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Mini-ITX board fosters flexibility and fights obsolescence

Jan 31, 2018 — by Rick Lehrbaum
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Congatec unveiled a Mini-ITX style “conga-IT6” board that uses a plug-in COM Express module to supply processor and other core functions. CPU options currently include Intel Core, Xeon, Celeron, and Pentium, and AMD G-series and R-series chips, with up to 4x CPU cores and clocked at up to 4.3GHz.

Congatec, which manufactures computer-on-modules and single-board computers aimed at embedded, industrial, and IoT applications, has announced a Mini-ITX form factor “conga-IT6” carrier board that uses a COM Express Type 6 module to implement its processor and most other core functions. The two-board sandwich approach lets system implementors “scale their applications across all relevant processor generations and manufacturers as required, thereby keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in high-end embedded computing,” states the company.



conga-IT6 with (left) and without a plugged-in COM
(click images to enlarge)

Congatec’s conga-IT6 is by no means the first Mini-ITX carrier board for computer-on-modules of various form factors. Others we’ve encountered include Data Modul’s eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info and Theobroma’s A31 µQ7 baseboard for Qseven COMs, Embedian’s EVK-STD-CARRIER (pictured at right) for SMARC COMs, and Advantech’s SOM-AB5810 for COM Express Type 6 modules.

Although the Mini-ITX style conga-IT6 carrier board might work with other companies’ COMs, Congatec appears to be focused on teaming it up with its own extensive COM Express Type 6 family. These include COMs with Intel Core, Xeon, Celeron, and Pentium, and AMD G-series and R-series processors, as listed in the table below.


Supported COM Express Type 6 Modules and their Processors

Module Processor Cores
(max.)
Max. clock TDP (W)
conga-TS175 Intel Core, Xeon 4 4.3 GHz 25 – 45
conga-TS170 Intel Core, Xeon 4 4.3 GHz 25 – 45
conga-TS97 Intel Core, Xeon 4 2.7 GHz 47
conga-TR3 AMD G-Series, R-Series 4 3.4 GHz 12 – 35
conga-TC175 Intel Celeron / Core 2 3.9 GHz 15
conga-TC170 Intel Celeron, Core 2 3.4 GHz 15
conga-TC97 Intel Celeron, Core 2 2.2 GHz 15
conga-TCA5 Intel Atom, Pentium 4 2.5 GHz 6 – 12
conga-TCA4 Intel Atom, Pentium 4 1.6 GHz 4 – 6
conga-TCA3 Intel Atom, Celeron 4 2.0 GHz 4.3 – 10
conga-TCG AMD G-Series 4 2.4 GHz 6 – 25


Although each installation’s capabilities will depend on the particular COM Express Type 6 module you plug into the carrier board, the set of interfaces and other features that can be supported by the conga-IT6 are listed as follows:

  • Internal connectors — 1x miniPCIe, 1x DC-in, 1x PCIe x1/x2/x4/x8/x16 slot, 2x SATA Gen3, 4x COM (232/422/485), 1x LPC header, 1x I2C bus, 1x SM bus, 1x GPIO, 2x fan control, 1x VGA, 1x LVDS, 1x eDP, 1x microSD slot, 1x microSIM slot, 1x M.2 socket (2230 Type E), 1x M.2 socket (2230/2242 Type B)
  • External connectors — 4x USB 3.0/2.0, 2x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, 2x LAN RJ45, 3.5mm Audio In and 3.5mm Line Out, 2x buttons (power, reset), 12-24V DC power input (ATX compatible)



conga-IT6 detail
(click image to enlarge)

The conga-IT6 supports an operating temperature range of 0 to 60° C, and conforms to the Mini-ITX form factor’s 170 x 170 mm dimensions. Additionally its topside standard PCIe slot can accommodate conventional, PC-style expansion cards requiring up to 16 PCIe lanes, for graphics or other required functions.


conga-IT6 without COM, viewed from two angles
(click images to enlarge)

 
Further information

The conga-IT6 appears to be available now, at an undisclosed price. A rear-panel I/O shield for use in a standard Mini-ITX chassis is offered as an option. Further details may be found at Congatec’s conga-IT6 product page.
 

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