Low Power and High Performance
Up until a few years ago, you could expect small form factor boards to be used only with a limited number of standard form factors, say the venerable PMC or PC/104. However, not anymore. Small form factors options for board formats are quickly gaining traction in diverse embedded software systems and operations, in both standard and non-standard formats. Not with good reason.
The comparative advantages of small form factors are numerous. They pack higher performance at low power and lower cost. They warrant less storage space. Thanks to the latest inventions and innovations in new processors and Field-Programmable Gate Array circuits, developers have the capability to create compact, more powerful systems for commercial and military applications. And as more and more developers realize the same, the use of small form factor in embedded systems is gaining traction.
Need proof? Here’s some – 1) Standard small form factor boards such as the COM Express, StackableUSB or Pico-ITX for instance, are increasingly being used for wearable computing applications. 2) Non-standard, small vendor-specific boards are being used to create high performance platforms in electronic warfare. 3) More recently, the newer VITA 59 Rugged COM Express, VITA 73 Rugged Small Form Factor, VITA 74 System Small-Form Factor Module, PICMG Rugged MicroTCA and VITA 75 Rugged Small Form Factor are being used in unmanned military vehicles.