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New embedded Single Board Computer standard defines bridge to future: Ampro, Micro/sys, Octagon, VersaLogic, and WinSystems collaborate on small, expandable SBC specification

Media Contacts:
VersaLogic: Tom Barnum tombarnum@versalogic.com
WinSystems: Bob Burckle bburckle@winsystems.com
Ampro : Paul Rosenfeld prosenfeld@ampro.com
Micro/sys: Susan Wooley swooley@embeddedsys.com
Octagon: John McKown jmckown@octagonsystems.com

San Francisco, CA – March 30, 2004. Five leading embedded single board computer (SBC) manufacturers announced today at electronicaUSA/Embedded Systems Conference the publication of a new industry standard for small form factor embedded computer boards, called Embedded Platform for Industrial Computing™ or
EPIC. The EPIC standard provides a platform on which to build the next generation of feature-rich, embedded systems for industrial, medical, military, transportation, and commercial applications. The specification is published as an open standard by Micro/sys, Octagon Systems, VersaLogic Corp., WinSystems, Inc. and Ampro Computers, Inc., all pioneers and innovators in standards-based embedded computing. The specification can be downloaded free-of-charge at www.epic-sbc.org

Embedded systems manufacturers who require faster CPUs and/or more I/O than found on a PC/104 CPU can now design in a broadly-supported, standardized, full featured platform. This is especially important for applications that cannot accommodate larger EBX-sized boards. Phase one of the
EPIC standard supports more than 1,000 PC/104 and PC/104-Plus compliant I/O expansion modules. This assures embedded systems designers long-term availability, expansion, and support. Future phases of the EPIC standard will support new bus technologies such as PCI Express™ while maintaining consistency in footprint and mounting hole placement.

"For years, the embedded single board computer market has suffered from the lack of a published mid-sized motherboard standard," said Eric Gulliksen, market analyst at Venture Development Corporation (VDC). "The publication of the
EPIC form factor specification and the support commitment by five market leaders brings relief to system manufacturers who need consistency and standardization in a mid-sized SBC. EPIC could be the biggest development in the industry since the PC/104 Consortium was founded 12 years ago."

EPIC supports I/O expansion
The 115mm x 165mm (4.5" x 6.5") size is optimal for including full PC/104-Plus compliance (ISA and PCI Buses) and a rich set of I/O implemented as either pin-headers or PC-style connectors. The standard provides specific I/O zones to implement, for example, multiple Ethernet ports, 4 or more serial ports, general-purpose I/O, video, and even application-specific I/O such as 802.11x wireless, IEEE 1394 Firewire™, and the latest technologies. The area of the
EPIC card is almost exactly halfway between the universally accepted PC/104 and EBX standards.

EPIC standard is designed to reduce the confusion caused by the introduction in the last few years of various mid-sized cards plagued with inconsistent connector and expansion schemes, and with no governing specifications.

EPIC—A bridge to the future
The creators of
EPIC have made provisions for long-term technology support. Unlike the other mid-sized boards, ample board space has been reserved to support the broad base of PC/104 and PC/104-Plus I/O modules as well as emerging high-speed bus technologies such as PCI Express™ without sacrificing I/O capacity. Due to this unique architecture, users can smoothly migrate legacy ISA-based systems to the fast serial interfaces of the future.

EPIC is a real standard
EPIC is the only mid-sized embedded motherboard form factor for which a governing specification is published. Solutions are now in development by Octagon, VersaLogic, WinSystems, Ampro, and Micro/sys. For more information, visit them at electronicaUSA/Embedded Systems Conference or contact them afterwards.

About VersaLogic, Corp.
A leading supplier of industrial computers since 1976, VersaLogic focuses on high-quality board-level products for embedded OEM applications. Product lines include PC/104, PC/104-Plus, EBX, and STD 32 Bus. Their 5-year product availability guarantee and outstanding warranties demonstrate a commitment to service. An industry-wide survey recently rated the company a "Platinum" level embedded board vendor (2002 and 2003 VDC studies). For more information, visit the web site at www.versalogic.com.

About WinSystems, Inc.
Founded in 1981, WinSystems is a leading supplier of embedded computers. Their wide selection of PC/104, EBX and STD Bus SBCs and I/O modules include features such as extended temperature operation and quick product delivery. Combined with knowledgeable technical support and long-term product availability, makes WinSystems your vendor of choice for reliable x86-based embedded PCs. Please visit www.winsystems.com.

About Ampro Computers, Inc.
Ampro Computers, Inc. is the leading global provider of modular embedded computing solutions for OEM applications. Ampro’s mission is to provide time saving solutions for embedded systems designers that accelerate the product deployment process. Ampro pioneered the embedded PC industry creating the popular PC/104 and EBX standards. The EnCore™ family is a Computer-on-Module (COM) which enables designers to obtain all the benefits of an off-the-shelf CPU solution while maintaining the flexibility of a full custom design. In addition to EnCore, Ampro offers three product lines; PC/104-compatible CoreModule™ CPUs and MiniModule™ expansion products, and EBX form factor LittleBoard™ single-board computers (SBC). Ampro was awarded Electronique magazine’s “Electron d’Or 2002” for subsystems for the EnCore M2 product. Please visit www.ampro.com.

About Micro/sys
Micro/sys has been manufacturing OEM industrial microcomputer products since 1976, including board-level products and integrated computers. Micro/sys embedded computers are specified by OEMs in semiconductor processing, medical, mail handling, pharmaceutical, industrial marking, process control, and many other industries. Please visit www.embeddedsys.com.

About Octagon Systems
Octagon Systems, the largest manufacturer of embedded PC computers for the –40° to 85°C environment, has produced products for rugged applications since 1981. Octagon’s quality management system has been ISO certified since 1993 and is currently certified to the ISO 9001:2000 standard. Octagon manufactures its own products in the U.S., and has in-house certification and verification laboratories. Located in Westminster, CO, Octagon provides high reliability, PC-based solutions for a wide variety of applications including transportation, medical, industrial control and COTS. Please visit www.octagonsystems.com.

EPIC logo and Embedded Platform for Industrial Control are trademarks of Ampro Computers, Inc., Micro/sys, Octagon Systems, VersaLogic, Corp. and WinSystems, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.