Atom-Based Qseven Module Addresses the Portable Device Market
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The first computer module based on the new Qseven form factor was specially developed with an eye on the latest low-power processor technology and demand for small physical size. With a typical power consumption of <5 watts, mechanical dimensions that are scarcely bigger than a credit card, integrated battery management and ACPI 3.0 power management functions, the conga-QA from congatec is specifically suited for all mobile applications. The conga-QA is fitted with the latest Intel Atom Z5xx range of processors and the Intel US15W system controller hub.
The new module provides fast, serial differential interfaces such as PCI Express and SATA, although it consistently avoids old “legacy“ interfaces such as EIDE and PCI to ensure that future generations of CPUs and chipsets can also be used without problems. It provides 8x USB 2.0, 1x SATA, 1x SDIO, 1x PCIe, LPC bus, I²C bus as well as gigabit Ethernet and high-definition audio. The new module further offers up to 4 Gbyte onboard flash storage as an option for robust mass storage. The flexible SDIO interface means that SD cards can also be used as easy and robust mass storage. Thanks to the 8-bit bandwidth, MMC 4.0 cards can be used with a data transfer rate of up to 52 Mbytes/s. In addition to storage media, cards with functions such as WLAN, Bluetooth, RFID, etc. are also available for the SDIO standard.
The conga-QA is available in two CPU variants. The lower-cost version is based on the Intel Atom Z510 processor with 1.1 GHz core frequency and 400 MHz front-side and memory bus. In contrast, the high-end version contains a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z530 with 533 MHz front-side and memory bus. Both versions have a 512k L2 cache and can access 512 Mbytes of onboard DDR2 storage.
The Intel US15W system controller hub contains the Intel GMA500 graphics engine. The 3D-capable onboard graphics use a frame buffer of up to 256 Mbytes and support DirectX 9.0E and OpenGL 2.0. Video applications are accelerated by MPEG2 and MPEG4 decoding in hardware. Graphics output is either via a 1x24-bit LVDS channel or an SDVO port. The conga-QA module uses VESA standard “DisplayID” to automatically recognize any flat displays connected.
All congatec boards are equipped with the congatec embedded BIOS. They also contain a board controller, which implements some of the embedded BIOS expansions. The independence from the x86 processor means functions such as system monitoring or the I²C bus are faster and more reliable, even when the system is in standby mode.
Qseven is the first embedded module definition that defines a unique software API, which covers functions important to many professional applications such as watchdog timer, I²C bus, LCD brightness control, BIOS user storage areas or monitoring system temperatures. Qseven modules from different manufacturers can therefore be exchanged flexibly without any hardware or software modifications. The conga-QA will be available from April 2009. The unit price with the Intel Atom Z510 is likely to be around € 125.