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Kontron Shows Modules with New Intel® Processors

The latest scalable IoT platforms from Kontron bring new performance levels to its standards-based COM Express and SMARC modules. The first, based on 11th Gen Intel® Core processors, includes Intel® AVX-512 Vector Neural Network Instructions (VNNI) deep-learning instructions, an Intel® Iris® Xe integrated graphics engine, and 2.5 GB Ethernet connectivity. The second, based on Intel Atom® x6000E series processors, is available in three form factors and offers memory of up to 16 GB and a variety of high-resolution display options.


Host: Hello, and welcome to today’s session on Scalable IoT Platforms Based on Intel Core and Intel Atom processors. Today, we’ll be hearing from Peter Mueller from Kontron, who will explore how Kontron is using both 11th generation Intel Core processors and Intel Atom x6000E series processors to deliver ready-to-sell solutions for specific vertical markets. Let’s get started, Peter, take it away.

Peter Mueller: Yeah. Hello and welcome to our breakout session on Scalable Standardized IoT Platforms Based on the 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, as well as Intel Atom x6000E Series. My name is Peter Mueller from Kontron.

So what do I want to talk about today? I would like to give a brief update about Kontron and Kontron’s portfolio in general, and then we will dig into product details of our Intel 11th Gen Core i processor-based products as well in a second part then on our Intel x6000E series-based products.

So, yeah, let’s start with a quick overview about Kontron which is a member of the S&T group. So Kontron is a global company as you can see on the map here focused on Europe, where also the headquarters of Kontron is and there is also facilities in Americas and Asia. Kontron is doing a revenue of about 1.1 billion in 2020. We have about 5,000 employees where a big part of it is with engineering focus.

If we look at the business side of S&T group and Kontron, businesses is based on three major business pillars. So on the left hand side, you see S&T IT services. That’s one key pillar here. And then you see the two pillars of Kontron for IoT solutions Europe and IoT solutions America. As you see, we are looking into a lot of different markets on very broad setup we are offering here to the different markets. It’s a lot in industrial, as well as transportation. This is a key markets, especially in Europe, but also medical is a key focus. Kontron is supplying with its product. And then there is other parts of markets in communication and more in Eastern Europe as smart energy, we are serving with our products. S&T is also a member of the German TecDAX and SDAX. So it’s listed there and playing a key role here in the European business.

Looking into the overall Kontron portfolio, you see here a quick overview what we all can offer. So it goes from boards through IPCs, small embedded box PCs, HMI’s through really high performance box PCs up to RAC servers and TSN switches and so on. Overall that hardware, Kontron also offers software framework to support our customers an easy entry into an embedded cloud.

What we now then dig into more deeper of the products is the boards and modules. This is the based technologies as we call it. So based on these modules also are all these other system solutions you see here, like the box PCs or the HMI’s, all based on these boards.

Here, you see a more detailed view on our board’s modules portfolio. So Kontron, since the beginning of module technology in embedded market, more than 20 years ago is kind of a leading supplier that the major form factors shown here in that standardized module segments are COM Express, SMARC, and Qseven and all these product lines we can serve. So you see here, there is very tiny ones on the left-hand side which is lower TDP. Here, looking into this new generations, we have Intel x6000 solution on SMARC, for example, as well as COM Express Mini and COM Express Compact. If we run to more the middle of this overview here, you see the slightly bigger COM Express form factors in compact and basic. Here, for example, we have a solution with the Intel 11th Gen Core i processors, we will dig into later more in detail. And yeah, also the other and bigger form factors like the new COM HPC standard is kind of a new standardized module concept we are looking for in the future, and we will offer a lot of the new Intel CPU technologies.

So now we really come to the first product I would like to introduce and to talk about in detail. So this is our COM Express Compact based on the 11th Gen Intel Core i processor based on a 10 nanometers SuperFin process. This tiny module really allows high-end intelligent edge computing on a very compact space. So 95 by 95 millimeters is the space of this module with a very low TDP ranging from 12 to 28 watts depending on the CPU skew which is used here. So looking into the application or the markets, this platform is ideal suit for. For example, you have the integrated AI acceleration for artificial intelligence, what Intel is calling the VNNI. So this is kind of a new key feature here focusing AI applications. Also double signal processing performance based on the new instruction set AVX512 from Intel is also giving a lot of processing improvements, for example, for deep learning, but also like security algorithms or also data compression.

Another key improvement with the new 11th Gen is the integrated graphics engine here. So the Iris Xe with 96 execution units, as well as the general Iris Xe graphic support for four independent 4K displays. So really huge improve here for display support. Even you can switch this over to a 2x8K display support which is really great in that low small form factor.

Another improvement to predecessor generations on the IO side is the 2.5 gigabit ethernet with real time capabilities. So this means that you now also have, besides the higher data traffic you can support also time sensitive networks. So synchronized timestamps on the ethernet protocol. Along with this, there is also different other options depending on the skew you use. So there is Intel vPro technology which is also supported. Then on the module, we can also solid down NVMe SSD up to one terabyte. So you also have, besides the memory, the flash disc directly solid on the board here. And it is also new for core i processors of Intel, that there is now skews available ranging for temperatures of minus 40 up to 85 degrees. So really harsh environment can be addressed with this high-end CPU also now. Besides the COM Express module, which we are looking in here in detail, there is also other form factors coming from Kontron base on the 11th Gen Core i processors like 3.5 inch single board computer and also VPX blades. So see really a broad portfolio from Kontron with this new technology.

Here, in brief, we have a little comparison to our predecessor board based on the predecessor Intel Core generation to show you a bit the changes and updates. So from memory side, we are going from DDR4 2400 to DDR4 3200, so improved speed as well as you have now in-band ECC available so you easily can exchange between ECC and non-ECC memory. Same what I already said, improvements on the ethernet side, you go up from 1 gig to 2.5 gig ethernet with TSN support. You have improved speed on the NVMe SSD. And so now we are really connected by four PCIe 4.0 port. For the SSD, you have the four independent displays in comparison to only three on the predecessor. And you now have by design E2 or minus 40 up to 85 industrial grade temperature platforms.

The next product with now based on Intel Atom x6000 generation here, also based on a 10 nanometers SuperFin process. This is our COM Express boards as well as SMARC modules, we can offer here three different form factors. We can support this new Intel technology here.

So also here you have a latest and greatest update on a graphics technology from Intel. You have up to a quad-core CPU with GPU of 32 cores. You here also have a support of real-time or Intel TCC as well as the time sensitive network ethernet support.

A little comparison here also between the two different board’s predecessor on current latest x86 series board. So we go up from memory to 16 gigabyte. We have now also in-band ECC available here. You have more displays available with higher resolutions. You have a PCIe gen 3.0 now. And on the ethernet IO, you have now 2.5 gigabit ethernet instead of one gigabit. As well as important here in red, you see the real-time use cases are possible now with dedicated skews to support, for example, industrial real-time operation systems.

So to finish the session here, I would like to summarize a bit the advantages of our modules as well as Kontron services.

So with these modules, you have really high scalable and flexible product range. So you easily can scale between the different performance classes and CPU classes you need. Also, the standard module form factors offer a second source philosophy. So you are not only depending on Kontron, also all our competitors will offer a similar boards. You easily can exchange it in your platform then. Besides the scalability, also the upgradability is easy. So you go from one technology generation to the next with the same connector concept. Even if you have already a longevity of each and every module of up to 15 years, you’re very secure already on that side with each and every module. So the developers really can focus on their own IP and rely on the technical expertise of Kontron for the CPU technology. So this leads every developer to a much more reduced development cost in a project and much shorter time to market.

So, we also do not leave you alone on the carrier board design. So Kontron is supporting the integration of the module on your carrier design. Also, if needed of interest, we do carry a design board trainings. And yeah, besides the hardware, for sure we also have a lot of software expertise. We like to support our customer service and cooperate with our customers.

That’s it from my side in brief. Thanks a lot. We now can start our Q&A session. I will be around here to answer your questions or whatever feedback you have. Hear from you soon.