This article was printed in CONTROL's December 2009 edition.
No, this is not a romance novel. But, it is about the fact that those in the market for embedded computers have a different set of needs than those of us heading to the local big-box store for the latest home-computing gadget. For one thing, OEMs and other users of embedded computers need to know that what they're buying isn't going to be obsolete next year. They need to know that if they put it in a system now, they will be able to support it five years down the road. They also need to know that it will be flexible, scalable and adaptable to meet their specific needs.
Kontron's latest offering, the Kontron Industrial Silent Server (KISS) 1U Short 986mITX, has all these features, plus an added bonus—a small form factor. It measures just 44 mm high x 482 mm wide x 350 mm deep (1.73 in. x 19 in. x 13.78 in.) and weighs approximately 7 kg (15 lbs).
However, this small size doesn't mean that its power has been skimped on. It supports a Mini ITX motherboard and can provide performance up to Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 or Core Solo Celeron 440, and has an Intel 945GM chipset, 533 MHz FSB, and up to 4GB DDR2 memory. In spite of this power, it's an extremely quiet server, producing noise at less than 35 dBA. It has a fanless CPU, and runs with a minimum of vibration (0.5 g 10-500 Hz).
This quiet, low-vibration computer is an advantage in environments such as operating rooms, where noise needs to be kept to a minimum, or factory floors, where low-noise machinery contributes to less overall noise pollution.
It also comes with one internal and one external drive bays and two PCI 32-bit 33 MHz half-size expansion slots. It has four USB interfaces on the front of the server and four on the installed board. It also comes with a VGA card interface and is RS232-compliant. It has a PS/2 mouse and keyboard interface and a FireWire interface.
KISS 1U Short is rugged enough to perform in many factory settings. Its operating temperature range is 0 ºC to +45 ºC and has an operating humidity range of 20% to 90%.
According to Nancy Pantone, Kontron's director of product management for the systems and modules divisions, KISS 1U Short will appeal to OEMs and users in defense, transportation, industrial automation, medical, building controls, food and beverage, color printing and many other industries.
In addition to its small form factor and quiet running, KISS 1U Short has the added benefit of being both customizable and configurable. "It is very flexible," Pantone explains. "It can support intense graphics or it can be very simplistic. You can add video cards or sound capability if you need them. The KISS 1U Short also comes with options such as hot-swap chassis fans that can be accessed from the front of the system."
Furthermore, KISS 1U Short can be ordered with a pre-verified option, Pantone adds. "We do the verification of specific drives and add-in cards such as sound cards for I/O. We test everything ahead of time to make sure it all works together. Customers get a kind of custom system without the cost and design time of a custom system. We have everything organized and verified ahead of time, which makes for a faster time to market for OEMs."
These pre-verified options also mean extreme reliability for less downtime and lower total cost of ownership.
The KISS 1U Short 986mITX will be available for sale in the U.S. shortly after Jan. 1.