Our customers are asking about it constantly. It has been gaining momentum for the past year and we believe it is a market changing product. It's incredibly small, fast, and low power. "It is going to change the face of embedded computing as we know it today," stated one long-time engineer.
"It" is the newly released ATOM processor from Intel that is unlike any processor Intel has produced before. A compact 13mm x 14mm processor complemented by the small 22mm x 22mm Intel system controller hub US15W. This processor-chipset combination consumes an astonishingly low 4.6W of power. Our COM Express design engineers lined up for early access to prototypes. But as we defined one of the first ATOM processor based COM Express designs- we realized this innovation required a balance of giving up features to match the gains in technology.
Intel has used its 45nm process technology and creative design techniques to shrink the chip size and reduce leakage and thereby the power, while keeping performance levels high. Even with these breakthroughs, chipset and power hungry features had to be cut to meet the power and size goals of the chips. The US15W doesn't contain the minimum IO to make a COM Express compliant module - it lacks SATA, PCI, x16 PCI Express, Ethernet, VGA, and TVOut. If Intel had included all these features, the resulting COM would be equivalent to an existing 965 Celeron-M COM Express module - big and power hungry.
Instead, the ATOM processor and US15W have enabled us to produce a micro-sized 85mm x 70mm COM module based on the ATOM processor that uses the Type 2 COM Express pin-out. The RadiSys Procelerant Z500 module adds Ethernet and SATA options plus a MicroSD socket and up to 1GB memory down - keeping the critical goals of size and power to a minimum. I believe the Procelerant Z500 is the most innovative approach to pairing the ATOM processor with the COM Express architecture. Our engineers kept the design focus aligned with the intent of the ATOM processor -size and power - enabling a new generation of ultra-small handheld applications using the x86 architecture. Check it out and see for yourself: www.RadiSys.com/COMExperts
Product Manager, COM Express Product Line