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Car PC puts Atom in single DIN slot

Jul 25, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 72 views

Portwell has introduced an interesting Intel Atom-based PC aimed at in-car entertainment. The PCS-8230 fits into a single DIN slot, offers TV tuner, WiFi, and GPS modules, has a SDIO slot and a 2.5-inch hard drive bay, and delivers six channels of analog audio, says Portwell.

(Click here for a larger view of Portwell's PCS-8230)

The PCS-8230 measures 7.5 x 7.1 x 1.96 inches, which enables it to fit into the single-DIN slot offered on many vehicle dashboards, according to Portwell. And it appears to cram a lot into that footprint, beginning with Intel's 1.1GHz Atom Z510 processor and SCH (system controller hub) US15W companion chip. Via a single 200-pin SO-DIMM slot, the fanless device accepts up to 1GB of DDR2 memory.

Portwell's PCS-8230 provides six channels of analog audio output

As the above photo shows, the PCS-8230 sports a SDIO slot and two USB ports on its front panel. At the rear, there are four further USB ports, a VGA output, and an RS232 port. In addition, there are six discrete analog jacks, providing 5:1 surround sound. These jacks presumably need to be connected to a car's audio amplifier; still, they're a welcome and comparatively rare addition, since some PCs that claim surround sound provide it only via a digital output.

Other “infotainment” features on the PCS-8230 are said to include a DVB-T (digital video broadcasting terrestrial) TV tuner, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. Not necessarily standard in all configurations, these features are added via modules that connect to two internal SDIO slots.

Further internal expansion includes a PCI Express x 1 slot, a Compact Flash socket, and space for a 2.5-inch hard disk drive. In addition, the device can accept a TPM (trusted platform module) and USB-based SSD (solid state disk), according to the company.

The PCS-8230 includes an internal DC-to-DC converter, allowing it to accept input power ranging from 6VDC to 24VDC. Its back panel also has an antenna input, usable either for WiFi or for the TV tuner, the company says.

Features and specifications listed by Portwell for the PCS-8230 include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom Z510 clocked at 1.1GHz
  • Memory — Up to 1GB of 553MHz DDR2 RAM
  • Storage — includes 2.5-inch hard disk drive bay and CompactFlash socket
  • Networking — WiFi (optional module)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x USB 2.0 (front panel)
    • 4 x USB (rear panel)
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x RS232
    • 6 analog audio outputs (5:1 surround sound)

  • Expansion:
    • Compact Flash slot
    • PCI Express x 1 slot
    • 3 x SDIO slots (1 external, 2 internal)

  • Operating temperature — 0 to 50 deg. C (-40 to 80 deg. C “available by request”)
  • Dimensions — 7.5 x 7.1 x 1.96 inches

Portwell did not provide any explicit word about operating system choices, but the PCS-8230 is said to support both Linux and Windows. Pricing was not listed, but more information may be available from the company's website, here.

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