Kontron Offers ePCI-101 CPU Board with Two New Pentium M Variants

2/24/2004 - Kontron AG, the world's market leader in embedded computer technology is now offering its popular ePCI-101 CPU board with two new Pentium M based processors. The newest Pentium M generation is manufactured on 90 nm process technology. Pentium M processors are part of the Intel® CentrinoTM Mobile Technology package and the new variant, codename Dothan, combines up to 1.6 GHz performance with 2 MByte of dual cache and a very low power consumption. Two Pentium M based Celeron M processor variants that are clocked at 1.3 and 1.4 GHz and feature a 512 kByte cache, are also offered for cost-sensitive applications.

The new processors enable Kontron to extend the application range of the ePCI-101 CPU board to include high-performance, as well as budget-oriented applications. This offers OEMs further performance scalability, since ePCI-X technology (PICMG 1.2) is substantially faster than ISA/PCI based solutions. The 1.1 or 1.6 GHz midrange "traditional" Pentium M variant, which is manufactured on 130 nm technology and features 1 MB of cache will remain in Kontron's product offering.

All ePCI-101 boards hosting Pentium M processor versions combine the highest level of performance with low power consumption and are therefore ideal for embedded applications that require high-performance with passive cooling. The performance of a traditional Pentium M processor approximates that of a Pentium 4, while its power consumption is equivalent to that of a Pentium III. Since this performance is delivered with Pentium M processors that are clocked at a much lower frequency than the Pentium 4 (e.g. 1.6 GHz compared to 2.4 up to 2.7 GHz), they are able to remain comparatively cool, even during periods of heavy usage.

The ePCI-101 in Detail
The ePCI-101 CPU board includes the 855 GME chipset and the Pentium M processor can be selected as required by the application. The board also provides extensive connectivity options: Six USB 2.0, two 10/100 MBit Ethernet, two serial and a parallel interface enable the ePCI-101 to communicate effectively with both its immediate and remote environments. The maximum memory capacity is 1 GByte of DDR-SDRAM. Storage media interfaces include one Ultra DMA/33/66/100, one CompactFlash and two floppy disk drive connectors. Support for Intel Extreme Graphics II is included in the chipset. A mouse and keyboard are attached via a traditional PS/2 interface.

Kontron's ePCI-X half-size boards with Pentium M processors are designed for use in embedded applications such as point-of-sale terminals, network security devices, measurement and control, and automation solutions. Together with the ePCI-102 CPU board that hosts a VIA Eden processor, they provide an evolutionary development path for users of Viper boards and comparable half-size ISA products, which enables migration towards higher performance ePCI-X systems, should the need arise.

About ePCI-X - Purer and Faster PCI for Embedded Systems
The ePCI-X (PICMG 1.2) specification enables for the first time a "pure" PCI solution that allows the simultaneous use of PCI and PCI-X in embedded systems. The PICMG consortium has specified two boards that are based on the PCI/ISA form factor:

  1. A half-sized single-bus board with a PCI-X bus, which resembles half-size ISA SBCs and allows up to three expansion modules to be integrated via a passive back-plane. It is used above all, if space is the deciding factor.
  2. A full-size single or dual bus board with one or two PCI- or PCI-X busses for I/O intensive applications. This board allows the use of passive back planes with up to eight slots.

The actual intention of most new designs based on the traditional PCI/ISA standard is to make use of only the PCI bus. Most new chipsets no longer support ISA and the general view is that ISA will become completely redundant. However, many applications require a greater I/O bandwidth than that provided by a PCI/ISA board.

ePCI-X is the ideal solution in such cases: The specification facilitates the development of pure, PCI and PCI-X solutions that exclude the ISA bus altogether. It facilitates the use of PCI-X (with its 64-bit bandwidth and 133 MHz clock frequency) in embedded systems and allows a greater number of PCI-bus participants. Since compatibility to desktop PCI is retained, solution providers are always supported with the economical standard PCI products of the mass-market. An evolutionary advancement of the PCI/ISA standard is that ePCI-X boards are mechanically compatible to the ISA chassis, so that existing PCI/ISA products can be easily migrated to new components with the new bus combination.

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