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10 Posts authored by: Kontron_Pantone

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


Beat that Heat!

Posted by Kontron_Pantone May 26, 2009

In anticipation of steamy summer temperatures,  many of us start planning trips to the beach where breezes help us stay cool.  Life in small-form-factor-land is often a battle against heat; processor heat. Unlike the days of desktop P4s when many a fan was deployed in the finished system, the newer mobile processors are designed to make the cooling effort easier.  It still must be carefully considered in designs using computer-on-modules or mITX motherboardsfor small form factors. Generally conductive heat sinks are used for lower  temperature CPUs, say around 45°C, and a heat pipe for higher temperature, approximately 75°C. 


Kontron is frequently asked to help design customfanless small form factor systems for OEM customers. Besides determining the heat sink or heat pipe we work with customers to understand the mounting angle for the system. Since heat is going only one direction (upward) it is important to design a chassis with outer fins so that the heat transfer through the CPU heat pipe to the inner pipes surrounding the chassis to the outer fins. That way the chassis becomes a big heat sink for sufficient heat dissipation based on the mounting position of the system when it will actually be generating heat. 


Take control this summer and beat the heat.



Nancy Pantone

Get Clever

Posted by Kontron_Pantone Apr 28, 2009

I have been comparing notes with business colleagues and we all feel like we are part of the virtualization trend. As resources tighten during this economic downturn, the need to cleverly deploy the resources that remain becomes crucial. That feeling of being down to the bone goes away when you discover a hidden treasure chest of capability; be it an teammate that unveils a needed but yet undiscovered skillset in doing Pivot Tables to cut down on everyone’s number crunching or determining that you can get more productivity out of the already deployed industrial computer.


All newer Core Duo, Core 2 Duo and Quad Core Intel processors support Intel Virtualization, so Kontron has a wide variety of system, motherboard and SBC option to select among. Kontron also provides a line of 1U to 4U industrial computers that offer multicore capabilities that can be easily used for virtualization. By running multiple operating systems and applications on each dual to quad core computer resources can be dynamically shifted to meet demands. Each virtual machine runs in isolation so that if one machine crashes the remaining machines continue to operate. By encapsulating a complete set of hardware resources, OS and applications the virtual machines can be easily moved about as needed. Virtual IT infrastructures can make load balancing and storage situations manageable, delivering on SLAs while reducing costs of ownership of the computing resource pool.


Multicore opens up resource pool opportunities. It is kind of like going shopping with your own shopping bags – which by-the-way, are the new best “wrapping paper” plan for your next gift. What clever ways have you thought of to do more with less?


Nancy Pantone


Walking through the San Jose airport lets you take the pulse of the high tech community. Most people have a Blackberry glued to their ear and are deep in conversation. You may not hear both sides but you will definitely hear one side as you stand in line. “What would I do with 2 million dollars?” caught my attention. “Why, I would get more programmers, of course,” was the answer he gave to the question he had obviously repeated.


There has always been a crushing need for more ISV programming capabilities as programs expand functionality and data load.  The OEM also feels the impact of computationally intense software applications and may find that systems need to be more powerful. The performance boosts of quad processing power can help eliminate computing sluggishness. The Kontron PCI-760board featuring Intel® Core2Duo or Core2 Quad, Intel® Q35 + ICH9DO chipset, 3x Gigabit Ethernet offers a great way for OEMs to speed data, while taking advantage of the PICMG 1.3 ease of integration and the benefits of multicore technology. So even if you aren’t lucky enough to get a budget increase of $2M, an OEM can work with Kontron on a long life, custom embedded system designto specify a product that will grant the user with better performance.


In these difficult economic times, it is reassuring to know that the computing industry is continually striving to improve performance. What would you do if you got an extra $2M added to your budget?  Stop by the Kontron booth at ESC and let me know.


Nancy PantoneDirector, Product Management, Systems/Modules



Last night we went to see the holiday lights near our home. A bit dated but fun clip of the same street will give you a feel for the event. The lighting got me thinking about the use of electricity and the complexity of PCB designs. Just like the maze of electrical wiring needed for the holiday lighting, as embedded systems motherboards move from ATX to mini-ITX high quality electromagnetic compatibility becomes an important part of the design. 

Kontron uses 12-layer PCBs for mini-ITX designs to ensure signal integrity. The extra layers are used to reduce radiation, aid in decoupling the power bus and improve signal quality. Good board designs eliminate the opportunities for crosstalk, ringing and power supply noise. As embedded systems shrink, yet add capabilities from multiple radios to more expansion slots, good design starts with the components, boards and emerging technologies. In my neighborhood the latest in holiday light displays seem to involve penguins (Tux and friends) and LEDs, a technology breakthrough that is grabbing hold just like multicore processing in the embedded systems market.

In 2009 Kontron expects that many legacy systems will be replaced by new standards-based multicore processing systems in smaller form factors, with far higher data throughput and capabilities. Kontron recently launched a Concept Boxto help OEMs jumpstart design efforts and reduce time to market for their smaller system designs using Intel processing power. A future of sparkling enabled capabilities is at hand for application developers.

Happy holidays and have a bright and wonderful 2009!

Kontron - Nancy Pantone

Message Edited by serenajoy on 03-11-2009 08:28 PM

Solid Caps Rock!

Posted by Kontron_Pantone Oct 28, 2008

Last week Kontron launched its first longlife motherboards using solid capacitors, the KTQ45 Family, using the Intel® Core 2 Quad Q9400 processor with Intel® Q45 + ICH10DO embedded chipset. Solid capacitors contain a "solid" organic polymer as opposed to the liquid electrolyte used in electrolytic capacitors. We immediately got asked why solid capacitors are better than traditional liquid electrolyte capacitors.


Solid capacitor technology brings the key advantages of longer life and less impedance loss to motherboards like the KTQ45/Flex. What does that mean to the systems designer? The lifetime of the solid capacitors at e.g. 60 degrees Celsius is 6 times longer than equivalent electrolytic capacitors. The lower impedance results in decreased capacitor temperature which is great for onboard power supply filtering and decoupling. But that is not all. Solid capacitors can flow large ripple current, yet are able to discharge rapidly. A solid decoupling capacitor removes noise, such as digital, audio, static. Additionally, solid capacitors have a high temperature capability, which is good for rugged systems, particularly since there are no liquids to potentially leak or cause capacitor swelling.


New technologies are always exciting since they enable designers to "rock on" when designing new systems! Learn more in booth 1001 at ESC.





Kontron – Nancy Pantone

Message Edited by serenajoy on 03-11-2009 08:31 PM

Around this time of year there tends to be a flurry of activity in most companies as

product families are created or updated for the coming year. Concept designs

and platforms can be used to test customer interest at tradeshows and on

roadshows so that specifications can be finalized to maximize market appeal. When

resources are tight it is a good idea for OEMs to find a partner to help them

get the show on the road.


Custom system design services can quickly get you a prototype of your product

idea. By turning ideas into reality, you can gather customer input and mitigate your risk when

entering a new product category or utilizing a new product technology, such as

multicore, content security or advanced management technologies. By selecting a

vendor with a broad product line of motherboards, SBCs and systems as your design

partner you can make sure that you achieve the optimum configuration. Once you have

zeroed in on a processor, your design partner should use the chipset designed for

that processor, so that you can access to the full capabilities and performance of the



What does that mean to you? If your vision is a new fanless small form factor system,

you can take advantage of the Intel GMA 500 controller that supports full hardware acceleration

of H.264, MPEG2, VC1 and WMV9, as well as up to 4 streams of HD audio by using

the Kontron KTUS15/minITX motherboard with the Intel® Atom™ and the Intel®

System Controller Hub US15W combination.











Get ready for 09.




















Kontron – Nancy Pantone



Message Edited by serenajoy on 03-11-2009 08:35 PM

Decisions that Last

Posted by Kontron_Pantone Sep 22, 2008

My best friend sold her house today. In the midst of the

gloom and doom of foreclosures a normal house sale went through. It got me

thinking about the high tech business where there is still plenty of buying and

selling going on if the products fit the needs. In today's environment,

companies making major investments in embedded industrial servers

want to get the exact configuration that suits their needs.

Just as my friend selected the flooring and cabinets in her new home,

companies should select a vendor that offers a full range of CPU/chipsets,

memory, drives and accessories for embedded multicore server systems purchases.








Moving single core applications to multicore processing

involves investing resources to take advantage of the resource allocation and

capacity management capabilities of multicore. It is a lasting decision. The

payoff is improved application performance. Selecting the right system

configuration is part of the transition process.





Once the decision to migrate an application to a multi-core

industrial server has been made, that decision should not have to be re-evaluated just

to deploy additional industrial servers. Kontron realizes the importance

of helping customers choose the right server for their long term needs

and the value of long term support.







Kontron - Nancy Pantone



Message Edited by serenajoy on 03-11-2009 08:37 PM

Just as we are consistently aware of cost per gallon a

gasoline, IT managers are looking at the cost per gigabyte. Old formulas looked

at the cost per gigabyte of storage since the corporate databases relied on

data storage. Now with the Internet boom and the needs to support remote data

access, Kontron has observed that IT managers are also looking at the cost per

gigabyte of data throughput, blending the system storage and usage costs into a

more accurate number when considering system ROI. Customization

services can maximize storage as needed for emerging system configurations.






An interesting example of the changing way the world is

looking at cost per gigabyte is the 3G iPhone. The cost in the US of the 8 GB iPhone

went down by 50\%, giving the user a smaller cost per gigabyte of storage, while

the cost of the data service from AT&T went up by 50\% for consumer plans. There

is a 20 month breakeven which should seem pretty attractive to users even with

a 2-year contract. Since data usage charges are for unlimited use – the more

data the lower the ongoing cost per gigabyte.





For the IT manager the enterprise Internet access costs and

the equipment costs are an important piece of the overall cost per gigabyte

formula. Kontron has new IU and 2U network platforms, the KNP-1000 and KNP-2000,

that are ideal for minimizing cost per gigabyte by taking advantage of the dual-core

Intel® Xeon 3000 Sequence processorand Intel® 3100 chipset and optional

rear hot-swap SATA hard drives, to help the enterprise accelerate and manage

traffic. Kontron customers have cited that the combined cost per gigabyte on

the system with network access is significantly reduced of late.





It may be time to start referring to cost per terabyte.





Kontron - Nancy Pantone










Message Edited by serenajoy on 03-11-2009 08:40 PM

Recent buzz about the 3G iPhone got me thinking about graphics

and video. The iPhone supports OpenGL ES, which provides a 3D rendering system

that can be hardware accelerated, as well as “amazingly zippy” downloads per Steve

Jobs. Network connectivity with ease of downloading content is going to spur demand

for excellent graphics/video in the consumer iPhone and in embedded systems. As you

would expect the embedded market is going to want to take iPhone graphics capabilities

several steps further. For smaller portable embedded products Kontron’s new KTUS15/mITX,

with Intel® Atom™ and Intel® US15 embedded chipset on a miniITX motherboard, or

nanoETXexpress-SP (55 mm x 84 mm) and microETXexpress-SP

(95x95mm) COM Express™ compatible modules offer Intel® GMA 500 for advanced

integrated 3D graphics and HD video decode. We find that Intel’s

multi-threading solution provides our customers with increased flexibility of a

fully programmable pipeline for easier feature upgrades along with simultaneous

processing of graphics and video threads needed for emerging applications. This

solution ensures excellent graphics/video capability for the smallest of

embedded systems.





But is that enough? When I think about graphics and video

for embedded systems I like to ponder gaps that may cause usage model

headaches. For the Intel® System Controller Hub US15W it looks like Intel has

done a good job anticipating the embedded community’s needs. With the fully

optimized hardware acceleration of H.264, MPEG2, VC1 and WMV9 and 4 HD audio

streams, developers are better able to maintain thread synchronization while

designing parallel code to take full advantage of the multi-core processing

power for graphics/video rich applications.





Of course with innovation there are always new applications

that may require some additional SDVO assistance from Kontron to push the

graphic/video capabilities in custom solutions. Now that I just paid $4.75/gallon for

premium gas for my SUV, I am anticipating that the auto industry may want to offer

more impressive gas security than alocking cap. How about adding another

Intel Atom camera system with video encodingcapabilities to watch that investment?





Kontron – Nancy Pantone



Message Edited by serenajoy on 03-11-2009 08:43 PM

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