Kontron promotes new module standard - Embedded.com

Kontron promotes new module standard

Munich, Germany — Kontron has unveiled a proposed specification for a future embedded computer-on-module (COM) standard and said it is gaining support from a number of industrial and embedded computing leaders.

Called ETXexpress, the new standard is the next generation small form factor integrating the latest interface technologies such as PCI Express, Serial ATA, Gigabit Ethernet, Dual Channel DDR and USB 2.0 and will become an addition to Kontron's existing COM portfolio. A preliminary version (0.9x) of the open standard can be downloaded from the Kontron website with the final specification — version 1.0 — to be published in Q1/2004.

The ETXexpress COM standard is designed to provide improved performance and flexibility and implements the latest technologies including the PCI Express bus and gigabit Ethernet.

ETXexpress will support 4 PCI Express x1 Lanes and PCI Express cards as well as established hardware solutions based on current busses such as 32-bit PCI and ISA bus (via a LPC).

A 10/100/1000 Mega Bit Ethernet port provides connectivity to LAN/WAN and 6 x USB 2.0 provide sufficient interfaces for external drives/flash, keyboard, mice and other peripherals. ETXexpress modules also will provide a number of interfaces that are always located in the same physical position on each board, thus guaranteeing scalability between modules. These include serial ATA, parallel ATA, LVDS Multi Media ports as well as an ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) for optimized power management.

The standard is planned to be initially offered in a 85mm x 125mm form factor. Signals are brought out via 160pin SMT connectors that permit data transmission rates of up to 5GHz. Six mounting holes on the board provide resistance to shock and vibration.

With the publication of the ETXexpress specification, similar to the launch of the successful ETX specification, Kontron intends to open the ETXexpress standard to a range of companies in order to establish it as a leading world standard in the embedded industry for the benefit of joint Kontron and Intel customers. Kontron currently is working with Intel on the technical definition of this of this open spec and will make it available for review shortly.

Hans Muehlbauer, COO of Kontron, said, “Kontron has a large experience in driving and embracing open standards efforts such as PCIMG 1.2, embATX, ATCA and ETX modules. Computers-On-Modules address the largest market of Embedded Computing technology today — that of proprietary designs. We expect that as more embedded and industrial OEMs introduce new designs, they will embrace the COM concept with a potential for high volumes and growth.”

The first Kontron ETXexpress modules will be based on 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M processors as well as the Intel 855 GME chipset.

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