Single-board computers (SBCs) and computer-on-module (CoM) systems embed all of the functions of a
computer onto a single circuit board, and are commonly used in industrial applications in a rackmount
format for factory automation and process control.
The heart of the SBC is the core processor, and newer processors have special power requirements.
More recent processors include the AM57xx series Sitara™ processor family from Texas Instruments (TI),
which are single or multicore Arm® Cortex®-A15 processors with an integrated digital signal processor
(DSP) and industrial communication subsystem (ICSS).
SBCs are embedded in other devices to provide interfacing and control in a wide range of applications,
from slot machines to factory automation programmable logic controllers (PLCs) requiring a high level of
flexibility, since the environment where the SBC is placed can vary. In some end applications, airflow is
not available, and a high thermally efficient solution is necessary.
SBCs come in various sizes and have a dedicated form factor requiring a high level of integration. This
requirement drives reduced external components for a smaller, lighter and more reliable product in the
power-supply section. Discrete step-down converters with integrated field-effect transistors (FETs) offer a
high level of design flexibility and thermal performance.