Developers and OEMs have two options to include an additional graphics unit: The embedded AMD Radeon E6760 GPU mentioned above, either as a 37.5x37.5mm BGA unit with 1 GB of video memory or as a complete MXM 3.0 module. The former can be soldered directly onto the carrier board and enables extremely compact designs. Developers preferring to adhere stringently to the modular concept with minimal development effort are better off with the convenient MXM 3.0 module. It is plugged into the appropriate socket on the custom carrier board via a 230-pin connector and communicates via PCIe with the COM.
This makes it easy to change the graphics solution at a later date if needed. Developers can upgrade the existing graphics and computing power of the AMD R-Series APU by adding the graphics and computing power of the dedicated AMD Radeon E6760 GPU. This is a unique feature in embedded computing.
Applications that are required to control a maximum number of displays, such as information kiosks at airport check-ins, also benefit from the intelligent combination of APU and GPU. They are able to control up to ten displays independently; four panels are addressed via the COM and six more via the additional graphics unit. Alternatively, it is also possible to control the displays as multiple video wall configurations. The use of COMs in such advanced applications is made possible thanks to the introduction of Type 6 pin-out modules in the new COM Express specification.
For example, the COM Express module conga-TFS is based on the AMD Embedded R-series platform and features the new Type 6 pin-out. Little has changed at the A-B connector; only a few previously reserved pins were assigned new signals for UART, FAN, Lid, Sleep and TPM. The signal assignments of the CD connector, on the other hand, were changed fundamentally. For instance, the old, parallel interfaces, such as PCI bus and IDE, were replaced by many new interfaces – see table 1
Table 1: Feature set of different COM Express types.
About the author:
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Martin Danzer is product manager at congatec AG.
Courtesy of EETimes Europe
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