Embedded PC offers extended potential in a fanless design
Published: 18 January 2012 - Neil Mead
The embedded Box-PC MICROSPACE MPC-p2 from Kontron is a compact system for graphic intensive applications. The fanless unit is based on the accelerated processing units of the AMD embedded G-Series, which along with a 64-bit CPU also integrate a programmable graphics unit. With a footprint of just 130 x 99mm, the Kontron embedded Box-PC MICROSPACE MPC-p2 offers graphics performance and features that up to now were only possible on systems that were substantially larger and had dedicated graphic cards.
The Kontron Box-PC supports the latest 3D graphics libraries such as OpenGL 3.2 and DirectX 11 and offers hardware acceleration for Flash-based applications. In addition, the integrated unified video decoder assists the processor when high resolution graphics (1080i/p) have to be displayed. Thanks to the extension options for GSM/UMTS and Wi-Fi, the new Box-PC is also suitable for wireless networking in decentralised installations.
For applications that use the computing power of the graphics unit for data processing, the system also supports DirectCompute and OpenCL 1.1, giving OEMs the flexibility to design GPGPU applications in the low-power segment. This extended scope of computing brings a high performance per watt ratio to applications found in industrial and medical image processing.
The single-core AMD T44R processor with 1.2GHz which is featured in the Kontron embedded Box-PC MICROSPACE MPC-p2 also integrates an AMD Radeon HD6250 graphic unit and DDR3 memory controller. With up to 4GB DDR3 RAM the Kontron unit is said to have enough resources to accelerate even the most memory-intensive applications. For data storage the Box-PC offers a 500GB HDD or a 40GB SSD for applications that require high shock and vibration resistance. To enable slim installations the system can be booted via an integrated MicroSD card slot or via LAN. Analog or digital monitors with a resolution of up to 1900 x 1200 pixels can be connected via the DVI-I interface on the front. Six USB 2.0 and up to four serial interfaces (RS232/TTL) via D-SUB connectors allow for direct connection of a wide range of application-specific peripherals