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Rugged, network oriented module dishes up 12-core QorIQ SoC

Jul 7, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1025 views

[Updated: July 8] — X-ES announced a headless, network oriented, COM Express Basic Type 5 module that runs Linux on an NXP QorIQ T4240 SoC with 12 e6500 PowerPC cores.

Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) regularly taps NXP (formerly Freescale) QorIQ system-on-chips for its Xpedite SBCs and modules, both the newer ARM-based variety, as in the XPedite6401 and XPedite6370 (QorIQ LS1043A or LS2088A) and the PowerPC-based XPedite6101 (QorIQ T2081, T1042, or T1022). The new XPedite5850 COM Express module uses NXP’s highest-end Power Architecture chip, the QorIQ T4240, and appears to be the first COM Express module based on the SoC.

(click image to enlarge)

NXP’s 28-nm fabricated Advanced Multiprocessing (AMP) Series QorIQ T4240, which is found in high-end networking products such as Nexcom’s NSA 5640 security appliance, has 12 64-bit e6500 PowerPC cores clocked to 1.8GHz, enabling 24 virtual cores via multithreading. The QorIQ T4240 also provides an NXP AltiVec SIMD engine to provide DSP-level floating-point performance, as well as Data Path Acceleration Architecture (DPAA) packet handling technology.

QorIQ T4240 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The X-ES COM Express module is optionally available with NXP’s octa-core T4160, or quad-core T4080, each with the same dual-threaded e6500 cores, but clocked to a lower 1.667GHz. More information on all three SoCs may be found on this NXP product page.

The XPedite5850 is a 125 x 95mm COM Express Basic module, but it adopts the rarely used Type 5 format instead of Type 6. Like Type 6, the Type 5 COM Express spec implements a 440-pin double connector (AB and CD), but it supports 32 PCIe lanes instead of 24, and three LAN interfaces instead of one. Type 5 also substitutes LVDS A/B, VGA, and PEG/SDVO graphics for Type 6’s 3x DDI support. That said, the XPedite5850 implements a subset of Type 5’s interfaces — for example, just 12 PCIe lanes, and no graphics whatsoever.

XPedite5850 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The XPedite5850 supports up to 16GB of soldered, dual-channel DDR3-1866 ECC SDRAM, with up to 32GB of NAND flash and up to 256MB of NOR flash.

You can order the module with up to two Gigabit Ethernet PHYs and up to two 10GBASE-T (10GbE) PHYs. You can also add up to eight SerDes (1000BASE-X) GbE ports, and up to two XFI 10 (10GBASE-KR) GbE ports. While there are plenty of choices for Ethernet, the remaining I/O is mostly standard. The XPedite5850 is equipped with a PCIe x8 channel, a PCIe x4 channel, and two SATA ports capable of 3Gbps. Other interfaces include two USB 2.0 ports, two I2C ports, two serial ports, and an SPI interface with two chip selects. IEEE1588 pins are also available.

In order to take advantage of the T4240 QorIQ SoC’s extensive network interface features on a COM Express module, X-ES implemented a partially non-standard COM Express Type 5 design for the XPedite5850 module. Specifically, this involved substituting 1000BASE-X signals for PCIe lanes 16-23, 10GBASE-KR signals for PCIe lanes 24-25, IEEE1588 signals for the LPC signals, and a second 10GBASE-T interface for the LVDS signals. It goes without saying: don’t try to plug this module into a generic COM Express Type 5 carrier board!


The XPedite5850 is available in Level 1, 3, and 5 ruggedization levels, using X-ES’s rating scheme. There’s a Level 5 conduction-cooled model (-40 to 85°C) and two air-cooled configurations: Level 1 (0 to 55°C) and Level 3 (-40 to +70°C). These are matched with corresponding degrees of shock and vibration resistance.

The XPedite5850 ships with a Linux or VxWorks BSPs with optional NXP hypervisor support for secure portioning. There’s also a Green Hills Integrity-178 BSP, and QNX Neutrino and LynxOS are available as factory options.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the XPedite5850. More information may be found in the X-ES XPedite5850 product page.

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