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COM Express Type 6 module runs Linux on 5th Gen Cores

Apr 29, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 620 views

Advantech launched a Linux-ready, 5th Gen Core based “SOM-6896” COM Express Type 6 Compact module with triple displays, 4K video, and four PCIe interfaces.

Advantech’s SOM-6896 updates the earlier SOM-6894 computer-on-module, the sole Compact (95 x 95mm) model of the company’s three COM Express Type 6 modules that support 4th Gen “Haswell” Intel Core processors. Like the Adlink cExpress-BL, the SOM-6896 runs 5th Gen “Broadwell” Intel Cores and uses the same Type 6 Compact form factor.

SOM-6896, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The SOM-6896 supports demanding applications in medical equipment, automation, and gaming, says Advantech. You get the same choice of Core i7, i5, or i3 models provided by the Adlink module. The 14nm Broadwell chips give the modules a big graphics boost over the earlier SOM-6894, as well as improved video. The COM can handle DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2, OpenCL 2.0, and AVC/VC1/MPEG2, and can deliver up to 4K (4096 x 2304) @ 24Hz resolutions, says Advantech.

The SOM-6896 supports VGA, LVDS, and DDI (HDMI/DisplayPort/DVI) display interfaces, with an option for a second DDI port. Triple simultaneous displays are also available.

The feature set is very similar to that of the Adlink cExpress-BL, which adds industrial temperature support and higher levels of shock and vibration resistance. The Advantech module, however, adds two more USB 2.0 ports, as well as an Express Card interface, among other minor differences.

SOM-6896 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The SOM-6896 module supports up to 16GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM. I/O highlights include four SATA 6Gbps interfaces, and four PCIe x1 interfaces, one of which can be swapped out for a PCIe x4. You get 10 USB ports, two of which comply with USB 3.0, as well as dual COM ports.

Intel “Broadwell-U” block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The SOM-6896 debuts a “thermal improvement” caused by an additional mounting hole designed around the CPU, as well as a stronger board structure that avoids board bending, says Advantech. These enhancements are also claimed to provide an “excellent connection between module board and thermal solution.”

Another view of the SOM-6896

The module supports Linux or Windows, and offers a set of programmable Advantech iManager APIs that provide access to features including multi-level watchdog and hardware monitoring. Advantech’s SUSIAccess is also available.


Specifications listed for the SOM-6896 module include:

  • Processor — 5th Generation Intel i7/i5/i3 “Broadwell” Core processors, all with 15W TDP:
    • Core i7-5650U — dual-core 2.2GHz (3.1GHz turbo), 4MB Cache, Intel HD Graphics 6000
    • Core i5-5350U — dual-core 1.8GHz (2.9GHz turbo), 3MB Cache, Intel HD Graphics 6000
    • Core i3-5010U — dual-core 2.1GHz (no turbo), 3MB Cache, Intel HD Graphics 5500
    • Celeron processors also said to be supported (no details)
  • Memory — up to 16GB dual-channel DDR3L RAM @ 1600MHz, via 2x SODIMMs
  • Storage — 4x SATA 6Gbps ports with RAID 0/1/5/10 support
  • Display:
    • VGA at up to 1920 x 1200
    • 18/24-bit LVDS (single/dual channel) up to 1920 x 1200
    • DDI for HDMI, DDI, or DisplayPort at up to 4k (HDMI)
    • Optional second DDI
    • Triple independent simultaneous displays
    • Optional LED panels from 5.7- to 17-inch
    • Supports OpenGL 4.2, DirectX 11.1, etc.
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet controller (Intel I218-L)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 8x USB 2.0
    • 2x COM (2-wire)
    • GPIO (4x in, 4x out)
    • Intel HD Audio
    • Express Card
    • LPC, SMBus, I2C, SPI (for BIOS only)
  • Expansion — 4x PCIe interfaces, configurable as either 4x PCIe x1, or 1x PCIe x4 + 3x PCIe x1
  • Other features — TPM 1.2 module (optional); watchdog; fan control; supports Advantech iManager monitoring APIs; optional SOM-DB5800-00A2E dev board
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C with heatspreader (optional semi-cooler with 12V fan)
  • Vibration resistance — 3.5 Grms
  • Power — ATX/AT; Vin: 4.75 (5-5%) to 20V (19+5%) input; VSB: 5V±5% input; RTC battery (2.0-3.3V)
  • Dimensions — 95 x 95mm; COM Express Type 6 Compact form factor
  • Operating system — Linux; Windows

Further information

No pricing information was provided for the SOM-6896, which, despite the preliminary tag on the product page, is said to be available now. More information may be found on Advantech’s SOM-6896 product page.

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