Advanced Mezzanine Card
Advanced Mezzanine Cards are printed circuit boards (PCBs) that follow a specification of the PCI Industrial Computers Manufacturers Group (PICMG), with more than 100 companies participating.
Known as AdvancedMC or AMC, the official specification designation is AMC.x (see below). At the early days AMC is targeted to requirements for the next generation of "carrier grade" communications equipment. Nowadays it is used in nearly all kind of equipment demanding high flexibility, modularity and bandwidth.
AMC are designed to work as standalone module, as hot pluggable module on any carrier card (base boards and system carrier boards in AdvancedTCA Systems) but also to plug as hot pluggable board into a backplane directly as defined by MicroTCA specification.
The AMC standard differs from other mezzanine card standards such as PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC), PCIexpress Mezzanine Card XMC and FMC – FPGA Mezzanine Card by the 0 degree instead of 90 degree orientation of its connector enabling hot plug of the AMC.
- AMC.0 is the "base" or "core" specification. The AdvancedMC definition alone defines a protocol agnostic connector to connect to a carrier card or a backplane. Intermediate revisions are known as engineering change notices, or ECNs.
- R1.0 adopted January 3, 2005
- ECN-001 adopted June 2006
- R2.0 adopted November 15, 2006
An AMC card can use proprietary LVDS-based signaling, or one of the following AMC specifications:
- AMC.1 PCI Express (and PCI Express Advanced Switching) (ratified)
- AMC.2 Gigabit Ethernet and XAUI (ratified)
- AMC.3 Storage (ratified)
- AMC.4 Serial RapidIO (ratified)
There are six types of AMC cards ("Module") available. A Full-size Module is the most common, allowing up to 23.25 mm high components (from centerline of PCB). A Mid-size Module allows component heights maxed at 11.65 to 14.01 mm (depending on board location). A Compact Module allows only 8.18 mm.
Picture of PCB form factors (contacted PICMG to add photo)
AMCs used in AdvancedTCA (ATCA) system
To use AMCs in ATCA-systems a special carrier card known as hybrid or cutaway carrier is required to hold one Full-size Module or two Compact-size (see connectors below). Each height is paired with a width, single or double, describing how many carrier slots the board fills. A double width card allows more component space, but does not provide any additional power or bandwidth because it only uses a single connector.
The pinout of the AMC connector on an ATCA-AMC carrier or Motherboard is fairly complex, with up to 170 traces. There are four different lengths the traces can be, which allows hot swapping by knowing in advance which traces will become active in which order upon insertion. To help reduce cost for mass production, a card may only require the traces on one side (pins 1 to 85). The possibility of using only half the pin locations, combined with various height combinations, results in four different connector types that are available on the carrier card:
|Connector Style||Pins||Mating Card Type|
|B||85||One module that only needs pins 1-85|
|B+||170||One module card that uses all available pins (1-170)|
|AB||170||Two adjacent modules that each only need pins 1-85|
|A+B+||340||Two adjacent modules that use all available pins (1-170)|
|Bay||Aperture||Connector||Compact Module||Mid-size Module||Full-size Module|
|Compact Conventional Bay||3||B, B+||Slot B||-||-|
|Mid-size Conventional Bay||4||B, B+||Convert face plate to mid-size||Slot B||-|
|Single Slot Cutaway Bay||6||B, B+||Convert face plate to full-size||Convert face plate to full-size||Slot B|
|Dual Slot Cutaway Bay||6||AB, A+B+||Slots A and B||Convert face plate to full-size||Slot B|
AMCs used in MicroTCA systems
The AdvancedMC card is considered powerful enough that there are situations where the processing functionality is the only requirement. The MicroTCA standard is targeted at supplying a COTS chassis that will allow AMC cards to function without any AdvancedTCA carrier card. The function of the ATCA carrier board and of the ATCA shelf manager are concentrated on one board, which is called the MicroTCA Carrier Hub (MCH). On July 6, 2006 MicroTCA R1.0 was approved. Since this approval, companies like Advantech, Kontron, N.A.T., Annapolis Micro Systems, VadaTech Inc. , have launched AMC and MCH products.
Versions of MicroTCA with fewer AdvancedMC card slots are informally known as NanoTCA and PicoTCA.
- "Advanced Mezzanine Card Base Specification AMC.0 R2.0". PICMG.
- PICMG Advanced Mezzanine Card AMC.0 R2.0, Table 2-1
- Official PICMG Site
- PICMG AMC page
- Introduction to Advanced TCA and the MicroTCA.4, Presentation 2012 by SLAC (English)
- The MicroTCA Summit
- coreIPM Project: Free & Open Source firmware for AMC Platform Management
- IPM430 CoreIPM firmware ported to TI MSP430. (open source)
- Example of a MicroTCA Carrier Hub (English)
- MicroTCA Overview Guide - vendor developed (English)