The COM-HPC Spec is Here and Products Are Starting to Emerge

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

July 05, 2021


The COM-HPC Spec is Here and Products Are Starting to Emerge

COM-HPC was officially ratified about six months ago. Embedded Computing Design has done a nice job covering the spec and many of the products that have come out of the spec (some before ratification and many after). We also posted a series of videos (called COM-HPC Academy) with some of the influential members of PICMG, the standards body behind the spec.

I figured it was time to do a roundup of some of those recently released products. This list is not meant to be completely inclusive, especially because the vendors creating the products are moving at a fairly brisk pace, and new products continue to roll out of the factories. A good place to find a listing of these product is the PICMG Product Directory.

Samtec offers a high-density interconnect system that conforms to the COM-HPC standard. Its key features include:

  • A high-performance, flexible open-pin-field array high-speed PCIe® 5.0 and 100 Gb Ethernet capable 400-pin BGA mount four rows by 100 columns;
  • 5- or 10-mm stack heights;
  • Up to 360 W at 12 V

Portwell’s PCOM-B881 is a client module that fits the size A form factor (95 by 120 mm). Designed with an 11th Gen Intel Core processor with up to four cores, it also supports up to 64 Gbytes of dual-channel DDR4 memory. Other features include lots of PCIe access, as well as Gigabit Ethernet. It can also operate in an extended temperature range, from -40°C to +85°C.

The Trenz Electronic TE0830 is centered around a Zynq UltraScale+ module and can handle lots of high-speed memory. Its Gigabit transceivers allow PCIe Gen4 to be implemented as a root complex or an endpoint. USB and several other common interfaces are available. The JTAG connection for programming the ZynqMP can be done via GPIO pins or via Ethernet.

Designed for evaluation purposes, the congatec HPC/EVAL-Client is fully compliant with the COM-HPC specification. It’s a carrier board for COM-HPC client modules. One of its keys is that it offers routing of all signals provided by COM-HPC module specification for standard interface connectors.

Avnet Integrated’s MSC HC-MB-EV is intended for design teams looking for fast and easy enablement of COM-HPC solutions for lab evaluation, rapid prototyping, and application development. It can be used as a reference design for developing a COM-HPC platform. The client carrier board provides a rich set of interfaces routed to the module socket, including PCIe and PEG ports, DDI and eDP graphics interfaces, and high speed I/O like USB and SATA. Size A, B, and C client modules can be installed on the carrier.

Designed to a COM-HPC server size E form factor, the SOM-8990 from Advantech incorporates an Intel Xeon D-2100 microprocessor with up to 16 cores. It can house up to 512 Gbytes of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and contains lots of high-speed I/O.

A second E-size server board hails from ADLINK Technology. The company’s COM-HPC-EP differs in that it features an AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 Series SoC. It also offers up to 384 Gbytes of DDR4 memory in six DIMM sockets, and up to 56 PCIe lanes.

The company claims that the EPYC processors add the performance benefits of the Zen CPU architecture. Applications that can take advantage of this performance include autonomous vehicles, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, and 5G small cells, base stations, and infrastructure.

Another size A client module was developed by SECO, with its CHP-C77-CSA, featuring the 11th generation Intel Core processor. It supports up to 64 Gbytes of DDR4-3200 memory on two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots with IBECC (in-band error correction code).

It comes with a range of video interfaces (3x DP++, eDP, HDMI) which can manage up to four high-resolution displays. Available in the industrial temperature range, the board mainly targets high-end industrial applications, but it is also suitable for medical/healthcare applications, digital signage and infotainment, HMI, edge computing, gaming, robotics, and transportation.

Finally, the CPU-180-01 from Eurotech is designed for fanless applications in harsh environments where long term reliability is a must. It can handle up to four CPU cores and 96 GPU execution units. The board’s “all-soldered down” design improves resilience and thermal coupling, and results in a -40°C to +85°C operating temperature. Supported operating systems include Everyware Linux (based on Yocto), Ubuntu, and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.

Novel capabilities of the CPU-180-01 include time-sensitive networking (TSN) on an Ethernet port capable of up to 2.5 Gbit Ethernet, which combined with time-coordinated computing (TCC), enables soft real-time applications. Integrated high-speed interfaces include PCIe Gen 4, with a bandwidth that is twice the previous generation, and Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 that enable PCIe, video, USB, and power delivery via one standard connector.

Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times,, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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