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PC/104-Plus board gets guillotined to save power

Nov 15, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Kontron announced a PC/104-Plus board designed for headless devices, featuring a 1.0GHz AMD T24L processor. The Microspace MSM-eO-N accepts up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, has two onboard SATA ports, includes gigabit Ethernet, has a bootable microSD slot, and offers both PCI and ISA expansion, the company says.

In its statement announcing the Microspace MSM-eO-N, Kontron noted that modern, highly integrated x86 processors combine a CPU and graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single chip. While this is great for customers who actually want graphics, it increases cost and lowers thermal efficiency for headless applications, the company added.

Accordingly, Kontron says, it has designed its latest PC/104-Plus board without a GPU. The device is said to be "ideal for fanless small form factor (SFF) designs that run purely as number crunchers," with applications including industrial automation and smart grids

Kontron introduced a related PC-104-Plus SBC (single board computer) back in May, the Microspace MSM-e0. That device used the AMD G-Series T44R, a single-core CPU with a 1.2 clock speed, Radeon HD6250 graphics, and a nine-Watt TDP.

Kontron's Microspace MSM-e0-N
(Click to enlarge)

The new Microspace MSM-e0-N employs AMD's A55E I/O controller, as did the earlier SBC, but it switches to one of the chipmaker's "headless" G-Series variants. Specifically, the SBC employs the 1.0GHz T24L, which has no GPU but offers a TDP of just five Watts.

Apart from the deleted graphics circuitry, the Microspace MSM-e0-N is basically the same as the earlier Microspace MSM-e0, though Kontron cites one Ethernet port for the newer model instead of the earlier two. Again, there's PCI (4 slots, 33MHz) and ISA expansion via the PCI/104-Plus connector, according to the company.

Kontron says the Microspace MSM-eO-N accepts up to 4GB of DDR3 memory via a single DIMM slot. The device includes a bootable microSD slot and has two onboard SATA ports, with support for RAID levels 0 and 1, the company adds.

Headers provide access to four serial ports (two RS232, two TTL), four USB 2.0 ports, and eight configurable GPIOs, according to Kontron. The audio capabilities (line out, line out, S/PDIF out) of the earlier MSM-e0 have been dropped, however.

Specifications listed by Kontron for the Microspace MSM-eO-N:

  • Processor — 1.0GHz, single-core AMD T24L
  • Chipset — AMD A55E
  • Memory — up to 4GB DDR3 via single SODIMM
  • Storage — bootable microSD slot; 2 x SATA
  • Expansion — PC/104-Plus (ISA and PCI)
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x RS232
    • 2 x TTL
    • 4 x USB 2.0
    • 8 x GPIO
  • Power requirements — n/s
  • Operating range — 32 to 140 deg. F
  • Dimensions — 4 x 3.54 inches
  • Operating system support — Linux, Windows, and VxWorks

Further information

According to Kontron, the Microspace MSM-eO-N is available now. More information may be found on the Microspace MSM-eO-N product page.

Jonathan Angel can be followed at

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