Ampro is shipping its first complete mini-ITX system, with another to follow in 90 days. The MightySystem 800 supports Intel CPUs up to 1.4GHz, while the forthcoming 821 adds PCI Express and supports Intel CPUs up to 2GHz. Both ship with Linux, and target multimedia applications.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given Ampro's role in helping to create the stackable PC/104 standard, the MightySystems have a more vertical orientation than most mini-ITX systems. The company says it hopes OEMs and system integrators will find the MightySystems useful as the basis for small-footprint embedded PCs offering high graphics and data-processing performance.
Inside the MightySystem 800
Ampro says its MightySystems offer enough performance to eliminate scintillation (aka “jaggies”), block noise, double imaging, and tearing, in applications such as media playback, direct3D gaming, and multimedia authoring. The MightySystems also make great media PC or an A/V center environments, according to the company. Both support high-resolution CRTs up to 2048 x 1526 at 75Hz, or 24-bit LVDS (low-voltage differential signal) LCDs up to 1600 x 1200.
The MightySystem 800 and 821 are based, respectively, on Ampro's MightyBoard 800, which shipped in February of 2005, and the forthcoming MightyBoard 821, which is due in 90 days.
Rear view, showing connector panel
The MightyBoard 800 supports a 1.0GHz ULV Celeron M 373 processor, or else a 1.4GHz LV Pentium M 738 (Dothan). It integrates Intel's Extreme Graphics 2 controller, and supports both CRT and LVDS (low-voltage differential signal) video displays. Additional touted features include AC97 Audio, four USB ports, dual Ethernet ports (one Gigabit Ethernet), and support for up to 1GB of DDR RAM.
The MightyBoard 821 will support an Intel Celeron M 370 clocked at 1.5GHz, or a Pentium M 760 clocked at 2.0GHz. Based on an Intel 915GM chipset, it will support up to 2GB of DDR2 533 RAM, through two DIMM slots. I/O options include six USB 2.0 ports, EIDE and SATA interfaces, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a 16-lane PCI Express slot for high-end graphics cards.
The MightySystems measure 8 x 8 x 4 inches, and include a 40mm cooling fan.
Both MightySystems ship with a “complete” Linux 2.6-based distribution, Ampro says. In addition to Linux, the MightySystems are available with Microsoft Windows XP, XP Embedded, or Windows CE.
CEO Mumola Williams stated, “Our MightySystem uses the world's smallest PCI express motherboard, and brings a new level of performance to embedded computers.”
Echoes of 1983
Interestingly, back in 1983, Ampro was founded based on a packaged LittleBoard SBC along with a power supply, fan, and a couple of disk drives. Unlike the MightySystems, the 7.3 x 6.5 x 10.5 inch Bookshelf system harnessed the awesome computing power of an 8-bit 4MHz Z80 processor along with 64KB of DRAM and 32KB of EPROM memory, and ran the CP/M operating system.
Ampro's first system
The Bookshelf system was touted as containing the world's smallest motherboard.
The MightySystem is available now with the MightyBoard 800, and within 90 days, with the MightyBoard 821. Pricing was not disclosed.
Mini-ITX started as a demonstration form-factor, and then became popular among do-it-yourselfers, as a consumer motherboard, and eventually began winding its way into embedded applications. Today, it is a well-established embedded form-factor, with industrial-quality boards available from vendors that include Kontron, Acrosser, Liantec, and of course Via, among many others.
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