Kontron ETXexpress-CD: Kontron´s first COM Express module with a dual-core processor

New milestone for COM designs

Eching/Nuremberg, Germany, February 14th - Kontron will launch the first COM Express-compliant ETXexpress module with dual-core technology at Embedded World 2006. The Kontron ETXexpress-CD is a high-end Computer-On-Module (COM) designed in accordance with the PICMG COM.0 standard that created was by Kontron for particularly performance-hungry applications. In comparison to the Intel® Pentium® M-based Kontron ETXexpress-PM, it offers a floating point performance of around 196%, integer performance of 189%, and 3DMark of 200%. Thus, it comes close to twice the performance at the same frequency and generates comparable waste heat. Exponential performance growth can be expected in future multi-threaded designed software with VT (Virtualization Technology). Besides higher performance, dual-core also offers approximately 25 percent longer battery life. The board is not aimed at a particular industry as a dedicated board might beso the Kontron ETXexpress-CD is the highest-volume dual-core design introduced by Kontron.

Kontron´s ETXexpress-CD module is equipped with the Intel Core Duo Processor T2500, which Intel introduced in January for the notebook sector, the Mobile Intel 945GM Express chipset, and the ICH7M Southbridge; it offers 2GHz dual frequency at 31 Watts, 667 FSB, 2 MB L2 cache, and up to 2 GB fast DDR2-SDRAM. 7 PCIe x1 ports, PCI, LPC, 8 USB 2.0, 2 Serial-ATA, and 2 Parallel-ATA are integrated as interfaces. The COM offers PCI Express graphics card support for demanding graphics and CRT and LVDS output. TV-Out is supported in Component, S-Video, and Composite with HDTV support modes. JILI3 is available as standard interface for embedded displays. Network connection is provided by a fast Gigabit-Ethernet interface. All of this is offered on an embedded module that measures a mere 95 mm x 125 mm. The ETXexpress-CD supports Intel Virtualization Technology (VT).

Virtualization Technology
Virtualization Technology (VT for short), which will be the standard for all new Intel platforms, is particularly interesting for embedded systems; it makes hardware management even more convenient, since multiple operating systems and applications can run on independent partitions as "virtual machines". This makes the overall system more stable, because processes that might conflict on single-core systems can be kept separate. Thus, systems that have so far operated as stand-alones  such as controls, firewalls, or data servers  can be integrated into a single system, yet remain isolated completely from other solutions - which will help save enormously on costs. The various operating system manufacturers will support Virtualization Technology; for example, RedHat, Suse, and Montavista will offer the public domain XAN Virtual Machine Monitor bundled with their software.

Baseboard designs inclusive as needed
OEMs that not only use Kontron´s COMs, but also want to outsource all the hardware design can rely on the boards & MORE Custom Solutions and Services as well. Here, experienced developers are busy implementing the latest interface technology on baseboards for COMs and developing customized single board computers. Hundreds of layouts have already been successfully implemented and mass-produced in recent years, so that in many cases design risks can be avoided in advance, and customer-specific designs can be made ready for serial production significantly faster. For example, the confident familiarity with COMs, for instance in signal sequencing on the baseboard, is as much a matter of course for the developers as the implementation of economical designs in the smallest space, or consistent use of components with long-term availability. Professional project management from specifications to serial production and redesigns, partly at no cost, within the framework of lifecycle management round out the range of offers.

Kontron ETXexpre

ss: the first COM Express product family on the market
In mid-2003, Kontron kicked off the introduction of PCI-Express technology in COMs. This development was later given momentum by Intel and a group of leading companies in the embedded technology industry. In January 2004, the industry leaders formed a task force under the auspices of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG). The development of the official COM Express specification began in early 2004 and was concluded in mid-2005 with the publication of the PICMG COM.0 specification.

Kontron ETXexpress products are based on the new COM Express standard and are the embedded modules for the next generation, providing a technological head start for the applications of tomorrow. Kontron ETXexpress modules are configured around serial differential signal technologies and include interfaces for PCI Express (4x1, 1x16), Serial ATA, USB 2.0, LVDS, Serial DVO, and much more on an embedded module with a small form factor of 95 x 125 mm. Kontron ETXexpress modules offer the highest performance in the industry on the smallest, state-of-the-art embedded modules. In addition, with the modular construction of their embedded design, Kontron ETXexpress modules secure research and development investments and lower overall costs that accrue over their complete lifecycle. Moreover, the time-to-market is reduced tremendously because everything that Kontron ETXexpress modules offer no longer need to be developed.


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