Building with off-the-shelf parts continues to deliver the fastest time-to-market. The trick, of course, is to find the right boards or modules to get there.
Ampro's COM 830 and 840 (see figure) are based on the COM Express standard. The COM 840 can run a 2.2-GHz Intel Core Duo processor with an 800-MHz front-side bus. The rugged module has an x16 PCI Express interface, two Serial ATA (SATA) ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, IDE, and AC'97 audio. The boards support up to 4 Gbytes of SODIMM DDR2 667 RAM. Pricing starts at $500.
VersaLogic's Python EBX motherboard (see figure) holds a fanless, low-power, 800-MHz LX 800 processor from AMD. It has analog and low-voltage differential signaling flat-panel outputs for 18- and 24-bit displays, dual 10/100 Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, four COM ports, plus IDE and LPT ports. It has 32 digital I/O pins, eight 12-bit analog channels, and three pulse-width modulation outputs. It also uses VersaLogic's new SPX expansion sites for SPI peripherals. Pricing starts at $630.