What is COM Express®?

COM Express®, as the name suggests, is a form of Computer on Module and a subset of System on a Chip (SoC) and, for us, this comprises a single circuit board, including RAM and Intel processor. They’ve been around a while – this particular form factor was first released in 2005 by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) as a way to standardise module interfaces and Avnet Embedded have been an Executive Member of this distinguished group since 1994.

Versatility has been the key to the popularity of COM Express®. Not only can it be used as a standalone board but can also effectively act as a ‘mezzanine’, plugging into an existing carrier board to extend its capability, improve performance or lower cost. It would, of course, be remiss not to mention the role Intel® processors play in Avnet Embedded’s COM Express® offering. All high-end modules based on Intel® Xeon® W-11000E series processors are adaptable, reliable and continuous operators and can be modified to suit harsh and demanding environments – such as air and rail transportation applications or those in military and aerospace. Some variants for use in an industrial capacity can be specified for use in temperatures from -40°C to +85°C. Rugged and/or temperature resistant modules are highly popular choices

In terms of the module configuration, PICMG initially identified five ‘types’ of COM Express®, each with different and defined pin out configurations – eight in total – but since the 2017 V3 update, they recommend that new designs should only use Types 6, 7 and 10.

Module Description Size Details
Type 6 ‘Server Grade’ 95 × 95 mm (3.7 × 3.7 in) PCI Express® 2.0 Lanes, USB 3.0, 3 DisplayPort/HDMI outputs. Based on 11th Generation Intel® Core™ H-Series processors
Type 7 ‘High Performance’ 95 × 125 mm (3.7 × 4.9 in) – but can be extended to 110 × 155 mm (4.3 × 6.1 in) Based on 11th Generation Intel® Core™ H-Series processors. Up tp four 10 GbE Ethernet ports and up to 32 PCI Express lanes (ideal for high bandwidth video, server and data centre applications)
Type 10 ‘Low Power’ 55 × 84 mm (2.2 × 3.3 in) Based on 11th Generation Intel® Core™ H-Series processors

 

However, COM Express® can reasonably be described as general purpose when you consider the range of non-rugged embedded computing applications it is also suited to, such as:

  • Industrial Control
  • Data Acquisition
  • Medical
  • Point-of-Sale
  • Human/Machine Interface
  • Digital Signage

Further still, it’s high performance/high-speed serial interfaces make it excellently compatible with high connectivity/high bandwidth applications, such as data centres and video surveillance, not to mention a vast range of multimedia and communications applications.

Our COM Express® range is designed and manufactured in-house at our technology campuses in Germany and available worldwide. Take a look at our full portfolio  or contact us  to find out more.

Explore our COM Express Modules