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Fanless PC targets military apps

Oct 21, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

Ampro announced a fanless computer targeting data acquisition, vehicular, and military applications. The “RuffSystem 840” includes a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor, two gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports, VGA output, and 2.5-inch HDD (hard disk drive) or CompactFlash… storage, says Ampro.

(Click here for a larger view of Ampro's RuffSystem 840)

Part of the company's “Extreme Rugged” product range, the RuffSystem 840 is Ampro's second new product since its acquisition earlier this year by Taiwanese industrial PC vendor Adlink. The first was the ETX 620, an AMD Geode LX800 COM (computer on module) that appeared earlier this month. Like the ETX 620, the new RuffSystem 840 operates over temperature extremes from 40 to 85 deg. C, says Ampro.

Ampro's COM 840
(Click image for further information)

According to the company, the RuffSystem 840 combines a previously released COM Express module, the COM 840 (right), an EBX-format baseboard, and a metal case. At the heart of the device, the COM 840 includes a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 CPU, along with Intel's 965GME northbridge/video controller and ICH8M southbridge. Its gigabit Ethernet controller uses Intel's 82556PHY chip, says Ampro.

The COM 840 also includes two 200-pin SODIMM sockets, one on each side of the module, supporting 4GB of DDR RAM in all. Expansion interfaces for the module include eight USB ports, two SATA II ports, EIDE, and AC '97 audio, all passing through dual 220-pin connectors to the baseboard.

Ampro's EBX baseboard for its COM840
(Click to enlarge)

Ampro doesn't provide specifics about the RuffSystem 840's baseboard, but it's likely the “EBX Baseboard” recommended on the company's website for the COM 840, and pictured above. As the digaram shows, the 8 x 5.75 inch (203 x 146mm) board has seven USB ports, four serial ports, dual SATA ports, an IEEE 1394 interface, and multiple video outputs. Expansion includes a PCI Express x1 slot and, on the flip side, CompactFlash, MiniPCI, and PCI Express Mini Card slots.

It's unclear if every last one of these interfaces is accessible by RuffSystem 840 buyers. Ampro doesn't, for example, cite IEEE 1394 expansion for the complete device. As the picture below makes clear, however, the RuffSystem 840 definitely sports “real-world” ports that include four USB ports, four serial ports, a parallel port, and dual gigabit Ethernet ports.

Externally accessible ports on the RuffSystem 840
(Click to enlarge)

The RuffSystem 840 also has audio I/O, a VGA output, plus a PS/2 connector for a keyboard and mouse. And, Ampro confirms, the device's CompactFlash, MiniPCI, and PCI Express Mini Card expansion capabilities are available to the user. Mass storage can be via either a 2.5-inch hard disk drive or CompactFlash, the company adds.

Finally, the RuffSystem 840's metal enclosure bristles with cooling fins, plus mounting holes that let it be screwed to a wall or the floor of a vehicle. The device can operate with passive cooling over an extended operating range from -40 to 75 deg. C (-40 to 167 deg. F), and meets MIL-STD-810 standards for resistance to shock, vibration, and humidity, according to the company.

Features and specifications listed by Ampro for the complete RuffSystem 840 include:

  • Processor — Core 2 Duo L7500 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Memory — 4GB maximum, standard complement not specified
  • Video:
    • Intel GMAX3100, with up to 384MB of shared memory
    • 3D and 2D engine with hardware rotation
    • MPEG-2 and WMV9 hardware acceleration and decoding
    • CRT resolution up to 2048 x 1546 pixels
  • Audio — AC '97
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x UDA 33/66/100 IDE interface, supports four drives
    • 2 x SATA II ports
    • 4 x USB 2.0
    • 4 x RS232
    • Parallel port
    • PS/2 port for keyboard/mouse
    • Audio — line in, mic in, line out
  • Expansion:
    • CompactFlash
    • PCI Express Mini Card
    • MiniPCI
  • Power requirements — 12VDC to 24VDC input
  • Operating temperature — 40 to 75 deg. C (-40 to 167 deg. F)
  • Dimensions — 10 x 8 x 3 inches (254 x 203 x 76.2mm)
Though pricing was not announced, Ampro says the RuffSystem 840 is available now. The device is said to support Ampro's own Ubuntu-derived Linux 2.6 distribution, as well as Windows CE 6.0, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP, and VxWorks 6.x.

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