Electronic Design

Pico-ITXe And Pico-I/O Specs Guide Small, Stackable Embedded Designs

The Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG) announced the availability of revision 1.0 of both the Pico-ITXe and Pico-I/O specifications for small, rugged, stackable embedded systems. SFF-SIG is a collaboration of embedded component, board, and system suppliers. The Pico-ITXe specification builds on the momentum of the popular (but defacto and unexpandable) Pico-ITX standard to enable stackable I/O expansion using SFF-SIG’s flexible SUMIT (Stackable Unified Module Interface Technology) interface. Pico-ITXe boards are the same size (72 mm x 100 mm) and have the same mounting hole placement as Pico-ITX boards, easing the migration needed to support SUMIT-based, stackable I/O modules. To speed and simplify the design of tiny Pico-ITXe SBCs, the specification offers a very high level of flexibility by allowing the Pico I/O module stack to be placed anywhere within the outline of the Pico-ITXe SBC. Two example placements are shown in the specification.

The Pico-I/O Specification defines small 60-mm x 72-mm stackable I/O expansion modules for use with Pico-ITXe or any other SBC form factor that incorporates SUMIT expansion with Pico-I/O mounting holes. Stackable I/O expansion is implemented using the SUMIT standard introduced by SFF-SIG in early 2008. Through the inclusion of one or two 52-pin SUMIT connectors, a Pico-ITXe SBC can provide PCI Express (up to five x1 lanes or two x1 and 1 x4 lanes), four USB 2.0, LPC, I2C, and/or SPI interfaces to the Pico-I/O modules. The Pico-ITXe designer has the flexibility to provide all or any subset of these interfaces. In anticipation of the release of these specifications, a Pico-ITXe SBC is already available from member company VIA Technologies, and Pico-I/O modules are available from member companies ACCES-I/O and WinSystems, as well as VIA Technologies.

Both specifications are free and available online at the SFF-SIG’s website. Companies interested in using the specifications or participating in possible future revisions of the Pico-ITXe, Pico-I/O, and SUMIT specifications should contact the SFF-SIG at [email protected]. The Pico-ITXe and Pico-I/O specifications may be downloaded from www.sffsig.org/picoitx.html.



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