12/16/2004 - With the launch of EPIC/CE Single Board Computers (SBC), the EPIC (Embedded Platform for Industrial Computing) form factor has now been introduced to Kontron Embedded Modules. The mini-motherboard form factor, introduced in America at the start of 2004, with measurements of 114.3 mm x 165.1 mm (4.5 inches x 6.5 inches), sits between the smaller PC/104 and 3.5" and the larger EBX and Mini-ITX. This makes it an ideal additional component for use in Europe and Asia, leading to a more complete range of applications. As the only EPIC board on the market, the EPIC-SBC from Kontron supports the PC/104 as well as the PC/104plus expansion assemblies because of Kontron's PCI-to-ISA bridge. Furthermore, on its own boards Kontron standardizes the physical interfaces for the connection of internal and external peripherals. This facilitates performance scalability significantly, since the mechanics of the housing need not be changed.
EPIC/CE in detail
Alongside full PC/104(plus) support with ISA and PCI buses and a standard physical form for all relevant internal and external connections, the EPIC/CE from Kontron is equipped with a 1 GHz, 733 MHz or 400 MHz ULV Intel® Celeron® processor that is ideal for price-sensitive applications. The 400MHz version also requires no active cooling. Furthermore, the board is configured with RAM of up to 512 MByte SDRAM-SODIMM.
The EPIC/CE offers an unequalled number of connections on the front for the connection of external peripherals - with 4 USB 2.0 interfaces, the EPIC/CE is the first EPIC-SBC based on the Intel® Celeron® that supports full 320 Mbit/s. Communication with peripheral devices is thus up to 40 times faster than with USB 1.1. Connectivity is provided for two 10/100 BaseT Ethernet interfaces, keyboard, mouse, CRT, sound, LPT and a serial interface. All of these functions correspond to those of a desktop PC and are inexpensively equipped in one package. A Compact Flash socket is also provided. Other interfaces that can be integrated in a customized solution are two additional USB 2.0 interfaces, three additional COM ports, 25 GPIO interfaces as well as the traditional interfaces for EIDE hard drives, removable storage media and power supply.
CRT and LCD support with 2x 24-bit LVDS is provided by Intel graphics integrated in the chipset with up to 32 MByte of graphics memory. DVO support and interfaces are also offered, and the panel interface is further standardized with JILI. JILI is a universally-functional adapter that is available off-the-shelf for all current panels. This allows OEMs to choose a display that best fits the application without concern for the compatibility of the panel interface. Watchdog, real-time clock, LanBoot and DarkBoot round out the feature set.
EPIC - the perfect fit
The EPIC form factor sits between PC/104 and EBX. PC/104 can no longer accommodate the latest processors, while 5.25" EBX and Mini-ITX are too large for many designs. Because of the PC/104 interface, all past and future PC/104 expansion assemblies with state-of-the-art processor performance can be accommodated. At the same time, additional room is available on the motherboard, which is also useful for the latest technologies like PCI-Express. EPIC is an ideal concept for broadening established technologies and, at the same time, connecting with the latest technologies. Motherboard-specific EPIC PC/104 I/O assemblies can only be plugged onto (and not under) the CPU board. Besides Kontron, this new form factor is currently supported by Ampro, Micro/sys, Octagon Systems, VersaLogic and WinSystems. Additional information on EPIC is available at www.epic-sbc.org. Information in German will be available in November exclusively at www.kontron-em.de.
EPIC versus JRex and speedMOPS
EPIC's market situation is quite different to that of the somewhat smaller but comparable 3.5" form factor (102 mm x 147 mm) and the 3.5" standardization concept JRex with Kontron's JFLEX I/O assemblies. While there are many PC/104 and PCI expansion assemblies and 3.5" assemplies, there are currently fewer EPIC-CPU and JFLEX I/O assemblies. EPIC targets new and redesigned applications with PC/104 I/O assemblies plus enhanced functions; however, compared to both PC/104 and EPIC, JREX with cableless JFLEX I/O assemblies targets new designs with cableless connections to I/O assemblies. In addition, JRex/JFLEX no longer supports the ISA bus. JRex/JFLEX is a revolutionary design fulfilling the needs of electronics developers, whereas EPIC is designed to work hand-in-hand with current and future PC/104(plus) expansion assemblies and their additional features. On the other hand, speedMOPS, Kontron's expanded form factor for PC/104(plus) CPU assemblies, builds upon proven PC/104(plus) applications without additional functionalities which would be required for newer processor performance. Thus there is an appropriate solution for every need.
The next Kontron EPIC board - the EPIC/PM - will feature Pentium M and will be released in a few weeks. Besides its excellent performance, it is the first Pentium M EPIC design with a full PC/104plus (i.e. ISA & PCI) bus.
Kontron Embedded Modules GmbH
94469 Deggendorf, Germany
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