Isn't that why Channel9 videos are so cool? - just a digital camcorder (I'm using a Samsung SCD103), Movie Maker 2.0, and that's about it... I wonder how much planning and time went into producing the three videos on the Windows Automotive site.
When we're talking about real time we're talking about deterministic response times to external hardware interrupts, the time taken from a hardware interrupt firing to the time a device driver in the O/S is working on the interrupt - Windows XP uses a
queue based system to deliver interrupt messages to a driver, by it's very nature this is non-deterministic, imagine a robot in a manufacturing plant building a car or a RoboCoaster - check out this video from Kuka -
http://archiv.kuka-roboter.de/robocoaster/video/video1.html this needs to be hard real-time.
You may be interested to know that this robot is using Windows CE real-time capabilities for command and control of the robot - nothing like a PDA, eh!
Windows XP/Embedded can be a real-time operating system with the addition of some 3rd party real-time extensions.
It's true that previous versions of Windows NT ran on multiple processor cores, NT4 ran on MIPS R3000, DEC Alpha, and x86 - support for the MIPS and DEC processors was dropped though - Windows 2000 and Windows XP are only available on x86.
Windows XP Embedded is a componentized version of the Windows XP Professional binaries which only ship for x86.
Windows CE is built with multiple processor core support built into the product "Platform Builder" is the tool that's used to configure and build your Windows CE operating system image, you choose which O/S components you want and the processor and BSP you
want to target.
what do you need from the hardware ? - and what is the final device ? - the eBox is a neat low cost reference board that is also fairly high spec, 128MB RAM, 3xUSB, serial, parallel, Ethernet, PS/2 mouse/keyboard, video out, all for < $200. Are you looking
for something similar to a PC/104 sized board that already has mounting holes on the board ?
Making a case out of Lego, now there's an idea....