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Shoebox PC’s built around COM Express module

Mar 10, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Kontron announced an Intel Core 2 Duo computer designed to be integrated into the chassis of automation devices. The KIC-MC has space for two 2.5-inch hard disk drives, includes four gigabit Ethernet ports, sports nine USB 2.0 ports, and supports both LVDS and DVI-I displays, the company says.

Touted as being "as small as a children's shoebox," the KIC (Kontron Intelligent Computer) is intended to be part of compact automation solutions, according to Kontron. Instead of being installed into a 19-inch rack, the device can be installed directly into a larger machine, where it mounts similarly to an ATX power supply, the company says.

Kontron also claims the fact that the KIC-MC has interfaces both on its front and rear will reduce the potential for failures resulting from cable disconnection. One side of the box may be dedicated to management and communications, while the other side may be dedicated to control, the company suggests. Be that as it may, the device certainly has an unusually wide range of ports, as pictured below.

The rear (left) and front (right) of Kontron's KIC-MC
(Click to enlarge)

For example, the KIC-MC sports four gigabit Ethernet connectors, two front and two rear, according to Kontron. It also is said to include nine Type A connectors for USB 2.0 ports (six front, three rear), two serial ports (one in front, one in back), both LVDS and DVI-I video outputs, and eight GPIOs. There's a mono audio output on the front panel and stereo line output on the rear, Kontron adds.

Internally, the fan-cooled KIC-MC has room for two 2.5-inch hard disk drives or SSDs (solid state disks), presumably SATA-interfaced. The box also includes one PCI Express x1 expansion slot, Kontron says.

According to Kontron, the KIC-MC uses a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, plus the GME965 northbridge and ICH8M southbridge. The device accepts up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, and critical system settings may be stored in 32KB (or, optionally, 128KB) of NVRAM (non-volatile RAM), the company adds.

Kontron notes that the KIC-MC's computing capabilities are provided internally by a previously released COM Express module, the ETXexpress-MC. This component can easily be swapped out, and Intel Atom-powered variants of the KIC are planned for the future, the company adds. (Kontron announced the ETXexpress-AI, with Core i5 or i7 processors, earlier this month, but we're unaware of any presently available ETXexpress modules with Intel Atom CPUs.)

Features and specifications listed by Kontron for the KIC-MC include the following:

  • Processor — Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 clocked at 2.2GHz
  • Chipset — GME965 northbridge and ICH8M southbridge
  • Memory — Up to 4GB of DDR2 (presumably via two DIMM slots)
  • Storage — 2 x 2.5-inch bays
  • Expansion — 1 x PCI Express x1
  • Networking — 4 x gigabit Ethernet (two front, two rear)
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x DVI-I
    • 1 x LVDS
    • 9 x USB 2.0 (6 front, 3 rear)
    • 2 x serial (1 front, 1 rear)
    • 8 x GPIO
    • Audio — mono out (front), stereo out (rear)
  • Power — 24VDC via external adapter
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 122 deg. F (0 to 50 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 7.87 x 7.83 x 3.42 inches (200 x 199 x 87mm)
  • Weight — 6.61 pounds (3kg)


According to Kontron, the KIC-MC is sampling now, and will be available in volume during the third quarter of this year. The device supports Linux, Windows XP, Windows Embedded Standard, and Windows CE 6.0, the company adds.

Pricing was not revealed, but further information may be found on Kontron's website, here.

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