Cooling Advancement Delivers Maximum Performance at High Temperatures

April 11, 2018 by Paul Shepard

Abaco Systems today announced a significant breakthrough in delivering optimum performance from a 3U VPX single board computer (SBC). By implementing an innovative cooling strategy, the 12-core Intel® Xeon® D-1500 processor featured on the SBC347D can now operate at 100% of its capability at temperatures up to 75°C in a cold wall (conduction cooled) environment.

Traditional solutions that are widely implemented on other SBCs see the CPU being throttled by up to 50% of its core frequency, causing a substantial deterioration in performance. This throttling is in order to maintain the processor within its rated temperature range to avoid failure.

“The advantage this unique cooling architecture gives users of the SBC347D is not only the higher performance that is required by many advanced applications, but also the repeatability and consistency of that performance almost regardless of operating temperature,” said Richard Kirk, Product Manager, Abaco Systems.

“The SBC347D will operate at its maximum frequency at all times - not just when it’s cool enough to do so. That can be highly advantageous in, for example, applications that require real time determinism,” Kirk continued.

The SBC347D with enhanced cooling is available immediately. Abaco expects that the new cooling architecture will be progressively implemented across its SBC product lines.

The Intel Xeon processor has a maximum power of 45W and is a lidded component, which adds additional thermal resistance.  In Abaco’s SBC heat frame designs, removing this heat from the high performance processor is a challenge to achieve good thermal margin and full processor performance at high card edge temperatures.

Abaco has combined its traditional solution for removing/spreading heat with a reliable space grade technology to move heat through the heat frame with a low temperature drop while maintaining 500V electrical isolation. This means that not only is the SBC347D able to perform at higher temperatures, but also it is a light weight solution compared to traditional solid metal heat sinks.

The SBC347D features versions of the Xeon D-1500 processor that offer support for up to 16 cores. It is specifically designed for demanding high performance embedded computing (HPEC) military/aerospace applications such as command and control, ISR, signal processing, radar/sonar and electronic warfare.

The higher level of integration of the Xeon processor provides additional board real estate, enabling the SBC347D to support twice as much memory as its predecessor. The SBC347D features up to 32 GBytes of DDR4 ECC memory, operating at up to 2.0 MHZ, enabling superior memory performance; 32 GBytes NAND Flash (SSD), 32 MBytes BIOS Flash and 16 MBytes BIOS backup Flash memory are also provided.

The SBC347D enables customers to implement their security and information assurance strategies. This is achieved via a secure FPGA solution that offers inherent reliability and security features such as protection against differential power analysis (DPA) attacks and against single event upsets (SEU) as well as a range of tamper detect, encryption and zeroisation features which can be implemented by the user.

In line with Abaco’s strategy of maximizing the long term value of customer investments, existing SBC34X systems can be easily upgraded via pin-out options that allow for increased performance with minimal expense and disruption.