LONDON XGI Technology Inc. and Kontron have published version 1.0 of the Universal Graphics Module (UGM) design specification for high-end PCI Express Graphics.
UGM enables use of interchangeable and scalable standard modules which until now were only available from computer-on-modules but the UGM standard makes them available to high-end embedded graphics applications as well.
XGI (Taipei, Taiwan) and Kontron (Eching, Germany) have made the UGM graphics module specification freely available to third party vendors. In the future, the specification and use of the UGM brand will be controlled by a UGM interest group.
The main target industries for high-end embedded graphics are medical and industrial imaging, gaming and entertainment machines, POS/POI terminals, commercial outdoor broadcasting, public facilities and high-end residential gateways.
The UGM standard, which was first unveiled in February at the Embedded World trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, defines an 84 x 95mm universal graphics-on-module, supplying monitors with the most up-to-date range of high-end graphics card signals.
Unlike conventional graphics card that are plugged in at 90 degrees to the baseboard, UGMs are connected parallel to the baseboard. This saves space and thereby allows for extremely flat and very scalable designs. Even more importantly for users, UGMs offer availability of at least three to five years and the graphics functions, including drivers, are particularly quick and easy to implement in custom designs.
UGM cards receive PCI Express signals and video signals via the 220 pins of the connector, which is also used for COM Express/ETXexpress computer-on-modules, over 1, 4, 8 or 16 lanes (PEG), and process them – including video capture functions and up to 1 Gbyte of video memory – and then deliver the converted signals back to the baseboard, also via the connector. The UGM 1.0 specification currently supports dual LVDS, dual DVI, and dual VGA as playback sources.
On the baseboard itself, the developer can decide which signal combinations will ultimately be made available to the external connection. Thus, for example, a combination of sound, USB, and DVI can be implemented via the HDMI interface. In terms of the graphics layout and driver development, all the developer has to do is to allocate the appropriate circuits, plugs, and any peripheral components needed for additional features, such as HDCP copy protection for the display of high-resolution, protected video material. The graphics processing core is already finished and all necessary drivers are already implemented.
The design does away with cables and uses a 12 to 22 V dc power supply to allow for up to 72 W thermal design power.