September 04, 2017

New COM Express Type 7 standard

The first COM Express™ modules are based on powerful server processors from Intel®, enabling new applications for COM-based systems (computer-on-module).
COM Express™ Type 7 was introduced in the current COM.0 Rev. 3.0 specification of the PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) to support new interfaces for high data transfer rates. Special features include four 10Gb Ethernet interfaces and up to 32 PCI Express lanes. Because the familiar COM Express™ 440-pin connectors have been preserved, the video and audio interfaces have been repurposed, while some others have been reduced. The new Type 7 standard is therefore particularly well-suited for applications involving the transfer of large amounts of data with high transfer bandwidths. Such applications include local servers in edge computing, media streaming, communications, wi-fi routers in public transportation and video editing in medical and surveillance scenarios.
The first COM Express™ Type 7 family of modules will feature Intel® C3000 series processors (“Denverton”), offering broad scalability of between four and sixteen processor cores as well as low-cost entry-level models. The modules will have up to five Ethernet interfaces, four of which offer transfer rates of 10Gb, up to 22 PCIe lanes and up to 48 GB DDR4 ECC memory. Variants that support industrial-level temperatures (-40 to +85°C) are also planned for use in harsh environmental conditions. Modules with even more powerful Xeon processors from future Intel generations will follow.

For evaluation purposes and for starter kits, MSC Technologies has developed a matching Type 7 ATX form factor carrier board. This feature-rich carrier board will offer not only numerous PCI Express slots, four 10Gb Ethernet ports, SATA and other interfaces, but also a BMC (Board Management Controller) for remote maintenance. As usual, the circuit diagrams of the evaluation board are available as a reference for internal developments.
The first customer samples and starter kits are expected by the end of this year.