Re-use standard form-factors for PC-like ARM technology
We had long discussions on why ARM architecture is and is not suitable for form factor standardization. We concluded that there is at least one sector where it definitely is suitable: Amazing new processors such as the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2, Tegra 3 or Texas Instruments(TI) Sitara AM3874 – to name just a few – can be put on standard boards such as Kontron’s Pico-ITX or Mini-ITX. This allows engineers to re-use the entire electro and mechanical hardware ecosystem of these x86 standards to build PC-like ARM box PCs or panel PCs and so on. These are very efficient and fast. Hence, we strongly believe that this standard orientation will be liked by customers.
OEMs benefit from the established Pico-ITX ecosystem in terms of minimized time-to-market and TCO for innovative low-power applications.
Define new standards for PC-like ARM technology
Another result of our discussions was that not all existing form factors are suitable. A new specification for computer-on-modules (COM) was required to enable a standardized design approach to include modular, highly customizable ARM designs. This resulted in the development of a new specification for an ARM/SoC module standard for ultra-low-power (ULP) Computer-on-Modules under the working title ULP-COM. The release candidate of our specification has already received global support from the embedded community with supporters such as ADLINK, Fortec and Greenbase. The expanding network of supporters is currently working on finalizing the 1.0 specification, planned for release later this year. Furthermore, supporting companies are aiming for the new ULP-COM standard to be hosted by the Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies (SGET), which is currently being founded to guarantee the further development of this vendor-independent specification. So we’re acting very PC-like in this area. But this is not all we do because PC-like ARM technologies are also different and new.
The new ULP-COM specification includes an extremely flat MXM 3.0 connector, with a height of only 4.3 mm. With 314 available pins, it offers a multitude of IO functions for SoC and ARM performance class processors.
Minimize development efforts with PC-like software services
Consequently we want to ensure that the process of customers getting started with PC-like ARM technology will be as hassle free as possible. To minimize development efforts and the associated risks even further we provide customers with comprehensive design-in support. This is carried out mostly on the hardware-level because it is required more with ARM technology than it is in the x86 sectors. But we also dramatically enhanced our software design-in support. This includes extensive standard OS support including services for third party driver implementations and application adaptations, all from a single source. By receiving this comprehensive software-support as an additional service from a one-stop-shop, OEM customers are able to focus on the development of PC-like applications without having to traverse a learning curve for the underlying processor architecture. This drives the time to market and TCO down to a minimum. I hope you like that too.
The ULP-COM specification defines two different formats for scalability and is optimized for low power SoC and ARM architectures.
Did I miss any of the benefits or challenges of ARM in the Computer On Module market?
Guest Partner Blogger:
ARM welcomes its wealth of Partners in the ARM Connected Community (CC) to submit guest blogs to be published on our multiple community blogs. If interested in participating please submit email inquiries to Tell.Us@arm.com.
The ARM Connected Community (CC) is an extensive ecosystem covering all aspects of ARM processor-based design, from chip implementation through to system and device design. The CC provides a platform for collaborative innovation, with multiple types of forums for members to work with one another, and with customers, to solve industry challenges, all with the purpose of enabling designers to focus on differentiating features and an accelerated time-to-market for ARM powered solutions.
0 Comments On This Entry
Please log in above to add a comment or register for an account
The Continuing Hazards of Dhrystone
on May 16 2013 10:24 AM
Make versus buy: it's about risk management!
on May 15 2013 02:29 PM
Accelerated Internet of Things (IoT) development with ARM mbed and Xively
on May 14 2013 12:21 PM
Embedded Systems and M2M Expo 2013: Deep Embedded, Consumer and Enterprise
on May 13 2013 10:26 AM
How ARM Compiler detects stack overflows or malicious tampering
on May 07 2013 06:50 PM