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Panel PCs offer ARM and Atom options, stackable expansion

Dec 19, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Adlink Technology announced a new line of all-in-one panel PCs, including one ARM-based model measuring just 0.65 inches (16.5mm) thick. The eight-inch SP-860 runs on a Texas Instruments AM3517 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, while the SP803 adopts the Atom N455, and the 15.6-inch SP-15W03 comes with a dual-core Atom D525 and an optional Nvidia Ion 2 GPU.

Last week, Adlink announced plans to release a series of ARM-powered modules in 2012 that will be based on a still unnamed Kontron format. (The modules are said to consume less than three Watts, sell for "far below $100," and support Android, Linux, and Windows 8.) Keeping the ARM theme rolling, the company has now included a Cortex-A8 model in its new line of otherwise Atom-based all-in-one panel PCs.

The ARM-based Smart Panel SP-860

The Smart Panel systems are designed for human machine interface (HMI) applications including factory automation, transportation, multimedia navigation, advertising, interactive kiosks, and medical care systems, says Adlink. The devices are promoted as being thin, flexible, and highly-integrated, combining a CPU, networking, touchscreen, and customizable I/O boards.

The ARM-based, eight-inch SP-860 model supports Linux 2.6, Android 2.2, and Windows CE, while the more ruggedized, eight-inch, Atom N455-based SP-803 lists only Windows 7 and Windows XP. No operating system support was mentioned the 15.6-inch, Atom D525-based SP-15W03, which appears to be aimed primarily at customer-facing signage applications.

These are just the first of a series of planned x86 and ARM-based Smart Panels with displays ranging from five to 21.5 inches, says the company. All the systems are fitted with expansion connectors.

The SP-860 and SP-803 are listed as using "B2B" connectors, said to support customizable, stackable I/O expansion boards. The SP-15W03 instead incorporates unnamed expansion connectors, with no promise of stackability. Adlink did not appear to offer any more details on the presumably proprietary connectors.

In addition to the customizable I/O, the system are available with a number of options. For example, touchscreens are optional on most models, and customers can also choose to add an optical bonding treatment said to reduce the reflection between the touch sensor and cell glass. This provides enhanced mechanical strength for harsh vibration and shock environments, says Adlink.

All the systems ship standard with 32 to 140 deg. F (0 to 60 deg. C) operating temperatures. However, they can be fitted with industrial temperature ranges of -40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C), says the company.

The Smart Panel devices all offer optional Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and in some cases 3G and GPS radios. These wireless features enable remote monitoring for control of factory production status, materials management, and troubleshooting, says Adlink.

The company says it can work with customers to develop data collection systems that integrate the panel PCs into automated MES (manufacturing execution system) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. Adlink provides system customization services, as well as co-design services, including case design.

In addition to the descriptions and block diagrams shown below, Adlink offers full data sheets on all the Smart Panel systems, available via the links at the end of the story.


The SP-860 is the sole ARM-based model in Adlink's first batch of Smart Panel systems, equipped with the Texas Instruments (TI) AM3517 system on chip (SoC). The AM3517 builds upon a Cortex-A8 core clocked to 600MHz while using less than one Watt, says TI. The AM3517 lacks video acceleration, but offers NEON SIMD and vector floating point coprocessors, as well as a Power SGX graphics 3D accelerator.

SP-860 block diagram

(Click to enlarge)

The SP-860 is equipped with 256MB of DDR2 RAM, and 2GB of NAND flash, with 4GB optional, says Adlink. A microSD slot is also said to be available.

The eight-inch, backlit screen offers 800 x 600 resolution with a 4:3 aspect ratio and an optional 4-wire resistive touchscreen, says Adlink. The screen has a 500:1 contrast ratio and 250 nits of brightness, with an optional 1,000 nit version for greater sunlight readability. These brightness levels are said to be diminished when a touchscreen is added, although Adlink does not say by how much.

The SP-860 is equipped with dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, and what appears to be optional Wi-Fi (802/11b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, says Adlink. Additional I/O is said to include four USB 2.0 ports, a serial port, a CAN 2.0b bus, and audio I/O.

The B2B expansion connector lets customers customize I/O expansion cards equipped with a choice of the following I/O: CCDC video input, S-Video out, MMC/SD/SDIO reader, UARTs, I2C, McSPI, and McBSP, says Adlink.

The SP-860 is the thinnest of the three systems, measuring just 0.65 inches (16.5mm), according to Adlink. The system accepts 5V DC input and typically consumes 13 Watts of power, says the company. A battery pack is said to be optional.


The SP-803 runs on an Intel Atom N455, which offers a single core clocked to 1.66GHz. The system supports up to 2GB of DDR3 memory, and provides a mini PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slot in addition to the B2B I/O expansion connector. A SIM card slot is also included for an optional module that combines Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and GPS, says the company.


Like the SP-860, the system provides an eight-inch, 800 x 600 backlit display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and an optional 4-wire resistive touchscreen, says Adlink. The contrast ratio, brightness, and options are all identical to the SP-860 (see above).

The SP-803 is further equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports, four serial ports, and audio I/O, says Adlink. There are eight USB 2.0 ports, six of which are available via the B2B connector, says the company.

Three SATA II storage connections are said to be available, one of them via B2B. Other B2B expansion options include LPC, SATA, three PCIe interfaces, and both IDE and SMBus interfaces, according to the company.

SP-803 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Measuring 0.79 inches (20mm) thick, the SP-803 runs on 19V DC power and supports an optional battery pack, with both features requiring an Adlink I/O board or external DC board, says Adlink. Power consumption is said to run at 29.1 Watts. Unlike the other two Smart Panel models, the SP-803 provides rated vibration and shock resistance.


The 15.6-inch SP-15W03 ships with a dual-core Atom D525 processor clocked to 1.8GHz. Although like the N455, the D525 provides integrated graphics, an optional Nvidia Ion 2 graphics processing unit (GPU) is also said to be available.


The Ion option boosts the standard 1366 x 768 resolution on the 15.6-inch display to 1920 x 1280 pixels, says Adlink. The Ion model also offers 300 nits instead of 200 nits brightness — rated as such only when the optional 4/5/8-wire resistive touch sensor is not present. Otherwise, the screens are identical, offering 16:9 aspect ratio, backlighting, and 400:1 contrast ratio, according to the company.

The system supports up to 2GB of DDR3 memory, and provides dual mini PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slots in addition to the unnamed I/O expansion connectors. One of the Mini PCIe sockets also provides a SIM card slot for an optional module that combines Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and GPS.

SP-15W03 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The SP-15W03 is further equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports, audio I/O, and eight USB 2.0 ports, six of which are available via the expansion connectors, says Adlink. There's a "7+9" pin onboard SATA connector for a 1.8-inch hard disk drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD), while additional SATA signals are said to be available via the expansion connectors.

It's unclear which of the additional I/O interface expansion connectors are standard or optional. These are said to include dual RS232 ports, as well as VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort interfaces. Additional I/O signals are said to be available for LEDs, buttons, and GPIO.

The SP-15W03 measures 0.78 inches (19.8mm) thick, and runs on 19V DC power, and offers an optional battery pack for AC power loss backup. Power consumption is said to run at 31.7 Watts for the standard model and 47 Watts for the Ion-equipped version. 


No pricing or availability information was provided for Adlink's new Smart Panel computers. More information, including data sheets, may be found on the Smart Panel site, as well as the following product pages:

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