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COM Express modules build on Intel's Kaby Lake

Jan 5, 2017 — by Eric Brown 591 views

MSC announced a pair of Linux-ready COM Express Compact and Basic modules built around Intel’s 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” U and EQ/E series, respectively.

Avnet-owned MSC Technologies has unveiled two COM Express Type 6 modules that tap Intel’s new 7th Generation “Kaby Lake” processors. Like Congatec’s recently announced Conga TC175 COM Express module, the MSC C6C-KLU is a 95 x 95mm Compact module that uses dual-core, 15W TDP Core and Celeron U-series parts. The MSC C6B-KLH is a 125 x 95mm COM Express Basic module that supports dual- and quad-core EQ and E series Core processors and quad-core Xeon E3-1505 CPUs with higher power consumption.

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Like Intel’s earlier 6th Gen “Skylake” and 5th Gen “Broadwell” chips, the “Kaby Lake” processors are fabricated at 14nm, and offer modest performance gains in CPU and graphics compared to Skylake, according to early benchmarks. This week Intel released the remainder of the Kaby Lake family, consisting mostly of higher end parts.

Both modules offer triple independent displays at up to 4k x 2k resolution, drawing upon Intel Gen 9 HD Graphics with DirectX 11/12, OpenGL 4.3/4.4, OpenGL ES 2.0, and OpenCL 2.x support. They both support H.264 @ Level 5.2, H.265/HEVC 10-bit, and VP8/VP9 video decode, as well as H.263, H.264, VP8 video encode, among other formats. Both modules provide 7-year availability, and are designed for commercial 0 to 60°C temperatures.


The two MSC modules ship with Windows 10 and Yocto Project based Linux BSPs, but should also support a wider range of Linux and Windows distributions. They offer a choice of two COM Express Type 6 carrier boards: an MSC C6-MB-EV-001 PCBFTX Mini-ITX board and a lower-end, ATX form factor MSC C6-MB-EVA.

MSC C6C-KLU — Compact with Kaby Lake Core and Celeron U-series

The 95 x 95mm MSC C6C-KLU is designed for 7th Gen U-Series Intel Core and Celeron CPUs, including an i3-7100U that wasn’t supported on the Conga TC175. Unlike the MSC C6B-KLH or Conga TC175, there is no mention of support for Kaby Lake’s configurable TDP (cTDP) capability, which for the latter enables configurable operation of the 15W U-Series SoCs at down to 7.5W. The modules themselves run at 17W to 19W, says MSC.

The MSC C6C-KLU supports the following Intel Kaby Lake SKUs:

  • Core i7-7600U — 2x cores @ 2.8/3.9GHz; 4MB cache; 15W TDP
  • Core i5-7300U — 2x cores @ 2.6/3.5GHz; 3MB cache; 15W TDP
  • Core i3-7100U — 2x cores @ 2.4GHz; 3MB cache; 15W TDP
  • Celeron 3965U — 2x cores @ 2.2GHz; 2MB cache; 15W TDP

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The MSC C6C-KLU can load up to 32GB DDR4-1866/2133 RAM via dual sockets. Unlike the MSC C6B-KLH, as well as a majority of other COM Express modules, the module ships with an onboard microSD socket. An Intel i219 GbE controller is also onboard.

Dual DDI interfaces can be configured as DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, or DVI ports, and you get a choice of standard dual-channel, 24-bit LVDS or optional eDP 1.4. The module is further equipped with 3x SATA III, 4x USB 3.0 and 4x USB 2.0 interfaces, as well as up to 8x PCIe x1 and LPC bus expansion.

An HD Audio interface is onboard, as well as TPM 1.2 security and a watchdog. The module runs on 12V power with optional 5V standby. A Secure Boot BIOS is optional.

MSC C6B-KLH — Basic with Kaby Lake Core EQ and E Series and Xeon E3

The 125 x 95mm MSC C6B-KLH supports faster, but less power efficient EQ and E Series Kaby Lake Core and Xeon E3 SoCs. Unlike the MSC C6C-KLU, the higher-end 45W Watt models offer configurable TDPs, enabling 35W operation. The module itself runs at between 35W and 55W, depending on the SKU. Whereas the MSC C6C-KLU has an integrated I/O chipset, the MSC C6C-KLU uses Intel QM175, HM175, or CM238 PCH controller hubs, depending on the processor model.

The MSC C6B-KLH supports the following Intel Kaby Lake SKUs:

  • Core i7-7820EQ — 4x cores @ 3.0/3.7GHz; 8MB cache; 45/35W cTDP
  • Core i5-7440EQ — 4x cores @ 2.9/3.6GHz; 6MB cache; 45/35W cTDP
  • Core i5-7442EQ — 4x cores @ 2.1/2.9GHz; 6MB cache; 25W TDP
  • Core i3-7100E — 2x cores @ 2.9GHz; 3MB cache; 35W TDP
  • Core i3-7102E — 2x cores @ 2.1GHz; 3MB cache; 25W TDP
  • Xeon E3-1505Mv6 — 4x cores @ 3.0/4.0GHz; 8MB cache; 45/35W cTDP
  • Xeon E3-1505Lv6 — 4x cores @ 2.2/3.0GHz; 8MB cache; 25W TDP

(click image to enlarge)

The MSC C6B-KLH can handle up to 32GB DDR4-2133 RAM via dual sockets, with optional ECC. An Intel i219LM Gigabit Ethernet PHY is onboard, and the module supports the same display interfaces found on the MSC C6C-KLU.

The MSC C6B-KLH can drives 4x SATA III, 4x USB 3.0, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. In addition to the 8x PCI x1 Gen 3 and LPC interfaces, you get PCIe Graphics (PEG) x16 Gen 3 expansion. As with the MSC C6C-KLU, you get HD audio, TPM 1.2, a watchdog, and 12V power.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the MSC C6C-KLU and MSC C6B-KLH COM Express modules. More information may be found in MSC’s MSC C6C-KLU and MSC C6B-KLH product pages.

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