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Old 09-01-2010, 03:51 PM   #21
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You yourself said above that you were leaning toward a x86 board..... So I'm not computing what you are even considering an option anymore.
x86 != ATX/ITX/BTX form-factor.
x86 = chipset.


For instance, here's the SBC we use now for our system management. Each console and frame has one of these inside it:



That's an AMD Elan CPU, which is basically a 486. So it's an x86-class board. And yet it looks nothing at all like a "computer motherboard." It's not even remotely close to one. No computer-style power connector, no expansion slots, no D-sub connectors, etc. It's all just headers.
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:24 PM   #22
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I wasn't referring you to ION because it was a ITX form factor. I don't recall even mentioning that. You were complaining about finding a powerful enough platform, so I mentioned basically your fastest/cheap/passively cooled/everything you said you needed/more power than you'll ever use for your application x86 option. But since your company wants ugly expensive boards to satisfy some justification that that makes them more reliable, by all means find another solution.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:04 PM   #23
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Would you consider the ETX form factor? It would allow you to make your own mainboard with whatever breakout cables you wanted. The CPU board would just plug onto it.

Here is a ETX Dual Core Atom 1.6GHz module. No uber GPU. http://www.motionmicro.com/products/MB%252d8002B.html
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:33 AM   #24
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But since your company wants ugly expensive boards to satisfy some justification that that makes them more reliable, by all means find another solution.
Unfortunately, yeah- that's pretty much what it boils down to. There's just a massive prejudice against using "PC hardware" in our products. A lot of it has to do with the years of advertising we spent criticizing two of our competitors for building their systems out of the off-the-shelf PC parts, claiming how our system was much more rugged and reliable, etc. So it really doesn't matter which chips are on the board, it just has to not look like the inside of a desktop PC.

As a practical matter, it is much easier if all the I/O is on headers and the board can run off of a single power supply (preferably 5v.)


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Would you consider the ETX form factor? It would allow you to make your own mainboard with whatever breakout cables you wanted. The CPU board would just plug onto it.

Here is a ETX Dual Core Atom 1.6GHz module. No uber GPU. http://www.motionmicro.com/products/MB%252d8002B.html
Now that I like. It doesn't have gigabit ethernet (which disqualifies it) but that's basically similar to the other boards I've been looking at, such as the EMAC one I linked to in the first post.

At this point, I think I just need to go buy a pair of Atom based machines (maybe laptops) and run some actual traffic simulations on them to see what the processor workload looks like at various throughput rates. Seems like the only way I'm going to get an actual answer to the real question.
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:47 AM   #25
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What are you planning on doing as far as programming?
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:49 AM   #26
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This is a pretty interesting project. I don't really have anything to add that hasn't already been said, but I am watching this thread. You look to have a pretty cool job as well. If I understand your goals correctly, I like the ETX idea.

http://www.dpie.com/etx/etxdc.html

For example, based on Atom 1.6, so plenty of power, you could have a display and input, and ethernet 10/100. No idea of exactly what to go with though. This market is not something I delve into much at all.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #27
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You are going to love this one I think.

Dual Core 1.6Ghz Atom
GB Ethernet
Supports 2GB DDR2
5 PCIe 1x
3 Sata2
8 USB 2.0

http://www.advantech.com/products/SO..._1-DCLSS7.aspx
Datasheet
http://origindownload.advantech.com/...OM-6763_DS.pdf

Uses COM-Express standard

You can pair it with this dev board: http://www.advantech.com/products/SO..._1-2JKPAG.aspx
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:15 AM   #28
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****, that has more stuff on that little board than my new desktop build ATX.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:15 PM   #29
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What are you planning on doing as far as programming?
Hire someone competent.

We don't have much of an in-house software capacity. Never needed it, since we do all of our hardcore processing in the FPGA and hardware domains. Got a couple of contractors we use for the embedded controllers and the Windows-based config software, but this will be a whole new skillset, and we'll need to find someone with experience in one of the RTOS Linux platforms.
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:45 AM   #30
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Try to use Python if you can - it will be much cheaper to prototype an app in Python and then you can just port it over to C although it's completely optional since Python can run just as fast.
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