I/O Board, Logic Box Enable Scalable Designs for Casino Gaming

Author: Naomi Wei

The gaming media industry is experiencing a technology renaissance amid the arrival of dazzling graphics, ultra-high-definition screens, and multiple video outputs. The digital slot machines and arcades filled with fighting and racing games are now employing vibrant 3D graphics and 4K touchscreen displays that demand high-resolution and rendering requirements.

Likewise, electronic table games, video/lottery terminals (Class II), amusement-with-prize (AWP) systems, sport betting terminal, and self-checking KIOSK can be designed with specific gaming requirements. Here, embedded PCs enable designers to develop reliable gaming machines that can comply with strict regulatory and industry-specific standards.

Take security, for instance, a crucial factor in casino hardware, which is essential to prevent physical or remote intrusion. The embedded systems designed for casino gaming facilitate data security with non-volatile RAM to secure mission-critical gaming data. Next, the BIOS can perform secure boot with write protection as well as detection capabilities to generate alerts on specific events like low battery.

Figure 1: The immersive graphics and multi-screen displays in next-generation casino games mandate scalable design solutions.

Here, we present two design solutions for casino gaming machine and media: the gaming function I/O board and the all-in-one logic box. Gaming function I/O boards can be added to a large casino machine by using USB connectivity. The gaming system is upgradable with next-generation motherboards. The modular designs offer rich I/O connectivity that covers legacy peripherals. That, in turn, allows an easy upgrade to the latest CPUs for adding new gaming features and capabilities.

Take the Portwell GFS-1900 system as an example, which can be adopted to an existing mini-ITX form-factor gaming computer board equipped with a USB port, and can easily upgrade to gaming functionality with our basic IO function model GFC-1900. It allows gaming developers to upgrade to a new CPU on the existing gaming platform without any software development and/or maintenance work. It is optional to add GSM-1900 SAS board on demand.

Figure 2: The Portwell GFS-1900 lets designers put embedded PCs into large machines for introducing new gaming features.

The gaming I/O board offers up to 3 x 2 Mbytes of SRAM for battery backup, 64 Kbytes of EEPROM for unique ID and intrusion detection. Then there are six 12V meter counters for control and detection tasks, and two ccTalk interfaces for bill acceptance. It also offers 64 isolated GPIO and 64/128/192/256-bit random number generator (RNG).

All-in-One Box

Next, an all-in-one gaming solution, which comes with a dedicated FPGA, can offload the CPU from the specialized gaming features. The PGS-6310(S) gaming box is based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC that incorporates the Zen CPU and Vega GPU with up to 11 compute units. It’s compliant with the Slot Accounting System (SAS) 6.02 protocol and comes with a GxG API and software package. It supports 4 x 4K@60Hz independence DisplayPort 1.4, 10 x COM ports, 12 x USB and 32 DI/32 DO.

Figure 3: The PGS-6310(S) gaming box measures 230 by 310 by 100 mm and supports four high-resolution displays.

A dedicated FPGA offloading the main CPU helps optimize the graphics and other performance parameters such as intrusion detection, 4M Bytes + 4M Byte data redundancy, and hardware SAS. While the dedicated FPGA runs secure gaming algorithms like SHA-256, the availability of sufficient memory capacity and I/O ports facilitates a wide range of security features such as NVRAM, write protect BIOS, event record PIC, and EEPROM for hardware ID.

Intrusion detection is also an important security feature, especially for out-of-band management. It is able to trigger an alert when someone opens enclosure/computer hardware, or tampers with any important device in security setting. The gaming solution’s compatibility with SAS protocol’s version 6.02 also allows designers to add new functionality such as enhanced progressive reporting.

In the end, flexibility in such systems can extend life while allowing simple upgrades.