No need to choose: Make your IoT projects prosper with the right processors

16 DECEMBER 2019

Edge computing is becoming increasingly important for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. Together with Edge technologies, standardized Computer-on-Module (COM), Single-Board-Computer (SBC), motherboards and systems ensure that computing power is available efficiently, quickly and flexibly. However, the processor should be suitable for the respective application.

The Kontron SMARC-sAMX8X module with low power consumption despite the powerful NXP i.MX8X processor in dual-core or quad-core configuration offers an ideal basis for networked devices in industrial applications.

Kontron’s wide range of IoT / Embedded Computing products offer the ability to select computing power according to the application control, visualization, and connectivity needs. There are several categories to choose from: The COM Express® and Qseven® modules with x86 architectures from Intel® and AMD, as well as Qseven® and the compact SMARC 2.0 modules for the low-end range with Intel Atom®, and the latest Arm®-based processors from NXP for power-saving applications.

SMARC-sAMX6i – broadly scalable ultra-low power module
The SMARC-sAMX6i is designed for an extremely wide power spectrum. The ultra-low power module is based on the NXP i.MX6 processor family with Arm® Cortex®-A9 and features power-saving graphics and computing power as well as a high level of integration. It is suitable for various embedded applications ranging from e-readers and human machine interfaces (HMI) to building automation or small controllers.

The energy-efficient SMARC-sAMX7 features low power consumption thanks to its economical NXP i.MX7 dual-core and single-core configurations, enabling the efficient development of intelligent devices with an extremely compact, fanless design and balanced processor and graphics performance. Together with two Ethernet ports directly on the module, it is particularly suitable for networked IoT terminals and in the Industry 4.0 environment.

SMARC-sAMX7 – for small, performance-critical applications
The SMARC-sAMX7 modules with the highly integrated NXP i.MX7 processors with Arm® Cortex®-A7 are suitable for applications requiring low power consumption. Compared to i.MX6 processors, they use one-third less power, which is a key advantage for mobile, battery-powered devices or edge routers and gateways. The single or dual-core processors of the i.MX7 family can be controlled independently and provide flexible power supply.

The Kontron pITX-iMX8M in the smallest SBC form factor Pico-ITX. It is equipped with NXP dual or quad-core CPUs based on the Arm® Cortex® A53 architecture with up to 1.5 GHz. The Arm® Cortex®-M4 coprocessor and Full 4K UltraHD resolution make the board ideal for demanding control applications with high graphics performance and extended connectivity through two GbE interfaces. Thanks to its compact dimensions and its M.2 half-size connector, which offers PCIe, USB 3.0 and a micro SIM interface, the SBC is particularly suitable for applications in the manufacturing industry, as an IoT gateway and for small server solutions.

SMARC-sAMX8X – more performance with less power
The SMARC-sAMX8X, based on the NXP i.MX8X with Arm® Cortex®-A35, is particularly suitable for use in networked devices in applications such as industrial automation, industrial controlings, robotics and HMI. The Dual- or QuadCore NXP i.MX8X processors are a further development of the i.MX6 family for the industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C with scalable performance. Up to three displays can be controlled simultaneously and multiple high-speed interface options ensure comprehensive system connectivity.

Single board computer pITX and Raspberry Pi
The pITX-iMX8M 2.5-inch compact Pico-ITX SBC is equipped with a Dual or QuadCore NXP i.MX8M with Arm® Cortex®-A53 and features high graphics performance and enhanced connectivity. This makes it an ideal, low-cost SBC solution for embedded applications in manufacturing or as an IoT gateway. SBCs with Raspberry Pi as a compute module can also be used today in various applications such as HMI, M2M, infotainment or data gateways.

SMARC-sAL28 – SMARC module with TSN-enabled Ethernet ports
A seamless connection between field level, OT and IT is the central prerequisite for deterministic, Ethernet-based and thus “real”, industrial IoT systems. This is made possible by the Time Sensitive Networking Standard IEEE 802.1 TSN together with OPC UA. With the highly integrated SMARC-sAL28 based on the NXP Layerscape LS1028 with Arm® Cortex®-A72, Kontron currently offers the most cost-effective solution for implementing TSN-enabled IoT gateways.

SMARC-sXAL/-sXAL4 – for universal IoT applications
The modules based on the latest Intel Atom®, Intel® Pentium® or Intel® Celeron® processors of the 4th generation are available in different versions for the commercial or industrial temperature range and with up to 8GB DDR3 ECC/non-ECC or up to 8GB LPDDR4 memory down. They are suitable for a wide range of IoT applications.

COM Express® modules – for IoT applications in the medium and high-performance range
Kontron’s COM Express® modules with scalable x86 performance from Intel Atom® via Intel® Core™ i3/i5/ i7 up to Intel® Server Class processors for servers, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and powerful CNC controls address the medium and high-performance ranges in edge computing and IoT applications. COM Express® modules equipped with the 8th-generation Intel® Core™ i7 or with the AMD Ryzen™ V1000QC processor are suitable for applications that require the highest computing and graphics performance, such as visualization or image processing.
The COM Express® Compact Type 6 modules COMe-cWL6 with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ or Intel® Celeron® processors are for the first time also available with the new QuadCore processors with only 15-Watt power consumption. The module is ideally suited as a successor for existing solutions as it takes over their pin assignment and feature implementation. Typical applications include digital signage, professional gaming and entertainment, medical imaging, surveillance and security, and the control of industrial plants, machines and robots both at the shop floor level and from the control room.

With the COMe-cWL6, Kontron adds COM Express® Compact Type 6 modules with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ or Celeron® processors to its product family. For the first time, the new Intel® QuadCore processors with a power consumption of only 15 watts are also available with Kontron modules.

The Kontron Qseven-Q7AL module is available with an Intel Atom®, Pentium® or Celeron® processor, depending on requirements; the Qseven-Q7AMX7 module uses the Arm® Cortex®-A7 processor. Both modules are designed for a temperature range of -40°C to +85°C.

Industrial Computer Platforms – for IoT Edge Computers and Gateways
Kontron also offers complete IoT-enabled industrial computer platforms, based on its latest COMs, SBCs and motherboards. With the scalable KBox family, production processes can be specifically converted to IIoT scenarios. The standard or customized embedded box PCs of the KBox family are ideally suited as controller platforms for demanding control and visualization tasks or as intelligent gateways for data-intensive IoT edge applications. While the KBox A-series is based on the SMARC 2.0 standard or a 3.5-inch SBC, the KBox B-series is based on Mini-ITX and the KBox C-series on COM Express® modules. The KBox A-203 with an Intel Atom® x5-E3930 has been designed as an intelligent gateway with multiple interfaces for data-intensive IoT edge applications such as edge analytics, data collection, and remote monitoring.
Based on COM Express® modules, the KBox C-102 with the powerful processors of the Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 or Intel® Xeon® family is particularly suitable for control and visualization in control cabinets within the automation industry.

There is a solution for any IIoT project
Scalable, pre-defined Computer-on-Modules and SBCs in combination with the latest edge technologies are essential building blocks for the next steps in IIoT. Today, developers can choose from a wide range of products with x86 and Arm® processors to meet their performance, power, and connectivity requirements.

Author: Peter Müller, Vice President Product Center Boards & Modules
Kontron – An S&T Company

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • We use your personal data ONLY to respond to your comments/requests.
  • To receive responses that are appropriate to your requests, we may transfer your email address and your name to the author of the article.
  • For more information on our Privacy Policy and Personal Data Processing, please visit the page: Privacy Policy (GDPR) & Cookies.
  • If you have any questions or concerns regarding the way we process your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer at:
  • Subscribe to our magazine newsletter