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Embedded ATX boards sport four cores

Oct 27, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 16 views

Kontron has announced two new ATX-format embedded motherboards that target “compute-intensive” applications such as image processing. The KTQ45/FLEX and KTQ45/ATXE feature Core 2 Quad or Core 2 Duo processors, dual gigabit Ethernet, 12 USB ports, and five SATA ports, according to the… company.

(Click here for a larger view of Kontron's KTQ45 motherboards)

Kontron's new embedded motherboards are said to support either of two powerful 45nm processors Intel introduced earlier this year, promising seven-year availability for both. The Core 2 Duo E8400 is a dual-core CPU with a 3.0GHz clock speed, 65-Watt TDP, 6MB second-level cache, and 1333MHz FSB (frontside bus). The Core 2 Quad Q9400 is a quad-core CPU with a 2.66GHz clock speed, 95-Watt TDP, 6MB second-level cache and a 1333Mhz FSB.

According to Kontron, the KTQ45/FLEX and KTQ45/ATXE support the above processors via use of Intel's Q45 Express chipset (right), which includes the GMCH (graphics memory controller hub) 82Q45 northbridge and the ICH (I/O controller hub) 10DO southbridge. The GMCH 82Q45 is cited as supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, with FSB speeds from 800MHz to 1333MHz. Meanwhile, the ICH 10DO provides functionality such as 12 USB 2.0 ports, up to six SATA ports, a TPM (trusted platform module), and support for RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10, Intel says.

Intel's FlexATX form factor
(Click to enlarge)
Source: Intel

Before we discuss how Kontron has implemented this functionality, a word about form-factors. As the photo at the top of our story suggests, the KTQ45/ATXE and KTQ45/FLEX are closely related, but the KTQ45/ATXE is wider, for extra expansion slots. Kontron didn't list dimensions on its data sheet, but the KTQ45/ATXE is rated to fit within the original ATX footprint (12 x 9.6 inches, or 305 x 244mm, as shown above), whereas the KTQ45/FLEX fits within the FlexATX footprint (9.0 x 7.5 inches, or 229 x 191mm).

Not lacking in expansion

As a byproduct of this size difference, the KTQ45/ATXE has room for four PCI slots, whereas the KTQ45/FLEX only has room for two. Other than that, both boards are apparently identical — and not exactly lacking in expansion capabilities either way.

For example, the KTQ45 boards sport four DIMM-240 slots, and accept up to 8GB of DDR3 memory. They also have a PCI Express slot that accepts either x4 or x16 cards. A suggested use for the latter is Kontron's optional “ADD2” cards, which support a second display via a DVI port or pin header.

On top of the boards, there are six SATA ports, one of which meets the ESATA spec, and five of which are RAID-capable SATA150/SATA300, according to Kontron. “Internal” expansion is also said to include a parallel port, for a printer or floppy, and four USB ports.

Meanwhile, the boards' edges bristle with eight additional USB ports, dual gigabit Ethernet adapters, PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports, a VGA output, and dual serial ports. And, though Kontron touts a “cooler and quieter system design,” the KTQ45 boards can make plenty of noise on demand, since they have multiple 3.5mm jacks that provide 7:1 audio output.

Features and specifications listed by Kontron for the KTQ45/ATXE and KTQ45/FLEX include:

  • Processor:
    • Core 2 Duo E8400, with 3.0GHz clock speed, 65-Watt TDP, 6MB L2 cache, and 1333MHz FSB
    • Core 2 Quad Q9400, with a 2.66GHz clock speed, 95-Watt TDP, 6MB L2 cache, and 1333Mhz FSB

  • Memory — Up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, via 4 DIMM-240 slots
  • Graphics — VGA output, and flat panel support via optional ADD2 cards
  • Networking — 2 gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 12 x USB 2.0 (4 internal, 8 external)
    • 2 x RS232
    • 2 x PS/2
    • 1 x VGA
    • 6 x SATA (1 x SATA, 5 x SATA150/SATA300 with RAID 0/1/5/10 support)
    • Parallel port for printer/floppy
    • 7:1 channel HD audio output

  • Expansion:
    • 2 x PCI (KTQ45/FLEX) or 4 x PCI (KTQ45/ATXE)
    • 1 x PCI Express x16 or 1 x PCI Express x4 (shared slot)

  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60 deg. C

According to Kontron, the KTQ45/ATXE and KTQ45/FLEX are available now, though pricing was not specified. They support Linux, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows XP Embedded, the company adds.

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