Credit card sized computer-on-module
12 June 2008
With an Intel Atom processor, the power and space saving design is suitable for next generation ultra-mobile applications.
Kontron has unveiled the first small nanoETXexpress computer-on-module based on the low power Intel Atom processor. The nano form factor is designed as an extension to the COM express specification.
The credit card size COM Express COM.0 Type 1 compatible Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP computer-on-module with the Intel Atom processor Z5xx series boasts clock speeds between 1.1GHz and 1.6GHz. There is an Intel system controller hub (US15W) that offers up to 1Gbyte of soldered DDR2 400/533 RAM and 2Gbyte of onboard flash as a boot device.
The Intel Atom processor and single chip chipset (22mm x 22mm), now called the Intel System Controller Hub US15W, have a TDP of less than 5W. Compared with other low power processors, the new chipset requires only oneseventh the size and uses only one-tenth of the energy, claims the company. This makes the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP computer-onmodule suited to ultra-mobile and embedded applications that require x86 processor performance, high-end graphics, PCI Express, USB 2.0, and Serial ATA combined with longer battery power. These applications can include handheld devices for medical or multimedia applications, small mobile data systems, and a host of new applications that before now have not been possible due to size or power consumption constraints.
The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP is compatible with the COM Express COM Express COM.0 Type 1 connector and the placement and assignment of the pins also conforms to COM.0. Furthermore, compared with card edge connectors, the COM Express connector has less electronic attentuation, which enables longer pathways on the carrier board. It is predicted that green IT trends will reduce the possible pathway length in the long term. In addition, it offers greater shock and vibration resistance as well as a clear advantage when it comes to EMC. This is important since the demands on shielding are increasing due to factors such as second generation PCIe that doubles the wire speed and thereby the frequency, resulting in the need for greater shielding.
An array of future-focused interfaces are available via the COM Express Type 1 connector, including 1Gbit Ethernet, one SATA port, eight USB 2.0 (one of which is clientcompatible) as well as a PCI-Express lane for application-specific expansions. Two PCIe is also possible if the Gbit Ethernet is not required. An external PCIe to PCI bridge is also supported. In order to enable small format SD/SDIO interfaces such as SD, miniSD, MMC and DE-ATA, the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP computer-on-module offers support via the GPIO pins of the COM Express compliant connector.
Additionally, the 18/24bit LVDS single channel graphic performance offers 256Mbyte of graphic memory, HDTV support and integrated MPG2 decoder as well as H.264; more than mini devices require, says the company. The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP computer-on-module supports Linux and VxWorks as well as Windows XP, Xpe, and CE.
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