Decrypting data when the encryption key is unknown is a computationally expensive task. Such tasks are well-matched to the computational power available in the PCA cards manufactured by Star Communications, Inc.
The figure to the right illustrates one of the world's most well-known encryption algorithms, called the data encryption standard, or DES. A single PCA-704 card running optimized DES engines is estimated to perform 56 billion decryption operations per second. This makes it more powerful than the COPACOBANA Model S3-1000, and nearly as powerful as the DES Cracker from Electronic Frontier Foundation!
Unlike either of those systems, however (which are architected specifically for decryption), a PCA card is capable of general purpose processing, and can be re-purposed at any time by loading different firmware.
And on a size, weight, and power (SWaP) basis, the PCA cards excel. A single PCA card uses about one-fifth the power of a COPACOBANA Model S3-1000 unit, and occupies less than 1% of its volume.