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Congatec spins Tiger Lake in COM Express and COM-HPC formats

Sep 3, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 293 views

Congatec has launched two compute modules based on Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs, supporting new features like USB 4.0 and PCIe 4.0: a “Conga-TC570” COM Express Compact and a “Conga-HPC/cTLU” that uses the new 800-pin COM-HPC form factor.

Congatec followed up on Intel’s launch of its 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs with two Tiger Lake modules, including one of the industry’s first COM-HPC modules, the Conga-HPC/cTLU. COM-HPC appears to be the successor to the COM Express Type 7 edge server spec and COM Express Type 6, although the PICMG spec is billed as being complementary to both. The spec provides 800 interface pins, up from 440 on COM Express, which Congatec says is needed to keep up with Tiger Lake’s new support for PCIe Gen 4 and USB 4.0 (Thunderbolt 4).



Conga-HPC/cTLU (left) and Conga-TC570
(click image to enlarge)

In March, MSC announced a 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh based MSC HCC-CFLS module that uses the same COM-HPC/Client form factor adopted by the Conga-HPC/cTLU. At the time, Adlink revealed a proof-of-concept module using the larger COM-HPC/Server variant and Congatec and Kontron, which together spearheaded the COM-HPC standard with Adlink, posted pre-launch pages.

In addition to the Conga-HPC/cTLU, Congatec released a Conga-TC570 COM Express Type 6 Compact module built around Tiger Lake. The Conga-TC570 follows earlier, 95 x 95mm Type 6 Compact offerings such as its 8th Gen Whiskey Lake Conga-TC370 and 7th Gen Kaby Lake Conga TC175.

The new Congatec modules ship with BSPs for Linux, the Linux-based Chrome OS, and Windows. They also offer hypervisor support from Real Time Systems.

Applications include high-end solutions, embedded systems and edge computing nodes, network hubs, local fog data centers, core network appliances, and ruggedized central cloud data centers for critical government applications, says Congatec. The German company recently announced that investment firm Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) is acquiring majority ownership in Congatec Holding AG, with the deal expected to go through in the fourth quarter.

Tiger Lake recap

Yesterday, Intel launched nine 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors split into five 12-28W UP3 and four 7-15W UP4 dual and quad-core models with dual threading. A month ago Kontron announced a 3.5”-SBC-TGL 3.5-inch SBC based on Tiger Lake while Aaeon and Advantech teased 3.5-inch GENE-TGU6 and 2.5-inch MIO-2375 models, respectively. Congatec’s Conga-HPC/cTLU and Conga-TC570 are the first compute modules we have seen based on the CPU.



Tiger Lake UP3 (left) and UP4 models
(click images to enlarge)

Like the 10th Gen Ice Lake, the 11th Gen Tiger Lake is a 10nm fabricated design, but updated with SuperFin technology. Tiger Lake switches to Intel’s Willow Cove microarchitecture, which offers a redesigned cache, new security features, and transistor optimization compared to Ice Lake’s Sunny Cove.

The new Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4) technology offers up to 40Gbps, or 4x the throughput of USB 3.x. USB 4.0 can tunnel the new PCIe Gen 4 interface and it supports a Type-C like DP-Alt mode for support DisplayPort signals.

In addition to providing a significant CPU boost, Tiger Lake offers a huge graphics improvement with its Intel Gen12 Iris Xe graphics — Intel claims Tiger Lake offers twice the graphic performance of Ice Lake. Intel Xe, which is available on about half the 11th Gen models, supplies 96 EUs compared to 64 on Ice Lake’s Intel Gen11.

Iris Xe supports 4x simultaneous 4K displays, a la AMD’s Ryzen, and offers “the first instruction set for neural network inferencing on integrated graphics with Intel DL Boost. (For more 11th Gen Tiger Lake details, see our Tiger Lake report.)

Conga-HPC/cTLU

The Conga-HPC/cTLU module adopts the 120 x 95mm COM HPC Client Size A form factor. Unlike the headless, up to 125W Server spec, the up to 65W Client spec supports up to 4x DDI video interfaces with 4K support, as well as dual MIPI-CSI links.

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COM-HPC specs (left) and dimensions
(click images to enlarge)
Source: Congatec

The dual 400-pin Samtec COM-HPC connectors support up to 4096 Gbps data rates. While Type 7 supports up to 32x PCIe Gen 3 lanes, COM-HPC/Client advances to 49x PCIe Gen 4 lanes. The spec also adds support for up to 4x USB 4.0 ports. (For more details on COM-HPC, see our earlier MSC report.)

No details were provided on specific 11th Gen models supported by the Conga-HPC/cTLU. The module supports up to 64GB ECC and non-ECC DDR4-3200 via dual sockets compared to the same capacity of DDR4-2400 for the 8th Gen Conga-TC370.



Conga-HPC/cTLU
(click image to enlarge)

The Conga-HPC/cTLU provides dual 2.5GbE Intel i225 controllers with TSN support. The 2.5GbE spec has begun to appear on boards such as the Gemini Lake based Odroid-H2+ SBC (The COM-HPC Client spec supports far more networking bandwidth, with up to dual 10GbE and dual 25GbE KR.)

The module supports up to 4x 4K or 2x 8K independent displays via HDMI 2.0/2.1 and DP 1.4 interfaces. Dual MIPI-CSI camera links are also available and the announcement, but not the specs, list I2S and SoundWire audio.

Other interfaces include 4x PCIe Gen4, 8x PCIe Gen3, 2x USB 4.0, 2x USB 3.2, and 8x USB 2.0. You also get 6x SATA III, 2x UART, and 12x GPIOs.

The module includes a Congatec Board Controller with watchdog, HW monitoring, and the like, and it provides embedded BIOS features including flash updates. There is also support for TPM 2.0.

The Conga-HPC/cTLU features ACPI 5.0 power management with battery support. The module has a 0 to 60°C operating range and 10-90%, non-condensing, relative humidity tolerance.

Conga-TC570

The Conga-TC570 COM Express Type 6 Compact module offers the same up to 64GB RAM and 4x 4K display specs as the Conga-HPC/cTLU. It also has the same Intel i225 controller with TSN, but there is only one and it is limited to Gigabit Ethernet performance.



Conga-TC570, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Tiger Lake’s new PCIe Gen4 support is enabled via a PEG x4 interface, and you also get 8x PCIe Gen 3 lanes. The product page’s bullet points indicate USB 4.0 support, but we did not see that in the specs, which include 4x USB 3.1 Gen2, 8x USB 2.0, 2x SATA III, 2x UARTs, SPI, and 8x GPIOs. HDA audio is also available. The Board Controller, BIOS, ruggedization specs, and other features are identical to the COM-HPC module.

Further information

The Conga-HPC/cTLU and Conga-TC570 appear to be available with pricing undisclosed, although the announcement suggests that shipments may depend on what Tiger Lake model you order. (Most of the 11th Gen Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 parts are currently shipping with others coming soon.)

More information may be found in Congatec’s announcement and the Conga-HPC/cTLU and Conga-TC570 product pages.

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