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COM Express Type 6 and Type 7 modules feature security chip

Oct 18, 2016 — by Eric Brown 840 views

Kontron’s Linux-ready Intel 6th Gen Type 6 and 5th Gen Type 7 COM Express modules integrate its new Security Solution Approtect technology.

In August, when Kontron announced its COMe-cSL6 COM Express Compact Type 6 module based on 6th Gen Intel Core “Skylake” CPUs, we don’t recall seeing any mention of a security chip. Yet, Kontron now says the COMe-cSL6 was the first board to offer its new Security Solution Approtect chip. Approtect is also part of several new COM Express modules: the Skylake-based COMe-bSL6 Basic Type 6 and its ruggedized cousin, the bSL6R E2S, and a Basic Type 7 COMe-bBD7 module with 5th Gen “Broadwell” Xeon and Pentium D-1500 server CPUs. All three modules support Linux, VxWorks, and Windows (see farther below).

Security Solution Approtect diagram (left) and Infineon security chip on earlier COMe-cSL6
(click images to enlarge)

The Security Solution Approtect technology, which is also heading for the previously announced and soon to ship mITX-SKL-H Skylake Mini-ITX board and a FlexATX-Skl-S board due in the fourth quarter, combines a security chip, the Approtect software framework, and optional services. This “comprehensive, holistic, turn-key security solution” enables customers to “address security needs at the application layer,” says Kontron.

The user-customizable Security Solution Approtect goes beyond Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) boot protection technology to provide copy protection, IP protection, and protection against reverse engineering and tampering. The technology, which supports Linux, Windows, and VxWorks, is built around an Infineon SLM-97CUSIFX1M00 smart card security chip that supports 128-bit AES, SHA-256, 2048-bit RSA, and 224-bit ECC encryption standards.


COMe-bSL6 and bSL6R E2S

Kontron’s COMe-bSL6 and the almost identical, industrial temperature bSL6R E2S module use the 125 x 95mm COM Express Basic Type 6 form factor. They both ship with Intel 6th Gen Skylake-H Core and Celeron chips, as well as the related Xeon E3-1500 series processors, with TDPs ranging from 25W to 45W.

COMe-bSL6 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

These Skylake-H models are found on COM Express Basic Type 6 competitors such as Seco’s COMe-B09-BT6 and Congatec’s Conga-TS170. By comparison, Kontron’s Compact Type 6 COMe-cSL6 uses the more power-efficient, 15W TDP, dual-core U-Series, which are typical of most of the Skylake COMs we’ve seen.

Aside from the fact that the bSL6R E2S supports a -40 to 85°C industrial operating range in addition to the COMe-bSL6’s commercial and -25 to 75°C extended ranges, the two models differ only in their specific supported processor models. The bSL6R E2S offers the quad-core, Xeon E3-1500, dual-core Celeron G3900, and dual-core Core i3-6100 models, all paired with an Intel Mobile CM236 chipset. It does not, however offer the quad-core Core i7 and i5 EQ models with Intel Mobile QM170 chipset supported on the COMe-bSL6.

The COMe-bSL6 and bSL6R E2S can load up to 32GB DDR4-2133 via dual SODIMMs, and provides for a GbE port via an Intel I219LM controller. Triple displays are delivered with combinations of the three DDI DisplayPort++ interfaces, as well as VGA and dual-channel 18/24-bit LVDS. The VGA or LVDS interfaces can be swapped out for eDP.

Four SATA 3 ports are available, along with 4x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 2x serial, 8x PCIe, and PEG x16. Other interfaces include Intel HD Audio, SPI, LPC, SMB, Fast I2C, Staged Watchdog, RTC, and MARS. TPM 2.0 is standard, along with the new Security Solution Approtect, and VPro is optional. The module offers an 8.5V to 20V wide-range power supply with ACPI 4.0.


The COMe-bBD7 will ship in the fourth quarter around the same time as the other two modules we’ve seen that have adopted the new COM Express 3.0 Basic Type 7 form factor: the Adlink Express-BD7 and Congatec Conga-B7XD. COM Express 3.0 with Type 7 brings a server-grade platform and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) capabilities to a COM form factor. The Type 7 spec is designed for space-constrained, headless servers that require advanced networking capabilities.

COMe-bBD7 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Adlink and Congatec modules, the COMe-bBD7 uses the 125 x 95mm Type 7 Basic form-factor, and runs 5th Gen “Broadwell” based Xeon and Pentium D-1500 server CPUs. Specific models are fairly similar, with options ranging from the 12-core Xeon D-1559, which has a 1.5GHz/2.1GHz clock rate, 18MB of cache, and a 45W TDP, down to a 2.2GHz/2.6GHz Pentium D1508 with 3MB cache and 25W TDP.

As with the other Type 7 modules, there’s a 10GbE KR controller that supports two ports, as well as a standard GbE controller. You can load up to 32GB of DDR4 via dual SODIMM modules. Like the Congatec model, the COMe-bBD7 supports 24x PCIe Gen 3 and 8x PCIe Gen 2, for 32 PCIe lanes overall.

The COMe-bBD7 is further equipped with 4x USB 3.0, 2x serial, and 2x 6Gbps SATA III interfaces. There’s no graphics or audio, but you get SPI, LPC, SMB, Fast I2C, Staged Watchdog, RTC, and MARS.

Additional features include TPM 2.0, Approtect security, and an 8.5V to 20V wide-range power supply with ACPI 5.0 power management. The module is available in a commercial 0 to 60°C version, and with some processor models, an industrial -40 to 85°C version.

Further information

The COMe-bSL6 and bSL6R E2S Type 6 modules are available now, and the COMe-bBD7 Type 7 module will ship in the fourth quarter. More information may be found on Kontron’s COMe-bSL6 and bSL6R E2S and COMe-bBD7 product pages.

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