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9th Gen module debuts new COM-HPC edge server spec

Mar 3, 2020 — by Eric Brown 521 views

MSC unveiled the first module based on the 800-pin COM-HPC edge server standard with a Linux-ready, Intel 9th Gen equipped “MSC HCC-CFLS” that adopts the COM-HPC/Client spec. Adlink revealed a proof-of-concept module using the larger COM-HPC/Server variant.

Adlink, Congatec, and Kontron are the chief sponsors of the proposed COM-HPC (Computer-On-Modules High Performance Computing) server-on-module standard, which is expected to be ratified by PICMG by the end of Q2. Yet, the first announced module based on the spec comes from one of the other 17 project members: MSC Technologies (Avnet Integrated). The MSC HCC-CFLS module adopts the smaller COM-HPC/Client standard to expand upon Intel’s 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh processors.

Avnet’s MSC HCC-CFLS (left) and Adlink’s COM-HPC proof-of-concept
(click images to enlarge)

Adlink, meanwhile, demonstrated a proof-of-concept module at Embedded World that adopts the larger COM-HPC/Server spec. The module uses the 200 x 150mm Size E variant. No processor was listed, but the module is said to support up to 16-core, 110W TDP CPUs and offers 8x DDR4 sockets. A heatspreader is also available.

Congatec and Kontron have each posted informational web pages on COM-HPC, which provides 800 interface pins, up from 440 on COM Express. In addition, Kontron recently announced that it will introduce its first COM-HPC module in Q4.



Although COM-HPC appears to be a higher end successor to the similarly edge server focused COM Express Type 7 (COM Express 3.0), the project backers say it is not a replacement, but a complement. Like Type 7, the higher-end COM-HPC/Server is headless (no graphics interfaces), but the embedded-oriented COM-HPC/Client spec, which is likely to see more coverage on LinuxGizmos, supports up to 4x DDI video interfaces with 4K support, as well as dual MIPI-CSI links.

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

Like COM Express Type 7, COM-HPC will be home to modules based on server-class SoCs such as the Intel Xeon and Atom C3000 platforms. It will also be a good match for Intel’s recently announced Atom P5900 successor to the C3000 based on 10nm Tremont cores.

The COM-HPC/Client spec supports up to 65W TDP processors while COM-HPC/Server supports up to 125W CPUs. Adlink’s announcement bumps the latter figure up to 150W, and the COM-HPC connector is said to support future processors with up to 300W TDPs (at 11.4-12.6V). According to this Elektor story previewing Congatec’s COM-HPC presentations expected at last week’s Embedded World, the Client specs support up to 500GB RAM via 4x SODIMM sockets and the Server standard goes to 1TB via 8x sockets.

COM-HPC/Client is available in 125 x 95mm (size A), 120 x 120mm (B), and 160 x 120mm (C) form factors. COM-HPC/Server is available in 160 x 160mm (D) and 200 x 160mm (E) versions. By comparison COM Express Type 6 and 7 modules generally use the 125 x 95mm Basic Type 7 form factor, with fewer 95 x 95mm Compact variants.

COM-HPC Samtec connectors
(click image to enlarge)
Source: Congatec

While Type 7 supports up to 32x PCIe Gen 3 lanes, COM-HPC/Client goes up to 49x PCIe Gen 4/5 lanes and COM-HPC/Server enables up to 65x Gen 4/5 lanes. Compared to Type 7’s support for up to 4x 10GbE ports, COM-HPC/Client supports dual 10GbE and dual 25GbE KR ports. COM-HPC/Server has only a single 10 GbE interface but offers 8x 25GbE connections. Adlink spells it out a bit differently, at least for the Server spec. Its proof-of-concept module supports up to 8x 10GbE ports “or the equivalent of two 100GbE ports,” says Adlink

The dual 400-pin Samtec COM-HPC connectors support up to 4096 Gbps data rates with a data rate density of 2088 Gbps per square inch. The connectors are available in with 5mm and 10mm stack heights.

The COM-HPC/Client spec enables 4x USB4 and 2x USB 2.0 ports. COM-HPC/Server supports 2x USB4, 2x USB 3.2, and 4x USB 2.0. Otherwise, the I/O support appears to be identical, with 2x SATA, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 2x UART, 12x GPIO, and single eSPI and SMB interfaces.

Kontron’s announcement touts another new COM-HPC feature. The spec provides an integrated system management interface via a dedicated PCIe interface for remote management. The design supports server-class Board Management Controllers (BMCs) on carrier boards.


Avnet Integrated’s MSC HCC-CFLS uses the 160 x 120mm COM-HPC Client size C form factor. It also complies with Avnet Integrated’s SimpleFlex COM-and-carrier standard, which is supported by a custom manufacturing service.

The module offers a Yocto-based Linux BSP and Win 10 IoT Enteprise running on 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs. The options include Core processors up to an octa-core, 2.6/4.4GHz Core i7-9700E and Xeon models up to octa-core, 16-thread Xeon E-2278GE (3.3GHz/4.7GHz) and Xeon E-2278GEL (2.0/3.9GHz). The E-2278GE has an 80W TDP, which is beyond the recommended 65W limit for Client modules.

The MSC HCC-CFLS supports up to 64GB DDR4-2666 via dual sockets with optional ECC RAM on Coffee Lake modules that support it. Dual SATA III channels are available along with GbE and 10GbE controllers.

There’s a standard Intel H310 chipset, with Intel C246 available on request. The H310 models support up to 2x independent DDI displays plus 6x PCIe Gen 2 and a PEG 16 Gen 3 graphics interface. With the C246 chipset, the module supports 3x independent DDI displays plus 16x PCIe Gen 3 (configurable up to x4) with PEG x16 Gen 3 and PEG port bifurcation.

The DDI interfaces support DisplayPort 1.2 at up to 4096 x 2304 @ 60Hz or HDMI 1.4b and DVI at up to 4096 x 2160 @ 30Hz. There’s also an eDP interface. Audio connections include up to 4x MIPI SoundWire audio and up to 2x DMIC.

The MSC HCC-CFLS is further equipped with 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 and 8x USB 2.0, with support for Type-C connectors. You also get 2x serial, TPM 2.0, a watchdog, a fan header, system monitoring, and support for an external RTC with battery. There’s an 8-16V input with optional standby support and a 0 to 60°C operating range.

MSC HC-MB-EV carrier

The MSC HCC-CFLS module is available with a 244 x 244mm MSC HC-MB-EV carrier that provides 2x RJ45 ports that support 1GbE or 10GbE. Other features include 2x SATA, 3x PCIe Gen3/4 x4, and a PCIe x16 PEG slot. You also get dual M.2 sockets: one for storage or AI and the other for wireless and other I/O.

MSC HC-MB-EV carrier
(click image to enlarge)

The MSC HC-MB-EV carrier is further equipped with 2x DP ports plus an eDP connector and an audio jack with a SoundWire HD audio codec. There are also 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, Super I/O, 2x serial headers, and a smattering of other I/Os. The carrier provides a 5-20V DC input and ATX 12V connectors plus an RTC with battery.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the MSC HCC-CFLS, except that it will ship in “early 2020.” More information may be found in Avnet Integrated’s MSC HCC-CFLS announcement and product page, as well as its MSC HC-MB-EV carrier and COM-HPC pages.


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