Kontron Reveals speedMOPS PC/104 Expansion Boards

2/24/2004 - Kontron will reveal a new CPU board form factor known as speedMOPS for PC/104 expansion boards at the Embedded World 2004 trade show in Nuremburg, Germany. The company has been rated as the worldwide undisputed market leader in PC/104 CPU boards by the market research institute VDC for several years. The processor is pragmatically located outside of the "sandwich" footprint that is formed when two or more PC/104 boards are attached, thus facilitating optimal cooling of high-performance CPU boards. The new form factor supports all current and forthcoming PC/104 I/O expansion modules. Since speedMOPS CPU boards fit into traditional 3.5-inch housings, the cost of enclosures is kept to a minimum. speedMOPS CPU boards provide OEMs and end users with an effectively cooled high-performance (greater than Intel® Pentium® III) solution for attachment to PC/104 expansion modules. The boards also guarantee the long-term validity of the PC/104 I/O specification, which includes the ISA bus. Kontron is also pleading for the PC/104 specification to be extended for CPU boards, since speedMOPS has a slightly larger form factor that benefits only high-performance PC/104 designs.

The world's first speedMOPS CPU boards intended for use with PC/104 expansion modules will be displayed as reference designs at the Embedded World 2004 trade show. The speedMOPSlcdPM features a 1.1/1.6 GHz Intel Pentium M processor and the 855GM chipset while the speedMOPSlcdCE uses a 400/733/1000 MHz ultra low voltage processor from the Intel Celeron® family (Tualatin core) and the 815 chipset. Thanks to Intel's progressive price strategy, the latter design is within the VIA Eden price category. Thanks to the implemented ICH4 Southbridge, the speedMOPSlcdCE includes USB 2.0. This Celeron processor feature set, exclusive to Kontron, is one of the products of the close co-operation between Kontron and Intel. Samples of both speedMOPS variants will be available shortly. Series production is planned for Q3 2004.

Background Information on Contending Concepts
Since current processors, such as the Intel Pentium M processor (which is part of Intel® Centrino® mobile technology), exceed the limits of the PC/104 specification, several pseudo PC/104 designs have emerged that are based on the Pentium M. These boards do not strictly adhere to PC/104 design regulations. They have either excluded the ISA bus or violated the specified physical form factor. The specification infringements consist of either increasing the size of the PCB using terrace-like extensions or using mechanically oversized cooling solutions. The consequence is that developers can either eliminate the use of ISA bus based expansion boards, which would remove PC/104 from its established area of application, or renounce the use of cost-effective standard PC/104 housings. In both cases the processor remains within the PC/104 sandwich, which limits cooling options. Furthermore, future modification of these concepts will be unavoidable, since the use of new processors will require further compromises, which will result in more deviation from PC/104 and eventually render the standard obsolete. Deviations from the PC/104 standard are publicized as little as possible. Kontron would prefer this collusive modification of standards to end. The company intends to use speedMOPS CPU boards to once more bring the PC/104 standard onto a straight and clearly predicable path.

Unique Selling Points of speed(MOPS) PC/104 CPU Boards
Cards based on PICMG, ePCI, PCI-X, ISA and PISA in either the 3.5-inch or 5.25-inch formats do not include a PC/104 ISA extension socket when fitted with new high-performance processors, which means they are no longer compatible with the numerous PC/104 ISA extension boards currently available. In comparison, speedMOPS boards offer high-performance processing with PC/104 ISA expansion. A further advantage is that all cables used with MOPS PC/104 boards are fully compatible with speedMOPS modules and complete cable reuse is possible. Thus, speedMOPS is the new more powerful version of Kontron's MOPS PC/104 product family.

The (speed)MOPS PC/104 Product Family
With 18 CPU boards currently available, the MOPS PC/104 product family is the world's largest, demand oriented, scalable product line in the embedded PC/104 world. It includes processors ranging from 386 right up to the mobile Intel Pentium III. (speed)MOPS PC/104 is the "proven PC platform for Instant Solutions": All (speed)MOPS modules are characterized by having a common pinout for keyboard, COM1 and COM2 as well as 44-pin IDE, LPT, and the 1st LAN. These standard features simplify upgrading within the Kontron (speed)MOPS PC/104 product family. Connecting displays to the boards is straightforward due to the JILI or JIPA interface, which automatically recognizes the attached display and then sets video parameters accordingly. All (speed)MOPS PC/104 boards are thus Plug&Work compatible, which considerably reduces the time to market.

The Certified I/O Partner Program
Introduced at the beginning of 2003, the Kontron Certified I/O program is designed to help OEM customers achieve a quick time to market by identifying pre-tested and approved PC/104 bundles. These bundles consist of a (speed)MOPS PC/104 CPU board paired with other manufacturers' PC/104 I/O modules such as digital and analog I/O, serial interfaces, industrial Ethernet, diverse field busses and frame grabber cards.

Certified I/O program partners currently include companies such as RadiSys, Diamond Systems, Applicom International, nbn, Plug-In, Vitec Multimedia, Servo Halbeck and DResearch Digital Media Systems GmbH. Available PC/104 expansion cards include digital and analog I/O, serial interfaces, industrial Ethernet, diverse field busses and frame grabber cards. All multi-vendor bundles have had their Plug&Work functionality tested. This significantly reduces both the development burden and the time to market. Further manufacturers of PC/104 I/O modules are invited to participate in the Certified I/O Partner Program.

A leading global embedded computer technology company, Kontron supplies a diversified customer base of OEMs, system integrators and application providers in the communications, automation, transportation, medical, military, aerospace, and test and measurement markets. The company helps its customers to considerably reduce their time-to-market and to gain a competitive advantage with products including high-performance open computer platforms and systems, single board computers, man-machine interfaces and mobile computers. Kontron employs more than 1,700 people worldwide and has manufacturing facilities in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The company is listed on the German TecDAX 30 stock exchange under the symbol "KBC." Kontron is a member of the Intel Communications Alliance. For additional information on Kontron, please visit: www.kontron.com.

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