Brainboxes releases first in range of Universal PCI Cards

May 8, 2003 / News

Brainboxes, the 19-year veteran serial card specialist, has launched a range of two-port and four-port serial card products for the new Universal PCI standard which supports either 3.3V or 5V PCI buses. They are available in standard or Low Profile PCI form factor and are ideally suited point of sale, banking, kiosk, and test and measurement applications. Brainboxes is now shipping the four-port PCI card (model CC-701) its two-port cards (CC-734) and Low-Profile versions (two port CC-253 and four port CC-260).

Universal PCI is a relatively new standard for PCI cards that can accept signals at either 3.3 volts or 5 volts, and can therefore connect to any PCI slot. PCI cards have traditionally been powered by 5V but the 3.3V PCI standard has been adopted primarily by the server market. This 3.3V PCI bus is likely to move into, and become the standard for, all desktop PCs over the next two years. The benefits of Universal PCI are lower power consumption, potentially higher data rates, and less heat generated within the PC.

Eamonn Walsh, managing director of Brainboxes, commented, “We expect the take up of Universal PCI to be huge as more PC and server OEMs adopt the 3.3V PCI bus standard but still need to retain support for existing 5V PCI cards. Our existing OEM serial card customers are already placing orders for this new range, as their machines switch to the new standard.”.

All of the cards are fully plug and play compliant with auto configuration of interrupt and addressing which together permits easy installation into servers or PCs. 16550 UART provides a 16 byte input and 16 byte output FIFO hardware buffer for each of the serial ports to permit high date rates without data loss or overrun errors – essential with today’s multi-tasking operating systems.

The two and four port Universal Low-Profile PCI cards offer the same functionality, protocols, PC signals and software drivers as the Universal PCI cards but suit systems in which there is limited space available. Low-Profile PCI defines a shorter raw card and a new mounting bracket for card retention.

Brainboxes CC-701, CC-734, CC-712 and CC-260 half size cards (6.5cmx12cm) all come with fully moulded cables using standard 9-pin male ‘D’ type connectors (25 pin versions of all are available) which provide neat and easy connection — using 4 of the four-port CC-701 or CC-712 cards installed in one server the full 16 ports could easily be used – depending on the operating system in use.