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Tiny Intel-based CPU module runs Linux

Mar 21, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Swiss board vendor Digital-Logic has announced a Celeron M or Pentium M based processor module small enough for use on PC/104-format carrier boards. The MSM855 is based on an Intel 855GME chipset, and targets Linux-based navigation, telecommunications, network edge, medical and measurement, aerospace, automotive, and… internet terminal equipment.

The MSM855 measures just 4.6 x 2.8 x 0.6 inches (117 x 70 x 15mm). It belongs to Digital-Logic's “smartModule” family of processor modules, which also includes several COM Express modules based on low-powered AMD Geode processors. The smartModules attach to carrier baseboards via a “smartBus” board-to-board interface comprised of a number of 160-pin Molex connectors.

The SMS855, top and bottom, with active and passive CPU coolers

The MSM855 is said to support “all power saving functions” available in the 855GME chipset, and to consume between 10 and 25 Watts. The module also boasts an efficient, flat-ground thermal interface plate with a copper heat dissipater, ensuring a good thermal connection with cooling systems or cases, the vendor said.

The MSM855 supports up to 1024MB of DDR RAM, via a socket said to be protected from vibration and shock. The CPU socket, meanwhile, supports processors that include:

  • Pentium M 755 clocked at 2GHz
  • Pentium M 745 clocked at 1.8GHz
  • Pentium M 738 clocked at 1.4GHz
  • Celeron M 373 clocked at 1GHz
  • Mysterious Intel “Processor M” 140 clocked at 1GHz
  • Celeron M 300 clocked at 600MHz

The board's 855GME chipset has a 400MHz front-side bus, and integrates an “Extreme Graphic” video controller with up to 64MB of RAM borrowed from main system memory. It supports both analog(VGA) and digital (DVI/LVDS) out, and can control two different monitors concurrently, Digital-Logic said.

MSM855 function block diagram

Specs include:

  • Processor: Pentium M or Celeron M, as listed above
  • Memory — up to 1GB of DDR 400 SDRAM
  • Graphics — IGP supports up to 64MB of video memory, dual independent analog and digital displays
  • I/O:
    • COM1/2
    • LPT1
    • floppy interface
    • IrDA interface
    • 2 x PS/2 ports
    • 5 x USB-V2.0-
    • AC97 V2.3 compatible sound interface
    • 100/10-Base-T
  • Expansion — CompactFlash slot
  • 1MB BIOS supports booting from hard drive, floppy, USB, PCCard, or LAN
  • Standard and extended temp. operating ranges available
  • OS support includes Linux, Windows CE/98/2000/NT4, QNX, RTXDOS, and others

No pricing or availability details were provided.

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