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COM Express Type 6 quartet sings Braswell's praise

Jun 9, 2015 — by Eric Brown 734 views

[Updated: 7PM] — Adlink, MSC, Nexcom, and Portwell have all launched COM Express Type 6 modules built around 14nm Intel “Braswell” SoCs, and offering up to 4K video support.

COM Express Type 6 is typically the first module form factor to launch with new x86 processors, and Intel’s new 14nm-fabricated “Braswell” Pentium and Celeron SoCs are no different. Adlink, MSC Technologies, and Portwell have each announced Type 6 “Compact” (95 x 95mm) computer-on-modules, joining Nexcom’s Braswell-based ICES 621 Type 6 COM that we reported on last week.

The additional three include the Adlink cExpress-BW, the MSC Technologies C6C-BW, and the Portwell PCOM-B636VG. Other recently announced board-level Braswell offerings include Nexcom’s 3.5-inch EBC 356 SBC and Congatec’s Conga-QA4 Qseven COM.

Left to right: Braswell-based COM Express Type 6 Compact modules from Adlink, MSC, Nexcom, and Portwell

Intel announced four Pentium and Celeron branded Braswell SoCs in March. The SoCs have the same relationship with the Cherry Trail Atom x5 and Atom x7 as “Bay Trail-D” SoCs such as the Celeron N2920 have to the “Bay Trail-I” Atom E3800 SoCs. The Braswell SoCs offer similar CPUs to the Cherry Trail Atoms, but add desktop-like features such as SATA support. Like Cherry Trail, Braswell moves up to Intel Gen8 graphics, supporting 4K (3840 x 2160 pixel) resolution, among other improvements.


All these new COM Express Type 6 modules each are available with a choice of all four Braswell offerings, shown here with links to Intel’s product pages:

  • Pentium N3700 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • Celeron N3150 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.08GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • Celeron N3050 — 2x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.16GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • Celeron N3000 — 2x Braswell cores @ 1.04GHz (2.08GHz burst) with 2MB cache and a 4W TDP (3W SDP).

The four COMs are summarized below.

Adlink cExpress-BW

Adlink’s Braswell-based COM Express Type 6 updates its cExpress-BT Type 6 module, which supports the Intel Atom E3800 series and related Bay Trail Celeron processors. The new module supports Linux and Windows 7/8, with extended support for WES7 and WE8S.

Adlink cExpress-BW (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

On the cExpress-BW, Adlink backs up its Braswell SoC with up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM. Dual 6Gbps SATA interfaces are available, one of which supports an optional onboard SSD (size unstated).

The cExpress-BW supports triple independent displays with three DDI channels configured as HDMI, single/dual channel 18/24-bit LVDS, DisplayPort, and optional eDP. Intel HD audio is provided to drive a Realtek ALC886 codec, which available on the optional Express-Base6 carrier board.

The Adlink module is equipped with an Intel I210LM gigabit Ethernet MAC/PHY, and supports four USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports. Other I/O includes dual serial ports, 8-channel GPIO, and Super I/O.

Expansion features include three PCIe x1 interfaces or a build option for five PCIe x1 with bridge. LPC and SMB buses are dedicated to the system, while the user can make use of an I2C interface. Debug headers are provided along with Adlink’s trademark SEMA Board Controller for hardware monitoring and other duties. TPM 1.2 is optional.

The cExpress-BW module is available with a 12V/5V power input or wide-range 5-20V/5V in both ATX or AT configurations. The module supports ACPI 5.0 and offers a smart battery function. The COM can survive 0 to 60°C temperatures, and offers shock and vibration resistance compliant with IEC 60068-2-64, IEC-60068-2-27, and various MIL-STD-202F methods.


MSC Technologies, which is owned by Avnet, steps up to the Braswell plate with its MSC C6C-BW module. The Type 6 COM comes standard with WES7, but offers Linux on request. Like the Adlink cExpress-BW, the module supports up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM and offers dual 6Gbps SATA ports, but instead of the optional SSD, you get a bootable microSD slot.

(click image to enlarge)

Display support appears to be identical to the Adlink COM, but in this case the eDP port is not lisetd at optional, although it is shared with LVDS. USB support also appears to be the same with four 3.0 and 2.0 ports. You get a gigabit Ethernet controller and HD audio support, but there are no serial interfaces.

The MSC C6C-BW provides five PCIe x1 channels, plus an LPC bus. Other features include a watchdog, real-time clock, fan supply, and system monitoring, as well as an optional Infineon TPM 1.2 module. The COM provides wide-range 5-17V power input, with an option for 5V standby power, along with ACPI and fan control support. Consumption is said to range from 7-9W.

Like the Adlink module, the MSC C6C-BW supports 0 to 60°C temperatures. No shock or vibration support was listed. Options include a starter kit with one of two Type 6 baseboards and an active heatsink with fan.

Nexcom ICES 621

Like its rivals, Nexcom’s ICES 621 supports both the Pentium and Celeron Braswell options, along with up to 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM. Additionally, its display support is the standard set of DP, eDP, HDMI, and LVDS interfaces, with up to 4K x 2K resolution available over HDMI, but it also offers a VGA port.

ICES 621, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The ICES 621 provides for four USB 3.0 and eight USB 2.0 ports, as well as a gigabit Ethernet port and dual SATA 3.0 connections. You also get four PCIe x 1 interfaces, plus LPC and SMBus expansion.

ICES 621 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The module runs on +12V, +5VSB, or +3.3V RTC power with both AT and ATX modes, and there’s a fan connector. The temperature range is wider than that of the EBC 356, rated at -40 to 65°C.

Portwell PCOM-B636VGL

Portwell supports the PCOM-B636VGL with Linux and Windows Embedded. RAM and SATA support is the same as the other two modules, but in this case you can buy optional eMMC 4.51 flash storage (capacity unstated).

PCOM-B636VG, front and back detail
(click images to enlarge)

The PCOM-B636VGL provides the same DP, eDP, HDMI, and LVDS interfaces as its rivals, but there’s no mention of triple display support, which it may well offer. Other similar features include a gigabit Ethernet controller and HD audio.

An LPC interface is provided, as are four PCIe x1 lanes. The latter can be configured as four x1 or two x2 interfaces, or as a single x4 interface. As with Adlink, eight USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports are mentioned, but it’s unclear whether that’s eight or 12 ports total. Other features include a watchdog and hardware monitoring.

The Portwell module supports 0 to 60°C temperatures, but there were no power details listed aside from the availability of an I2C smart battery function. No carrier board option was mentioned, but the company noted its carrier board design and development, review schematics, and BIOS customization services.

Further information

Availability and pricing of these modules has not announced, as of the date of this post. More information on each of the four modules may be found at Adlink cExpress-BW page, Nexcom ICES 621 page, MSC C6C-BW page, and Portwell PCOM-B636VGL page.

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