Users of rugged and special-purpose computing machinery appreciate the inherent durability, longevity and reliability of such devices, but not so much the general lack of current state-of-the-art technology available in those often low-volume products. There are reasons for lagging behind, among them the longer product cycles, the cost associated with tech updates, the need for legacy support and compatibility, and so on. While those are all valid concerns, it means that customers often miss out on the incredible advances in microprocessor technology where the latest technology provides more performance and new features at lower cost and lower power consumption. Is there a solution to this predicament?
There is. Embedded systems manufacturers have long since realized that splitting systems into a processing component and a solutions board component is the way to go. This way, when new technology comes along, you simply plug a new CPU module into the solutions board. It's a way of doing business that embedded systems providers such as Advantech have been practicing for years and decades. And while Industrial Box PCs such as the ARK-2150L reviewed in this article are actually complete PCs, they benefit from an embedded systems corporate culture of always quickly providing the latest technology to their customers. That's the long way of introducing the 2150 that uses Intel's 3rd generation Core processor technology. Yes, the 4th generation ("Haswell") has already been introduced, but in an industry that often lags several processor generations behind, that is remarkable.