Zendex Launches Casino Video Gaming Board
Zendex Corporation announces a special purpose single board computer aimed specifically at the gaming market. The ZXE-855 is a full-function dedicated gaming platform that can deliver the rich visual gaming experience that people now expect in casinos. At the same time, it allows the system manufacturer to configure the board in order to optimize speed, power consumption or cost. To allow a choice between performance and cost, many systems are designed with one or two processor choices. Zendex found a way to provide numerous speed, power consumption and cost options. For example, the ZXE-855 with low power Intel [INTL] Celeron 4 processor and Intel 855 chipset can be run at 600MHz for lower power consumption, lower temperature rise and higher reliability. Typical power consumption at 600MHz is 35W. Alternatively, the Intel P4 processor and 855 chipset will run at 2GHz for greater performance. Still other options are available to minimize system cost. The highly-adaptable VGA video ports will drive two 1600 x 1200 resolution displays. Behind the video outputs are dual VGA outputs with up to 64MB of shared memory.
For graphically intensive and memory-hungry applications, the board can accommodate up to 1GB of DDR DRAM that is considered sufficient for 99% of all applications
The regulatory agencies often demand that casino video games include redundant mass storage, and the ZXE-855 supports a wide array of mass storage devices. It features 2 UDMA 100 ATA channels supporting up to 4 ATA devices (i.e. 4 hard drives) or 4
Compact Flash memory type I headers on the ATA Bus. The ATA bus can also support an ATAPI CD ROM drive, Disk on Module (DoM) or Multi Media Card (MMC). There are also sockets for EPROM or other non-volatile memory devices.
Cooling fans are a problem in gaming applications. They are more failure-prone than non-mechanical devices and produce audible noise. Zendex designed the ZXE-855 for convection cooling (no fan) in all speed-power-cost configurations.
The ZXE-855 mates to a passive backplane, the ZXE-855BP. The backplane allows quick insertion and removal of the main gaming board and provides I/O connectors that allows the system to interface with bill acceptors, card readers, voucher printers, and monitors. The backplane is configured with numerous I/O ports including six USB 2.0 ports, one 10/100 Ethernet port, five RS-232 serial ports, two RS422 serial ports and one TTL serial port. In addition, the ZXE-855 main board includes 40 general purpose inputs and outputs.
The user has many operating system choices, including Microsoft [MSFT] Windows® XP, 2000, XP Embedded and Linux. Zendex can modify the proprietary BIOS software to suit the user's needs or to include additional security features.
Most computer systems provide only signal-level audio outputs which must be amplified before it can be applied to a speaker. The ZXE-855 provides an AC97® amplified stereo audio output which can be directly connected to speakers, saving the cost and complexity of external amplification.
An unusual feature not normally found on products like this is an on-board thermal monitor. While the board itself is designed to run 24/7 without fan cooling, the system configuration might include other heat-generating devices that could necessitate a fan. The on-board thermal sensor provides a digital temperature output which can be accessed over the Intranet via the 10/100MB/sec Ethernet connector. A large array of games with this feature can be monitored from a single location.
The Ethernet interface allows similar games to be interconnected, so that one person can play against another, or against an entire room full of people. Also, the Ethernet interface enables remote system monitoring and management. In the event of a problem with any game, a warning can appear at a monitoring location.
The ZXE-855 is designed to operate from a single +12V or +15V supply. Power consumption is nominally 35W, and varies by configuration. The ZXE-855 measures 12" x 9-1/4" x 2". The low profile is especially useful in desktop games, where cabinet size is limited.
Commenting on the new board, Howard Czapla, Zendex CEO, said "We designed this board based on 10 years of experience building similar boards for the gaming industry. It includes the features that most gaming system manufacturers are looking for. We anticipate that companies using the ZXE-855 board will have a significant advantage over our competitors."
Zendex is a full-service provider of PC/104+ and other single board computers, embedded processor boards, multi-function boards, CIMbus, Multibus and iSBX modules, industrial enclosures and custom systems. Zendex recently celebrated 25 years in the embedded systems industry.