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Compute module features new embedded Tiger Lake variants

Sep 25, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 319 views

Adlink’s Linux-ready “cExpress-TL” COM Express Compact Type 6 module features the embedded-focused Tiger Lake ULP3 “E” CPUs unveiled by Intel this week. Highlights include 2.5GbE, PCIe 4.0, 4x 4K displays, and AI acceleration.

In conjunction with Intel’s ”Elkhart Lake” Atom x6000E announcement this week, the chipmaker launched three embedded focused 11th gen, 10nm SuperFin fabricated Tiger Lake ULP3 “E” processors to join the previous nine Tiger Lake U-series ULP3 and lower-power Y-series ULP4 chips it unveiled earlier this month. Adlink has now stepped in with a COM Express Compact Type 6 module called the cExpress-TL that supports all three of the “E” models plus a fourth, yet to be announced Celeron 6305E.



cExpress-TL

 
Intel’s Embedded Tiger Lake ULP3 “E”

There appear to be at least seven new SKUs in the Tiger Lake ULP3 lineup. These include the three “E” Core models supported here along with the unannounced Celeron 6305E, as well as three “industrial” embedded variants with “RE” suffixes. The “E” models add “extended purchase availability” and have slightly lower base and Turbo frequencies than the similarly named ULP3 siblings without the “E” suffix.

The “E” models also offer a wider operating range. Intel’s Ark pages (Core i7-1185G7E) list 0 to 100ºC, but Adlink’s cExpress-TL models offers both 0 to 60ºC and -45 to 85ºC SKUs.

The four 11th Gen Tiger Lake ULP3 “E” series processors announced by Intel this week are:

  • Core i7-1185G7E — quad-core with 1.2GHz (12W), 1.8GHz (15W), 2.8GHz (28W) and 4.4GHz Turbo; 96EU Iris Xe Graphics
  • Core i5-1145G7E — quad-core with 1.1GHz (12W), 1.5GHz (15W), 2.6GHz (28W) and 4.1GHz Turbo; 80EU Iris Xe
  • Core i3-1115G4E — dual-core with 1.7GHz (12W), 2.2GHz (15W), 3.0GHz (28W) and 3.9GHz Turbo; 48EU Iris Xe
  • Celeron 6305E — dual-core – other specs TBA

There are also three industrial “GRE” series processors, which are not supported by Adlink: the Core i7-1185GRE, i5-1145GRE, and i3-1115GRE. These have the same clock rates and graphics as their similarly named “E” siblings above and offer the same embedded features. However, they add Intel Time Coordinated Computing (Intel TCC) and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) networking features, which are also supported on the “RE” Elkhart Lake models. The Tiger Lake GRE parts also provide the Intel Safety Island functional safety (FuSa) features found on the Elkhart Lake “FE” models.

 
Adlink’s cExpress-TL module

The cExpress-TL follows in the footsteps of Adlink’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake, Compact Type 6 cExpress-WL module. It can be compared with Congatec’s recently announced Conga-TC570 Compact Type 6 entry, which offers standard, non-embedded Tiger Lake ULP3 parts.



cExpress-TL block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The cExpress-TL runs Yocto Linux and Win 10 IoT Enterprise on the four “E” processors listed above, with Ubuntu and VxWorks listed as “TBC.” The module supports transport, medical, industrial automation and control, edge controller, robotics, and multi-camera-based AI applications.

As we detail in our Tiger Lake report, the processor features greatly improved Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which on the cExpress-TL can be configured to support two 8K independent displays (on quad-core parts) or four 4K independent DDI displays (HDMI/DP/eDP). Legacy display interfaces such as LVDS (or optional eDP) and analog VGA can be supported as build options, says Adlink.

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Adlink touts the 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs for their AVX-512 VNNI (Vector Neural Network Instructions), which work on both the Tiger Lake cores and Iris Xe EUs. AVX-512 VNNI enables the cExpress-TL to provide AI inferencing performance nearly 3x that of the previous generation, which presumably refers to 8th Gen Coffee Lake and 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh. The AVX-512 VNNI x86 extension is supported by Intel’s OpenVINO toolkit.

Adlink also notes that the cExpress-TL exploits Tiger Lake’s support for in-band ECC (IBECC) RAM. The module supports up to 64GB DDR4 3200 MT/s RAM in IBECC or non-ECC via dual sockets.

The cExpress-TL supports Tiger Lake’s advancement to PCIe 4.0 at 16 GT/s, “effectively doubling the bandwidth compared to prior generations COM Express modules,” says Adlink. In addition to providing PCIe 4.0 x4, the module supplies 5x PCIe 3.0 x1 plus LPC and I2C expansion buses.

Other Tiger Lake enabled highlights include an Intel I225 controller that supports up to 2.5GbE Ethernet, which leverages existing CAT5e cable infrastructure used by 1GbE ports. TSN support is only available with Linux.

The cExpress-TL can drive 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with transfer rates of up to 10Gbps, which Adlink notes makes them suitable for camera input ports in AI related applications. Other I/O includes 4x USB 2.0, 2x SATA III, 2x UART, and 8x GPIO. Additional features include TPM 2.0, a debug header, an Adlink SEMA board controller, and support for HD audio and Super I/O on the carrier.

The 95 x 95mm module supports 12V or 5V AT/ATX inputs with an 8.5-20V range and provides ACPI 5.0 power management. Available in 0 to 60ºC and -45 to 85ºC models, the module offers 5-90% RH humidity tolerance and IEC 60068-2-64 and IEC-60068-2-27 rated shock and vibration resistance. Accessories include heat spreaders and passive and active heatsinks, as well as a COM Express Type 6 Starter Kit Plus carrier.

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the “preliminary” cExpress-TL. More information may be found in the announcement, which we found on PICMG.org, and the Adlink product page.
 

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