The launch of the Kontron computer-on-module nanoETXexpress-TT brings four major innovations to the market, available in one single product. In addition to being Kontron’s first ultra small form factor COM Express compatible module (55mm x 84 mm) with the new Intel atom processor E6XX, it is also equipped with the newly defined PICMG COM Express Type 10 pin-out that was added to the COM.0 R2.0 specification.

With industrial grade components, functional in the range (E2) -40 to +85C and different options for data storage it is ideal for use in harsh environments and thus complements the existing portfolio perfectly. Finally, the nanoETXexpress COM family gains four new members broadening the scalability from 600MHz to 1.6GHz and throughout the industrial-grade temperature range.

Applications for this innovative Kontron Computer-on-Module nanoETXexpress-TT featuring the Intel Atom processor E6XX at 600MHz, 1GHz, 1.3GHz and 1.6GHz can be found in all market segments where pocket-sized micro-PCs perform under the most extreme temperature and vibration conditions, such as in digital signage, energy, industrial automation, military and transportation.

Sample use cases include robust mini handheld terminals that are either battery or solar powered, wind power stations, robust embedded mini-PCs of smart-metering HMIs and control or information appliances used onboard various commercial and industrial vehicles.

The nanoETXexpress form factor is very attractive for developers of small devices who want to rely on the high level of standardization and the high scalability of the COM Express specification. Kontron’s new COM Express COM.0 R.2 Type 10 compatible module shows the exact path for these and future x86 designs based on SFF processors: smaller, more dedicated and very energy efficient. Using Kontron nanoETXexpress computer-on-modules and custom carrierboards, individual designs can be realized very quickly without having to custom design the kernel itself.

As a member of PICMG, Kontron has been active in the development of the COM Express COM.0 R 2.0 specification and appreciates the excellent work put in by the other members. “With the COM Express COM.0 R 2.0 specification, we accomplished both the implementation of all the interfaces offered by the new processors into future proof connector types, as well as the standardization of the smaller form factors.

The nanoETXexpress-TT module is an ultra small module that perfectlycombines the new COM Express Type 10 pin-out and the features of the Intel Atom processor E6XX series. With the Kontron computer-on-module nanoETXexpress-TT customers can fully benefit from the availability of four PCI-Express lanes of which three can be utilized for dedicated customer specific interfaces. This enables the use of even more dedicated mini-devices in a semi-custom solution,” explains Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron.

Another benefit is the extended temperature range that this module offers by design. Not only the Intel Atom processor E6xx series, which is designed for operation in extended temperature range by Intel, but also the rest of the module is designed consequently for use in very compact, energy-saving, completely sealed and fanless devices for roughest environments. Additionally, the full x86 compatibility offers the advantage of open scalability as well as a rich software ecosystem, a feature that can significantly lower the total-cost-of-ownership for embedded applications.”

The new Kontron computer-on-module nanoETXexpress-TT is 100% compatible with the newly defined COM Express Type 10 pin-out documented in the COM Express COM.0 R.2 specification. In addition to LVDS it offers the newly implemented digital display interface (DDI) for SDVO, Display Port or HDMI that allows two displays to be controlled independently.

This enables applications to fully utilize up to 50% improved 3D graphic performance compared to previous solutions based on Intel Atom Z5xx processors. Users can also take advantage of the newly implemented SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) enabling external boot processes that in the past could only be accomplished through the LPC Bus.

More information regarding the new COM Express Type 10 interface compared to the Type 1 interface is available in the Kontron Whitepaper about the COM Express specification COM.0 R 2.0.

The Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT also features Intel’s Platform Controller Hub EG20T, allowing the new Computer-on-Module to be configured very flexibly. In addition to three PCI-Express Lanes for custom extensions, the module also supports two different options for data storage: either a robust micro-SD Card socket offering (up to 32GB) and 2x SATA II 300MB/s interfaces or a planned version with industrial-grade SATA Flash Memory (up to 16GB) and 1x SATA II 300 MB/s connector.

As a value-added custom service, Kontron will also offer conformal coating for improved electromagnetic interference immunity and protection against corrosion for the Flash version. CAN bus support is available as an optional feature, for example, to support in-vehicle control applications.

Feature set in brief

The new Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT Computer-on-Modules are equipped with 600 MHz, 1.0 GHz, 1.3 GHz, or 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor E6XX series as well as the Intel Platform Controller Hub EG20T, up to 2 GB soldered on-board DDR2 800 system memory and microSD card socket as boot media, a onboard Flash memory version is planned. Via the newly defined COM Express Type 10 pin-out and in addition to the two serial interfaces the Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT offers a new Digital Display Interfaces (DDI), which is configurable as SDVO only, with Intel Atom processor E6XX, that allows independent operation of two monitors in addition to 18/24 Bit LVDS Single-Channel Graphics.

Interfaces that carry over from the Type 1 pin-out, such as Gigabit Ethernet, 6x USB 2.0 (1 client capable), optional 1x CAN plus three PCI-Express x1 lanes for custom extensions are all available as well. Also supported is an external PCIe-to-PCI Bridge. For simplest deployment of small SD/SDIO devices like microSD, MMC or IDE-ATA interfaces, Kontron’s nanoETXexpress-TT offers adjustable settings via BIOS for the COM Express GPIO Pins.

The Kontron computer-on-module nanoETXexpress-TT supports a wide range of operating systems including Wind River VxWorks 6.8, Linux, Windows XP, XPe and WES 7. This comprehensive support of operating systems emphasizes the versatility of this Computer-on-Module making it suitable for a variety of applications in diverse vertical markets.

The first samples of the Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT will be available in November 2010.