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COM Express Type 7 module has dual 10GbE and 32 PCIe lanes

Oct 13, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,382 views

Congatec unveiled the “Conga-B7XD,” one of the first COM Express Type 7 modules, featuring Intel “Broadwell” CPUs, 2x 10GbE Ethernet, and 32x PCI lanes.

In early August, Adlink announced the Express-BD7, the first computer-on-module to support PICMG’s server-oriented COM Express Type 7 spec. Type 7 is the first specification of PICMG’s COM Express 3.0 standard. The spec was due to be ratified Oct. 1, and now Congatec says its Type 7-based Conga-B7XD is being launched in “parallel to the preview release” of Type 7. The module does not appear to be shipping yet, but then again Adlink’s Express-BD7 is still listed as preliminary, so we’ll call it a draw. Adlink claims to be the lead developer of the Type 7 spec, while Congatec says it’s the spec’s “editor.”

(click image to enlarge)

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. (For more information, see our previous Type 7 coverage.)

In addition to “modular server designs” such as cloud servers for IoT, the Conga-B7XD is aimed at a number of applications that could be defined as high-end embedded. These are said to include industrial automation, storage and networking appliances, telecom base stations, and IoT edge and fog servers.


The capability to offer 10GbE, which is a first for a COM, enables deployment in the field, which is essential for hosting IoT applications, says Congatec. The unprecedented 32 PCIe connections will likely be used for “fast SSDs or discrete GPUs,” says the company.

Congatec’s Conga-B7XD (left) compared to Adlink’s Express-BD7
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Express-BD7, the Conga-B7XD uses the COM Express Type 7 Basic form-factor — which has the same, 125 x 95mm dimensions as Type 6 Basic — and runs Linux, Windows, and other OSes on Intel 5th Gen “Broadwell” Xeon D and Pentium processors. The list of supported models is very similar. Like the Adlink module, for example, high-end options include the 16-core, 1.3GHz/2.1GHz Xeon D-1577 with 24MB cache and a 45W TDP, as well as the 12-core Xeon D-1559, which has a 1.5GHz/2.1GHz clock rate, 18MB of cache, and a 45W TDP.

The Conga-B7XD further supports two octa-core and two quad-core Xeon-D models, as well as a quad-core Pentium D-1519. There are also two dual-core Pentiums, including the 2.2GHz/2.6GHz Pentium D1508 with 3MB cache and 25W TDP and a D1509 with dual 1.5GHz cores, 3MB cache, and a 19W TDP.

Conga-B7XD block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

As with the Adlink module, a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) KR controller supports two ports, with PHY required on the carrier. There’s also a standard GbE controller. The module also supports the NC-SI Network Controller Sideband Interface for connecting a Baseboard Management Controller (BMC), enabling out-of-band remote manageability, says Congatec.

You can load up to 48GB of DDR4 ECC RAM via 3x 16GB SODIMM modules, compared to up to 32GB on the Express-BD7. Other standout features include 24x PCIe Gen 3 and 8x PCIe Gen 2 for 32 PCIe lanes overall. By comparison, the Express-BD7 offers 8x PCIe x1 and 2x PCIe x4, all of the Gen 2 variety, plus one PCIe x16 Gen3.

There are no graphics on Type 7 modules, but you get 4x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 2x UART, and 2x 6Gbps SATA III, plus LPC, SPI, and I2C interfaces. Additional Conga-B7XD features include TPM, ACPI 5.0 power management, and a Congatec Board Controller with features like multi-stage watchdog and power loss control.

Commercial 0 to 60°C and industrial -40 to 85°C versions are available, and accessories include standardized cooling solutions. A carrier board will be available when the modules ship, says Congatec. Supported Linux distributions include CentOS, Fedora, RHEL, SuSE, Ubuntu, and Yocto Project.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Conga-B7XD More information may be found on Congatec’s Conga-B7XD product page.

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