CompactPCI bus interfaces and PXI bus interfaces are rugged, high-performance computer components that connect to system devices that use CompactPCI (cPCI), a high-performance standard based upon peripheral component interconnect (PCI) technology, and PCI eXtensions for instrumentation (PXI). CompactPCI interfaces are plug-in computer cards that function as system controllers. PXI bus interfaces provide programming control and are typically used in high-speed applications such as computer telephony and real-time data acquisition. Both Compact PCI interfaces and PXI bus interfaces use form factors popularized by VersaModule Eurocard (VME). Devices with a 3U form factor are 100 mm x 160 mm and have one 96-pin DIN connector that plugs into the backplane. Devices with a 6U form factor are 233 mm x 160 mm and have two 96-pin DIN connectors.

CompactPCI bus interfaces and PXI bus interfaces integrate with SCSI and GPIB buses; VME/VXI and PMC form factors; PCMCIA cards; Ethernet, CANBUS, and DeviceNet network protocols; and a variety of computer operating systems. Buses that use small computer system interface (SCSI), a popular parallel standard, are widely used to attach peripherals to personal computers. General-purpose interface bus (GPIB), which is also known as HPIB and IEEE 488, is designed to connect computers to laboratory instruments. For CompactPCI interfaces and PXI bus interfaces, form factors include not only VME, but also VMEbus eXtensions for Instrumentation (VXI) and PCI mezzanine card (PMC), an industry standard for using a local PCI bus to connect cards to a carrier board. Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) devices are credit card sized peripherals predominantly used in laptop computers. Ethernet, CANBUS, and DeviceNET are high-speed network protocols used in a variety of applications.

Performance specifications for CompactPCI bus interfaces and PXI bus interfaces include the number of channels (ports) and the transfer rate. For serial communications, the transfer rate is expressed in megabits per second (Mbps). For parallel communications, the transfer rate is expressed in megabytes per second (MBps). Some CompactPCI interfaces and PXI bus interfaces provide random-access memory (RAM) or variants such as DRAM, SRAM, and SDRAM. Other devices provide read-only memory (ROM) or variants such as PROM, EPROM, and EEPROM. CompactPCI interfaces and PXI bus interfaces with LED indicators for bus status or power are also available. Many devices conform with requirements outlined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the European Economic Area (EEA).


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