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SBC adopts Atom E6x5C CPUs, featuring integrated FPGA

Nov 23, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Kontron announced a PCIe/104 SBC (single board computer) featuring Intel's new Atom E6x5C processors, which include Altera FPGA (field programmable gate arrays). The Microspace MSMST has PCI Express and HSMC (high speed mezzanine card) expansion interfaces, two SATA ports, up to 2GB of soldered-on RAM, plus LVDS and SDVO video outputs, the company says.

Kontron's new Microspace MSMST is the first product to adopt Intel's Atom E6x5C, which were announced only yesterday and feature onboard FPGAs, allowing easy creation of customized designs. (For complete details of the Atoms in question, including clock speeds and TDPs, see our coverage, here.)

Kontron's Microspace MSMST

The 4 x 3.54-inch Microspace MSMST employs the PCIe/104 form factor, a PC/104 variant that offers PCI Express expansion but no support for the PCI or ISA legacy standards. According to Kontron, the device also has an HSMC (PDF backgrounder, here) connector, which provides a way to extend the board's peripheral set via mezzanine cards.

Kontron doesn't specify which E6x5C models will be offered on the Microspace MSMST, but presumably they'll range from the 600MHz Atom E625C on up to the 1.3GHz Atom E665C. All of these include the Altera Arria II GX FPGA, and are teamed here with from 512MB to 2GB of soldered-on memory, says Kontron.

In addition to the expansion interfaces that have already been mentioned, the Microspace MSMST includes two SATA ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and an optional Ethernet port, according to Kontron. The SBC is also said to include LVDS and SDVO video outputs, supporting respective resolutions of 1280 x 768 or 1280 x 1024 pixels, while "media boards" adding VGA or DVI capabilities are optional (as is a trusted platform module).

Features and specifications listed by Kontron for the Microspace MSMST include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom E65xC
  • Chipset — Altera Aria IIGX (integrated on E65xC package)
  • Memory — from 512MB to 2GB of soldered-on RAM
  • Expansion:
    • PCI Express
    • HSMC
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet (optional)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x SATA
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • high-definition audio (with optional mic, line, and S/PDIF ports)
    • 1 x LVDS
    • 1 x SDVO
    • 1 x VGA (optional)
    • 1 x DVI (optional)
  • Power requirements — n/s
  • Operating range — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C) or 40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C) in extended-temperature version
  • Dimensions — 4 x 3.54 inches (102 x 90mm)

Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron, stated:

The launch of the Intel Atom E600C processor series with integrated Altera FPGA marks a new era in embedded computing. Customers get the flexibility of an FPGA with attractive x86 performance on an integrated multi-chip module. The standard chipset is no longer needed. This paves the way for even more cost-efficient dedicated applications, which obtain their new range of functions simply via FPGA programming.

Further information

According to Kontron, the Microspace MSMST will support Linux, Windows, VxWorks, and "other operating systems upon request." Pre-series prototypes are available now, but series production will start during the second quarter of 2011, the company adds.

More information may be found on Kontron's website, here.

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