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Fancy an extension?

The constant drive to smaller, faster, cheaper has brought about an explosion in mezzanine standards. By Vanessa Knivett.

The real estate inside pretty much any system nowadays is increasingly under pressure. The answer is to build up, rather than out – and if you can stack multiple mezzanines upon a board, then so much the better.
Since the 1990s, a variety of mezzanine standards has been developed to support PCI, CompactPCI and AdvancedTCA environments. The Common Mezzanine Card specification can be thought of as base, with subsidiary versions including PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC) and the Advanced Mezzanine Standard (AMC).
With so many choices, one would think there are enough to select from already. However, the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA) recently announced the creation of the VITA 56 working group, to pursue yet another.
The VITA standards organisation has developed a number of mezzanine standards to cope with the demands of high speed serial LVDS interfaces – the first being VITA 42, otherwise known as the XMC standard. This subsidiary specification to PMC adds a couple of connectors that can cope with high speed serial interfaces, but the mezzanine cannot be removed from the host board without removing the host from the system. Another popular standard supporting high speed serial I/O is AMC, which, according to VITA, has become the preferred mezzanine for AdvancedTCA carriers. This mezzanine is slightly larger than the PMC standard (and therefore does not maintain compatibility with it), provides on board management functions and is hot swappable.

Vanessa Knivett

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