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Mini embedded mobos run Linux on Atom E3800

Mar 14, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Kontron announced tiny Pico-ITX and compact Mini-ITX SBCs based on Intel’s Atom E3800 SoC, with the Pico-ITX model offering extended temperature operation.

Kontron’s new Linux-friendly “pITX-E38″ Pico-ITX and “mITX-E38″ Mini-ITX single-board computers take advantage of the 22nm Atom E3800′s power efficiency, improved graphics, and hardware-integrated security features for IoT applications, says the company. Both boards support the quad-core, Atom E3845, the dual-core E3826, and the single-core E3815. While the Atom SoCs are clocked at 1.46GHz, or 1.91GHz in the case of the quad-core E3845, the datasheet for the pITX-E38 lists only a 524MHz clock rate. This could be because, unlike the mITX-E38, the pITX-E38 is offered with an extended temperature range of up to -25 to 75°C; or perhaps it’s the result of the reduced heat-dissipation efficiency of Pico-ITX’s much smaller footprint, at 25 percent that of Mini-ITX.



Kontron’s new pITX-E38 and mITX-E38 SBCs
(larger images of both boards are available below)

The Intel Gen7 Graphics on the E3800 SoCs is said to support OpenGL 3.0, OpenCL 1.2, DX11, H.264, MPEG2, MCV, VC-1, and VP8 standards. Applications for the pITX-E38 and mITX-E38 single board computers are said to include POS/POI systems, kiosk terminals, digital signage players, professional gaming computers, medical devices, and in-vehicle computers, as well as industrial HMIs, control systems, and automation computers.

Both the pITX-E38 and mITX-E38 provide long term availability support. They also support Kontron’s version of EAPI (Embedded API), called KEAPI. This platform-independent middleware enables standardized access routines to hardware resources. Once programmed, application code can be re-applied with identical functionality without any changes, thereby simplifying porting and reducing development time and costs, says Kontron.

Previous Linux-ready products from Kontron featuring the Atom E3800 (“Bay Trail-I) include the COMe-mBT10 COM Express Mini Type 10 module. More recently, Kontron announced the SMARC-sXBTi, billed as the world’s first x86-based SMARC form-factor COM.

 
pITX-E38

The Linux-ready pITX-E38 adopts the 100 × 72mm Pico-ITX form-factor, and supports up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. A bootable microSD slot and a SATA 2.0 port provide for storage, along with an mSATA connector that can also act as an Mini-PCI-Express expansion connector. Dual independent displays are available via DisplayPort and LVDS interfaces.



pITX-E38 SBC alone, and with optional thermal solution
(click images to enlarge)

Ther pITX-E38 is further equipped with a gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports, all available on the coastline. Two more USB 2.0 interfaces are also onboard, along with a pair of serial interfaces, GPIO, and HD audio interfaces. In addition to the extended temperature support, the board is further able to withstand harsh industrial environments with the help of its lockable 5V DC connectors (5V), says Kontron.


pITX-E38 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Kontron pITX-E38 Pico-ITX board include:
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I) @ 524MHz, 5-10W TDP, Intel HD Graphics:
    • E3845 (4x cores, 10W TDP)
    • E3826 (2x cores, 7W TDP)
    • E3815 (1x core, 5W TDP)
  • Memory/storage:
    • Up to 8GB DDR3L-1333/1066 via 1x SODIMM
    • MicroSD slot (SDXC)
    • SATA 2.0 port
    • mSATA connector shared with mPCIe
  • Display:
    • LVDS interface (dual-channel, 24-bit) up to 1920 x 1200
    • DisplayPort interface up to 2560 x 1600
    • Dual independent display support
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • 3x USB 2.0 (1x external, 2x internal interfaces)
    • 2x serial interfaces (UART 16550, 3v3 digital I/Os)
    • 8x GPIOs
    • HD analog audio interfaces (line-in, line-out, mic-in)
    • LED interfaces
  • Expansion — mPCIe 2.0 x1 interface
  • Power — 5V DC supply; internal and external lockable connector
  • Operating temperature — -25 to 75°C (E1 model); passive (5W SoC) and active (7-10W SoC) cooling solutions
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form-factor
  • Operating system — Linux; VxWorks; Windows 7/8/WES7/WES8

 
mITX-E38

The mITX-E38 features the same three single, dual, and quad-core Atom E3800 SoCs as the pITX-E38, but clocks them to full speed. With its larger, 6.7 x 6.7-inch Mini-ITX form-factor, it also provides considerably more real-world I/O.



mITX-E38 SBC
(click image to enlarge)

Memory and storage are similar to the pITX-E38, with up to 8GB of RAM, and with mSATA and Mini-PCIe expansion connections once again sharing a single connector. In this case, however, you get an SD slot instead of a microSD, and two SATA ports instead of one. The quad-core, 1.91GHz Atom E3845 version also provides a bootable 16GB of TLC NAND flash.


mITX-E38 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The SBC provides dual DisplayPorts except for the E3845 model, which offers a DisplayPort and an LVDS interface. You get two gigabit Ethernet ports instead of one, as well as a USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. The boards offer two more USB 2.0 interfaces onboard, or five more in the case of the top-of-the-line E3845 model. Other interfaces include six serial ports, S/PDIF and analog audio I/O, GPIOs, SPI, and a Kontron feature connector.

Specifications listed for the Kontron mITX-E38 Mini-ITX board include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I) @ 524MHz, 5-10W TDP, Intel HD Graphics:
    • E3845 (4x cores @ 1.91GHz), 10W TDP
    • E3826 (2x cores @ 1.46GHz), 7W TDP
    • E3815 (1x core @ 1.46GHz), 5W TDP
  • Memory/storage:
    • Up to 8GB DDR3L-1333/1066 via 1x SODIMM
    • 16GB bootable TLC NAND flash (E3845 model only)
    • SD slot (SDXC)
    • 2x SATA 2.0 ports (1x port shared with mSATA)
    • mSATA connector shared with mPCIe
  • Display:
    • E3815 and E3826 models — 2x DisplayPort 1.1a ports
    • E3845 model — 1x DisplayPort 1.1a up to 2560 x 1600, 1x LVDS dual-channel, 24-bit up to 1920 x 1200
    • Dual independent display support
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • 4x USB 2.0 (7x on E3845 model, with 2x external, 5x internal)
    • 6x serial interfaces (UART 16550) with 6x RS232, except for E3815 (2x RS232)
    • 8x GPIOs
    • HD analog audio line-in, line-out, mic-in I/O
    • S/PDIF I/O
    • SPI pin header
    • Kontron I/O feature connector with ADC, DAC, and 160x GPIOs
  • Expansion — mPCIe 2.0 x1 interface shared with mSATA; SIM card socket
  • Other features — TPM (E3845 model only)
  • Power — 12V DC supply; internal and external connector
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C (E1 model); passive (5W SoC) and active (7-10W SoC) cooling solutions
  • Dimensions — 170 x 170mm; Mini-ITX form-factor
  • Operating system — Linux; VxWorks; Windows 7/8/WES7/WES8

 
Further information

Samples of the pITX-E38 are available in March 2014 while the mITX-E38 ships in April, says Kontron. More information may be found at the pITX-E38 and mITX-E38 product pages, respectively.
 

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