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Compact, rugged Whiskey Lake module supports Linux

Mar 20, 2020 — by Eric Brown 314 views

Axiomtek’s “CEM521” COM Express Compact Type 6 module runs Linux or Win 10 on Intel’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake CPUs with up to 64GB DDR4, triple displays, and 3.5 Grms vibration and -40 to 85°C tolerance.

In January, Axiomtek announced a CEM520 COM Express Compact Type 6 module showcasing Intel’s 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs. It has now followed up with a smaller, 95 x 95mm Compact Type 6 CEM521 module that implements the more power-efficient, but somewhat less muscular 8th Gen Whiskey Lake-UE.

CEM521, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The CEM521 supports graphics-intensive IIoT applications including industrial control, medical imaging, digital signage, gaming machines, military, and networking. Whereas the Coffee Lake based CEM520 supports -20 to 70°C temperatures, the CEM521 extends that to -40 to 85°C. Like that earlier module, it offers vibration resistance at 3.5 Grms and humidity tolerance of 10% – 95% relative, non-condensing.

The CEM521 runs Linux or Win 10 on a variety of dual- and quad-core Core and Celeron models led by the quad-core, 8-thread 1.7GHz/4.4GHz Core i7-8665UE. They all provide Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 15W TDPs. Other Compact Type 6 Whiskey Lake modules include Aaeon’s COM-WHUC6, TQ Systems’ TQMx80UC, Adlink’s cExpress-WL, and Kontron’s COMe-cWL6 (E2S).


Like most of its rivals, the module supports up to 64GB DDR4-2400 via dual channels. It provides 3x SATA-600 (3.0) and 8x PCIe Gen3 lanes that support up to 5x PCIe devices if you’re not using the single Intel i219-LM Gigabit Ethernet controller with WoL and PXE boot.

Triple simultaneous displays are enabled via 4K-ready DDI (DP 1.2 or HDMI 1.4) and HD-resolution VGA and LVDS. The LVDS can be swapped out for an optional 4K eDP interface. There’s also an HD audio interface for a baseboard codec.

Major interfaces include 4x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 2x TX/RX serial, and single SPI, I2C, and LPC connections. You also get 4-in/4-out GPIO or optional SDIO.

Other features include a watchdog, HW monitoring, and 12V/5VSB ATX and 12V AT power inputs. There’s also support for TPM 2.0 and Axiomtek’s AMS.AXView device monitoring and remote management application. Options include a heat spreader, a heatsink with fan, and Axiomtek’s CEB94011 carrier board.

Further information

The CEM521 is available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in Axiomtek’s announcement and product page.

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