The (Technological) Big Guns: Finding the Supreme Full Size CPU Card

August 28, 2013

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 processors, RAM and storage capacity, and input/output ports. The two examples pitted against each other in this discussion, the Axiomtek SBC81210 and the Commell FS-A75, will be judged on this basis to determine the better board.

Pure Power: Processor and RAM Capability for the Full Size CPU Card

Comparing Axiomtek and Commell’s full size CPU cards in the processing department is basically a wash. They both have a LGA 1155 socket that supports Intel’s “Sandy Bridge” architecture. The high end of this product line, the i7, is quad core boasting around 3 gigahertz of power per core. Needless to say, these are high end processors.

The RAM capacity, however, starts to differentiate these two boards. Axiomtek’s product caps out at eight gigabytes of RAM, compared to the Commell’s sixteen. Eight gigs of DDR3 RAM is nothing to sneeze at; most consumer PCs get away with having only four gigs. But, the FS-A75’s ability to utilize double that of its competitor means that it can handle considerably more processes and load. Furthermore, multitasking and intensive program usage will result in less slowdown on Commell’s product.

But it is Wafer Thin: Storage and Device Capability for the Full Size CPU Card

full size CPU cardFor these kinds of embedded boards, storage can be extremely important. Keeping data secure and retrieving it quickly comes from high bandwidth SATA connections, standards that both Axiomtek and Commell’s products have. But Commell’s board comes out on top again by providing six SATA interfaces, two of which are SATA 600 inputs that operate at a 600 megabyte per second transfer rate. Axiomtek’s full size CPU card only has four SATA interfaces, with one being SATA 600. This disparity means less storage or optical drive capabilities for the Axiomtek board, which puts it at a disadvantage to Commell’s offering.

Finally, coming down to basic input/output capabilities, Commell’s board comes out a little bit ahead. It offers more USB ports, greater variety of PCI-Express inputs, and video output abilities than Axiomtek’s full size CPU card.

Verdict on this Full Size CPU Card Showdown

Overall, Commell’s embedded board has more robust options for storage, RAM, and device capabilities. While the Axiomtek board is still a fine alternative, Commell’s FS-A75 is the winner of this battle.

New Era Electronics Brian LuckmanBrian Luckman is the President of New Era Electronics. He has worked in the industrial OEM market for over 25 years, serving a variety of different industries, gaining a strong reputation for his expertise and a thorough understanding of how to properly service OEM customers. In 2000 he began New Era Electronics and the company continues to grow. He’s a husband and father and enjoys exploring the outdoors.
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