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Core i7 module handles temperature extremes

Feb 8, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Adlink announced a Core i7-equipped COM Express module featuring Intel's embedded-specific Core i7 processor along with the QM57 Express chipset. The “Ampro by Adlink Express-CBR” features up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, CRT and LVDS display support, an optional SSD (solid state disk), and PCI Express Graphics (PEG) or PCI Express expansion, the company says.

Adlink says its Ampro-branded Express-CBR is "designed for use in applications deployed in the harshest environments, where high performance in all aspects of the design is required." Targeting aerospace, military, defense, transportation, and gaming applications, the Type 2 COM Express module has an extended operating range of -40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C), according to the company.

Because the Express-CBR's name and specifications are so similar to the "civilian" Express-CB released last month, we were prepared to believe that the two modules differ only in component selection. However, comparing pictures of the Express-CB (below left) and Express-CBR (below right) suggests that component locations have been substantially revised.

Adlink's Express-CB (left) and Ampro-branded Express-CBR (right)
(Click either to enlarge)

As we've previously reported, Intel last month announced 12 new processors specifically aimed at embedded devices. Additions to the chipmaker's Core i3, i5, i7, and Xeon families, the CPUs have two or four cores and incorporate "Turbo Boost" technology that can temporarily bump up their basic clock speeds. All of the CPUs also include onboard graphics, rated by Intel as adequate for "mainstream and casual 3-D gaming."

A block diagram of the Intel QM57 Express chipset used by Adlink's Express-CBR
Source: Intel (Click to enlarge)

In addition to onboard graphics, the new 32nm CPUs have integral memory controllers for DDR3 RAM. Therefore, the accompanying QM57 Express chipset — used on the Express-CBR — only needs to handle I/O, as illustrated above.

According to Adlink, the Express-CBR supports Core i7 CPUs running at up to 2.0GHz, though because a datasheet hasn't yet been released, we're unable to say exactly which models. The 4.9 x 3.7-inch device accepts up to 8GB of DDR3 memory via two SODIMM sockets, the company adds.

The device includes eight USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, and four SATA ports that can support RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10, says Adlink. Additional storage interfaces are said to include an IDE channel, though the optional SSD (solid state disk) found on the Express-CB wasn't mentioned here.

The Express-CBR supports both CRT and 18/24-bit LVDS video outputs, which, like the device's other interfaces, have to reach the outside world via its COM Express connectors and an application-specific baseboard. The module incorporates a PCI Express Graphics x16 bus for discrete graphics expansion; this may also be configured for general-purpose PCI Express x8, x4, or x1 connectivity, according to Adlink.

PJ Go, GMat Adlink, stated, "Customers operating high-reliability and graphics-intensive applications in harsh environments will greatly benefit from this latest addition to our Ampro by Adlink product portfolio."


Intel's new Core i5 and Core i7 processors have already featured on a variety of other COM Express modules, previously covered by These include Advantech's SOM-5788, Congatec's Conga-BM57, and Eurotech's Adbc8031.

According to Adlink, the Express-CBR supports Windows 7, Windows CE 6.0, Wind River VXworks 6.7, QNX 6.4, and other operating systems. Linux was not specifically mentioned, but the company listed Linux 2.6 support for its Express-CB module. The device will begin sampling within thirty days, and single-unit pricing is approximately $1,300, the company adds.

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