Kontron Pico-ITX motherboard accelerates SFF appliance development

With its new low-power embedded motherboard for the extended temperature range, Kontron is looking to accelerate the development of especially robust and energy-saving ARM-based SFF designs. The KTAM33874/pITX is equipped with the Ti Sitara 3874 processor and provides tablet PC class performance and a comprehensive range of standard and embedded computing interfaces.

Its Pico-ITX compliance mean that it is able to offer OEMs the possibility to design cost-efficient SFF embedded appliances based on a standardised form factor. OEMs can now exploit the whole ecosystem which to date has been used for x86 technology helping to significantly reduce hardware development costs in comparison to full custom designs and increase long-term availability. If no individual hardware adjustments are required, then the board, which supports Linux, Android and Windows WEC7 is application-ready and can be immediately deployed.

Kontron is also able to offer in-house hardware-related software services, so that individual driver implementations and configuration-specific images can be provided at great speed.

The Kontron Pico-ITX board based on the ARM Cortex A8 single-core processor offers a low TDP (Thermal Design Power) which makes it suitable for compact, fanless applications. It is also the first Kontron motherboard designed from scratch for the extended temperature range of -40 °C to 85 °C. It is therefore able to cope with adverse environmental conditions.

Examples of application areas for the new Kontron Pico-ITX motherboard are autonomous battery- or solar-powered outdoor systems or mobile or stationary dual-display applications like Box PCs, HMIs and thin clients. The target markets include building and home automation, industrial automation, digital signage and transportation as well as medical and military. According to Kontron using the KTAM33874/pITX means that OEMs can realise demanding types of appliances, which in the past needed a full custom design, in a fast, simple and reliable manner by using a commercially available standard component.

For the KTAM3874/pITX with energy-efficient ARM processor technology Kontron has announced a minimum of 7 years long-term availability. On its 100 x 72 mm sized standard small form factor this integrated motherboard will enable developers to realise complete systems: an extensive range of interfaces and on-board Flash memory mean that there is no need for OEMs to source any additional components.

The KTAM3874/pITX is available with the single-core Texas Instruments Sitara 3874 microprocessor (MPU) for the extended temperature range with 800 MHz Cortex A8 technology. In terms of graphics, it offers 3D graphic acceleration and supports up to two independent displays both with resolutions of 1080p (full HD) connected via HDMI 1.3a and 24-bit dual channel LVDS. Sound is provided by analogue audio in- and output. An additional loudspeaker port (1 watt) can drive smaller loudspeakers directly – i.e. for making acoustic acknowledgement or for speech output, which can make a separate amplifier superfluous. For OS and application data there are up to 16 GB NAND Flash memory on-board plus a microSD slot. Hard disks or DVD players can be connected via 1x SATA and 1x mSATA.

Beside two Fast Ethernet interfaces with an optional switch, it also offers 2x CAN bus as well as a SIM card slot for MiniPCIe modem cards. Peripherals can be connected by the 5x USB 2.0, 2x RS232 or 1x RS435. 26x GPIOs, I²C, UART and SP output round off the feature set.



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