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Tiny COMs take Intel Atom SoCs into harsh apps

Aug 26, 2014  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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X-ES announced a pair of rugged, Linux-ready modules based on Intel E3800 (“Bay Trail-I”) SoCs, including one built in the tiny COM Express Mini format.

Extreme Engineering Solutions (“X-ES”) is rolling out two nearly identical computer-on-module products: the “XPedite8150″ conforms to the tiniest (84 x 55mm) COM Express Mini form-factor, while the “XPedite8152″ adopts a somewhat larger 109 x 55mm “COM Express Extended Mini” format. Both COM models are offered with a choice of Atom system-on-chips, including the E3845, E3827, E3826, E3825, or E3815. However, the E3845 is standard, says X-ES.



XPedite8150 (left) and Xpedite8152
(click images to enlarge)

The XPedite8152 COM’s larger footprint allows it to be equipped with up to 3GB of soldered-on SLC NAND flash storage, under the control of a third SATA interface that’s also not available on the smaller board. Other than those deviations, the two COMs’ block diagrams are nearly identical, as seen below.


Block diagrams: XPedite8150 (left) and Xpedite8152
(click images to enlarge)

Although Intel rolled out its Atom E3800 (“Bay Trail-I”) SoCs at last October’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, we’re still seeing new E3800-based embedded oriented products being introduced, nearly a year later. Actually, design cycles like that are the rule rather than the exception, in the arduous world of designing, testing, and manufacturing rugged, estended-temperature SBCs and COMs destined for harsh and mission-critical applications.

X-ES offers the two COMs with the following Atom E3800 SoCs:

  • E3845 (4x cores @ 1.91GHz, 10W TDP) — standard
  • E3827 (2x cores @ 1.75GHz, 8W TDP) — special order
  • E3826 (2x cores @ 1.46GHz, 7W TDP) — special order
  • E3825 (2x cores @ 1.33GHz, 6W TDP) — special order
  • E3815 (1x cores @ 1.46GHz, 5W TDP) — special order

 
Joining the Bay Trail-I COM Express Mini club

With its release of these new COMs, X-ES joins a growing gang of companies offering COM Express Mini form-factor boards based on Intel’s Bay Trail-I based Atom and Celeron SoCs. Six we know of, listed in order they were announced, are:

  • Hectronic H6824 — announced Oct. 2013 — supports 0 to 60°C operation
  • Kontron COMe-mBT10 — announced Nov. 2013 — supports 0 to 60°C or -40 to 85°C operation
  • Congatec Conga-MA3 — announced Mar. 2014 — supports 0 to 60°C or -40 to 85°C operation
  • Arbor EmNANO-i2300 — announced Apr. 2014 — supports -20 to 70°C operation
  • DFI BT9A3 — announced July, 2014 — supports 0 to 60°C, -20 to 70°C, or -40 to 85°C operation
  • Adlink nanoX-BT — currently unannounced — supports 0 to 60°C or -40 to 85°C operation

Each of the COMs listed above is pictured in the array below.
 

(click images to enlarge)

Adlink Nano-XBT

Arbor EmNANO-i2300

Congatec Conga-MA3

DFI BT9A3

Hectronic H6824

Kontron COMe-mBT10
(click images to enlarge)

 
Compact rugged system enclosures

To help developers package its XPedite8150 and XPedite8152 COMs for harsh environments, , X-ES offers a pair of compact “XPand6000 Series” system enclosures, shown below. The COMs are further supported with the company’s “XPand1400 Series” development systems.



Rugged enclosures for the XPedite8150 (left) and XPedite8152 COMs
(click images to enlarge)

 
Summary of XPedite8150 and XPedite8152 specifications

Specifications provided by X-ES for the XPedite8150 and XPedite8152 COMs are listed below, with the minor deviations between the two COMs noted.

  • Processor — Intel Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I) SoC with up to four cores, clocked at up to 1.91 GHz:
    • Standard — E3845
    • Optional — E3827, E3826, E3815, E3825
  • Memory:
    • RAM — up to 4GB soldered-on DDR3-1333 ECC SDRAM
    • Flash:
      • 32MB NOR flash
      • XPedite8152 only — up to 3GB soldered-on SLC NAND flash storage (controlled by the extra SATA interface)
  • Expansion — COM Express bus with enhanced Type 10 pinout:
    • Dual-mode DisplayPort interface
    • Embedded DisplayPort interface
    • 2x 10/100/1000BASE-T
    • SATA:
      • XPedite8150 — 2x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
      • XPedite8152 — 3x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
    • 2x PCIe x1 links
    • 4x USB 2.0
    • 1x USB 3.0
    • 2x I2C
    • 2x serial ports
    • 1x SPI bus
  • Other — non-volatile memory write protection
  • Dimensions:
    • XPedite8150 — 55 mm x 84mm; COM Express Mini
    • XPedite8152 — 55 mm x 109mm; COM Express Extended Mini
  • Ruggedization:
    • Class III PCB fabrication and assembly
    • Extra mounting holes for reliability
    • X-ES ruggedization levels supported (see table on X-ES website):
      • Xpedite8150 — levels 1, 3, and 5
      • Xpedite8152 — levels 3 and 5
    • Conformal coating (option)
    • Environmental qualification per MIL-STD-810
    • Operating temperature — as wide as -40 to 85°C, depending on CPU rate and application
  • Software support
    • Bootloader — coreboot, powered by Intel FSP
    • Operating systems — Linux, VxWorks, Windows, other RTOSes on demand
    • OS-level X-ES BIT “Built-In Best” support

 
“Along with best-in-class performance-per-watt, the E3800 family supports extremely low operating temperatures, and its power-efficient 22 nm technology enables operation in the most demanding high-temperature environments,” states X-ES’s product announcement for the two COM Express Mini modules.

 
Further information

X-ES did not announce availability dates or pricing for the XPedite8150 and XPedite8152 COMs. Further information on the modules may be found at the company’s XPedite8150 and XPedite8152 product pages. X-ES will be showcasing the modules at the 2014 Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco next month.
 

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