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COM Express 3.0 Type 7 debuts: 10GbE added, video deleted

Aug 2, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,130 views

Adlink unveiled the first COM Express 3.0 module, debuting a server-oriented Type 7 pinout that replaces graphics with 10GbE ports.

Adlink’s rugged, Linux-ready “Express-BD7” module with 14nm Xeon and Pentium CPUs is the first computer-on-module to use PICMG’s preliminary COM Express 3.0 spec with its new Type 7 pinout. The spec is expected to be ratified by PICMG before Oct. 1. Adlink was the lead developer of COM Express 3.0 Type 7, and published a white paper on the spec. Congatec is also involved in the project, but does not yet have an announced project.

COM Express 3.0 Type 7


COM Express 3.0 with Type 7 brings a server-grade platform and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) capabilities to a COM form factor, says Adlink. The Type 7 spec is designed for space-constrained, headless servers that require advanced networking capabilities for applications in industrial automation and data communication. These include virtualization, edge computing, real-time control, and other numerical applications, says the company.

A carrier board implementation of COM Express 3.0 Type 7 with four 10GBASE-KR ports via Fiber PHY and SFP+ as well as Copper PHY and RJ45
(click image to enlarge)

Type 7 replaces the dual DDI graphics interfaces found on Type 6 with up to four 10GbE ports. It also adds eight more PCI Express (PCIe) lanes, bringing the total up to 32 PCIe lanes.

Type 7 vs. Type 6 block diagrams:
Adlink Type 7 Express-BD7 (left) compared to Adlink Type 6 Express-SL

(click images to enlarge)

The Type 7 pinout also expresses 10GBase-KR signals, letting the carrier board designer choose between KR-to-KR, KR-to-optical fiber, or KR-to-copper. Type 7 supports the Network Controller Sideband Interface (NC-SI) bus, enabling Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) Board Management Controller (BMC) support on the carrier.

Type 7 was specifically designed for a new class of server-grade system-on-chips (SoCs) with support for up to 16 cores, and TDPs below 65 Watts, such as the Intel 14nm, Broadwell-DE Xeon D-15x CPUs used on the Express-BD7. Although the Express-BD7 has no graphics interfaces, graphics are still possible with Type 7 by “using discrete GPU solutions over PCIe x16,” says Adlink.

COM Express 3.0 Type 7 Basic modules have the same 125 x 95mm form-factor as Type 6 Basic. Up to 10 Type 7 modules can be integrated in a 1U enclosure, providing a maximum combined data transfer rate of 0.4 terabits per second, says the company.


Adlink’s Express-BD7 COM Express Type 7 module offers a choice of five headless Xeon D-15x chips. On the high end there’s the 16-core, 1.3GHz/2.1GHz Xeon D-1577 with 24MB cache and a 45W TDP, as well as the newer (Q2) 12-core Xeon D-1559, which has a 1.5GHz/2.1GHz clock rate, 18MB of cache, and a 45W TDP.

(click image to enlarge)

These are followed by an octa-core, 45W TDP Xeon D-1548 and two quad-core models, the 1.6GHz/1.9GHz, 35W TDP Xeon-D1527 and to the 1.6GHz/2.2GHz Xeon D-1517 with 6MB cache and a 25W TDP. There’s also a related, dual-core 2.2GHz/2.6GHz Pentium D1508 with 3MB cache and a 25W TDP. Both Linux and Windows Server 2012 are supported.

The Express-BD7 provides up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4 at 1867/2133/2400MHz with ECC support if the SoC SKU supports it. The module provides up to eight PCIe x1 (Gen2), two PCIe x4, and one PCIe x16 (Gen3). There are also dual SATA 6Gbps ports and four USB 3.0/2.0 ports.

Although the Type 7 spec supports up to four 10GbE ports on a carrier board, the Express-BD7 has two, with 10GbE side band signals supported as well as NC-SI. There’s also a standard Gigabit Ethernet port.

Additional features include dual UARTs with console redirection, debug headers, and GPIO (4x in, 4x out). A SEMA (Smart Embedded Management Agent) board controller enables remote management and control of distributed devices. TPM 1.2 is also available.

The module ships with a standard 12V/5V input, as well as a wide-input 8.5-20V input with ACPI 5.0 and Smart Battery support. Power consumption is claimed to be below 65W. The 125 x 95mm COM Express Basic-sized board offers a standard temperature range of 0 to 60°C, and is optionally available in an “Extreme Rugged” version rated for -40 to 85°C operation. Shock and vibration resistance are said to comply with IEC 60068-2-64 and IEC-60068-2-27.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Express-BD7. More information may be found in Adlink’s Express-BD7 announcement and product page. Adlink’s intro to COM Express 3.0 and Type 7 may be found here.

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