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Low-power mini-ITX board runs Linux

Jun 30, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Kontron announced a Linux-compatible mini-ITX motherboard based on a 1.6GHz Intel Centrino Atom processor. The KTUS15/miTX targets solar- or battery-powered applications, vehicle PCs, point-of-sale/interest kiosks, medical, multimedia, rugged tablets, industrial automation, and other embedded… device applications.

(Click for larger view of the Kontron KTUS15/miTX)

The KTUS15/miTX adheres to Via's seven-year-old 170 x 170mm mini-ITX format. However, lacking x16 (“by 16”) PCI Express and other high-end features, the KTUS15 does not meet Via's just-announced Mini-ITX version 2.0 spec.

The KTUS15/miTX supports either the 1.6GHz Z530 version of the Intel Centrino Atom or the 1.1GHz Z510, both of which are embedded-device versions that offer seven-year availability. Combined with Intel's US15 Embedded Chipset, featuring a 533MHz front-side bus, the CPU/chipset combo dissipates less than 5 Watts, Kontron says.

The KTUS15/miTX supports up to 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM via a single 200-pin DIMM slot. Up to 32MB of flash can be installed via a slot parallel to the motherboard.

I/O includes gigabit Ethernet and eight USB ports. Expansion interfaces include two PCIe x1 slots and one PCI slot, along with two SDIO sockets that are said to support RFID components, laser scanners, card readers, keyboards, keypad and mouse, printers, WLAN, or GPRS peripherals.

The KTUS15 integrates a integrated graphics capable of borrowing up to 256MB of main system memory. Touted graphics features include 2D/3D acceleration, support for DirectX 9, dual independent displays, and video decoding via WMV9, H264.A, and MPEG2. Display interfaces include on-board CRT and dual-channel LVDS, with DVI and HDMI ports available as options.

The KTUS15 provides integrated Intel Trusted Platform Module (Intel TPM 1.2) technology, as well as multiple power supply options. Other touted features include the board's “simple, rugged cooling concept” and “excellent” electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), thanks to a board layup some 12 layers deep. Certainly a complex board for so large a form factor, the 12 separate layers help isolate the board's various power domains, for reduced interference, according to the company.

Specifications listed for the KTUS15/miTX include:

  • Processor — Intel Centrino Atom 1.6GHz BGA CPU; Intel US15 Embedded Chipset with FSB 533MHz
  • Memory — 1 x DDR2 200 pins DIMM for up to 1GB DDR2-RAM; up to 256MB on-board graphics memory
  • Graphics engine — 2D/3D graphics acceleration supporting DirectX 9, dual independent displays, and WMV9, H264.A, and MPEG2 video decoding
  • Display — flat-panel display support via on-board LVDS (1366 x 768) or CRT (1280 x 1024); DVI and HDMI ports are optional
  • PCI expansion — 2 x PCI-Express 1x; 1x PCI
  • Storage — 1x ATA100 and 2x SATA150/300 IDE Controller; Compact Flash socket
  • SDIO — 2 x SDIO
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
  • USB — 8 x USB 2.0
  • Serial — 3 x RS232C
  • Other features — high-definition audio; TPM (Trusted Platform Module)
  • Power supply/consumption — 5 V to 25 V DV; combined thermal design power of less than 5 Watts
  • Dimensions — 6.7 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches (170 x 170 x 20mm)
  • Operating systems — Linux, Windows XP (Windows Embedded Enterprise), Vista, and Windows CE (Windows Embedded Standard)

Last summer, Kontron introduced a KT690/mITX motherboard that supports the AMD M690T chipset, which in turn can integrate various AMD processors ranging up to a 2GHz AMD Sempron 3700+ via a 1GHz HyperTransport interface. Earlier Kontron mini-ITX boards were based on Intel Celeron or Pentium 4 CPUs.

It appears that the only other Atom-based, mini-ITX mobo announced to date is from Intel. However, the D945GCLF is based on the larger-format Atom 230 version of the processor designed for “nettops” and “netbooks.”


The KTUS15/mITX is sampling now, says Kontron. More information may be found here.

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