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ETX module gets DDR3 refresh

Nov 8, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Advantech announced a 4.5 x 3.7-inch ETX module that comes with Intel's single-core Atom N455 or dual-core Atom D525, plus up to 4GB of DDR3 memory. The “SOM-4463 B1” includes two SATA ports, support for VGA and LVDS displays, four USB 2.0 ports, plus PCI and ISA expansion potential, the company says.

Advantech's SOM-4463 B1 (pictured) is an ETX 3.0 module that's designed to snap onto separately available baseboards. It's an upgrade to the company's original SOM-4463, released in January 2010 as part of a bevy of devices with Intel's then-new "Pineview" Atoms, the single-core N450 and dual-core D510.

The changes here frankly aren't major, but Advantech has switched to the later Atom N455 (1.66GHz, single core, 5.5-Watt TDP) or D525 (1.88GHz, dual core, 13-Watt TDP), still with Intel's ICH8M I/O controller. This means the module can now employ DDR3 memory — 2GB of it on the N455 model and 4GB on the D525 version.

A block diagram of Advantech's SOM-4463 B1
(Click to enlarge)

As before, the module includes two SATA ports, but all other interfaces travel through the usual ETX board-to-board pins. Expansion potential includes four PCI masters as well as ISA, and there are two IDE interfaces, according to Advantech.

Advantech says the SOM-4463 B1 can support dual displays: It offers 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS, plus VGA (up to 1400 x 1050 pixels with the N455, 2048 x 1536 pixels with the D525). Also on board are gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, 1-bit GPIO, two serial ports, HD audio, and a floppy/LPT interface, the company adds.

According to Advantech, the SOM-4463 B1 supports Linux, Windows CE 6.0, Windows XP Embedded, and QNX operating systems. Operating range is from 32 to 140 deg. F, says the company.

Specifications listed by Advantech for the SOM-4463 B1 include:

  • Intel Atom N455 or D525
  • Chipset — ICH8M
  • Memory — up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM on N455 model, 4GB on D525 model
  • Storage — 2 x SATA ports; 2 x IDE interfaces
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
    • 1-bit GPIO
    • 2 x COM ports
    • 1 x FDD/LPT
  • Power — ATX, AT; 5VDC
  • Operating range — 32 to 140 deg. F
  • Dimensions — 4.5 x 3.74 inches

A note about ETX

ETX was originally developed by Kontron, which later switched to the 4.92 x 3.75-inch ETXexpress format, the basis of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) COM Express standard. Congatec, meanwhile, moved forward with its 2005 XTX (eXpress Technology for ETX) standard: This maintains the same four baseboard connector types and locations as ETX, but replaces the ISA bus on the "X2" connector with four PCI Express lanes, four Serial ATA ports, two additional USB ports, and the Low Pin Count (LPC) bus.

Congatec gained adherents such as Ampro, but it's fair to say things have been pretty quiet lately in both the ETX and XTX front. The last ETX module we covered was Congatech's AMD G-Series powered Conga-EAF, released last March.

Further information

Advantech's SOM-4463 B1 appears to be available now. More information on the module and compatible baseboards may be found on the SOM-4463 B1 product page.

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

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