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PowerMX Working Group Public Page

Last updated 39 days ago by Brent Carlson

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Introduction to PowerMX:

PowerMX consists of a series of layered specifications defining motherboard and mezzanine card form factors, connector pinouts, power supply requirements, and control and monitor requirements.  PowerMX provides for high SERDES I/O count and performance using a scalable motherboard/mezzanine card approach.  Packaging and deployment options (e.g. server boxes, blades/backplanes, customized packaging) are not defined by PowerMX specifications and are application dependent.  Refer to PMX.1 section 1. for scope and use cases.

Specification layers are numbered and defined as follows:

PMX.1 -- Base Specification: the foundational hardware PowerMX specification, also laying down principles for other layers, including supervisory and application control and monitor as well as establishing requirements for quality and reliability reporting.  PMX.1.n -- Any number of additional hardware specifications defining options that providers may wish to design to.  In some cases these augment PMX.1 definitions; in other cases these replace specific PMX.1 and/or PMX.1.m clauses.

PMX.2 -- Foundational Supervisory Monitor and Control (SMC) specifications.  PMX.2.n -- additional specifications augmenting PMX.2.

PMX.3 -- Foundational Application Monitor and Control (AMC) specifications.  PMX.3.n -- additional specifications augmenting PMX.3.

PMX.4 -- Foundational application firmware specification.  Refer to PMX.1 section 1. clause 5.

PMX.5 -- Foundational application specification.  Refer to PMX.1 section 1. clause 6.

PowerMX specifications are in the process of being built and will evolve with time and technology, always ensuring with each layer and specification that it is clear what the scope, applicability, and impact is to ensure compatibility with products built to the specifications.  The ultimate goal of PowerMX is to provide for plug-and-play compatibility at all layers between products built to the specifications.

This site contains PowerMX specifications, links to product providers, and other publicly available information.  This site is managed by the PowerMX Working Group, a group established by the National Research Council of Canada.  All specifications and content on this web site may be freely accessed, downloaded, and used.  See the "Legal Information" section of each specification for specific disclaimers and permissions.

PowerMX is a registered prohibited mark, file no. 922884, for use and adoption in Canada under section 9 of the Trade-Mark Act of Canada.

If you have any links or files regarding PowerMX products or models, email them to and they will be considered for posting on this site.  Anything posted on this site is public.


PMX.1 Base Specification, Preliminary (Release), 2016-07-21 CORRECTIONS (Updated 2017-07-21)

PMX.1.1 Motherboard Mesh Specification, Preliminary (Draft), 2014-10-15 (defines alternate PMXM-to-PMXM mesh connectivity)

PMX.1.2 Standard Monolithic PMX_IOC Mezzanine Card Mechanical Specification, Preliminary (Draft), 2016-06-29   (Updated 2016-06-29)

PMX.1.3 Standard I/O Signal Direction Specification, Preliminary (Draft), 2015-12-14  


PMX.2 SMC Specification Preliminary (Release) 2016-03-23 (Updated 2016-03-23)


Supplementary Files:

NRC advises that the use of supplementary files in this section is completely voluntary and NRC makes no claim as to accuracy or suitability for any application.  Use at your own risk.

AXI over Ethernet (AXIoE) Base Specification, V0.7.1, 2016-03-31

PowerMX motherboard and mezzanine board SolidWorks models  

PowerMX motherboard 3D pdf

PowerMX PMXM 3D pdf

PowerMX PMX_IOC 3D pdf


List of Audited Providers:


Products and Auxiliary Components:

NRC advises that the use of components, information, and files in this section is completely voluntary and NRC makes no claim as to accuracy or suitability for any application.  Use files and acquire components from 3rd-party suppliers completely at your own risk.

PCB Assemblies:

SX4-1_ProductBrief_v0.4.pdf  SX4-1_BlockDiagram.jpg

P32S-A10 PMXM mezzanine card PRODUCT BRIEF (.pdf)      P32S-A10 Block Diagram

PMX12-FF-TX Samtec Firefly PMX12 module PRODUCT BRIEF (.pdf)  PMX12-FF-TX Block Diagram

PMX12-FF-RX Samtec Firefly PMX12 module PRODUCT BRIEF (.pdf)  PMX12-FF-RX Block Diagram


Components and Tooling:

PMXM puller/extractor tool drawing (the rods need to be 2-3 mm longer and the thumb-nut (itm 9) much bigger.)  A better tool with extraction as well as insertion capability can be ordered from Imagination Machine Works

Mill Max power pin for PowerMX PMXM and APMX, P/N: 8649-0-00-15-00-00-33-0


Thermal Solutions:

NEW!!!  Standardized, monolithic, PMXM heat sinks available from Radian Heatsinks:

Radian Heatsinks parameterized PMXM active-fan/passive skived copper heat sink ORDER FORM

     Radian Heatsinks parameterized PMXM active-fan (squirrel cage) skived copper heat sink (.pdf drawing)

     Radian Heatsinks parameterized PMXM active-fan (radial) skived copper heat sink (.pdf drawing)

     Radian Heatsinks parameterized PMXM passive skived copper heat sink (.pdf drawing)

     Spring for spring-load option for Radian Heatsinks parameterized PMXM heat sink (.pdf drawing)


Packaging and Enclosures:

Imagination Machine Works (IMW) server (pizza) box and blade/shelf configurator -- PRODUCT BRIEF




MEX4 PowerMX mechanical/electrical model pics + initial evaluation test report, 2015-05-05

MEX4 PowerMX mechanical/electrical model 60 GHz VNA test report, 2015-05-14

MEX4 all modules pic, 2015-05-05


The Base Specification places no requirements on performance.  Nevertheless, performance of SERDES channels is key to the viability of PowerMX to ensure a sufficient technology lifetime and to address a wide range of performance challenges.

The following are eye diagrams produced using Mentor Graphics HyperLynx SI GHz (9.0.1), 3D EM modeller (15.3), Altera Stratix V GX/GT transceiver models, and FCI Meg-Array(R) connector models for nearest-neighbour end-to-end PowerMX PMXM-to-PMXM connections.

Mezzanine to mezzanine eye diagrams

Note that the 28G eye is not open enough for the receiver indicating that next generation 28G transceivers are required.  The underlying physical PCB design incorporates Meg-6 material, via, micro-via, trace, anti-pad, and 3D stackup geometries on the motherboard and plug-in boards believed necessary for actual complex designs.  Verification of these approaches with real designs is in process.

Also see FCI Meg-Array(R) performance testing report at: FCI Meg-Array technical data


Applications Examples:

The following graphics illustrate applications examples.

This first example is an illustrative collage of a 4-site motherboard with PMXM and I/O (PMX_IOC) plug-in card possibilities:

PowerMX 4-site motherboard showing variety of PMXM and PMX_IOC plug-in module possibilities

This collage contains representations of:

1. Standard and extended PMXM plug-in boards.
2. Plug-in and "hardened" PMXM and PMX_IOC sites.
3. Panel-ready fiber plug-in modules.
4. Motherboard-to-motherboard bridging plug-in boards.
5. Plug-in monolithic PMX_IOC boards c/w and w/o FPGAs.
6. Monolithic backplane transition PMX_IOC module with backplane drivers/repeaters.
7. -48VDC supply with 3, 12V 1/8th brick Vicor IBCs providing up to 1500 W peak power capability.
8. LVDC regulators for PMXM sites, mounted on the Rear Side of the motherboard.

The 4-site motherboard is 17.25" wide and able to fit into a 19" rack-mount server box.


Here is an example of a 2-site motherboard mounted in a server-box chassis with no plug-in boards installed:

PowerMX 2-site server chassis bare motherboard example


Here are two examples of the 2-site chassis loaded with plug-in boards:

PowerMX 2-site server chassis loaded motherboard example 1


PowerMX 2-site server chassis loaded motherboard example 2


Many other chassis as well as blade configurations are possible.  Fan placement and cooling strategy illustrated here is notional and requires further investigation.