San Jose, Calif.If you're designing a low power embedded application based on the ubiquitous PC architecture, you'll be interested in this line of boards from Ampro Computers. It now offers, for immediate delivery, four SBCs (single-board computers) based on the Windows CE 5.0 operating system. Best of all, none of these board-level PCs requires a cooling fan.
Featuring the lowest power versions of Intel's notebook-class microprocessors, Ampro's MightyBoard 800, ReadyBoard 800, LittleBoard 800, and ETX 800 SBCs will run high-performance multimedia embedded applications based on Windows CE 5.0. These products give you immediate access to the highest performance fan-less microprocessors available, too.
Applications abound. Imaging, gaming, kiosk, advertising display, medical information system, human-machine interface, and industrial automation apps can be implemented, to name just a few.
Without a fan or AGP (accelerated graphics port) graphics-card fan, applications like the ones enumerated can achieve both high reliability and quiet operation.
Plentiful Processor Options
The processor options for these four Pentium-M SBCs and modules have the lowest thermal design rating of the Intel Pentium and Celeron processors.
With embedded life-cycle support, you can choose from a 1.4-GHz LV (low voltage) Pentium-M 738 Dothan core that dissipates 10-W, or a 1-GHz ULV (ultra low voltage) Celeron-M 373 Dothan at 5-W. Another option is the 600-MHz ULV Celeron-M Banias at 7-W. These processors have comparable performance to 1-GHz to 2-GHz Pentium-4 processors, but operate at a fraction of the dissipation.
In use, Windows CE 5.0 can be quickly configured to occupy a relatively small amount of RAM and storage space. Reliability can be further improved by substituting solid-state storage, such as CompactFlash or other types of IDE-compatible storage modules.
Ampro's so-called Embedded BIOS extensions also include USB Boot (Universal Serial Bus) and LAN Boot (local area network) capability. That complements the board's high-speed USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet ports, so these boards can load and quickly boot Windows CE 5.0 from a USB 2.0 peripheral or even over a network. Ampro's Embedded BIOS also includes configurable interrupts, a watchdog timer, low-voltage detection, battery-free boot, and a serial console.
Using Platform Builder tools for Windows CE, Ampro has also created a BSP (board support package) for Win CE 5.0. A QuickStart Kit for each product includes the Windows CE 5.0 BSP.
The BSP contains device drivers and initialization for the video and peripherals of the each of the four boards, including USB 2.0 support (that's not widely available). Ampro distributes the BSP and provides support to users.
The MightyBoard 800 (it's a Mini-ITX form-factor that measures 6.7 x 6.7-in.), LittleBoard 800 (it's an EBX form-factor at 5.75 x 8-in.), ReadyBoard 800 (it's an EPIC form-factor at 4.5 x 6.5-in.), and the Ampro ETX 800 (it's also an ETX at 3.7 x 4.5-in.) feature 400-MHz FSBs (front-side buses). These products use the Intel 855GME chipset.
All of these boards also have both CRT and LVDS (low voltage differential signaling) flat-panel LCD interfaces. They all also include four USB 2.0 ports for lots of peripheral and communications connectivity, and dual Ethernet ports (except the ETX 800).
All of the boards pack 100-Mbit DDR (double data rate) memory, and AC97 (audio CODEC 97) audio. With integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 technology (AGP 4x), high performance is provided, without the typical noise, dust and dirt, and reduced reliability of fans as used on most AGP graphics cards.
Still other embedded features include RS-422 and RS-485 serial ports, and a 5-V-only power supply requirement.
Price And Availability
Pricing for 800 Series products starts at under $500 in production volumes. Application development tools and operating system licenses are available from Microsoft.
For more info, contact Ampro Computers, Inc., 5215 Hellyer Avenue, Suite 110, San Jose, Calif. 95138-1007. Phone: 800 966-5200 or 408-360-0200. Fax: 408-360-0222.
Ampro Computers, 408-360-0200, www.ampro.com/index.asp