Low-power module standard poised to open new markets

The Qseven platform will allow embedded designers to take advantage of the benefits of new UMPC platforms such as Intel's Atom processor.

The latest processor products from chipset manufacturers, such as Intel's Atom Z5xx series CPUs, show a strong trend toward low power consumption figures at high-performance computing levels. Existing Computer-On-Module (COM) standards like COM Express or ETX were defined four to eight years ago without consideration of this low-power trend. Where COM Express defines a maximum power consumption of 188 W, the Qseven specifications describe a 14 W maximum.

Qseven cuts all legacy interfaces and focuses purely on a feature set that will be available for several years, calling for only differential serial interfaces with high bandwidth and good EMC behavior. Cooling concepts and features such as an I2C bus, watchdog timer, user storage area, flat-panel interface, and temperature control are present in the clearly defined Qseven specification.

"We see Qseven as a great initiative to approach new applications in fanless, mobile, and battery-powered systems, which current solutions do not support very well," says Wolfgang Eisenbarth, director of marketing at MSC. "This will open new markets with a strong industry commitment from the Qseven community."

"The Qseven platform will allow embedded designers to take advantage of the benefits of new UMPC platforms such as Intel’s Atom processor," says Hectronic sales and marketing manager Patrik Björklund. "We see this new module standard as a perfect fit for applications where very small form factors, competitive cost, x86 performance, and ultra-low power consumption are important requirements."

Standard applications will include automation/DIN rail, automotive, and other ultra-mobile embedded computing systems.

Primary target applications: Mobile and ultra-mobile embedded computing applications

Sponsors: congatec AG and SECO, with support from recently announced participating members Hectronic, MSC Vertriebs GmbH, IEI Technology, and Portwell

Specification release: June 2008

Specification information: Download specification for free at www.qseven-standard.org

Dimensions: 70 mm x 70 mm

Mounting:

• Computer-On-Module (COM); requires carrier board

• All data and power signals available at Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM)-type edge connector

Power input:

• +5 VDC

• Optional +5 VDC standby for power management features

Features:

• 4x PCI Express x1 lanes

• 2x SATA

• 8x USB 2.0

• 2x ExpressCard

• 1x SDIO

• I2C bus

• HD audio

• 1x Gigabit Ethernet

• 2x 24-bit LVDS (with VESA DisplayID flat-panel detection)

• SDVO

• DisplayPort

• HDMI

• Fan control

• Battery management

• Software API for embedded features