Vortex86 and Featured Products December 14 - 17

Meet the Vortex86 Family

Published on
December 17, 2021 at 12:09:58 PM PST December 17, 2021 at 12:09:58 PM PSTth, December 17, 2021 at 12:09:58 PM PST

Meet the Vortex86 Family

There was a time, prior to the early 1990s, when most embedded systems were microcontroller and RISC-based and custom-made. But x86 was such a popular and widely adopted architecture in the desktop computer world that it is not surprising that it made the leap to embedded applications. After all, so many companies were using x86 that developers could leverage existing tools and compilers, it was easy to hire x86 programmers, technical support was readily available, and you weren’t going to run into a bug that someone else hadn’t already documented. 

Bringing x86 architecture into the embedded market spurred the growth of Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions in the 1990s, including PC104 and other standards, and many companies chose to purchase COTS solutions over relying on bespoke development for their embedded systems.

So it was a dark day in 2006 when Intel announced it was pulling the plug on its embedded x86 processors. The i186, i286, i386, and i486 would all reach their end of life in 2007. Would millions of embedded systems be orphaned with no hopes for future repairs or upgrades?

Fortunately, DM&P Corporation in Taiwan held an x86 architectural license, and stepped in to save the day with the 32-bit Vortex86 family. The Vortex86 Systems On Chip are not exact copies of Intel CPUs. They use unique internal microarchitectures to integrate a fully x86 compatible core with modern interfaces like SATA and PCI Express as well as legacy features like ISA bus support. The performance, price, and features of these x86 SOCs make them attractive for many embedded and commercial computing applications.

The Vortex86SX, introduced in 2007, is a single core i386 compatible 300MHz SoC manufactured with a 130nm process. It integrates ISA, PCI, USB, LAN, GPIO, a pair of Watchdog Timers, and more-- all at 1 Watt of typical power consumption.

The Vortex86DX brought i586 compatibility and a floating point unit to the Vortex86 family. The fabrication was improved to a more efficient 90nm process. The Vortex86DX added even more programmable I/O and doubled the maximum DDR2 capacity to 1GB.

The Vortex86DX2 enhanced the feature set of the DX by adding SATA, 2D video output, and 32-bit DDR2 support. ISA bus support was maintained, and PCI was dropped in favor of a pair of PCI Express lanes.

The Vortex86EX reflected a new approach. It was designed for low power, low cost applications by moving to a reduced clock speed of 400MHz in a compact 16x16mm package with a streamlined complement of I/O.

The Vortex86DX3 returned to higher performance with a 1GHz dual core SOC manufactured with an advanced 40nm process. The Vortex86DX3 is compatible with 32-bit versions of Windows, Linux, and popular real time operating systems. It adds support for up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a wide array of I/O.

The VortexEX2 is the latest evolution of the Vortex86 family. It marked a major shift toward heterogeneous computing with two independent cores to simultaneously run two different BIOSs and Operating Systems.

The 600MHz primary core manages the UI, while the 400MHz secondary core handles real-time I/O. Applications that do not require the secondary core can take full advantage of the primary core with no impact on performance or power consumption. The Vortex86EX2 is equipped with an advanced FPU, two independent DDR3 memory areas, and rich programmable I/O. 

Featured Products

This week’s featured products, including an ICOP eBox with the DMP Vortex86DX3, are more examples of the vast number of products that are in stock in our warehouse in NC. If you missed our social media posts or homepage  spotlights, here is a rundown. 

The Allied Vision Alvium 1800 C-240c embedded vision CSI-2 camera with Sony IMX392 CMOS Sensor. The ALVIUM SOC provides on board image processing for image correction and preprocessing tasks ~ reducing host workload. Global shutter. Pairs perfectly with Connect Tech NVIDIA® Jetson™ carrier boards.

The ICOP Technology eBox-3362-L2851C3P features the Vortex86DX3 1GHz dual core SOC, with 2GB DDR2 RAM. VGA output, 4 serial ports, mPCIe, Dual LAN. Ideal for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications like Point of Sale, digital signage, kiosks, and data logging.

Who thought that a headless server was a good idea anyway? The Innodisk EGPV-1101 is an M.2 graphics card that supports display outputs of HDMI 1.4 or DVI-D connectivity. Ships with an HDMI cable. Dual LVDS version available. In Stock.

It is quick and easy to add private LTE connectivity to fixed and mobile devices with MultiTech’s MultiConnect® microCell LTE CBRS OnGo USB Cellular Modem! Compact, simple, low cost! Ideal for control systems, smart inventory, audio devices, and more! In Stock!

There are many other products in our warehouse, and many more on our website. Our sales team is ready to help you find what you need! Call us at 800-548-2319 or email us at sales@wdlsystems.com. Don’t forget you can check our Products of the Day out on our homepage or by following us on social media using the links below and to the right! Our offices will be closed for the holidays December 24th through the 30th, 2021.