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Computer module tries on new Atom E6xx

Sep 15, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Eurotech announced a new member of its Catalyst computer-on-module (COM) family, based on the new Intel Atom E6xx processor. The Catalyst TC offers up to 2GB of DDR2 memory, along with PCI Express expansion and a variety of interfaces including SATA, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, and CAN, says the company.

The Catalyst TC is targeted at industrial automation, medical, automotive,  in-vehicle infotainment, gaming, and military markets, says Eurotech. Offering the same fanless, 3.9 x 2.8 inch (100 x 67mm) form factor as Eurotech's previous Catalysts, the module should work with existing Catalyst adapter boards.

Catalyst TC

(Click to enlarge)

Eurotech introduced its first Catalyst module in April 2008, based on the original Intel Atom Z5xx CPUs, and then released a PC/104-Plus-based Isis carrier board for the module later that year. In March of 2009, Eurotech announced a Catalyst XL version that was based on the extended temperature Z5xxx PT Atom, followed by a carrier board for the XL called the Catalyst FX.

In December, Eurotech followed up with the Catalyst LP, which moved to the N450 or dual-core D510 "Pineview" Atoms, and added SATA and PATA interfaces, as well as additional expansion buses.

The new Catalyst TC uses Intel's Atom E6xx (previously known only as "Tunnel Creek"), the upgrade to the Z5xx that was announced yesterday. Intel refers to the Atom E6xx as a SoC (system-on-chip), as it incorporates a graphics controller (reportedly based on Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX IP), memory controller, and audio.

The E6xx is unique in that instead of using a proprietary interconnect between the CPU and an I/O controller, it employs the industry-standard PCI Express bus. This will permit the development of third-party I/O hubs, but the Catalyst TC uses Intel's own 23 x 23mm EG20T ("Topcliff").

The power consumption of the Catalyst TC is 2-3 Watts, says Eurotech. This is the same as with the earlier Atom Z5xxx PT based Catalyst XL, but much lower than the Catalyst LP's 7-9 W (N450) or 11-13 W (D510) models.

Like the most recent Catalyst LP, the TC model offers 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM, upgradable to 2GB, says Eurotech. It offers a smaller optional flash drive, however, topping off at 16GB instead of 64GB.

Again like the Catalyst LP, the Catalyst TC is equipped with PCI Express expansion and a gigabit Ethernet interface. Its wide range of I/O ports, including dual SATA ports and eight USB 2.0 ports, is fairly similar, and it adds additional onboard I/O including CAN 2.0, I2C, and SPI, as well as a JTAG interface.

The Catalyst TC supports both commercial and industrial (-40 to 185 deg. F) temperature options, says Eurotech. Operating system support includes Wind River Linux, as well as Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard, and Windows CE. In addition, the module is available with Eurotech's optional Java-based IDE (integrated development environment), Everyware Software Framework, says the company.

Preliminary features and specifications cited by the company for the Catalyst TC include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom E6xx clocked at up to 1.3GHz
  • Chipset — EG20T
  • Memory — 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB
  • Flash — Optional 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB onboard flash
  • Expansion — 3 x PCI Express interfaces
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet interface
  • Other I/O:
    • SVDO
    • LVDS
    • HD audio I/O
    • 8 x USB 2.0 ports, including 1 x USB client
    • 2 x SATA ports
    • IDE (optional)
    • 2 x SD/MMC slots
    • 3 x serial ports
    • SMBus
    • CAN 2.0
    • I2C
    • SPI
    • Debug UART
    • JTAG
    • LPC bus
  • Power consumption — 2-3 Watts typical consumption
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 3.9 x 2.8 inches (100 x 67mm)

Stated Haritha Treadway, product manager for Eurotech Inc., "We have made full use of the benefits of this new Intel Atom processor platform and parlayed it into a powerful embedded product that doesn't make any sacrifices with respect to power or capability."


The Catalyst TC will be available in the fourth quarter, with orders being accepted now. Eurotech's Catalyst TC is on display in the Intel booth at the Intel Developers Forum, through today, at San Francisco's Moscone Center West.

More information may be found here.

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