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Infotainment server rides the rails with up to twelve cores

Apr 5, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Kontron announced a ruggedized rackmount server designed to serve up infotainment to train passengers. The Linux-ready KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server complies with EN 50155, EN 50121, and EN 60068 railway standards, offering dual Intel Xeon 5600 or 5500 processors, up to 96GB of DDR3 memory, four drive bays, PCI and PCI Express slots, and remote management functionality.

The KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server is the latest in Kontron's line of Linux-compatible, ruggedized KISS servers, and is closely based on the similarly named KISS 4U KTC5520 . While the original KISS KTC5520 was billed as a generic embedded server, the new — and newly hyphenated — KTC-5520 Transportation server is optimized for train passenger infotainment, and is complaint with EN 50155, EN 50121, and EN 60068 rail standards, says Kontron. It also offers long term availability support and a claimed MTBF of 50,000 hours.

KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server

Like the original, the new KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server is built around the KTC5520-EATX, an extended ATX (13 x 12 inches) motherboard announced a year ago.

As such, it runs on dual Intel Xeon processors, including the quad-core Xeon 5500 and Intel's newer six-core 5600 model, offering up to 12 cores total. A GeForce graphics processor is said to be optional. The server accepts up to 96MB of RAM (48MB per CPU), according to Kontron.

As a result of all this processing power, railway companies can consolidate multiple train systems — offering passenger information, digital signage, or internet-on-train — into a single server to save space and costs, says Kontron. The server can also be used for broadcasting vans, roadshow trucks, and mobile video observation, says the company.

Interfaces include a serial port, a VGA output, two PS/2 ports, audio connectors, two gigabit Ethernet ports, and six USB 2.0 ports, with two ports facing front, says Kontron. A 32-bit, 33MHz PCI slot is available, and PCI Express (PCIe) expansion is said to include one x16, three x8, and one x4 interface. The PCIe x16 slot supports a digital video interface for DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort ports, optionally with 7.1 HD audio, says the company.

The system ships with a shockproof seated 500GB HDD and can be expanded to a total of 1.5TB with data throughput up to 150MB/s. The device has room for two externally accessible 5.25-inch hard disk drives, one 3.5-inch drive, and an optical drive using Kontron's own SLIM format, the company says.

The rackmount KISS 4U KTC5520 includes a 650W power supply with the option of two redundant 500W supplies instead, according to Kontron. Despite the presence of three hot-swap chassis fans, Kontron notes the KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server's "whisper quiet" operation, but does not offer further details.

Ruggedization compliance for the system includes EN 60068, for service readiness at high and low temperatures, as well as resistance to shock and vibration, says the company. Temperature ranges were not listed, but the original KTC5520 supported temperatures of 32 to 122 deg. F (0 to 50 deg. C).

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and sensitivity (EMS) on the Transportation server are said to have been extensively tested and certified via EN 50155 and EN 50121 railway standards.

KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation with storage bays exposed

(Click to enlarge)

Like its generic sibling, the rail-oriented KTC-5520 offers remote-management functionality via an integrated management processor (IMP) that supports VGA/2D, BMC, and KVM/VM over IP (iKVM) to enable real-time virtualization of the keyboard, monitor and mouse (KVM), says Kontron. It also supports IPMI over LAN, for monitoring system temperature, voltage, and fan status. Integrated out-of-band management allows the system administrator access whether the system is turned on or not, says the company.

Features and specifications listed by Kontron for the KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server include:

  • Processor — Intel Xeon 5600 (six-core 2.0GHz Xeon L5638 is top choice) or quad-core Xeon 5500 (for up to 130 W)
  • Chipset — 5520 I/O hub and ICH10R I/O controller; optional 256MB GeForce 8500GT graphics processor
  • Memory — up to 96GB of DDR3 RAM
  • Storage — 2 x 5.25-inch, 1 x 3.5-inch, 1 SLIM
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x PCI Express x16, supporting DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort
    • 3 x PCI Express x8
    • 1 x PCI Express x4
    • 1 x 32-bit, 33MHz PCI
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 6 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 4 rear)
    • 1 x VGA (resolution up to 1600 x 1200 pixels)
    • 2 x PS/2
    • HD audio (connectors n/s, but likely six analog connectors, as on KTC5520-EATX)
    • 1 x RS232
  • Power — 650W power supply, or 2 x 500W
  • Ruggedization approvals — EN 50155, EN 50121, and EN 60068 railway standard for resistance to temperature, shock, vibration, etc.; IP20 with optional IP52 protection; 50,000 hours MTBF
  • Dimensions — 19.0 x 18.58 x 6.96 inches (482 x 472 x 177mm)
  • Weight — 33 pounds (15kg)

For a more modestly appointed, Linux-ready railway server, Kontron offers the year-old MicroSpace MPCX28R Railway Box PC. This Intel Atom Z530-based box computer offers EN50155 certification, TX compliance, extended temperature support, 1.5kV isolated power, and M12 connectors for Fast Ethernet, USB, and power, says the company.


Kontron specifically cites Red Hat Linux and Windows Server 2008 as being compatible with the KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server, but the device should run most other x86 operating systems too. The device is available now in EMEA and will be available in the Americas and APAC starting in the third quarter, the company says.

More information on the KISS 4U KTC-5520 Transportation server may be found on Kontron's KTC-5520 Transportation page.

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