Accelerate Product Development with COM-Express Solution

By Advantech

Advantech, a leading embedded computer technology company, is devoted to providing reliable and feature-rich solutions with leading technology for embedded customers. PICMG published the COM Express specification to offer integrators the latest technology and performance for embedded applications. There are several standard form factors ranging from System On Module (SOM)/Computer on Module (COM), ATX and Compact PCI which closely follow the newest chipset technologies; however, x86-based SOMs have not been able to follow into fields such as 64-bit PCI and high performance CPUs. In the past such demands and markets relied on bulky standard form factors or costly proprietary solutions. With the introduction of COM Express, the benefits of modular design and serial differential signaling technologies like PCI Express, Serial ATA, USB 2.0 and LVDS make faster design cycles and quicker time-to-market. Today, SOM modules that implement the latest processor and interface technology are already available, ranging from standard to custom products and additional proprietary systems.

What is COM Express?
Intel took the first step toward creating a new definition for an SOM module with PCI Express as a supporting bus. The consortium members of the ETX group quickly came together in order move forward with a new definition based on the experiences gained with ETX. A major difference as compared to ETX was the pursuit of a genuine standard, not a near standard. To this end, the module was incorporated into the PICMG standardization process (see www.picmg.org). The name of the module is a combination of the acronym COM (Computer on Module) and PCI Express and will be unveiled to the market as “COM Express”. Different implementation options are described under COM Express (for the PICMG COM.0 COM Express Module Base Specification Version 1.0, see http://www.picmg.org/specdirectory.stm#_PICMG_COM.0 or http://www.intel.com/technology/magazine/standards/com-express- standard-0205.pdf). A basic module is described as having a size of 125 mm x 95 mm and a height of 18/21 mm from the carrier board upper edge to the module or heat spreader upper edge. The “Tyco Free Height” system or compatible connection systems with 2 connector rows have 220 pins each. This system is available at a connection height of 5 or 8 mm and is specified for a data transmission frequency of up to 6.25 GHz. The connection system and the board size are designed for a power loss of up to approximately 100 watts. COM Express defines the following signals on the connector rows:

  • Up to 32 PCI Express Lanes with 80 GB/s Bandwidth
  • External x16 PCI Express Graphic
  • Up to 4 Serial ATA-150 Links with 600 MB/s Bandwidth
  • Up to 3 1-Gigabit Ethernet Ports
  • Up to 8 USB 2.0 Ports and 2 channel LVDS interface
  • RoHS compliant
Development of SOM-Express
Advantech COM Express module, SOM-5780, is an embedded COM Express Type 2 CPU module that fully complies with the PICMG COM Express standard. The new CPU module has an on board Intel® Pentium® M processor and Mobile Intel® 915GM Express chipset which supports faster PCI Express and SATA interfaces. The SOM Express modular design concept, on customers’ own application-specific baseboard delivers the highest performance available, safeguards investment with lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and meets current and future demand from customers. “The SOM-Express series expands upon Advantech’s existing solutions by giving customers innovation for their current and future embedded applications. Customers not only want the newest technology like PCI Express, but need their current applications supported equally as well,” said Jeff Chen, Advantech Chief Technology Officer. Following the continued broad adoption of PCI Express in the consumer desktop market, the modular, high bandwidth, low pin count connector is a natural fit for embedded applications requiring higher bandwidth like communications and applications in retail, medical and military markets.

Contact Information

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