Congatec’s “Conga-QA4” Qseven COM is based on Intel’s 14nm “Braswell” Pentium and Celeron SoCs, and offers MIPI-CSI, dual SATA ports, and 4K video.
Like Congatec’s Conga-QA3 and Qseven Headless, the new Conga-QA4 computer-on-module runs Linux or Windows on Intel processors and adopts the 70 x 70mm Qseven format. Whereas the earlier modules supported Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I) system-on-chips from the 22nm Silvermont generation, the Conga-QA4 supports new “Braswell” SoCs that were quietly announced in late March.
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Basically, the Braswell Pentium and Celeron SoCs are to the 14nm “Cherry Trail” Atoms, what the “Bay Trail-D” Celerons are to the “Bay Trail-I” E3800 Atoms. They offer similar CPUs and GPUs to the Cherry Trail Atoms, but add desktop-like features such as SATA support. While the Cherry Trail Atoms are aimed primarily at tablets, the Braswell SoCs are designed for low-cost notebooks such as Chromebooks.
Like the Cherry Trail Atoms, the Braswell SoCs move up to Intel Gen8 graphics, a slightly cut-down version of the advanced graphics found on Intel’s 14nm, 5th Gen “Broadwell” Core processors. This provides the Conga-QA4 with 16x EUs (graphics execution units) and 4K (3840 x 2160 pixel) resolution, says Congatec. By comparison, the Atom E3800 based Conga-QA3 tops out at HD resolution.
Intel Gen8 supports DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2. It also offers hardware-accelerated video decoding of H.265/HEVC compressed video, which is said to offer a 50 percent lower data rate compared to H.264/AVC, letting you stream 4K videos in real time.
Inside the Conga-QA4
The Conga-QA4 module is available with a quad-core Pentium or either quad- and dual-core Celeron SoCs. Not included here is a Braswell-based, dual-core Celeron N3000 clocked at 1.04GHz (2.08GHz burst) with 2MB cache and a 4W TDP (3W Scenario Design Power). The module is equipped with up to 8GB of dual-channel DDR3L memory and up to 64GB eMMC 5.0 flash. A gigabit Ethernet controller is also provided.
Conga-QA4 block diagram
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You can choose between DisplayPort or HDMI ports, either of which can handle 4K video. There’s also a 24-bit LVDS interface, which can be replaced with dual Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) interfaces. The optional eDP implementation supports three independent displays. Unlike the Conga-QA3, the Conga-QA4 provides a MIPI-CSI2 camera interface, which supports up to two MIPI HD cameras.
According to the datasheet, you have a choice of eight USB 2.0 ports or six USB 2.0 ports along with one USB 3.0 port. Additional I/O includes three PCI Express 2.0 lanes, two SATA 3.0 ports, and I2C, LPC, SPI, SDIO, and Intel HD audio. For evaluation and development purposes, the COM supported with an optional Conga-QEval board (see farther below).
Specifications listed for the Conga-QA4 module include:
- Processor — three Intel Braswell options:
- RAM — up to 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM
- Flash — up to 64GB of optional eMMC 5.0 flash
- HD Graphics Gen 8 with hard accel. (MPEG2, H.264 encode, H.265/HEVC decode, DirectX 11.1, OCL 1.2, OGL 4.2, OGL ES 2.0, MVC)
- DisplayPort 1.1a or HDMI 1.4b, both up to up to 3840 x 2160
- LVDS (dual-channel, 24-bit), up to 1920 x 1200
- Optional LVDS-to-DVI converter board for digital flat panels with onboard EEPROM
- Optional 2x eDP in place of LVDS, supporting 3x independent displays
- Networking — gigabit Ethernet controller (Intel I211)
- Other I/O:
- MIPI-CSI 2.0 for up to 2x cameras via feature connector
- Intel HD Audio interface with 8-channel sound card
- USB — either 8x USB 2.0 or 1x USB 3.0 along with 5x USB 2.0
- 2x SATA 3.0 (6Gbps)
- LPC bus
- I2C bus
- Expansion — 3x PCIe x1 Gen 2
- Other features — Congatec Board Controller with watchdog, non-volatile user data storage, device statistics, BIOS setup, backup, power loss control, and , 400KHz multimaster I2C bus with fast mode
- Other options — Optional heatspreader, passive cooling solution, Conga-QEval evaluation platform for Qseven 2.0, Conga-QKit Starterkit, Conga-Qseven/SBM3 Mobility Starter Kit, cable kits, Qseven MXM connectors
- 4.5W to 12W typical consumption
- ACPI 5.0
- Smart battery management
- Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C
- Dimensions — 70 x 70mm; Qseven 2.0
- Operating system — Linux; Windows (various desktop and embedded versions)
The module is ideally suited for retail, digital signage and medical applications, says Congatec. However, it can also be used in technical diagnostics based on optical information, as well as many retail monitoring tasks, says the company.
Other potential applications are said to include those that require occupancy or collision detection, authentication and access control, person and face recognition, and optical measuring and counting. But wait — there’s more: assistance systems such as pedestrian and traffic sign recognition, intelligent lighting systems, such as automatic headlamp control, and webcam and video telephony. In other words, just about anything.
The Conga-QA4 is available with an optional Conga-QEval evaluation board that features a GbE port, an SD slot, a CAN port, dual SATA ports, and audio ports, including SPDIF. The board features up to eight USB 2.0 ports and up to two USB 3.0 ports, and you can select a mix of PCIe and mini-PCIe slots up to four total.
Additional I/O includes an LVDS connection, and a DDI port supporting HDMI or DP. The board runs on 12 V input with an ATX connector, and offers a CMOS battery and various buttons. Only Windows drivers are posted, but the module itself is also said to run Linux.
Conga-QEval detail view
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The Conga-QEval evaluation board can also be bought as part of a Conga-QKit Starterkit. The kit includes a “Conga-LDVI/EPI, conga-FPA2, Dual DVI-D ADD2 Card, and ATX power supply,” among other extras, says Congatec. Other accessories include a Conga-SBM smart battery management module, which appears to be part of a more extensive Conga-Qseven/SBM3 Mobility Starter Kit.
No pricing or availability information was provided for the Conga-QA4. More information, including a video, may be found at Congatec’s Conga-QA4 product page.