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Qseven computer-on-module debuts 3W Atom

Nov 14, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 1,539 views

Congatec announced a “Qseven Headless” module based on a new 1.33GHz Intel Atom E3805 SoC that lacks graphics, but has a TDP of only 3 Watts.

Congatec’s first-ever “headless” computer-on-module — designed for embedded applications that don’t require displays — debuts the most power efficient Intel Atom processor yet, with a Thermal Design Power rating of just three Watts. Intel quietly released the 1.33GHz Atom E3805 system-on-chip last month, according to Gadget-Help.

Qseven Headless (note QA3 label on lower right)
(click image to enlarge)

The Qseven Headless is a version of the Linux-ready Congatec Conga-QA3, which supports the full range of Atom E3800 processors and uses the 70 x 70mm Qseven form factor. In fact, the COM in the image provided for the Qseven Headless is labelled QA3, and the modules appear almost identical. In addition, the Conga-QA3 product page and datasheet were recently updated to note Atom E3805 support.

While Intel lists the E3805 as having dual cores, the updated Conga-QA3 product page says it is a single-core processor. It’s unclear whether Intel also offers an unannounced single-core model, or more likely, Congatec disabled one of the cores.

The Qseven Headless is targeted at headless Internet of Things embedded applications including M2M and motion control applications “for industry 4.0,” says Congatec. It is also said to support gateways or system and control monitoring in smart home automation (see farther below for more details).

Atom E3805

The Intel Atom E3805 is a spindown of the 6W Atom E3825, the lowest-power dual-core member of the year-old, 22nm Bay Trail-I SoC family. Until now, the current energy-efficiency leader among the Bay Trail Atoms has been the single-core, 1.46GHz Atom E3815, with 512KB L2 cache, 400MHz Intel graphics, and a 5W TDP.

The new Atom E3805 is more like the Atom E3825, offering dual cores and a 1MB cache. However, it lacks graphics support. Like the E325 and E3815, there’s no Burst mode support or support for Intel Hyper-Threading, so each core has only a single computing thread each. That would mean the single-core version available on the Qseven Headless is running on only a single thread.

Interestingly, the 64-bit SoC supports up to 8GB of DDR3L-1067 RAM, instead of 4GB for the E3825. It similarly supports Intel SSE4 and AES instructions, Intel Virtualization, and Intel HD audio technologies. The 27 x 25mm chip can withstand temperatures ranging from -40 to 110°C, says Intel. The E3805 also supports PCI Express 2.0, USB 3.0, dual SATA interfaces.

Qseven Headless

The Qseven Headless COM appears to be the first COM based on the Atom E3805, and similarly boasts 3W power consumption. The limited assortment of specs listed in the announcement match those of the Conga-QA3 except for the RAM. The device supports only 2GB of DDR3L RAM instead of up to 8GB. Like the Conga-QA3, the Qseven Headless supports up to 16GB of eMMC 4.5 flash.

As with the Conga-QA3, six USB 2.0 ports are provided, one of which supports USB 3.0. You also similarly get an Intel Gigabit Ethernet i210 controller, three PCIe 2.0 lanes, and dual SATA interfaces operating at up to 6Gbps.

Other similar features include I2C and LPC buses, and Intel HD audio. We imagine the other the specs are also almost identical, except perhaps for a lack of display and keyboard interfaces. The full Conga-QA3 feature list, which also includes SPI, SDIO, UART I/O, may be found in our earlier Conga QA-3 coverage.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Qseven Headless module. More information may be found in Qseven Headless announcement. More details should eventually appear on Congatec’s Qseven product page.

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