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Embedded PCs leverage proven motherboards

Jul 12, 2011 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Emerson Network Power announced two embedded computers targeting applications such as digital signage, intelligent kiosks, and slot machines. The KR8-315 uses a 1.0GHz Intel Atom E640, has a 5.7 x 5.1-inch footprint and runs fanlessly, while the also-compact MCASE offers a Core i5 CPU and two Mini PCI slots, according to the company.

Emerson Network Power (ENP) proudly says that its new embedded computers are based on previously released motherboards. In the case of the little KR8-315, that would be the Nano-ITX-format NITX-315, which we first covered last September (and encountered again when it was featured in Avnet's Nano-ITX/Spartan-6 FPGA Development Kit).

The NITX-315 was offered with 512GB or 1GB of soldered-on DDR2 RAM, plus either the 600MHz Atom E620 or the 1.0GHz Atom E640, whose rated TDPs are 2.7 Watts and 3.3 Watts, respectively, according to Intel. Like other E6xx devices, it also includes Intel's EG20T platform controller hub. (An advantage of the E6xx is said to be its compatibility with third party I/O hubs, but as far as we're aware, it's still the case that none are on the market.)

For the built-up KR8-315, ENP offers only the faster Atom E640, along with 1GB of soldered-on memory. Measuring 5.7 x 5.1 x 1.96 inches, the PC's case includes a heat sink (for fanless cooling), and it has room for a 2.5-inch storage device that can be either a 250GB hard disk drive or a 64GB solid state disk (SSD), according to the company.

Emerson Network Power's KR8-315
(Click to enlarge)

Plain to see above, rear-panel I/O includes two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a VGA output, and audio I/O. The side of the box further offers a microSD slot, according to ENP.

When covering the NITX-315, we noted that the motherboard also included a fair bit of internal expansion, including headers for LVDS, four serial ports, four more USB 2.0 host ports, and one USB client. In addition, there was a PCI Express Mini Card slot (primarily intended for adding Wi-Fi or WiMAX, the company said) and a PCI Express x1 expansion slot. However, the KR8-315 apparently does not provide access to all these goodies because of space limitations.

According to ENP, the KR8-315 operates in temperatures between 32 to 113 deg. F when a hard disk is employed, or -4 to 158 deg. F when a SSD is used. It ships with a trial version of Windows Embedded Standard 7, but also supports Windows 7, Windows XP, and the Fedora 12 version of Linux, the company adds.

Specifications listed by Emerson Network Power for the KR8-315 include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom E640 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Chipset — Intel EG20T
  • Memory — 1GB of soldered-on DDR2 memory
  • Storage — 250GB hard disk drive or 64GB SSD
  • Expansion — microSD slot
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • audio — mic/line in and line/headphone out
  • Power — 12VDC via external AC adapter
  • Operating range:
    • 32 to 113 deg. F with hard drive
    • -4 to 158 deg. F with SSD
  • Dimensions — 5.7 x 5.1 x 1.96 inches
  • Weight — n/s


ENP says its more-powerful MCASE embedded PC (pictured) is also built on a previously released motherboard, the Mini-ITX-sized MITX-CORE-800. We haven't covered that one separately, but you can find out more details of the board in its naked glory on the MITX-CORE-800 product page.

Glancing at the data sheet offered there showed us that the MITX-CORE-800 is designed to support multiple choices from amongst Intel's "Sandy Bridge" Core family. For the MCASE, however, ENP has chosen a Core i5 processor (model and clock speed not specified).

The MCASE's maximum memory complement is not stated, so it's back to the MITX-CORE-800 datasheet we go to discover two SO-DIMM sockets, collectively accepting up to 8GB of RAM. According to ENP, the PC also includes a SATA hard disk drive (2.5-inch again, we presume), offered in capacities of 320GB or above.

ENP adds that the MCASE may be opened to gain access to one full-size Mini PCI Express slot, and one half-size Mini PCI Express slot. The device's front panel, meanwhile, has two USB 2.0 ports and two audio jacks, the company says.

The MCASE's amply stocked rear panel derives directly from the MITX-CORE-800's coastline, and provides four additional USB 2.0 ports, two gigabit Ethernet ports, an RS232 port, a VGA output, and two DisplayPort connectors. There are also five audio jacks for analog surround sound, a S/PDIF output, and a DC power input, ENP adds.

According to ENP, the MCASE operates in temperatures between 32 and 95 deg. F. It supports both Windows and Linux (versions not specified), the company adds.

Specifications listed by Emerson Network Power for the MCASE include:

  • Processor — Intel Core i5 (model and clock speed not listed)
  • Chipset — Intel QM67 Express
  • Memory — up to 8GB of DDR3 memory
  • Storage — hard disk drive (320GB or greater)
  • Expansion — 2 x Mini PCI Express (1 full-size, 1 half-size)
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 2 x DisplayPort
    • 6 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 4 rear)
    • 1 x RS232 port
    • audio — mic/line in and line/headphone out on front panel; 5 x 3.5mm jacks and S/PDIF output on rear panel
  • Power — 12VDC or 14V~19.5V input range supported; external power brick supplied
  • Operating range — 32 to 95 deg. C
  • Dimensions –9.2 x 8.2 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight — n/s

Paul Virgo, marketing director of ENP's embedded computing business, stated, "Whether you call them box PCs, embedded PCs or industrial computers, this new range of embedded computers from Emerson Network Power can speed customers' time-to-market. We have integrated our new motherboards based on the latest Intel processors with memory, hard drive and I/O into suitable enclosures that provide … a complete embedded computing solution."

Further information

Emerson Network Power's KR8-315 and MCASE appear to be available now. More information may be found on the KR8-315 product page and the MCASE product page.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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