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COM Express module sports Atom

Dec 22, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Aaeon announced a COM Express module powered by Intel's N270 Atom processor. The new “COM-945GSE” targets “leading-edge applications” including gaming, entertainment, and industrial automation, with a 1.6GHz CPU, eight USB ports, two SATA ports, CRT, LCD, or TV video outputs, and gigabit Ethernet,… the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Aaeon's COM-945GSE)

Aaeon's new COM (computer on module) uses the well-known COM Express format. Like that of other Type 2 COM Express modules, its underside has two surface-mount connectors, with 220 pins apiece, conveying all its signals to a development board (see below) or custom carrier board.

Visible on the front, and occupying nearly a third of the highly integrated board's surface area, are Intel's N270 Atom processor, 945GSE northbridge, and ICH7M southbridge. Aaeon doesn't cite the COM-945GSE's power consumption, but this trio of Intel chips has a total TDP of approximately 9 Watts, according to the chipmaker. Therefore, the COM-945GSE may likely be operated fanlessly, with adequate cooling installed.

The COM-945GSE has an Intel 82547L gigabit Ethernet chip. Additional I/O includes eight USB ports, two SATA II ports, a PATA interface that supports dual drives, HD audio, and four GPIO lines that may be used as inputs or outputs, according to Aaeon.

Aaeon touts the COM-945GSE's ability to support mirrored or independent dual displays, which may be either a CRT and an LCD, a CRT and a TV, or a TV and an LCD. Supported resolutions, via up to 224MB of shared video memory, are said to range up to 2048 x 1538 pixels for LCDs, and 1600 x 1200 pixels for CRTs.

The module's single SO-DIMM slot, said to accept up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, is visible in the photo at the top of this story. Other expansion potential is provided by up to five PCI Express interfaces, four PCI interfaces, LPC, SMBus, and I2C, Aaeon says.

Aaeon's ECB-916M

As usual for a COM, bringing all this goodness to the outside world requires a carrier board for the module. Aaeon offers to design a custom carrier board “for specific project requirements,” but also nominates its standard ECB-916M development board, shown above. This off-the-shelf product uses the 9.6 x 9.6 micro-ATX form factor, and provides real-world interfaces that include the following, the company says:
  • VGA, LVDS, and TV-out connectors
  • 2 x RJ45 connectors for gigabit Ethernet
  • Audio I/O
  • 1 x CompactFlash Type II slot
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot
  • 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
  • 1 x PCI slot
  • 1 x Express Card slot
  • 1 x Mini PCI slot
  • 4 x SATA ports
  • 1 x PATA
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  • 4 x USB ports
  • 4 x COM ports
  • 1 x LPC connector
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector
  • 1 x AT/ATX power input

Features and specifications listed by Aaeon for the COM-945GSE on its own include:

  • Processor — 1.6GHz Atom N270
  • Memory — Up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM via single SO-DIMM slot
  • Display — Supports dual displays: CRT/LCD, CRT/TV, or TV/LDC
  • Storage — None on board
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet interface
  • Other I/O:

    • LVDS and SDVO video
    • 1 x PATA
    • 2 x SATA II
    • 8 x USB 2.0
    • Audio I/O (output up to 7:1)
    • 4 x GPIO (assignable to input or output)

  • Expansion:
    • 3 x PCI Express x1 (standard), 5 x PCI Express x1 (optional)
    • 4 x 32-bit PCI
    • LPC
    • SMbus
    • I2C

  • Power requirements — Accepts 8.5VDC to 19VDC input range
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60 deg. C
  • Dimensions — 3.75 x 3.75 inches (95 x 95mm)
Further information

According to Aaeon, the COM-945GSE supports Linux, Windows XP, and Windows XP Embedded. Pricing and availability were not provided, but more information may be found on the company's website, here.

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