History of the PC/104 Consortium
The PC/104 Consortium was established in February 1992 by 12 companies with a common vision of adapting desktop computer technology for embedded applications. This consortium has had a tremendous, positive effect on the embedded computer marketplace. The initial release of the PC/104 specification in March of 1992 was an open design offering the power and flexibility of an IBM compatible personal computer in a size ideally suited for embedding. Simple and elegant in design, while small but rugged in performance, PC/104 technology bridged the successes of the past with the promises of future innovations.
The ISA bus of the original IBM PC –– as established by the IEEE P996 specification – is still fully supported today by PC/104 technology over two decades after it was created.
When demand for a faster, higher-bandwidth bus emerged, the PC/104 Consortium once again followed the desktop PC by adding a PCI bus to the ISA bus. Following on, PC/104-Plus was introduced in February of 1997. By keeping the ISA bus and adding the PCI bus, this specification became an addition to the technology rather than a replacement of any existing technology.
When desktop PCs stopped using the ISA bus, the PC/104 Consortium was ready with PCI-104 technology. The concept of PCI with no ISA was introduced in the original PC/104-Plus specification and was subsequently formally recognized with its own specification in November 2003. Once again, the PC/104 Consortium followed the desktop PC while keeping the legacy specifications intact.
This growth pattern underscores the PC/104 Consortium’s desire to support the legacy technology while developing new solutions for the future. Longevity is a requirement for embedded systems and remains one of the hallmarks of PC/104 technology. This aspect is proven time and again by the number of PC/104, PC/104-Plus, and PCI-104 products on the market today, as well as by the number of PC/104 sites on other form-factor boards.
PC/104 Consortium Founding Members
Quantum Software Systems
Real Time Devices