Overview and List of System-on-Module and Computer-on-Module Standards – Q7, SMARC, COM HPC, and More

QSeven_vs_SMARC

A System-on-Module (SoM), also known as a Computer-on-Module (CoM), is a small board with the key components of a computer such as SoC, memory, and possibly others components such as PMIC (Power Management IC), an Ethernet PHY, as well as one or more connectors used to connect to a baseboard, also called carrier board, which features standard ports such as Ethernet (RJ45), USB ports, SATA, power jack and so on. The advantages of using of baseboard + SoM design compared to a single board are at least twofold: Most of the PCB design complexity is often around the CPU/SoC and high-speed buses connected to the CPU/SoC. So you could buy an SoM, design your own baseboard and get a complete design relatively in a short amount of time, with reduced development resources and costs. The design is modular, so you could easily upgrade from one SoM to another one. For […]

Linux 5.12 – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.12

Linux 5.12 release was expected last Sunday, but Linus Torvalds decided to release one more release candidate, namely Linux 5.12-RC8, to “make sure things are all settled down“, so the latest Linux kernel is now expected this weekend.  Tihs should not yield any significant changes, so we can check what’s new in Linux 5.12, notably with regards to Arm, MIPS, and RISC-V architectures often used in SoC’s found in embedded systems. Around two months ago, the release of Linux 5.11 added support for Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) and Platform Monitoring Technology (PMT), AMD “Van Gogh” and “Dimgrey cavefish” graphics processors, MIPI I3C host controller interfaces, and much more. Some interesting changes in Linux 5.12 include: Added support for ACRN hypervisor designed for IoT & embedded devices Added support for Playstation DualSense & Nintendo 64 game controllers, as well as Nintendo 64 data cartridges Dynamic thermal power management via a […]

Ryzen Embedded V2000 COM Express Module supports up to 1TB NVMe SSD, 64GB DDR4

Kontron COMe-BV26

We’ve already covered some COM Express modules based on AMD Ryzen Embedded V2000 processors with products like ADLINK cExpress-AR COM Express Type 6 Compact computer-on-module, but Kontron COMe-bV26 is the first we’ve seen that follow COM Express Basic Type 6 standard. The module supports up to 64GB DDR4 via two SO-DIMM connectors, up to 1TB NVMe onboard SSD, exposes 8x PCIe lanes, and with an 8-core/16-thread Ryzen Embedded V2000 processor is well-suited to IoT edge devices that must perform parallel processing tasks. Kontron COMe-bV26 specifications: AMD Embedded V2000 SoC AMD V2748 octa-core/16-thread processor @ 2.9 GHz / 4.15 GHz (Turbo) with 4MB L2 cache, 7CUs Radeon RX Vega 7 GPU @ 1.6 GHz; TDP: 35-54W AMD V2718 octa-core/16-thread processor @ 1.7 GHz / 4.15 GHz (Turbo) with 4MB L2 cache, 7CUs Radeon RX Vega 7 GPU @ 1.6 GHz; TDP: 10-25W AMD V2546 hexa-core/12-thread processor @ 3.0 GHz / 3.95 […]

Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

CNX Software Year 2021

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first […]

Kontron unveils RK3399K(Pro) SMARC 2.1 Module with up to 8GB RAM

RK3399K SMARC CPU Module

Embedded systems companies tend to use processors from established firms like NXP Semiconductors or Texas Instruments, we’ve seen few systems-on-module based on processors from Amlogic, Rockchip, or Allwinner which are popular on this blog due to their value proposition. One of the reasons was/is software support, but this has improved over the years, and the other is the lack of wide temperature range parts plus potential concerns about long term supplies. I’m not aware of any industrial/extended temperature range part from Amlogic, but Allwinner provides A40i/A60i industrial temperature range processors, and Rockchip RK3399K supports an extended commercial temperature range between -20 to +85°C. Kontron selected the latter for their first-ever Rockchip powered system-on-module: the SMARC-fA3399 SMARC 2.1 module. SMARC-fA3399 SoM specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3399K hexa-core processor with two Cortex A72 cores @ 1.8/2.0 GHz (wide temp vs commercial temp), four Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.4/1.6 GHz, Arm Mali-T860MP4 GPU System […]

Kontron Introduces Tiger Lake 3U VPX Computer Blade and COM Express Type 6 Module

Tiger Lake 3U VPX Computer-Blade SBC COM Express

Intel launched several new embedded processors last month including the brand new Elkhart Lake family and some additional Tiger Lake UP3 processors designed for the IoT edge market. There’ve been several products announced with the new processors, but here are more with Kontron introducing two new Tiger Lake embedded hardware with COMe-cTL6 COM Express Compact Type 6 module and VX3060 3U VPX computer blade. As shown in the collage above, a 3.5-inch SBC is also in the works, but while we do not have the full details yet, the company expect the board to comes with SATA 3.0, M.2 socket, 2.5 GbE LAN, as well as four DP channels driving up to four independent 4Kp60 displays. VX3060 3U VPX computer blade Key features for both “3E” and “XG” variants: SoC – Intel quad-core Tiger Lake UP3 processor up to 2.5 GHz with up to 96EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics  – […]

Kontron 3.5″-SBC-WLU Single Board Computer Takes CNVi M.2 WiFi Cards

Kontron 3.5"-SBC-WLU

We first found out about Intel CNVi (Connectivity Integration Architecture) for WiFi in a block diagram for Gemini Lake processors in 2017. CNVi integrates a WiFi MAC, Bluetooth MAC, and Baseband Modem into the processor, and connect over a CNVio interface to a separate CRF (Companion RF) module handling the RF part. This allows overall cost & power savings and reduction in size. AFAIK, all new Intel desktop and mobile processors come with a CNVi block,  but somehow only a few SBC’s are made with M.2 slot compliant with CNVi WiFi cards. But Kontron 3.5″-SBC-WLU single board computer powered by an Intel Whiskey Lake processor is one of those and features an M.2 E-key slot that supports Intel Integrated Connectivity (CNVi) WiFi & Bluetooth modules. Kontron 3.5″-SBC-WLU specifications: SoC (one or the other) Intel Core i7-8665UE quad-core processor @ up to 4.4 GHz with 8MB cache, Intel UHD Graphics 620; […]

2.5-inch Pico-ITX SBC Offers LVDS, HDMI & DisplayPort Video Interfaces, Dual Gigabit Ethernet

2.5-inch Pico-ITX SBC: pITX-APL v2.0

Today I learned that Pico-ITX boards were also called 2.5-inch boards since they are about the size of a 2.5-inch SATA drive. Kontron pITX-APL V2.0 is one such 2.5-inch Pico-ITX SBC powered by an Intel Atom E39XX or Celeron Apollo Lake processor. The board can drive three independent displays via its 24-bit LVDS interface, HDMI and mini DisplayPort 1.2 output, comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for 4G LTE connectivity via M.2 slot and SIM card socket. Those features make it suitable for a wide range of applications including industrial client applications, kiosk, infotainment, digital signage, and POS systems. Kontron pITX-APL V2.0 specifications: Apollo Lake SoC variants Intel Atom x7-E3950 quad-core processor @ up to 2.0 GHz with 18EU Intel HD graphics; 12W TDP Intel Atom x5-E3940 quad-core processor @ up to 1.8 GHz with 12EU Intel HD graphics; 9.5W TDP Intel Atom x5-E3930 dual-core processor @ up […]