Skip navigation
2012

As the new Cedar Trail architecture takes hold in off the shelf embedded modules, designers are able to quickly take advantage of the higher performance, lower power, ubiquitous connectivity, and an expanded graphical user interface in new development projects. As I covered in an earlier post, the Cedar Trail platform includes the next generation Intel® Atom™ processor ranging from the 1.66 GHz N2600 and 1.85 GHz N2800 up to the high performance 2.13 GHz D2700. This new architecture is based on 32 nm process technology and offers 7 year availability for extended lifecycle embedded applications. All of the processor options are dual-core, support up to 4 GB of DDR3 system memory, feature improved thermal design power, and interface with the Intel NM10 Express chipset. Multiple manufacturers have come to market with commercial off the shelf (COTS) modules based on the Cedar Trail platform to give designers new options for high performance, low power, and small form factor embedded applications.

 

Targeting applications that require enhanced performance, energy efficiency, manageability, security functions, and smoother visual experiences Avalue Technology recently introduced the ECM-CDV module based on the Cedar Trail platform (See figure 1). The module is designed to the Qseven COM standard and includes graphics, sound, mass storage, network connectivity, and multiple USB ports supporting most embedded applications. Packaged in a small, 70mm x 70mm (2.75” x 2.75”) form factor, the ECM-CDV provides a single-channel Low Voltage Differential Signal (LVDS) Display Interface, two Serial ATA ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet interface, and three PCI Express connections. Qseven modules are smaller than other COM standards such as COM Express or ETX and are mounted onto an application specific carrier board through a single ruggedized MXM connector. The Qseven standard is also legacy-free and the maximum power consumption is limited to 12 watts.

 

EQM-CDV-2.jpg

 

COM Express is one of the most popular module standards for embedded systems offering designers a large number of competing products and lower recurring prices. For example, the Congatec conga-TCA COM Express module supports the Intel Atom N2600, N2800, D2700 processors and features up to 4GB single-channel DDR3 memory, five PCI Express x1 lanes, two SATA 2.0, eight USB 2.0, two optional USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet interface, fan control, LPC bus, and Intel high definition audio (See figure 3). Thanks to its low power consumption and compact measurements (95 x 95 mm) the conga-TCA is particularly well suited for applications in medical and automation technology, POS, kiosks and digital signage. Smart power and battery management guarantee long battery life, an essential factor for cost savings in portable devices. Conga-TCA is available now and prices start at less than $200 US in OEM quantities.

 

conga-TCA block.gif

 

Eurotech has also introduced a new COTS module for applications which demand the most graphical and I/O performance while still needing a low power, small, and fanless design in markets such as industrial automation, medical, and in-vehicle infotainment. The Catalyst CV is a compact 67 x 100mm module based on the Intel Atom N2x00 processor with the NM10 Express chipset and delivers dual-core performance at CPU speeds up to 1.6GHz and extensive multimedia performance (See figure 2). Multimedia interfaces include full HD up to 1080p, Blu-Ray, HDMI, and DisplayPort.  The Catalyst CV offers a range of operating system environments including Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard, and Windows Embedded Compact. For full end-to-end solutions, the Catalyst CV also supports Eurotech's Everyware Software Framework and Everyware Device Cloud. The Catalyst CV will be generally available in Q2 of 2012.

 

Catalyst-CV-Eurotech.jpg

 

Pre-engineered, off-the-shelf boards and modules offer designers a clear shortcut to the improved graphics performance, lower power, reduced component count, and lower cost benefits of the Cedar Trail platform.  You can find a more information on the next generation Intel® Atom™ processors including technical datasheets, webinars, and videos at the N2000 and D2000 website. If you are starting an embedded design and plan to incorporate the next generation Intel® Atom™ platform, please offer your suggestions and share your experience or questions via comments with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community.  You can also keep up with the latest related technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on Intel Atom N2800 D2700.

 

To view other community content on energy efficiency, see "Energy Efficiency - Top Picks

efficiency.jpg

Warren Webb
OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with Intel® Embedded Alliance

 

Avalue Technology, Congatec, and Eurotech are Associate members of the by Intel® Embedded Alliance.

With the arrival of the Intel® Atom™ processor N2000 and D2000 series (formerly codenamed “Cedar Trail”), developers have an intriguing new option for high-performance, low-power designs. The new parts are the first Intel® Atom™ processors to be fabricated in a 32 nm process, enabling significant improvements in power consumption along with the addition of major new features. Most notably, the graphics engine has been heavily upgraded, giving the new processors up to 4X the 3D graphics performance of their predecessors along with 1080p hardware video decode (see Figure 1).

 

Core Frequency

Graphics Speed

Video decode

TDP

Intel® Atom™ processor N2600

1.60 GHz

400 MHz

Single 1080p

3.5 W

Intel® Atom™ processor N2800

1.86 GHz

640 MHz

Single 1080p

6.5 W

Intel® Atom™ processor D2700

2.1 GHz

640 MHz

Dual 1080p

10 W

Figure 1. Key specifications.

 

Other notable new features include expanded and updated I/O options—including dual-display support—along with Intel® Smart Connect Technology, and Intel® Rapid Start Technology. Intel Smart Connect Technology enables the processor to periodically wake from sleep mode so applications can stay synchronized with the network. Intel® Rapid Start Technology speeds up resume time from deep sleep for an “always-on” feel. Together these technologies can make portable devices like medical tablets more responsive and productive.

 

The Intel Atom processor N2000 and D2000 series primarily targets retail, digital signage, and medical applications, but it useful for a range of embedded applications including industrial, military, and networking.For an overview of how you can use the processors in these applications, check out our recent webinar with Advantech and Portwell. I also recommend the two-part blog series from my colleague Warren Webb. Part 1 reviews the architecture and its benefits, while part 2 looks at sample solutions from the Intel® Embedded Alliance , whose 200-plus members collaborate closely with Intel to create optimized hardware, software, tools, and services to help you speed designs to market.

 

For a deeper dive, you can start with my latest retail market blog, where I provide details on applications including point-of-sale, kiosk, and digital signage. Nexcom also has a detailed post on improving build-to-order operations with digital signage. This thoughtful piece looks at the benefits of signage across a wide range of industries and the techniques you can use to create a successful signage system.

 

Turning to medical applications, my colleague Mark Scantlebury has an interesting post on using the new parts in ultra-small ultrasound applications. Speaking of imaging, Warren Webb also has a detailed post on extending the capabilities of the processor with FPGAs for advanced image processing performance. Last but not least, Portwell has a handy post on Intel Atom processor-based COM Express* modules that explains how these modules can be used in medical, industrial, military, and networking applications.

 

We’ll have even more tech articles on the Intel Atom processor N2000 and D2000 in the Embedded Innovator magazine coming out at the end of this month. Subscribe today and we’ll send you a free copy!

 

The links I’ve listed here only scratch the surface of what the Alliance has to offer. To learn more, see intel.com/go/embeddedalliance

 

Advantech and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. Nexcom is an Associte member of the Alliance.


Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Embedded Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: