves the 32-bit PCI embedded computing market with its Plug-N-Run™ family of System-on-Modules. The Plug-N-Run family offers a wide range of processor speeds from 166MHz to 1.8GHz. All modules are based on low power, low voltage and ultra-low voltage processors from Intel. PFU Systems’ new Plug-N-Run™ G3 modules use Intel® Pentium® M processors at 1.1GHz and 1.6GHz, Intel® Pentium® M processor 745 at 1.8GHz and Intel® Celeron® M processor at 1.3GHz with the Intel® 855GME chipset. The Plug-N-Run G2 product line uses 400MHz and 650MHz Ultra-Low Voltage Intel® Celeron® processors and the 933MHz Intel® Pentium® III processor with the Intel® 815E chipset.

Why System-on-Modules from PFU Systems

Although there are many manufacturers of System-on-Modules today, PFU Systems’ SOM products offer distinct advantage over competitive products. PFU Systems uses only components rated for a minimum of 5 years of product life. True drop-in scalability mitigates component obsolescence and isolates OEM designs from hardware and BIOS differences. The modules, primarily designed for rugged and hostile environments, are able to withstand accelerations of up to 50G for shock and 2.2G for vibration.

These product advantages are meaningful only if the products meet high standards of quality and are easy to design with. To this end, PFU Systems provides detailed and accurate design, product characterization and quality assurance documentation as well as BIOS customization services. The company’s design and manufacturing quality control keeps failure rates as low as 0.1%, versus the 4~5% typical for single board computers.

Additional product information as well as customer success stories are available at www.PFUsystems.com

Contact Information

PFU Systems, Inc.
2055 Gateway Place, Suite 200
San Jose, CA 95110
408.451.2900 Telephone
408.451.2999 Fax