Ampro LittleBoard 550 SBC Lowers Cost of Rugged Single Board Computers

9/20/2004 - Ampro Computers, Inc., the inventor and leading supplier of PC/104, EBX and EPIC single board computers, unveiled the rugged LittleBoardTM 550 SBC. This EBX-compatible embedded PC allows manufacturers and integrators to design systems that have both ruggedness and low cost. Ampro offers a choice of 300MHz Via EdenTM ESP 3000, 533MHz Eden ESP 5000, or 1GHz Eden ESP 10000 processors with popular embedded features such as two Ethernet ports, four RS-232/422/485 ports, onboard CompactFlashTM socket, PC/104-Plus expansion, and Ampro embedded BIOS extensions. In addition to high reliability and resistance to shock and vibration, Ampro rugged products feature a standard operating temperature of 0 to +70°C and extended operation from -40 to +85°C.

"Ampro's latest addition to its 20-year-old product line, the LittleBoard 550, sets a new standard for ruggedness, affordability, and scalable performance up to 1GHz," said Joanne Mumola Williams, president and CEO of Ampro. "Designers of military, transportation, industrial, and medical systems can afford to add ruggedness and high performance to more products than ever before."

The LittleBoard 550 leverages most of the design of the successful LittleBoard 700 SBC, including dual RJ45 Ethernet connectors, AGP 4x graphics, onboard CompactFlash socket, and full PC/104-Plus expansion (PCI and ISA buses), but uses low cost Via EdenTM processors instead of Intel® Pentium® III and Celeron® processors. Unlike the Via C3 processors that are rated well above 7 Watts TDP (Thermal Design Power) and require a cooling fan, all Eden ESP processors are rated for less than 7 Watts, making them a much better choice for high reliability applications. In particular, with extended temperature operation and low power Eden CPUs, thermal design is simplified for applications that operate in harsh environments and require a sealed, airtight enclosure. Long lifecycle support from Via is attractive to embedded system manufacturers and integrators who have long design, qualification, field trial, and/or government certification phases. The LittleBoard 550 mechanical design (form factor, mounting holes, connector locations and connector pin definitions) is identical to both the LittleBoard 700 and the recently announced LittleBoard 800 with Pentium M and Celeron M processors. This updated product line provides a seamless upgrade path through nine price/performance stages from 300MHz Via Eden to 1.4GHz Pentium M 738.

Design re-use means that Ampro's embedded BIOS extensions and Ampro's Board Support Packages (BSPs) for leading embedded operating systems and are available immediately at production release of the LittleBoard 550. Embedded enhancements added by Ampro include watchdog timer, battery-free boot (in case the battery for CMOS settings fails or is not installed for harsh environments), serial console, and BIOS recovery. Optional LAN Boot supports loading the operating system over either Ethernet port using protocols such as PXE or DHCP. LittleBoard 550 QuickStart Kits include cables, documentation, a complete GPL Linux distribution, and BSPs for QNX 6.2.1, VxWorks 5.5, and Windows CE 4.2. PC/104-Plus expansion allows simple integration of any of the more than one thousand commercial and custom PC/104 and PC/104-Plus modules, including data acquisition, MIL-STD-1553, Wi-FiTM, industrial I/O, high-speed USB 2.0, IEEE 1394 "Firewire".

Pricing and Availability
LittleBoard 550 will be available for evaluation in October, with production quantities available beginning in November. Prices start at under $400 in production quantities. QuickStart Kits start at well under $1,000.

About Ampro Computers, Inc.
Ampro Computers, Inc. is the leading global provider of modular embedded computing solutions for OEM applications. Ampro’s mission is to provide time saving solutions for embedded systems designers that accelerate the product deployment process. Ampro pioneered the embedded PC industry creating the popular PC/104 and EBX standards, and recently co-invented the new EPIC standard. The EnCore and ETX families are rugged Computers-on-Modules (COMs) products which enable designers to obtain all the benefits of an off-the-shelf CPU solution while maintaining the flexibility of a full custom design. In addition to EnCore and ETX, Ampro offers four product lines: PC/104-compatible CoreModule CPUs and MiniModule expansion products, EBX form factor LittleBoard single-board computers (SBCs), and EPIC form factor ReadyBoard SBCs. For more information about Ampro Computers, please visit

AMPRO is a registered trademark and EnCore, CoreModule, MiniModule, ReadyBoard, LittleBoard and Little Board are trademarks of Ampro Computers, Inc.

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