computer componentsIf there is one thing you can bet on in the technology world, especially in computing, it’s that the upcoming best component is always on the horizon. The constant march of progress has very little chance of stopping, which means that hardware manufacturers are always going to be thinking of the next revolution and “flashpoint” moment in computer components.

Intel has taken a significant stride in this direction with its new CPU microarchitecture named Haswell. This next step, a follow-up to the widely respected Ivy Bridge line of products, presents an upgrade across the board and spreads these boons to a completely different market: the mobile/tablet sector.

What does Haswell do for Computer Components?

These new CPU chips range from high end, super-powerful models to more stripped-down and conservative SKUs. Across the entirety of the line, there is an Continue Reading…

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network attached storageStorage is an interesting quandary within the computing community. There are two different ideas on the matter, which match up to the different use cases within the industrial field. There is always demand for a machine/PC with a single or multiple large hard drives that allow for lots of storage and quick access, depending on the type of drive being utilized. Whether it is traditional SATA drives or faster flash-based, having adequate storage within a machine can be a necessary component for individual workers or small businesses.

But what about the storage needs of a larger company? What if there is a large group of workers spread out amongst different sites, or in diverse departments within a building, who all need to access the same information? In this situation, a network attached storage setup could be the most effective solution. An OEM that understands what this storage type is and how it can affect the productivity of a company will better service their clients and grow in business.

What is Network Attached Storage?

The basic way that network attached storage (or NAS) works is through a centralized and networked storage bay. Contained within Continue Reading…

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rugged systemA quick experiment: think about some of the industrial computers that a company uses for their everyday functions. Where is that electronic device being placed? Is it used indoors, on a dusty warehouse floor? Or is it exposed to the elements in challenging outdoor environments? The real poser is: how do you know that the components that drive these computers are being kept safe, no matter what the conditions?

It’s a significant problem, not only for companies looking to buy these electronics, but for the OEMs that have to assemble and sell them. Understanding the rating standards for these rugged system enclosures is necessary to ensure provision of what the customer needs.

What are NEMA Ratings Standards?

One of the most stringent and widely tested rating standards for rugged systems is the NEMA, a.k.a. National Electric Manufacturer Association rating spectrum. It was created as a way for suppliers and OEMs to understand the relative protection that an enclosure will provide a rugged system. These range from Continue Reading…

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embedded system projectsIn the entire business world, networking is touted as one of the most important aspects of success. Knowing that right person who can provide your business with the best information or product at exactly the right time can be key to ensuring that your company progresses and reaches its next evolution.

Networking can be a difficult thing to do in the industrial world, especially when it comes to requiring the right connections for a distributor. When an OEM embarks on brand new embedded system projects, it is vital to start forging connections with companies that will make the design and engineering of this machine flow as smoothly as possible.

That’s why creating a positive connection and effective working relationship with a knowledgeable supplier is absolutely paramount. Seek a company that not only can provide your business with the necessary parts to Continue Reading…

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full size CPU cardIn retrospect, power can be awe-inspiring. When charting the advancement of technology in the last thirty years, the industry has increased processing power, graphical capability, and storage space by at least thirty fold. Size requirements for supercomputers have shrunk to handheld devices, and the modern cellphone can handle just about every function of a full desktop computer in the 90’s.

Consumer market demands drive manufacturers to create more compact designs; this is mirrored in the industrial market, but there’s also a distinction, because industrial computing still needs workhorses. This computer type has the distinct purpose of processing massive amounts of data quickly or rendering complex images and videos for immediate use. It also doesn’t necessarily need to sacrifice power for a smaller frame. Quite the opposite, in fact.

What drives a data center or server such as this is a number of full size CPU cards plugged into a backplane. These types of embedded boards are built for the sole purpose of processing and storing as much data as possible from a single board. When choosing between different manufacturers for this form factor, an OEM must look at all the angles and figuring out what each full size CPU card provides, including Continue Reading…

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in-vehicle PCYou have a vehicle application that requires an embedded computer and no computer to fill it. Where do you start? Well, looking in the embedded computing sector for a rugged PC is a step in the right direction but, as you know, there is a specific set of required features, such as unique I/O (input-output) and a resistance to certain environmental factors that are necessary for an in-vehicle PC.

The I/O and Software Difference

On a very basic level, what makes an in-vehicle PC different from any other embedded computer is the CAN bus (Controller Area Network). If there is an embedded PC in a vehicle and it is expected to have some sort of communication with any Continue Reading…

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embedded system hardwareIndustry has always pushed in two seemingly opposite, yet connected directions. The first is embracing the creative and logical side of the human element. A good worker, trained in his or her craft and knowledgeable about a product or process, will produce the best outcome and push a design further than it specifications.

The other industrial movement, however, embraces the use of robotics in the manufacturing process. These machines are made for very specific purposes, which they can fulfill with constant precision and power for long periods of time. They may not be able to “think” about their actions, but with proper programming they can detect problems and rectify them faster and more effectively than any person could.

Where Embedded System Hardware and Robotics Intersect

What drives industrial robotics is a different type of computer system, specifically a programmable logic controller, which works by reading both digital and analog I/O and changing variables on the fly to keep up. Where embedded system hardware comes into play for the robotics sector is in Continue Reading…

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gaming computersStepping into any casino these days, you will be confronted by the bright flashing lights and ringing, jingling sounds that constantly fill the entire space. Walking around the slot machine or video poker section offers an absolute ton of games to tantalize you and your wallet, ranging from traditional-style three reel slots to high end, multiscreen systems that are linked between multiple machines.

Understanding the basics that drive these niche machines can be a difficult prospect. On the surface they seem like run-of-the-mill embedded systems, but there are some particular facets coming into play that set them apart as unique.

The Everyday Innards of Gaming Computers

The necessary internals for gaming computers are not what makes these systems out of the ordinary. Many of these slot and/or video machines use components that Continue Reading…

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PCIe mini cardGetting an embedded system that is perfect for your specific application can be tough. You can have an industrial motherboard or system that perfectly suits every need for your specific application… except for one. Whatever that missing piece is, it may either be something that would be convenient to have for your application or, in the worst case scenario, something absolutely crucial, forcing you to turn away from this otherwise perfect computer part. In some cases you may therefore be forced to use a lesser product or one from a less trustworthy manufacturer.

The Solution is the PCIe Mini Card

When it comes to the problem of missing components, there is no one solution that will act as a panacea. But when it comes to a small footprint solution that is relatively low in cost, the PCIe mini card fills the empty shoes quite well and can solve most issues. The data rate for mini PCIe version 1.0 is 250 MB/s, which is more than Continue Reading…

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mini-ITX motherboardWhen delving into the computing world, trying to develop an embedded system presents companies with a unique problem when considering which direction to go in with their design. What exactly does the device need to achieve? How can they balance the need for computing power with the machine’s overall cost?

The answers to these questions usually come down to the different components that can be put into a system. Furthermore, what governs overall within the machine is the motherboard, the fulcrum point from which all of the directions and commands need to spring. Trying to decide on the best type and standard of motherboard to suit the requirements of the computer and to go with other components comes with a multitude of caveats. But there is definitely one that could be considered “the usual.”

Why a Mini-ITX Motherboard Fits the Standard

A Mini-ITX motherboard fills a “jack of all trades” role within embedded computing for a number of reasons, the first being reflected in its name. While there are smaller form factors when it comes to motherboards, such as the Nano or Continue Reading…

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