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Prominent SBC vendor hops on COM Express

Apr 2, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The COM Express computer-on-module specification gained a high-profile advocate at the Embedded Systems Conference this week, as Ampro unveiled its first module compatible with the format. The COM 830 supports single- and dual-core processors and is available with support for Linux 2.6, among other embedded OSes.

(Click here for a larger view of the COM 830 module)

The RoHS-compliant COM 830 is based on a choice of a single-core Celeron M 423 clocked at 1.07 GHz, or a dual-core Core Duo U2500 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. The module includes a pair of SODIMM sockets, supporting up to 4 GB of DDR2 667 RAM. It comes equipped with an Intel 945GM Express chipset and an AMI BIOS containing ACPI 2.0 support, including the S3 suspend-to-RAM function for fast resume time and long battery life, Ampro said.

Although the COM Express form-factor measures a mere 3.7 x 4.5 inches, the COM 830 packs a substantial complement of I/O controllers and ports. Such functional density comes courtesy of the COM Express Type 2 pinout, which makes conventional I/O connectors unnecessary. With Type 2, I/O and bus signals are passed through high-density surface-mount connectors to custom COM carrier boards. The COM 830 also routes its high-speed point-to-point PCI Express lanes to the baseboard. It provides a x1 PCI Express link and a graphics-oriented x16 Express link that can be configured for dual monitors.

Input/output ports implemented directly on the COM 830 module include:

  • 2 x serial ATA (SATA) ports
  • 8 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x legacy IDE channel
  • AC'97 audio

The new COM Express family follows by a year the introduction Ampro's XTX modules. Both XTX (eXpress Technology for ETX) and COM Express, are PCI Express-enhanced spin-offs from the Kontron-developed ETX COM standard.

Ampro is “fully committed” to COM Express, according to CEO Joanne Mumola Williams. “Now that the market has consolidated around the 'Type 2' pinout and the smaller 'Basic' size, COM Express now joins ETX and XTX as the third mainstream form factor standard for interchangeable mezzanine-based embedded computing,” she said.


Small quantitites of the COM 830 module will be available within 45 days, according to the company. Pricing starts in the $500s for production quantities.

Ampro is supporting the COM 830 with a Quickstart Kit that includes a COM Express baseboard, 1 GB of DDR RAM, and device drivers and BSPs (board support packages) for Linux 2.6, Windows XP/XPe, and Windows CE. Schematics and a bill of materials for the baseboard are also included.

A rugged follow-on module dubbed the COM 840 is expected during the first half of 2007, offering a choice of a single- or dual-core Intel Centrino processors operating 1.6 or 2.2 GHz, respectively, the company said.

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