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 The COM Express® Type 6 family is a leading industry standard offering a broad range of interfaces fitting to many market segments. COM Express Type 6 has become the most versatile and most scalable COM standard supporting from small-scaled and cost-sensitive applications up to high-end computing and graphics intensive solutions. Compact: 95 × 95 mm (3.7 × 3.7 in)

Basic: 125mm x 95mm (4.92 x 3.7 in)

PCI Express Gen 3, SATA, USB 3.0, and high resolution video interfaces like Display Port and HDMI.
Type 7 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. 95 × 125 mm (3.7 × 4.9 in) – but can be extended to 110 × 155 mm (4.3 × 6.1 in) Up to four 10 Gb Ethernet ports and up to 32 PCI Express lanes (ideal for high bandwidth video, server and data centre applications).
Type 10 COM Express® Type 10 is an industry standard targeting applications that require ultra-small form factors. 55 × 84 mm (2.2 × 3.3 in) Supports interfaces like dual independent displays, 4x PCIe, 8x USB, 2x SATA etc.


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