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COM Express module has embedded Core i7 on board

Jan 13, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Congatec announced a COM Express module featuring Intel's new, embedded-specific Core i7-620M processor and QM57 Express chipset. The Conga-BM57 features a basic clock speed of 2.66GHz, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, and support for two independent video channels on VGA, LVDS, HDMI, DisplayPort or SDVO interfaces, the company says.

Intel last week announced 12 new processors specifically aimed at embedded devices. Additions to the chipmaker's Core i3, i5, i7, and Xeon families, the CPUs have two or four cores, include on-chip graphics, and incorporate "Turbo Boost" technology that can temporarily bump up their basic clock speeds. All of the CPUs also include onboard graphics, rated by Intel as adequate for "mainstream and casual 3-D gaming."

Congatec's Conga-BM57 uses the Intel Core i7-620M
(Click to enlarge)

While features and performance generally increase with the size of the Core processors ' i designators, Intel's announcement didn't do much to convey the relative performance offered by the new CPUs. We'd guess the Core i7-620M, employed by Congatec in its new Conga-BM57 (above), comes somewhere around the middle of the range — detailed fully in our previous coverage, here.

According to Intel, the Core i7-620M has a basic clock speed of 2.66GHz, and a Turbo Boost frequency of up to 3.33GHz. The chip has dual cores, offers a TDP of 35 Watts, works with the QM57 Express chipset (below), and costs $332 in quantities of 1,000, the chipmaker says.

A block diagram of the Intel QM57 Express chipset used by the Conga-BM57
Source: Intel (Click to enlarge)

Congatec describes the "major highlight" of its new Conga-BM57 as being the module's boosted graphics performance, which has "increased substantially" over the last generation of Intel integrated graphics. As for Turbo Boost, this is said to have provided the device with a 25 percent boost in computing performance during Congatec's benchmark testing.

Also noted by Congatec are the Core i7's new power management states. According to the company, the C6 state, already known from previous Core CPUs, saves the architectural state to dedicated SRAM, after which the cores can be switched off to reduce current drain to "almost zero." The Core i7-620M adds an independent C6 state for each of its two cores, delivering even greater power savings, Congatec says.

Congatec's announcement was not accompanied by a data sheet, but the Conga-BM57 uses the 4.9 x 3.7-inch COMP Express form factor, as did the company's recent Conga-CS45 and 2008 Conga-BM45. According to the company, the device includes five PCI Express lanes, eight USB 2.0 ports, three SATA ports, one EIDE port, and a gigabit Ethernet interface. Fan control, the LPC bus, and high-definition audio are also listed as part of the feature set.

Congatec says the integrated graphics controller uses Intel's FDI (flexible display interface), allowing the device to support two independent video channels. Supported display types include VGA, LVDS, HDMI, SDVO, and DisplayPort, the company adds.


Congatec did not release pricing or availability information for the Conga-BM57, but said the device will be shown off Jan. 26-28 at the International Gaming Expo in London, booth #3484. Operating system support was also not cited, but the company's previous COM Express modules have been said to be compatible with Linux, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows CE 6.0, and QNX.

A list of existing COM Express boards from Congatec may be found on the company's website, here.

Meanwhile, Eurotech says it is also reading a COM Express module, the Adbc8031, that uses the QM57 Express chipset and one of three Core i7-620 models. For more details, see our previous coverage, here.

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