Looking for a customized embedded computer? We’ve created hundreds of thousands of computers for customers creating everything from test and measurement devices and machine learning solutions, to autonomous vehicles and even entire smart cities. Over the past 17 years, our team has developed a consultative “needs analysis” methodology.
Our system for creating the perfect computing solution for you centers around 7 key questions:
1. What are your PERFORMANCE needs for your Customized Embedded Computer?
Do you have a current platform to use as a point of reference?
Does the software you are using have a minimum hardware spec?
How graphically intensive is your application?
These questions inform CPU, GPU, single vs. dual core choices and more. Significantly, according to most senior hardware engineers, “overspec’d” performance requirements is the most common (and frequently costly) computer hardware configuration mistake.
2. What ENVIRONMENT will your unit operate in?
Will the system be in a dusty environment?
Will it be subject to impact or vibration forces?
Is signal or EMC interference a concern?
Can you describe the ambient temperature?
Is there a space constraint?
How will you power the system?
Will you require wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or 4G)?
These environmental considerations drive case, motherboard, power supply, and storage choices. The more demanding the environment, the more likely you will need a fanless, solid state, wide-temperature system.
These are typically < 3 years, 3-7 years, 7+ years. Lifecycle needs will determine whether you need particular motherboards and whether you need to look at case revision control. Is this system replacing an existing unit already in the field? If not, when do you need to launch? What testing/certification do you need? This drives case material considerations, among other component choices. What is the cost of downtime or remote servicing? This last question will drive reliability needs.
And remember, by using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware, you can get a custom configuration without the cost and lead times associated with truly custom systems. In other words, “Custom-Off-The-Shelf” is not a contradiction in terms.
Note: This blog was originally published on March 20, 2013 and updated for content on February 20. 2021.
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James Floyd has been with the company since January 2007. He manages some of our top customer accounts with astute technical knowledge and a warm and friendly approach. He also has three adorable children: two boys and a little girl.