Ack!  The solution needs to be tiny and support dual displays.  Did I mention the need for 3-D graphics capabilities and high-definition video decoding? 



Sound familiar?  It does to me because it’s part of what led to the creation of the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP.   There was an outcry for a very small system that could run high-end graphics.  Thus, the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP was born with compatibility to the COM Express Type I pin-out and based on the Intel Atom Z5xx series processors and US15W System Controller Hub – commonly called the eMenlow platform.  Not only does the designer get the other advancements that have been talked about heavily for over a year now, but also the embedded graphics capabilities that are enhanced when paired with the Intel Embedded Graphics Driver (IEGD).


One of the greatest benefits of the integrated graphics controller is that much of the strain of graphics is offloaded from the CPU allowing it to keep top processing performance.  This applies to motion compensation as well as acceleration for the following video decode standards:

  • H.264 Baseline profile L3, Main profile L4.1, High profile L4.1
  • MPEG2 Main profile high level
  • MPEG4 Simple profile L3, Advanced simple profile L5
  • VC1 all profiles up to L3
  • WMV9 Simple profile Medium level
  • WMV9 Main profile High level

With respect to deblocking, the system benefits from codec back-end video filtering.  For the entropy coding video feature, a key benefit is the existance of a master controller for the video accelerator. 


Getting back to dual-display support -- What’s possible?  This is best illustrated in the graphic below so you can see what the min/max resolutions are depending on the configuration needed.   


When you add IEGDto the mix, the capabilities are improved.  OpenGL 2.0 and OpenGL ES 1.1 are supported.  3-D graphics performance is enhanced.  The system gets the benefit of hardware-enabled video decode and there’s support for the Chrontel CH7022 that enables VGA and TV. 


For those of you who’ve had questions about which OS you can use with IEGD and SFF solutions such as the nanoETXexpress-SP, here’s a quick list:

  • Windows XP and XP embedded
  • Windows CE 5.0 and Embedded 6.0
  • SUSE Linux
  • Novell Linux
  • Fedora 5, 6, and 7
  • Small Footprint Linux – another SMALL that’s BIG
  • DOS
  • Wind River Linux
  • Red Hat Embedded Linux
  • Red Flag Linux
  • Ubuntu 8.04 for MID

Now that you know SFF solutions can deliver BIG for graphics, go out there and give it a try.  If you get a chance, let us know how BIG your results are.




Christine Van De Graaf


FYI – Have questions about getting your graphics going?  The Kontron Apps teams have lots of experience and can help if you get in a jam.  Just send me a note here in the forum and we’ll help.