Kontron’s Embedded Solutions Utilize Advanced Multicore Processing to Bring Next-Generation Applications to Market Faster
Multicore technology has become the driving force in embedded computing. Since embedded developers are constantly plagued with competitive pressure to provide more application features and improve performance capabilities, the ability to scale solutions and add features within embedded form factors without dramatically affecting the power consumption variables is critical. With the growing need for mobility across many industries, applications now demand reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) to ensure reliable portability. Multicore technology has proven to help conquer these challenges by offering higher compute performance, reduced chip count and lower bill of material (BOM) costs, with reduced power consumption. Today, Kontron is a leader in integrating the latest in multicore processing capabilities into a number of standards-based modular, off-the-shelf form factors.
Intel® Multicore Processing Platforms
Even though there has been a recent proliferation of multicore processors, they do not all offer the same level of efficiency. To maximize the capabilities of multicore technologies, a number of key system-level features must also be available. The platform approach from Intel® combines a multicore architecture with complementary system-enhancing technologies – including thread-level parallelism, hyper-threading technology and virtualization – to enable developers to leverage the architecture to its greatest potential.
To further increase speed and energy-efficiency, Intel developed a new advanced silicon process formula, 45nm high-k metal gate silicon technology. Compared to 65nm technology, Intel’s hafnium-based 45nm hi-k silicon process technology offers approximately twice the transistor density to deliver more than a 20 percent improvement in transistor switching speed, and reduce transistor gate leakage by over 10-fold.
Kontron Offers Wide Range of Standardized Multicore Solutions
Kontron offers the most comprehensive portfolio of multicore platforms, with more than 47 products in a wide range of form factors and system platforms. In November 2007, Intel selected Kontron to receive its Multicore Alignment Award of Excellence in the Alliance Hardware Member category for having the largest number and breadth of multicore products based on Intel technology.
As a Premier member of the Intel Communications Alliance, Kontron is able to develop embedded computing solutions in parallel with Intel’s development of its processors. This enables the company to release its embedded computing solutions with the newest processing advances as soon as the latest generation is released by Intel to significantly reduce development time and risk.
In addition to utilizing the latest technology, Kontron is a leader in driving standardization with extensive experience in driving and embracing open standards efforts such as PICMG 1.2, embATX, ATCA, ETX, COM Express and UGM. “There are a number of key advantages to developing with standards-based building blocks,” said Matthias Huber, Director of the Embedded Modules Division for Kontron America. “By focusing on a standards-based approach to design, system designers can achieve faster-time-to-market, reduce development cost and minimize design risk, simplify future upgrade paths, scalability, and increase application longevity.”
The Kontron ETXexpress®-PC is a COM Express™ compliant module.
Intel Centrino 2: Performance and Power Management
In July 2008, Intel debuted its Centrino 2 mobile architecture, formerly codenamed Montevina. This is the first Centrino processor technology to offer the option of integrated Wi-Fi and WiMAX wireless technologies. Based on the 45nm Hi-k Intel dual core mobile processors, it enables faster core speeds (up to 2.26GHz), more L2 cache (6MB) and faster Front Side Bus frequencies (up to 1066MHz).
Kontron ETXexpress®-PC COM Express™
Kontron moved quickly to introduce a family of ETXexpress®-PC COM Express™ Computer-on-Module based around the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor SP9300 and Intel® GS45 chipset. The new Kontron COMs are ideal for developing a new range of cost-effective and energy-saving embedded applications with high demands on data processing and/or multi-media conversion and output.
For high-end data and media-processing applications that require maximum performance, Kontron offers a 2.26 GHz (1066 MHz FSB) version of the ETXexpress®-PC module with a CPU TDP of just 25W. For intensive data-processing applications, the Kontron ETXexpress®-PC is Kontron’s first COM Express™ pin-out type 2 Computer-on-Module to support up to 8 GB of dual-channel memory via two DDR3 SO DIMM sockets for even faster bus speeds and higher peak throughput. The low voltage version of the Kontron ETXexpress®-PC with the 1.3 GHz Intel® ULV Core™ 2 Duo processor (800 MHz FSB) requires a TDP of only 10 W, making it the ideal choice for power-sensitive applications. A 1.86 GHz processor version is also available to provide enhanced performance-per-watt ratios to suit a wide spectrum of next generation embedded applications in the automation, medical, infotainment, kiosk, POS/POI and portable computing sectors.
The new COMs also support the Intel vPro™ 4.0 (including Active Management Technology) for enhanced security and remote management for easier maintenance. Intel Trusted Execution Technology provides state-of-the-art security and an on-board trusted platform module – TPM 1.2 – for software and data protection. As a result, the Kontron COM Express™ Computer-on-Modules can also meet the requirements of distributed systems including railway operators and utility companies (gas, water, electricity) as well as operators of traffic lights, toll collection systems and cash, vending, ticket and gaming machines.
Kontron KT-GM45 Family
Kontron also offers the KTGM45 family of motherboards based on 45nm Intel® Core 2 Duo mobile processor T9400 running at 2.53 GHz (1066 MHz FSB). With the integrated Mobile Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD, it offers graphics core speeds up to 533 MHz.
The family is available in a choice of modern motherboard form factors to meet a wide range of size and performance requirements. Options include full-size, industry-standard ATX boards, FlexATX (the smallest variant of ATX for low-cost, small form-factor systems) and miniITX (the minimum-sized FlexATX version for very compact/small form factor system requiring high integration with one PCI expansion slot). The Kontron KTGM45 products offer a strong platform for portable/tablet PCs, gaming, kiosk and POS/POI terminals, home entertainment, HMI applications and transportation devices.
Intel® Atom™: Small and Powerful
The recently introduced 45nm Intel® Atom™ Z5xx series processors provide robust performance per-watt in an ultra-small 13×14 mm package. The processors are validated with the Intel® System Controller Hub (SCH) US15W, which integrates a graphics memory controller hub (Intel® GMA 500), and I/O controller hub into one small 22×22 mm package. According to Intel, the two-chip platform provides more than 80 percent reduction in total footprint over the previous-generation three-chip solution, with a combined thermal design power under 5 watts.
The Kontron KTUS15/mITX miniITX motherboard is a based on the Intel® Z5xx Atom™ processor and the Intel System Controller Hub US15W. The smallest ATX compliant footprint of only 170 mm x 170 mm, in combination with a board height of only two USB stacks (20 mm) gives system developers the freedom to design extremely slim and, as required, fully closed and highly protected systems.
Despite its extremely low power requirements, the Kontron KTUS15/mITX motherboard features impressive processing performance while offering up to 7 years availability with the 1.1 GHz or 1.6 GHz Intel® Atom™ processors. This ultra low power variant is the ideal choice for solar/battery powered mobile, in-vehicle or stationary applications that require low power consumption and excellent electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) for a simple, rugged passive cooled, low noise system.
In 2006, Kontron introduced a cut-down version of COM Express compatible modules known as microETXexpress designed to extend the specification with include a small module format (95 x 95 mm) with the commonly used COM Express™ Type 2 connector. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module based on the Intel® Atom™ processor (up to 1.6GHz) and the Intel® System Controller Hub US15W.
The Kontron microETXexpress-SP offers PCI as well as more sophisticated graphics support with SDVO. Via the PEG pinout, SDVO delivers additional video signals for VGA and DVI monitor outputs, SDTV and HDTV television outputs and TV tuner inputs that greatly simplify system graphics design. This special feature makes this 95 x 95 mm Computer-on-Module ideal for small mobile and extremely energy-efficient multimedia devices as well as for mobile test and measurement applications. Other standard features of the microETXexpress-SP include: Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA, single-channel LVDS and USB 2.0.
This enables the development of energy-saving, high-end graphics devices based on the Intel® Atom™ technology without having to stray from the secure development path of utilizing an established and future-proof industry standard.
As the demand for very compact, portable functionality continued to increase across various applications, ranging from medical, industrial and defense/aerospace to infotainment, the need for a smaller module designed around a newer architecture became apparent. In response, Kontron specified an even smaller form factor designed to be compatible with the COMexpress™ interface specification, called nanoETXexpress. The nanoETXexpress specification is targeted to deliver extremely power-saving COMs with mid to high performance x86 technology on a footprint that is a mere 55 mm x 84 mm.
Kontron offers the nanoETXexpress-SP based on the low power Intel® Atom™ Z5xx series processor. With only one tenth of the TDP and one seventh the size of ULV processors at an identical performance, the nanoETXexpress-SP COM offers an unprecedented power consumption/performance ratio for x86-based ultra-mobile designs. The module features Flash and memory on-board support, 1 PCI Express x1 (opt. 2 x1 if no onboard LAN), Serial ATA, LVDS, and high definition audio, onboard 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet for high connectivity and 8x USB interfaces for external peripherals.
This makes the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module ideal for ultra-mobile and embedded applications that require x86 processor performance, high-end graphics, PCI Express, USB 2.0 and Serial ATA combined with longer battery power. These applications include fist-held devices for medical or multi-media applications, small mobile data systems along with a host of new applications that prior to now have not been possible due to size or power consumption constraints.
The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP is compatible with the COM Express COM.0 pin-out Type 1 connector. Compared with card edge connectors, the COM Express connector is significantly more future-proof. Since it has less electronic attenuation, it enables longer pathways on the carrier board. In addition, it offers greater shock and vibration resistance as well as a clear advantage when it comes to EMC.
On the horizon…more cores, new capabilities
Advances in multicore processing platforms have proven to offer higher compute performance, reduced chip count, and lower BOM costs with drastically reduced power consumption. As technology shrinks and there is more real-estate available on the die, chipmakers will continue to push for greater performance, using a combination of improvements in circuitry and more advanced manufacturing technologies. Intel is looking to its next-generation 32nm multicore processors to outpace demands well into the future.
Kontron will to continue to leverage its strategic relationship with Intel to continue deliver a broad portfolio of innovative building blocks to enable developers of a broad range of applications to significantly reduce their time-to-market to gain a competitive edge.
The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP is compatible with the COM Express™ COM.0 pin-out Type 1 connector.