The new modules offer excellent graphics, high processor performance and x86 compatibility on the smallest SMARC footprint combined with very low power consumption (5 to 10W). Both the flat profile of the module and its mobile feature set are tailored for smallest portable handheld devices. The modules can, however, be deployed in any application where power consumption has to be kept at just a few Watts but high-level computing and graphics performance are required.
For the SMARC Computer-on-Module standard, which was primarily developed for performance and interfaces of the new tablet PC processors, to date only ARM processors could be made available Kontron says that this launch opens up new opportunities for developers in terms of the form factor’s scalability as well as in terms of software re-use and compatibility.
Michael Väth, Executive Vice President Global Sales & Marketing at Kontron, underlines the added value of the SMARC form factor’s high scalability, which Kontron also supports with corresponding porting services between ARM and x86: "SMARC Computer-on-Modules are designed for performance and for the interfaces of the new tablet PC processors, to make them available on Computer-on-Modules for especially small, low-profile embedded designs. First, we focused on ARM-based designs. With the new Intel Atom processor E3800 series, x86 SoC technology is now also possible as a basis for SMARC designs. This drastically increases this mini form factor‘s scalability and we intend to expand this even further in the future."
Engelbert Hörmannsdorfer, Chairman of the SGET Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies e.V., comments, “As a standards-setting body for the latest embedded technologies, we have never set up any barriers amongst processor technologies. On the contrary, our aim is namely to provide technological standardisation for all these new processor technologies and thus make them attractive for embedded applications. From the outset, the SMARC specification was designed to integrate both processor technologies. It just wasn’t possible to talk about it before the launch of the corresponding processors.”
Kontron SMARC-sXBTi Computer-on-Modules have been developed to comply with the SGET specification and are equipped with Intel Atom processor E3800 series and up to 8 GB RAM, optionally with ECC. They support the extended temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, measure only 82 x 50mm and have an especially low-profile design thanks to the use of edge card connectors. Nevertheless, there is still enough space for up a 64 GB on-board SSD to store OS and application data. The pin-out has the mobile feature set with 3 UARTs with complete function range also for, e.g., GPS as well as support of the MIPI-compliant serial camera interface. The Intel Gen 7 Graphics are carried out via HDMI 1.4 and LVDS (optional eDP) with up to 2560 x 1600 and 60 Hz display. Further interfaces include 1x GbE LAN via Intel Ethernet Controller I210, 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0, amongst others. Customer-specific extensions can be implemented via 2 SDIO and 3 PCIe x1 lanes with 5 GT/sec.