When most people think about small form factors, they do not consider rack-mounted systems as entrants to the category. Smaller form factors motherboards, like the mini-ITX  17 x 17 cm boards, have enabled systems designers to reduce the depth of the embedded systems. Kontron’s recently released Kontron Silent Industrial Server (KISS) 1U short system (44mm high x 482mm wide by 350mm deep) is an example of how designers can develop a rugged rack-mount industrial PC system for space constrained environments.


There are thermal  design considerations that need to be taken into account to provide the Core™2 Duo performance capabilities of bigger systems.  By using a blower heat sink over the processor the heat can be blown out of the system through the vents in the front and rear of the system. The vents also help dissipate heat from the power supply. Finally fan cowlings are used to apply direct air flow to the processors.  Thermal testing is used to verify that air flow is optimized.


To design a small rack-mount embedded system that is also extremely quiet requires careful selection and testing of all components, including fans, drives and expansion slot cards. Additionally, the chassis design includes brackets and dampeners to reduce vibration and noise from drives and fans.  The net results are a small rack-mount system that can be used in noise sensitive environments.


Nancy Pantone