Modules and small motherboards like VIA Technologies’ Pico-ITX or Kontron’s nanoCOMExpress offering are designed to pack commercial off-theshelf (COTS) performance into a small package (see the table). The ever-expanding set of options is necessary to address new interconnects such as PCI Express and Serial ATA (SATA).
Although the standards are extensive, there is still room for innovation such as the SPI expansion found on VersaLogic’s EBX motherboard (see “Fanless EBX Goes RoHS” at www.electronicdesign.com, ED Online 15316). Form factor often is critical, but so are interfaces. Finding the right combination may take a little searching, but it beats building from scratch.