Using the 2nd CPU of a pentium class SMP system as real-time processor

RTCPU enables the exclusive use of the 2nd CPU of a dual Pentium class machine as real-time processor (RTP). It is possible to execute applications without the use of an operation system, but real-time tasks may also be executed under the control of a real-time operating system, e.g. RTEMS. The 1st CPU (BSP) runs Linux and is used to bring up the system and to connect the real-time application to the (not real-time) environment.

Due to this method is is possible to reduce the effort of development of a real-time application: the application can easily be developed under the control of Linux by using the standard development tools, e. g. gcc tool chain. After that it is possible to load and execute these applications by the real-time processor. If the application crashes a special run-time environment allows the examination of the reason of the malfunction.

The main advantages are

  • the use of (relatively cheap) standard components with state-of-the-art performance and
  • the reduction of turn-around times for development.


  • Support for Linux Kernel Version 2.4.25
  • Examination of the timing issues concerning shared resources like memory and busses.


  • a dual processor, iX86-based system
  • Linux Version 2.4.x

Contact and Sources

Please contact Tom@rtcpu.org if you are interested in this project.

Thomas Hopfner, April 2004