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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Ultra-thin mini-ITX boards for embedded industrial designs

By Nick Flaherty

congatec has launched a range of 20mm thin mini-ITX boards with a low thermal profile for embedded applications.

The conga-IC170 Thin Mini-ITX boards scale from .0 GHz Intel Celeron processors up to 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 processors with a fully configurable thermal design power (TDP) from 7.5 to 15 watts and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM as well as 4K multiscreen support. These advantages come in tandem with a comprehensive set of interfaces for the direct connection of various industry-specific extensions such as SIM cards, low-cost CMOS cameras as well as cash and card terminals. Long-term availability of 7+ years and a rugged design to withstand harsh environments translate into easier design-in and a more time- and cost-efficient product development process.

Applications range from fanless HMIs, control and SCADA systems, powerful and robust kiosk or retail systems, to slot machines and digital signage as well as slim panel and industrial All-in-One PC designs. The optional Smart Battery support expands the range of implementations to include even portable, battery-powered applications such as mobile ultrasound equipment in medical technology. The integrated board management controller and support for Intel vPro technology with Intel Active Management Technology (Intel AMT) increase the reliability of distributed IoT system installations and in many cases make on-site maintenance unnecessary.
The conga-IC170 Thin Mini-ITX boards (above) use the dual-core U-series SoC versions of the 6th generation Intel Core processors. The scale starts with the entry-level 2.0GHz Intel Celeron 3995U processor at 7.5W and then ranges from the Intel Core i3 6100U (2.3GHz) and i5 6300U (2.4GHz, 3GHz turbo) up to the Intel Core i7 6600 with a maximum turbo clock rate of 3.4GHz at 15W.

Two SO-DIMM sockets support up to 32GB DDR4-2133 memory, providing significantly more bandwidth and better energy efficiency than traditional DDR3 implementations. The integrated Intel Gen9 Graphics supports DirectX 12 and Open GL 4.4 for high-performance 3D graphics on up to 3 independent 4k displays with 60 Hz (3840 x 2160) via 2x DP ++ and 1x eDP with the additional option to configure a dual channel 24bit LVDS interface. Hardware-accelerated encode and decode of HEVC, VP8, VP9 and VDENC video is also supported.

In addition to a PCIe x4 slot (Gen 3), the comprehensive set of interfaces also includes 1x mPCIe as well as an M.2 connector that can be used for expansion or an SSD. 4x USB 3.0 and 6x USB 2.0 are available for the connection of additional peripherals; 2x Gigabit Ethernet and a SIM card socket provide IoT and M2M connectivity; and a MIPI CSI-2 interface allows direct connection of low-cost CMOS cameras. Further industrial interfaces include 2x COM ports, one of which can be configured as ccTalk, and 8x GPIO. An integrated Trusted Platform Module is offered as an optional choice. Hard drives and SSDs can be connected via 2x SATA 3.0, and 5.1 HD audio plus digital audio are also available. All current Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems are supported, including Windows 10. 

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