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Low-cost computer module runs embedded Linux

Mar 31, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Ampro Computers will soon ship a low-cost, “computer-on-module” (COM) product that targets “commercial grade” embedded applications. The component-like XTX 800 integrates Intel “Dothan” procesors along with graphics, networking, and other I/O functions, and supports embedded Linux, according to the company.

(Click here for larger image)

The XTX 800 is based on Intel “Dothan” core-based Celeron M and Pentium M processors, which are part of Intel's long lifecycle embedded roadmap.

Ampro lists the following key features and specifications for the XTX 800:

  • Processor:
    • 1.4 GHz Low Voltage Pentium M 738
    • 1.0 GHz Ultra Low Voltage Celeron M 373
    • 800 MHz Ultra Low Voltage Celeron M
    • thermal design power (TDP) ratings of 5-10 Watts
  • Memory — up to 1 GB PC2700 DDR 200/266 RAM
  • Display — integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2
    • 3D engine
    • max 64MB UMA DVMT
    • CRT and LVDS output to 1600 x 1200
  • Storage:
    • 2 SATA ports
    • 1 EIDE supports up to two hard drives
    • floppy — Supports 1 or 2 drives, shared with parallel
  • LAN interface — 10/100 BaseT Ethernet
  • Other I/O ports:
    • 6 USB 2.0
    • 2 serial
    • AC97 audio — speaker, mic, headphone
    • Parallel — EPP/ECP bidirectional port
    • PS/2 keyboard and mouse
  • Expansion — PCI bus
  • Power management — supports ACPI 2.0 except for S3 Suspend-to-RAM state

All I/O ports have TTL-level signals at the baseboard interface connectors. If required, transceivers and signal conditioning need to be on the baseboard, according to the company.

QuickStart Kits are available for the XTX 800 that include a full Linux 2.6 distribution based on Fedora Core 3, or drivers and BSPs (board support packages) for Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows CE 5.0.

XTX subset

The module conforms to the XTX (eXpress Technology for ETX) form-factor, an ETX spin-off that substitutes PCI Express and serial ATA ports for the ETX standard's ISA bus signals. However, to save cost, the XTX 800 omits PCI Express, Ampro said.

XTX modules can plug into existing ETX baseboards that don't use the ISA bus, according to Ampro. Further details on XTX are available in our coverage of Ampro's first XTX form-factor product, the XTX 820, announced last month.

Pricing and availability

RoHS-compliant XTX 800 modules are expected to ship by mid-April, with prices starting “below $300 in moderate quantities,” Ampro said.


 
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