Epic developments in SBCs

Feb. 25, 2005


he PC/104 Consortium announced adoption and management of the new, mid-sized EPIC (embedded platform for industrial computing) standard. The consortium says an overwhelming majority of members voted in support of EPIC, the 4.5x6.5-in. embedded single-board computer format that supports PC/104 and PC/104-Plus as part of its specification.  

EPIC is claimed to the best example of next-generation of mid-sized single-board computers. The standard was developed through a combined technical effort from WinSystems, VersaLogic, Octagon Systems, Micro/sys, and Ampro Corp. The standard represents an opportunity for manufacturers to provide PC/104 technology to users in an efficient footprint and in combination with some of the latest CPU technology in the industry.

The PC/104 Consortium and standard were established in 1992. PC/104, in use since 1987, is a small-form-factor, embedded PC physical and electrical interface standard. It provides embedded system designers with an architecture that is considered dense, cost-effective and based on proven, practical technology. PC/104-Plus, an extension added to the standard in 1995, incorporates PCI technology. A PCI-only version, PCI-104 was incorporated into the specification in 2004.

The adoption of the EPIC standard by the consortium follows on the footsteps of its announcement in 2004 of the adoption of the EBX standard, known for its implementation of PC/104 technology on a large footprint. These actions, say consortium members, represent its commitment to provide PC/104 users a broadest possible range of options for PC/104 technology. 

EPIC products are being shipped by several companies who introduced EPIC boards in April 2004 at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco. The official specification is available for users to review at www.pc104.org

Longevity has been one of the hallmark claims of PC/104 technology. Because many industrial OEMs and other users require stable, long-term supply, PC/104 module vendors can offer products that do not change specifications as fast as commercial PC vendors. PC/104 has been used reliability by OEMs in application areas such as industrial control and instrumentation, among others.