The COM Express embedded computing architecture has secured a strong position in the embedded systems universe. COM Express boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application specific I/O and functionality on the baseboard.
Driven by the ongoing progression of semiconductor integration, embedded computing modules will only get more powerful. The COM Express embedded computing form factor aligns perfectly with that trend. In other words, the approach of a two-board solution—a COM Express module and an I/O baseboard—is ideal for this era when complete system electronics are possible now on a single baseboard. COM Express enjoys all the aspects that represent a successful embedded board-level form factor: a large ecosystem of vendors that make COM Express boards, an active and innovative standards organization in the form of PICMG (PCI Industrial Manufacturer’s Group) and a wide application base of engineers hungry to embed the technology into their systems.
COM Express is designed to accommodate the latest chip sets and serial signaling protocols, including PCI Express Gen 3, 10GbE, SATA, USB 3.0 and high-resolution video interfaces. COM Express is widely used in industrial automation, defense/aerospace, gaming, medical, transportation, IoT and other applications. Because the idea of COM Express is to decouple it from the base application-specific system, COM Express boards can be swapped out when new computing technology becomes available.
In an example along those lines, a Spanish system integrator in the railway industry had been using COM Express module-based CompactPCI systems for years. Then, a couple years ago, when the COM Express modules they’d been using reached end-of-life (EOL), it had to deal with upgrading to newer generation processors. They also had an urgent need to expand video storage space because their legacy image data transfer interface had become outdated. After careful consideration, the decision was made to migrate to ADLINK’s cExpress-HL, a COM Express Type 6 module with 4th generation Intel Core processors and four SATA 6Gb/s ports. This provided them enough I/O capacity to enable storage of more than one to two weeks of video from four to eight IP cameras in one train car (Figure 1). This massive storage capacity reduces the required frequency of surveillance video backups, thereby saving labor costs for railway operators.
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • JANUARY 2021 #366 – Get a PDF of the issue
Type 6 Board Sports Tiger Lake Processor
Currently marked “Preliminary”, Aaeon’s COM-TGUC6 is a COM Express Compact Type 6 board with 11th Generation Intel Core ULT “Tiger Lake” processor. The board will have DDR4 3,200MHz SODIMM x2 DRAM (dual channel) in-band ECC supported by the SoC. Graphics include Intel Iris Xe and UHD graphics on 11th gen Intel processors.
• 11th gen Intel Core Tiger Lake-UP3 SoC Processor
• 2x SO-DIMM DDR4 3200MHz memory, up to 64GB (in-band ECC)
• 1x Gbit Ethernet
• VGA, 18/24-bit 2ch LVDS/eDP, 3x DDI
• HD audio interface
• 2x SATA3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.2/2.0
• 5x PCI-Express [x1] (Gen3), PEG [x4] x1 (Gen4)
• Compact size, 95mm x 95mm
Ryzen Embedded V2000 Rides Type 6 Module
The cExpress-AR from ADLINK Technology features the AMD Ryzen V2000 APU with its high performance integrated Radeon graphics. The company claims it as the first Type 6 module on the market to support an octa-core (8-core) embedded SoC, with up to 16 threads and an impressive turbo boost up to 4.2GHz.
• Up to 8 cores based on AMD Zen 2 architecture
• Improved graphics performance (new Radeon Vega GPU)
• Supports up to four independent 4K displays
• DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and LVDS
• 2.5 Gbit Ethernet, up to 16 PCIe Gen3 lanes
• Configurable TDP down to 10W (8, 6 cores)
• 4x USB 3.2 ports
• Fully compatible with COM Express Rev. 3 spec.
Military-Grade COM Express with Xeon-D Processo
Advantech’s SOM-9590 is a military-grade COM Express CPU module for use in demanding environments. All of the components including processor, DDR4 memory and SSD storage are soldered-down. The board features IPC-A-610 Class
qualification and MIL-STD-810G certification.Target applications include railway transit, defense, mining and communications.
• COM Express R3.0 Basic module Type 7 pin out
• Intel Xeon processor D-1500 product family
• Soldered-down memory and SSD w/ ECC
• High speed Ethernet (dual 10GBASE-KR interfaces, one GbE)
• Abundant expansion. (PCIe x16, PCIe x8, 8 PCIe x1)
• Supports iManager, WISE-PaaS/DeviceOn and embedded software APIs
Type 6 Module Serves Up 11th Gen Core Processors
American Portwell’s PCOM-B656VGL is designed with the latest 11th generation Intel Core processor (Codenamed Tiger Lake-UP3) and integrated Xe graphics, optimized computing performance and faster graphics performance with the support of DDR4 memory, one PCIe Gen 4 x4, one PCIe Gen 3 x4, one PCIe Gen 3 x1, four USB 3.2 Gen 2, two SATA III and four displays.
• 11th Generation Intel Core processors
• DDR4 3200 MT/s up to 64GB
• PCI Express 4.0/3.0
• Serial ports, 4x USB 3.2Gen 2
• 8x USB 2.0, 2x SATA 3.0 ports
• Four independent displays
• On-board TPM 2.0
• -40°C to 85°C version available
COM Express Compact Boasts Ryzen Embedded V2000
Congatec’s conga-TCV2 COM Express Compact high-performance modules with Type 6 pinout are based on the latest AMD Ryzen Embedded V2000 multicore processors and are available in 4 different versions. With up to 8 cores and 16 threads on a single BGA footprint, the COMs are well suited for digitization and parallel edge analysis—including workload balancing and consolidation.
• COM Express Compact Type 6
• Next gen Ryzen Embedded V2000 7nm SOC
• High performance Zen 2 CPU and VEGA 7 GPU
• Huge scalability with TDP Range from 10-54W
• Up to 64GB dual channel DDR4 3200MT/s memory ECC and Non ECC
• AMD Secure Processor with Secure Boot (SME)
conga-TCV2 COM datasheet
Type 6 Module Features Intel Atom x6000 Series
The CPU-161-19 from Eurotech is a COM Express module that features the Intel Atom x6000 Series. It comes in two variants: one is 100% COM Express Type 6 compliant and the other has proprietary extensions. The proprietary extensions provide additional features and are mapped on unused pins and deliver a range of novel interfaces that can greatly simplify the design of the carrier board.
• Intel Atom x6000 series processor
• Integrated GPU with up to
32 execution units
• Support for up to 3 independent high res screens
• Operates from -40°C to +85°C
• Error correcting code memory and soldered memory
• CAN-FD, UARTs, ADCs, QEPs, GPIO, Ethernet
• Up to 3x 2.5 GbE ports
• Optional personalization and full customization services
Module Sports Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000
The ET977 from Ibase Technology is a low-power COM Express Compact Type 6 module based on the AMD Ryzen Embedded SoC. The series targets a wide range of applications including AIoT, retail, medical, transportation, automation and gaming. It allows users to deliver compact embedded solutions with a new class of performance and power efficiency.
• AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000/ R1000 processor
• 2x DDR4-2400 SO-DIMM sockets, Max. 32GB, ECC compatible
• Supports 4x independent displays via carrier board
• HDMI/DVI/DisplayPort, LVDS and eDP
• 4x USB 3.1, 8x USB 2.0, 2x SATA III
• Supports TPM (2.0)
• Operating temperature 0 to 60°C
Type 10 Board Serves Up Elkhart Lake Processor
Kontron’s COMe-mEL10 (E2) is a credit card sized Computer-on-Modules platform based on the Intel Atom x6000 Series, Pentium and Celeron processors. LPDDR4-4267 up to 16GB is offered. In-Band ECC support depends on the processor capability. The modules combine state-of-the-art image processing and graphics capabilities with extensive real-time computing power.
• Atom x6000 series, as well as Pentium and Celeron processors
• Up to 16GB LPDDR4 memory down (In-Band ECC)
• 2x USB 3.1/2.0, 6x USB 2.0, USB client optional
• 2x SATA, eMMC flash
• TSN support
• Operating temperature: 0°C to +60°C
• E2 industrial version: -40°C to +85°C
COMe-mEL10 (E2) datasheet
Intel 9th Gen Processors Ride Type 6 COMe Board
MSC Technologies’ MSC C6B-CFLR COM Express Type 6 modules are based on the newest 9th generation Intel Core processor. The Intel two-chip solution allows highest performance in graphics and computing on a COM Express module in basic form factor.
• Intel Core i7-9850HE, Celeron G4930E or E-2276ME
• Intel UHD graphics and chipsets QM370 or CM246
• Up to 32GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM, dual channel
• 4x SATA 6Gb/s mass storage interfaces
• 3x DisplayPort/HDMI/DVI interfaces
• Triple independent display support
• Eight PCIe x1 lanes, configurable up to x4
• Intel Rapid Storage Technology support
MSC C6B-CFLR datasheet
Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.