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Atom-powered COM has 5:1 audio

Nov 24, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

U.K.-based Anders Electronics announced an Intel Atom-based COM (computer-on-module) with up to 2GB of memory, 4GB of flash storage, and a microSD expansion slot. The CM-iAM includes a 1.6GHz Z530 CPU, two PCI Express lanes, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and 5:1 audio, according to the company.

Anders touts the CM-iAM — which is manufactured by CompuLab of Israel, as it turns out — as "the most compact, lightweight PC-on-module available." The board measures 2.95 x 2.55 inches (75 x 65mm), uses between four and six Watts, and is ideal for battery-powered and "always on" applications, the company says.

The CM-iAM uses Intel's 1.6GHZ Atom Z530 CPU, along with the SCH US15W combination northbridge/southbridge. According to Anders, it is available with 1GB or 2GB of soldered-on DDR2 memory, plus from 1GB to 4GB of integral NAND flash storage, enough to smoothly run Linux, Windows 7, or Windows XP.

Top (left) and bottom of the Anders/CompuLab CM-iAM
(Click to enlarge)

Though not without rivals (Qseven or nanoETXexpress devices, for instance) this is definitely one of the smaller Atom modules on the market

Further storage can be added via a microSD slot on the bottom of the CM-iAM (above right), notes Anders. The bottom of the module also includes two surface-mount connectors, used to convey the system's interfaces to an optional, mini-ATX-format baseboard (see later in this story for details).

According to Anders, the CM-iAM's many interfaces include two gigabit Ethernet ports, six USB 2.0 ports, two SDIO ports, a serial port, LPC, I2C, and GPIO. The device also includes SATA hard disk support, plus LVDS, SVDO, and parallel RGB video interfaces. Capable of displaying HD video, the module supports resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080, while its 5:1 audio codec may be channeled to analog or S/PDIF connections, the company adds.

A block diagram of the CM-iAM
(Click to enlarge)

Anders and CompuLab also offer the SB-iAM, a mini-ATX (7.5 x 6.7 inches) baseboard that accepts the CM-iAM, turning it into a complete PC with a variety of real-world connectors. The SB-iAM is apparently available in several different configurations, but as pictured below, it includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, six USB 2.0 ports with Type A connectors, a DB9 serial port, a VGA port, plus connectors for LVDS and TFT displays.

The SB-iAM baseboard
(Click to enlarge)

The SB-iAM also offers a PCI Express x 1 slot and a 32-bit PCI slot, though only one of these slots is functional at a time, according to CompuLab. Meanwhile, the baseboard includes microphone and line audio inputs, and is orderable with either two-channel analog audio output, or 5:1 audio output via multiple 3.5mm jacks (as pictured above) and an S/PDIF coaxial connector.

Features and specifications listed by Anders or CompuLab for the CM-iAM and SB-iAM include:

  • Processor — 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB of DDR2 RAM (soldered on module) and from 1GB to 4GB of NAND flash (on module)
  • Display — Supports LVDS, SVDO, and parallel RGB video; baseboard has VGA port
  • Storage — SATA interface
  • Expansion:
    • PCI Express (1 or 2 lanes; baseboard has PCI Express x 1 slot)
    • PCI slot (on baseboard)
    • 1 x microSD slot
    • 2 x SDIO ports (baseboard adds two SD slots)
    • LPC
    • I2C
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet (baseboard adds RJ45 connectors)
  • Other I/O:
    • 6 x USB 2.0 (baseboard adds Type A connectors)
    • 1 x serial (baseboard adds DB9 connector)
    • 5:1 audio (baseboard adds mic and line in, plus either 2-channel or 5:1 analog output)
    • S/PDIF (connector on baseboard)
    • GPIOs (up to 15 lines; 100-mil header on baseboard)
  • Power requirements:
    • Module uses 5VDC; baseboard accepts 7V to 20VDC unregulated input
    • Module uses from 4 to 6 Watts; baseboard uses from 4 to 9 Watts (module and baseboard)
  • Operating temperature — Available in commercial (32 to 158 deg; F; 0 to 70 deg. C), extended (-4 to 158 deg. F; -20 to 70 deg. C), and industrial (-40 to 185 deg. F; -40 to 85 deg. C) versions
  • Dimensions:
  • Module — 2.95 x 2.55 inches (75 x 65mm)
  • Baseboard — 7.5 x 6.7 inches (190 x 170mm)


Anders did not specify pricing for the CM-iAM or SB-iAM, but said the products are available now.

More information on the CM-iAM may be found on the Anders website, here, or CompuLab site, here. More information on the SB-iAM may be found on the CompuLab website, here.

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