New Micro-ATX boards support more sustainable systems: embedded.com

COM-HPC on Micro-ATX supports sustainable and scalable systems

First modular Micro-ATX compliant carrier board with COM-HPC interface now supports OEMs looking to develop designs lasting at least 7 years,

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By introducing its first modular Micro-ATX compliant carrier board with COM-HPC interface, congatec said it now supports OEMs who want to develop designs for longer term sustainability of at least seven years, as compared to standard or semi-industrial-grade motherboards that are usually only deliverable for three to five years.

The new conga-HPC/uATX carrier board for COM-HPC computer-on-modules in Micro-ATX form factor enables engineers to instantly prototype next generation high-performance embedded and edge computing systems. Application areas of Micro-ATX system designs are system solutions that support multiple displays and can be found in various markets. Typical applications range from industrial and medical HMIs, real-time edge controllers, industrial PCs and control room systems to infotainment and digital signage applications all the way up to professional casino gaming systems.

Martin Danzer, director of product management at congatec, explained why the new form factor is significant. He said, “The new industrial-grade COM-HPC carrier board in Micro-ATX form factor ports all benefits of computer-on-modules to the high-end industrial and semi-industrial motherboard market. It will progress conventional motherboard-based system designs, which are tailored to a certain processor generation, to far more flexibly and sustainably scalable motherboard layouts that utilize computer-on-modules. Industrial applications need longer life cycles than three to five years to reduce the NRE costs and to maximize the return on investment of dedicated systems. Being able to switch the processor performance to any future option without the need to re-build the entire system is thus a huge advantage for many industries,”

The new modular Micro-ATX compliant carrier board with COM-HPC interface marks congatec’s entry into high-end industrial workstation and desktop client market. The board is designed for embedded long-term availability of at least seven years, which eliminates the design risks, revision requirements and supply chain uncertainties of standard or semi-industrial-grade motherboards that are usually only deliverable for three to five years.

Future upgrade and update options of Micro-ATX based platforms are design-inherent, which delivers a maximum of performance flexibility, system design security and sustainable long-term availability for application-specifically customized carrier board and system designs. In times of supply chain uncertainties, the option to pick any available COM-HPC module is a particular advantage. OEMs benefit from not being tied to one specific BGA or LGA processor from a single silicon or Computer-on-Modules vendor, which reduces the supply shortage risk significantly. At the same time, the mechanics and application-specific peripherals can stay as they are without needing any hardware changes.

congatec-Micro-ATX-Carrier-COM-HPC-Client
congatec said its conga-HPC/uATX Micro-ATX compliant carrier board with COM-HPC interface will progress conventional motherboard-based system designs, which are tailored to a certain processor generation, to far more flexibly and sustainably scalable motherboard layouts that utilize computer-on-modules. (Image: congatec)

As it is processor socket and vendor independent, the board can be equipped with any high-end computer-on-module available in COM-HPC client size A, B or C, making OEM designs more flexible and sustainable. Scalability is possible across the entire range of 12th Generation Intel Core processor-based COM-HPC modules, which congatec offers in 14 different high-end performance versions. Performance options for the new conga-HPC/uATX carrier board range from its current highest embedded client performance modules with 16-core Intel Core i9 processor, to the price/performance optimized modules based on the Intel Celeron 7305E processor.

The carrier board offers the latest interface enhancements such as PCIe Gen4 and USB 4 and is a good fit for system designs with congatec’s latest high-end COM-HPC client modules based on the 12th generation Intel Core i9/7/5/3 desktop processors (formerly code-named Alder Lake-S). Of particular significance, according to congatec, is the fact that engineers can now leverage Intel’s innovative performance hybrid architecture. Offering of up to 16 cores/24 threads, 12th Gen Intel Core processors provide a quantum leap in multitasking and scalability levels.

Next-gen IoT and edge applications benefit from up to 8 optimized performance-cores (P-cores) plus up to 8 low power efficient-cores (E-cores) and DDR5 memory support to accelerate multithreaded applications and execute background tasks more efficiently. Optimized for high embedded client performance, the graphics of the LGA processor-based modules delivers now up to 94% faster performance and its image classification inference performance has nearly tripled with up to 181% higher throughput. In addition, the modules offer massive bandwidth to connect discrete GPUs for maximum graphics and GPGPU based AI performance.

The new flagship COM-HPC client modules feature dedicated AI engines supporting Windows ML, Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit and Chrome Cross ML. The different AI workloads can seamlessly be delegated to the P-cores, E-cores, as well as the GPU execution units to process the most intensive edge AI workloads. The built-in Intel deep learning boost technology leverages different cores via vector neural network instructions (VNNI), and the integrated graphics supports AI accelerated DP4a GPU instructions that can be scaled to dedicated GPUs. Also, Intel’s lowest power built-in AI accelerator, the Intel Gaussian & neural accelerator 3.0 (Intel GNA 3.0), enables dynamic noise suppression and speech recognition and can even run while the processor is in low power states for wake-up voice commands.

Details of the conga-HPC/uATX available are on the congatec web site.


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