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Micro-mobo spec gains high profile advocate

Jul 29, 2008 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 51 views

A tiny embedded motherboard standard inspired by Intel’s recently introduced Menlow silicon platform has gained a high-profile advocate. Advantech, Taiwan’s top industrial computer maker, claims to be the 11th company to “actively” support the 70 x 70-mm Qseven computer-on-module (COM) standard.

Qseven is the brainchild of single-board computer (SBC) vendor Congatec. Named for its size — seven centimeters square — the tiny motherboard format integrates all core components of a PC and plugs into an application-specific circuit board. Typical functions included on a Qseven board include CPU, DRAM and flash memory, and controllers for video, sound, mass storage, network, and USB.

Qseven example board, dimensions
(Click each image to enlarge)

Congatec says Qseven is ideally suited to support the latest ultra-mobility-oriented processors and chipsets implemented in 45nm silicon geometries. In particular, the micro-motherboard format is expected to host Intel’s Atom processors and chipsets (formerly codenamed Menlow) as well as Via’s growing line of ultra-mobility processors and chipsets.

Qseven modules plug into their carrier boards by means of a single, industry-standard 230-pin MXM connector, which currently implements the following predefined bus and I/O interface signals:

  • 4 PCI Express x1 lanes
  • 2 SATA interfaces
  • 8 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 1000BaseT Ethernet port
  • 1x SDIO 8-bit
  • LVDS 2x 24-bit
  • SDVO / HDMI / DisplayPort (shared)
  • HDA (High Definition Audio)
  • I2C Bus
  • LPC (low pin count) bus
  • Various control and power management signals
  • DC power

The list of companies actively engaged in Qseven-based board designs at this time are said to include Advantech, ASEM S.p.A., congatec AG (Qseven creator), DAVE Srl, Grossenbacher Systeme AG, Hectronic AB, IEI, MSC Vertriebs GmbH, Portwell Inc., Seco s.r.l., and Transquil PC Ltd. For further details, visit the Qseven website.

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