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Oct 29, 2014

AMD Cogent Kabini Micro Board PC Is Barely Larger than a Credit Card




Miniature computer systems have been gaining a lot more attention than usual in recent years, mostly because the technology to give them near-desktop performance levels finally exists. Or what passed for desktop performance half a decade ago.

The ARM CPU architecture has been the prime basis for tiny computers for years, along with the Arduino platform. More recently, the Raspberry Pi has been making waves, thanks to its size no larger than a credit card (thickness notwithstanding). Intel has been trying to carve a sector of this tiny PC market for itself, using the NUC (next unit of computing), but has had limited success. It was enough to finally prompt AMD to join the race though. So without further ado, behold the CSB1790 tiny System-on-Module based on Kabini APU architecture.

The AMD CSB1790

Technically, it's the Cogent CSB1790, since Cogent is the USA-based embedded system-on-module provider. AMD just supplies the GX-420CA 2.0GHz quad-core SoC. Said SoC (system-on-chip) features a Radeon HD8400E GPU. A full graphics processing unit, not an iGP (integrated graphics processor) like in Intel CPUs. Just as important is the 72-Bit Wide DDR3L-1600 w/ ECC SODIMM Socket, which can hold up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM (random access memory). The Jaguar-based 64-bit x86 cores won't have trouble stretching their legs as it were. Other than that, the mini PC module has everything a PC needs in order to work, both alone and in collaboration with others: an x4 and two x1 GEN II (5g/s) PCI Express ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a pair of SATA III ports (for storage), two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 connectors, an M.2 SSD SATA module, and onboard 8MB SPI NOR flash for the BIOS.

Applications for the AMD Kabini Micro Board PC

Thanks to the hardware and Cogent's own MXM-2 form factor, the CSB1790 is good for human machine interface (HMI), point of sale (POS), transportation, home automation, building automation, security systems, home theater PCs, hospitality / entertainment automation, multi-head media and digital signage, plus kiosks and medical imaging. Any other embedded systems you can think of are eligible too. Collectively, all these scenarios are known as SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) sensitive requirements. Being compatible with off-the-shelf device platforms, as well as easy to include in a custom design, helps the CSB1790's prospects greatly as well. The product page has more information if you want to give each one of the technical tidbits a closer look.

AMD Kabini-based Cogent CSB1790
Image credits to Cogent

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