Kontron and XGI Introduce UGM

Kontron and XGI Introduce UGM, the World’s First Graphics Card Standard for Embedded Systems

The “Universal Graphics Module” standard gives graphics long-term availability

Eching/Nuremberg, Germany, February 13, 2007 – At Embedded World, Kontron and XGI introduced for the first time the “Universal Graphics Module” standard for long-term available and custom scalable high-end PEG graphics. The new UGM standard defines an 84 x 95 mm universal graphics-on-module and supplies monitors with all current and future in demand graphics card signals.

Unlike the conventional graphics card placement at a 90 degree angle, the UGM card is plugged in parallel to the baseboard to save space, thus allowing extremely flat and custom-scalable designs. Even more important for users is the long-term availability of the UGMs of at least three to five years as well as the especially simple and quick implementation of the graphics functions in customized designs, including the necessary time-consuming drivers. The first UGM modules will be available from Kontron in the first half of 2007. The specification of the new standard will be disclosed to third-party providers in the Q1 2007.

Demand“The graphics implementation appears to be increasingly more difficult for OEMs, due to the wide variety of technologies, “explained Dirk Finstel, CTO of the Kontron Embedded Modules division. “For example, manufacturers of medical devices and gaming and multi-media applications must implement the latest high-end graphics devices, which cannot automatically be made long-term available on embedded boards or computer-on-modules, because the precise need varies too widely. In this respect, OEMs must either rely on products from the short-lived mass market, which brings considerable expenses to the entire product cycle, or design in the graphics functions themselves. This approach carries the great risk that components used will be canceled ahead of schedule,”

“At the same time, the expense and the design risk for implementing the latest graphics chipsets are enormous,” continued Finstel. “In order to eliminate both problems, Kontron has decided to develop the first embedded graphics card standard, or more precisely the first universal graphics-on-module standard, the UGM.“

“By working closely with the leading manufacturer in the field of industrial PC, it has again shown XGI’s determination not only be a participant but a leader in the industry. In addition, the UGM was defined based on Kontron’s experience in long term available industrial PC and XGI’s expertise in graphics; Therefore, we will be looking forward to its future success”, said Wei Wei Yin, Sales Director of XGI Technology.

The feature set
Via the 220 pins of the connector, which is also used for COM Express / ETXexpress Computer-On-Modules, UGM cards receive PCI-Express signals, over 1, 4, 8, or 16 lanes (PEG), and video signals, process them – including video capture functions and up to 512 MB DRAM – and then deliver the converted signals back to the baseboard, also via the connector. For playback sources, the UGM 1.0 specification currently supports Dual LVDS, Dual DVI, and Dual VGA.

On the baseboard itself, the developer can decide which signal combinations ultimately will be made available to the external connector, such as sound, USB, and DVI for HDMI. This reduces the effort for the graphics layout and driver development to the allocation of the appropriate circuits, the plug, and any peripheral components necessary for additional features, such as HDCP copy protection. The graphics processing core is already finished and all necessary drivers are already implemented.

This design also completely avoids cables. Thus, UGM differs from current standard graphics cards, in which today interfaces are led out via breakout cables, because the narrow expansion card slot bracket does not offer enough room for external interfaces. Furthermore, with a 5V DC power supply, up to 45 W thermal design power is allowed in accordance with the UGM specification. As a result, the UGM can perfectly support even absolutely high-end games with the highest frame rates and all graphics optimization algorithms.

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