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Computer on modules

computer on modules (COM), also known as system on modules (SOM), consist of highly integrated embedded boards based on industry open standards. They are used together with a carrier-board which is generally customized according to customer needs and integrates all the specific interfaces and connectors required by the applications. They are the best choice to implement highly modular embedded applications. The product range is composed by solutions based on COM Express, ETX, XTX, SMARC, Qseven industrial open standards and by proprieatry form factors with x86 architecture.

Types of computer on modules or system on modules:

There are many types of computer on modules for embedded applications. Most of them are based on industry open standards which are regulated by independent consortia such as SGET (Standardization Group For Embedded Technologies) and PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer Group). They aim to define the pinouts of the various standards and to release the related design guides in order to guarantee their interchangeability from supplier to supplier. Industry open standards are in fact a key point to allow the interchangeability and the possibility to purchase modules from second sources.

COM Express:  the most scalable standard for x86 computer on modules

The COM Express standard for computer on modules, regulated by the PICMG consortium, defines different variants of pinout, each characterized by distinct technical characteristics. Excluding the obsolete type 2 pinout, not recommended for new designs, there are currently 3 main COM Express pinouts and 3 different system on module form factors.

COM Express Mini Type 10: is the most compact COM Express form factor, oriented towards low power consumption applications and is based on a size of only 84 x 55 mm. Despite the compact form factor, that makes it suitable mainly for entry level processors such as Intel Atom, Celeron and Pentium, it offers a particularly rich I/O set that includes up to 4 PCI Express, Gigabit Ethernet, 8 USB, 2 SATA and many other interfaces .

COM Express Type 6: is the most popular COM Express standard and identifies one type of pinout and two types of form factors, Compact (95 x 95 mm) and Basic (125 x 95). The two form factors are partially compatible and the carrier boards developed for the Basic form factor can easily accommodate Compact modules, if fixing holes are provided. COM Express Type 6 guarantees the maximum level of scalability, being developed to integrate the entire range of x86 processors, starting from the Intel Atom family up to the Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and Xeon architectures.

COM Express Type 7: is the most recent standard released by the PICMG consortium and oriented towards server-type embedded applications, driven by the growing trend of Edge Computing. In fact, COM Express type 7 modules are defined in technical jargon as "server on module". The main distinctive features of this standard compared to the previous ones are the massive presence of PCI Express lines, up to 32, and 10GB Ethernet connectivity. The type 7 is therefore not a replacement of the type 6 pinout, but a new standard oriented towards a type of application that had never been contemplated in an "embedded" perspective.

 

SMARC 2.0 / SMARC 2.1: the most complete standard on the market with MXM connector type

SMARC is a standard issued by the SGET consortium and oriented towards "mobile" and low power consumption applications. It offers a compact form factor of only 82 x 50 mm and an MXM type connector to the carrier board. The MXM connector guarantees an adequate number of pins for this type of standard and allows to contain production costs, being SMARC mainly oriented to applications based on entry-level x86 and ARM processors. The recent revision 2.1 of the SMARC standard makes it even more complete thanks to the support of 4 ethernet interfaces, 4 MIPI cameras and additional GPIO lines.

 

Qseven: the first generation of computer on modules with MXM connector

Qseven is a standard oriented towards "mobile" applications released by the homonymous Qseven consortium, later merged into the SGET consortium. It is based on a compact form factor of only 70 x 70 mm with MXM type connector. It was one of the first "legacy-free" standards oriented to applications based on high speed serial interfaces. The standard has been developed for both x86 and ARM architectures with a maximum power consumption per module that must not exceed 12 Watts.

 

Mini Module x86 | Mini SoM x86

x86 mini embedded modules based on proprietary form factors complete our range of modular solutions. They are based on various form factors with x86 DM&P Vortex processors with legacy support, including ISA and PCI buses. They are an ideal solution for DOS and Linux users who require a low-power, robust and stable solution over time. Our mini modules in fact enjoy guaranteed availability of up to 10 years.

 

Carrier boards and accessories for system on modules

we provide a full range of accessories for the development of applications based on system on modules. The range includes evaluation carrier boards, cooling solutions and other accessories to encourage a simple and rapid development of modular solutions.