Kontron launches credit-card size COM Express module

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Kontron is releasing the 55 x 84mm 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 is suitable for the next generation of ultra-mobile applications. With clock speeds between 1.1 and 1.6GHz, the Intel Atom processor offers excellent performance in a small and energy-efficient design (13 x 14mm). The Intel Atom processor and single-chip chipset (22 x 22mm), now called the Intel System Controller Hub US15W, have a TDP of <5W.

Compared with other low-power processors, the new chipset is said to require only one-seventh of the size and one-tenth of the energy. This makes the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module suitable for 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 new applications that prior to now have not been possible due to size or power consumption constraints.

Dirk Finstel, Vice President of Research and Engineering at Kontron, explains: "With the new Kontron nanoETXExpress-SP Computer-on-Module, OEMs receive one of the most innovative and future-proof Intel Atom processor-based boards for extremely fast solution developments based on an extremely small COM form factor. The nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module underscores Kontron's position as a leading supplier of x86-based embedded computing technology and also offers the highest degree of investment security."

The advantages of the COM Express connector

The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP is compatible with the COM Express COM.0 Type 1 connector. The placement and assignment of the pins also conforms to COM.0. Since it has less electronic attenuation, the COM Express connector enables longer pathways on the carrier board. This is important since the green IT trend is to reduce the possible pathway length in the long term. In addition, the connector offers greater shock and vibration resistance as well as a clear advantage when it comes to EMC. This is also important since the demands on shielding are increasing due to factors such as second-generation PCIe, which doubles the wire speed and thereby the frequency, resulting in the need for greater shielding. Therefore, using Computer-on-Module designs with the COM Express Type 1 connector offers the longest lifecycle.

The feature set in brief

The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module comes with the Z5XX series Intel Atom processor from 1.1 to 1.6GHz and Intel System Controller Hub US15W and offers up to 1GByte of soldered DDR2 400/533 RAM and 2GBytes of onboard Flash as a boot device. Future-focused interfaces are available via the COM Express Type 1 connector including one Gigabit Ethernet, one SATA port, eight USB 2.0 (one of which is client-capable) as well as one PCI-Express lane for application-specific expansions. It is also possible to have two PCIe if the Gigabit 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 the relevant support via the GPIO pins of the COM Express compliant connector. Additionally, the 18/24Bit LVDS single-channel graphic performance offers 256MB of graphic memory, HDTV support and an integrated MPG2 decoder as well as an H.264. The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module supports Linux and VxWorks as well as Windows XP, XPe and CE.

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