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Embedded module sports Pineview chips

Dec 22, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Eurotech has spun a new version of its Linux-ready Catalyst computer-on-module (COM) that incorporates Intel's new 1.66GHz “Pineview” Atom CPUs: the N450 or dual-core D510. The Catalyst LP offers up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM and 64GB flash storage, plus gigabit Ethernet, SATA, and PCI Express expansion, the company says.

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 in August of that year. In March of this year, Eurotech announced a Catalyst XL version  of the module that was instead based on the extended temperature Z5xxx PT Atom processor. Last month, Eurotech announced a carrier board for the XL version called the Catalyst FX.

The new Catalyst LP module is said to be suited for graphics-intensive applications, such as digital signage, as well as industrial, medical, gaming, and human-machine interface (HMI) devices. Offering the same fanless, 3.9 x 2.8 inch (100 x 67mm) form factor as Eurotech's previous Catalysts, the module will work with existing Catalyst adapter boards, according to an email from Hilary Tomasson, VP of marketing for Eurotech.

Added Tomasson, "We also expect to develop a new adapter board that will take advantage of the additional capabilities enabled by the Catalyst LP, including SATA and PATA, additional expansion buses, etc."

Eurotech's Catalyst XL (left) and original Catalyst (right) — photos of the Catalyst LP are not currently available.

Catalyst LP customers have a choice between two of the three "Pineview" Atom processors announced by Intel yesterday. The Atom N450 (with 200MHz graphics engine) or dual-core Intel Atom D510 (with 400MHz graphics engine), both clocked at 1.66GHz. Both are said to be matched here with an Intel ICH8M southbridge, rather than Intel's new NM10.

Compared to the Catalyst XL, the new LP version offers the same 2GB DDR2 SDRAM limit, but increases available flash storage to up to 64MB via an onboard solid-state drive (SSD), says Eurotech. The Catalyst LP module offers a 4x PCI Express expansion interface, and supports VGA and LVDS video output.

The module supplies dual 2 x SD/MMC slots and dual SATA ports in place of the previous IDE interface. The Catalyst LP also offers a gigabit Ethernet interface instead of standard Fast Ethernet, and bumps up the allotment of USB 2.0 ports to nine ports total, says Eurotech.

By coupling the module with one of the Catalyst-compatible adapter boards, far more I/O is possible. Real-world interfaces that can be made available via an adapter board are said to include serial, Parallel, IrDA, CAN, and touchscreen I/O.

Since the Pineview CPUs lack extended temperature support, the Catalyst LP is designed for a more standard 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C) temperature range than was available with the extended temperature Z5xxx PT-based Catalyst XL. Typical power consumption is said to range from 7-9 Watts for the N450 model or 11-13 Watts for the dual-core D510.

Features and specifications cited by the company for the Catalyst XP include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N450 (with 200MHz graphics engine) or dual-core Intel Atom D510 (with 400MHz graphics engine), both clocked at 1.66GHz
  • Chipset — ICH8 southbridge
  • Memory — up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM
  • Flash — Up to 64MB onboard SSD flash
  • Expansion — PCI Express Mini Card (4 x one-lane or optionally 1 x four-lane)
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet interface
  • Other I/O:
    • VGA
    • LVDS
    • HD audio I/O
    • 9 x USB 2.0 ports
    • 2 x SATA ports
    • 2 x SD/MMC slots
    • Maintenance serial port
    • SMBus
    • LPC bus
  • I/O available with adapter board:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • 2 x serial (RS-232 and RS-485)
    • GPIO
    • CAN bus
    • IrDA
    • 4 or 5 wire touchscreen interface
    • Parallel port
  • Power — 3.3V to 5V (+/- 5%); typical consumption 7-9 W (N450), 11-13 W (D510)
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 3.9 x 2.8 inches (100 x 67mm)

The Catalyst LP supports Wind River Linux 3, Windows CE 6.0, and Windows Embedded Standard, says Eurotech. The company also says that its Java-based IDE environment, the Everyware Software Framework, is available.

Stated Tomasson, "Eurotech offers a seamless migration pattern for customers ready to take advantage of the new Intel Atom processors immediately in our Catalyst form factor. The Catalyst LP system from Eurotech offers OEMs easy application development options in both single core and dual core configurations."


Eurotech expects to ship the Catalyst LP in the first quarter of 2010, at an undisclosed price. More information may be found here.

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