Coinciding with the launch of the COM Express 2.0 specification by the PCI Industrial Manufacturers’ Group (PICMG), Kontron presents an additional version of the computer-on-module ETXexpress-AI based on the new COM express type 6 pin-out definition.

As compared to the type 2 pin-out definition for COM express basic form factor modules, the new type 6 pin-out offers configurable Digital Display Interfaces (DDI) SDVO, DisplayPort and HDMI/DVI along with 23 PCI express gen 2 lanes. This provides more native display options and higher serial bandwidth than previously possible.

Most noteworthy is that the native support for all the new display interfaces simplifies carrier board designs, reducing time-to-market and total cost of ownership for graphics-intensive applications. The extensive PCI express support underscores the trend of moving away from legacy parallel interfacestowards pure serial embedded system designs for higher bandwidth and reduced latency. This represents a smooth transition path for application designers looking to enhance their designs with next generation technology such as faster drives and peripherals.

“Second generation COM express modules fill the need for computer-on-modules based systems of the next generation,” says Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron. “Support for all the new graphics interface standards is an important step, since these have been implemented in chipsets and therefore represent a universal standard. For designs with
reduced graphics needs, this represents no overhead.”

He continued, “Through the increasing integration of the chipsets, the extensive support of generic expansion options gains importance, as our customers use these to implement their dedicated components that lie outside the mainstream and which distinguish themselves from their competitors. Kontron will continue to bring to market type 2 COM express modules as well as new type 6 offerings.

This supports existing system designs with IDE and PCI implementations while keeping open a smooth migration path for next generation designs. Kontron continues its commitment to providing design security with long-life solutions.”

Compared to its type 2 counterpart, the new type 6 Kontron computer-on-module ETXexpress-AI SKUs offer, among other things, three additional DDIs. The DDIs are now separated from the PCI express graphics (PEG) port which allows for the parallel use of the integrated Intel HD graphics and an external graphics card.

The graphics card can be used either for connecting additional displays or as a GPGPU (general purpose computation on graphics processing unit) for high-performance data processing used in applications such as image processing, data encoding and situational awareness.

For safety-critical applications the Kontron ETXexpress-AI (both the type 2 and Type 6 SKUs) integrates up to 8GB of secure ECC DDR3 system memory and an optional trusted platform module (TPM). Designers creating graphics-intensive applications such as those in gaming, digital signage, network/telecommunications, automation, medical and MAG (military, aerospace, and government) markets benefit from the increased graphic options built into the new Kontron ETXexpress-AI.

Shorter time to market is achieved and maintained from generation to generation when the module is paired with the application-specific carrier board that now can be simplified because of the features built in to the new type 6 COMs.

The feature set at a glance

The performance of the Kontron computer-on-module ETXexpress-AI is scalable using four Intel core i7 and core i5 processors: from the 1.06 GHz Intel Core i7 620UE, the 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7-620LE and 2.4 GHz Intel core i5 520E up to the 2.53 GHz Intel core i7 processor 610E. All versions support up to 2 x 4 GB dual channel DDR3 ECC SODIMM memory modules and offer a comprehensive set of interfaces via the COM express type 6 connector: 1x PCI express gen 2 graphics (PEG) also configurable as 2 x PCIe x8, 7x PCI express x1, 4x serial ATA, 8x USB 2.0, gigabit Ethernet and Intel high definition audio.

All graphic interfaces of the new COM express module can also be used in parallel. In addition to dual-channel LVDS and VGA, developers can draw from the Kontron ETXexpress-AI type 6 exported interfaces DisplayPort, HDMI and SDVO. The integrated Intel active management technology Intel AMT 6.0 offers extensive remote management capabilities including out-of-band management. An 8V – 18V wide range power adapter for simplified power supply rounds out the feature set.

Operating systems supported include Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Embedded Standard 7 and 2009, Linux (such as Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE, Red Flag, Wind River Linux) and VxWorks. The Kontron computer-on-module ETXexpress-AI type 6 is available now.