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Eval kit supports COM Express Type 6 development

Jul 14, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Kontron announced a “Starterkit” evaluation platform for COM Express Type 6 modules. The Kontron COM Express Starterkit Type 6 includes an ATX carrier board with four USB 3.0 and dual DisplayPorts, among other I/O, plus a choice of ETXexpress-SC module (quad-core 2.1GHz Intel Core i7) or microETXexpress-OH (dual-core 1.6GHz AMD G-Series) modules.

Kontron offers a variety of "Starterkits" for COM Express Type 1, 2, and 10, but this is the first one designed for COM Express Type 6 Computer-on-Modules (COMs), says Kontron. The kit is designed to evaluate and develop COM Express applications in markets such as gaming, digital signage, medical, automation, and military/aerospace, says the company.

Kontron COM Express Starterkit Type 6

While COM Express Type 2 supports a 33MHz PCI bus and EIDE, Type 6 drops both of these in favor of supporting digital display interfaces such as DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and additional PCI Express (PCIe) lanes. Type 6 COMs also offer increased performance and energy-efficiency as well higher serial bandwidth, says Kontron. 

The Eval board supports any Kontron COM Express Type 6 module, and the full kit is available pre-installed with one of two Kontron COM Express Type 6 modules: the ETXexpress-SC and the microETXexpress-OH. The "basic" package integrates the ETXexpress-SC (pictured at right), which can be scaled up to the latest "Sandy Bridge" 2.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. The module offers up to 16GB of DDR3 memory with ECC support.

Kontron's "compact" kit option includes the microETXexpress-OH (pictured at left), which offers an AMD Embedded G-Series processor, ranging up to a dual-core 1.6GHz T56N. The module ships with up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, and is designed for applications with higher graphic performance and energy-efficiency demands, says the company.

The COM Express Eval Type 6 ATX carrier-board is available separately, or as part of the Starterkit which adds memory and a cooling system. The kit also offers cables, accessories, and a USB 3.0 stick, which holds manuals and data sheets. The Eval board also supports an older ETXexpress-AI module incorporating last year's earlier generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, although this is not offered in the Starterkit deal.

COM Express Eval Type 6 ATX carrier-board

(Click to enlarge)

As noted, the kit, but not the board on its own, is said to be populated with memory, although amounts were undisclosed. Maximum memory for the two available COM Express modules are listed above and in the spec table farther below.

Taking advantage of the Type 6 format's expanded support for PCI Express, the device offers a variety of expansion interfaces including a PCI Express Graphics port (PEG), PCIe x4, dual PCIe x1, one miniPCIe, and an Express Card connector with USB, says Kontron. Four SATA ports are said to be available too.

Eval board coastline

(Click to enlarge)

Coastline ports include dual DisplayPorts and a VGA port, while an onboard LVDS connector enables LCD hook-ups and dual-display applications, says Kontron. Other real-world ports include four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port and a selection of audio ports, cited as 3-in-1 in the announcement and 6-in-1 in the data sheet.

No operating system support is listed except for a Wind River VxWorks LiveUSB environment. However, all the available Kontron COM Express modules also support Linux and various flavors of Windows.

Features and specifications available with the COM Express Eval Type 6 ATX and Kontron COM Express Starterkit Type 6, with differences noted, include:

  • COM/processor choices:
    • Kontron ETXexpress-SC, with up to quad-core 2.1GHz Intel Core i7 ("Sandy Bridge")
    • Kontron microETXexpress-OH, with up to dual-core 1.6GHz AMD G-Series T56N G-Series
    • Eval board (but not kit) supports any other Kontron COM Express Type 6 module, including ETXexpress-AI
  • Memory — undisclosed; kit said to be memory populated; ETXexpress-SC supports up to 16GB and microETXexpress-OH up to 8GB DDR3
  • Expansion:
    • PCIe graphics port (PEG) x16 slot
    • PCIe x4
    • 2 x PCIe
    • mini-PCIe (with USB)
    • Express Card connector (with USB)
  • Display:
    • VGA port
    • 2 x DisplayPort
    • LVDS (FFC40 connector)
    • DDI via ADD2 slot
    • DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter (with kit)
    • DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter (with kit)
  • Storage — 4 x SATA ports (internal); USB 3.0 stick with manuals in kit
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
    • USB interface via Express Card connector
    • USB interface via miniPCIe
    • 2 x serial RX/TX legacy connector (pin-header)
    • GPIO (10-pin header)
    • Fan control (4-pin header)
  • Audio — Realtek AL888 HD audio codec; 6-in-1 audio I/O with SPDIF
  • Power — ATX (24-pin) plus ATX 12V (4-pin) on-board; switchable ATX PSU 115V/230V with kit
  • Operating temperature — 23 to 158 deg. F (-5 to 70 deg. C); heatspreader and mounting available with kit
  • Dimensions — 12 x 9.6 inches (305 x 244mm); ATX format


Samples of the Kontron COM Express Starterkit Type 6 are available now with series production scheduled for August. More information, including a data sheet that covers Kontron's other COM Express Starterkits, may be found on the Kontron COM Express Starterkit Type 6 page.

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