Mini-ITX embedded systems

Paul Boughton

Congatec in Germany has launched a range of ended systems in the mini-ITX format based on the Embedded G-Series SOC Technology from AMD, writes Nick Flaherty.  These combine the improved processing power of the ‘Jaguar’ processor core with the powerful AMD Radeon graphics in a compact package.

The new embedded motherboards meet the same standard and quality as the established Computer-On-Modules from congatec and are supplied with individual design-in support, worldwide technical support, detailed manuals and specifications, and long-term availability of 7 + years.

Users benefit from higher multimedia and computing power per watt as well as a flexible distribution of tasks between CPU and GPU, targeting cost-sensitive applications in visualisation and control technology.

"Embedded Mini-ITX is a great addition to our computer module family and extends the scalability of our embedded computers offer by a great value entry model to the board level. Additional mini-ITX boards are already being planned, "said Martin Danzer, Head of Product Management at congatec.

congatec has launched three new mini-ITX motherboards in the range

congatec has launched three new mini-ITX motherboards in the range. An energy-saving device with 9W TDP on the dual-core SOC GX-210HA with 1.0GHz and integrated AMD Radeon HD 8210E graphics; a 18W TDP dual-core variant on the GX-217GA SOC with 8280E graphics; and a quad-core version with 2.0 GHz on the AMD Embedded SOC GX-420CA with the 8400E graphics.

The integrated Radeon graphics core supports the Universal Video Decoder 4.2 for fast processing of BluRay movies with HDCP (1080p), MPEG-2, HD and DivX (MPEG-4). 

The board also supports DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 4.0 for fast 2D and 3D imaging as well as OpenCL 1.1. The single/dual channel LVDS interfaces are 18/24Bit and there are DisplayPort 1.2 and DVI/HDMI 1.4a interfaces for direct control of two independent displays. Via DisplayPort 1.2, ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology for panoramic photography and multi-streaming are also  supported and in daisy chain mode the board can drive two displays per graphics port.

The low power consumption of the new SOCs also makes fanless designs possible. These systems are not only quieter but also more reliable as prone mechanical components are required such as fans. As the CPU state C6 (‘Deep Power Down’) is in the multimedia engine available, the power consumption can be further reduced without compromising ease of use as the board takes less than a millisecond to the power saving mode to full switch processing power.

On the board are 1x PCIe x4 connector and Mini PCI-Express and Dual GbE LAN, 2x Serial ATA III, 1x mSATA socket support (SATA III), 7x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0, 8-bit GPIO, 3 serial ports and one parallel port. A DC power supply with 12V/19-24V and ACPI 3.0 CPU power management and high-definition audio round out the package.