One of the fastest-growing concepts in the embedded world is the "computer-on-module" or COM. The COM approach takes the traditional concept of a computer motherboard with plug-in I/O modules and turns it around so that the motherboard, now called a baseboard, contains all the I/O and the CPU with its core support chips and memory plug in as a module.
The CPU module delivers the core functionality while all of the application-specific features are designed into the baseboard creating a semi-custom embedded solution. The original COM module standard, known as Embedded Technology Extended (ETX), provides PCI and ISA bus I/O expansion while the newer COM standard caters for PCI and the faster PCI-Express bus architectures.
Interworld Electronics has expanded its range of COM and ETX processor modules with the release of the ETX-700 series AMD Geode LX800 processor CPU modules. The modules are based on the AMD Geode LX (Northbridge) and AMD CS35536 (Southbridge) chipsets and support up to 1GB of non-ECC DDR333/400 memory.
The modules also include Realtek RTL8139DL 10/100Base-TX Ethernet, 1x dual port IDE controller, 2x SATA ports, 2x COM ports, 4x USB 2.0 ports and AC97 audio connections. An onboard CompactFlash slot is provides for running embedded operating systems or for additional storage.
The ETX-700 series provides extensive graphics support including CRT/LCD, TTL and LVDS outputs. Two models are available. The ETX-700-A10 with 18-bit TTL/LVDS and the ETX-700-A10-01 with 24-bit TTL/LVDS output signals.
The ETX-700 Series modules can be combined with the ECB-901A ETX COM module carrier to provide a complete system. The ECB-901A includes connectors for the CPU module I/O signals and provides 4x PCI and 3x ISA slots for expansion.