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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Congatec takes embedded systems into gaming

ed networXX and congatec optimise embedded hardware for gaming

ed networXX of Austria has produced a development platform especially suited for the design of gaming applications. This platform includes the M-Box embedded computer from congatec, as well as displays that meet the special requirements of gaming applications. By using this package, designers of gaming applications can significantly shorten development times and save development costs. The platform can also be adapted to other applications, such as ATMs or POS terminals.
The modular M-Box has been developed in close cooperation with embedded computer module specialist congatec. In its standard version, it allows users to control up to three displays. Its standard processor is a low-power 1.86 GHz Intel Celeron CM440-CPU, which enables the deployment of very quiet fans or even allows for fanless operation. Its high-performance graphics board, the ATI Radeon E2400 MXM-II, is suited for displaying animated high-definition 3D videos. Internal interfaces include 2 x SATA, 1 x USB 2.0 and 1 x PCI Express. The wide range of external interface options include 2 x DVI-I, 6 x USB 2.0 (backwards-compatible with USB 1.1), 2 x serial EIA 232, plus a secure and direct CCTalk link. Direct reading and writing of CF memory cards is possible thanks to the integrated CF card reader. Audio ports generate optimal sound, while 16 digital I/Os allow for customer-specific interface functions. TPM encryption protects the computer and its gaming software, which is especially important in gaming applications. The M-Box runs on various operating systems, including Linux, Microsoft Windows XP/2000, XP Embedded and Windows CE 5.0/6.0. A robust steel housing protects the embedded PC in harsh environments.
The standard package features the transmissive Samsung Open Frame Panels LTM 190E4-L02 and LTM 220M3-L02 with a 19 or 22-inch display and a maximum resolution of 1280x1024 or 1680x1050 pixels, respectively. Both panels are able to monitor 16.7 million colours. Their viewing angle is 178° horizontal and vertical, and their 1000:1 contrast ratio makes them suitable for environments with varying ambient-light conditions. The 22-inch model has a brightness of 300 cd/m²; the 19-inch model features 250 cd/m². The fast reaction times of 6 and 7ms are indispensable for gaming applications. Both panels include DVI/VGA interfaces and feature a backlight with four or six CCTFs, and 12V/5A or 24V/2.5A supply, respectively. A robust MicroTouch display by 3M, with a glass thickness of 3.18 mm, can be integrated for touch screen applications. Available interfaces for the touch screen are RS232 and USB. The mean time between failures (MTBF) is over 50,000 hours, which is a necessary requirement for gaming applications. Both the embedded PC and the displays are RoHS-compliant.
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