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Elkhart Lake modules available in Type 6, Type 10, and SMARC formats

Sep 29, 2020 — by Eric Brown 641 views

Kontron announced three Linux-friendly Elkhart Lake based compute modules with support for optional 2.5GbE: a COM Express Compact Type 6 “COMe-cEL6 (E2)” with up to 32GB DDR4-3200 plus a Mini Type 10 “COMe-mEL10 (E2)” and a “SMARC-sXEL (E2).”

Kontron unveiled its first products based on Intel’s Elkhart Lake Atom x6000E, Pentium, and Celeron SoCs. The COM Express Compact Type 6 COMe-cEL6 (E2), COM Express Mini Type 10 COMe-mEL10 (E2), and SMARC 2.1 form-factor SMARC-sXEL (E2) will be available in 1Q 2021 with BSPs for Linux, Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, and VxWorks 7.0.

Kontron’s COMe-cEL6 (E2), COMe-mEL10 (E2), and SMARC-sXEL (E2) (left to right) and Intel’s Elkhart Lake processors
(click images to enlarge)

Intel’s dual- and quad-core Elkhart Lake SoCs include 8x Atom x6000E, 2x Pentium, and 2x Celeron models. The processors feature 10nm SuperFin Tremont CPU cores and up to 32EU Intel Gen11 graphics cores, which offer triple 4K display support and greater potential for AI tasks. Intel claims up to 1.7x better single-thread, 1.5x better multi-thread, and 2x better graphics performance compared to the 14nm Goldmont Plus based Gemini Lake.

Elkhart Lake integrates an Intel Programmable Services Engine (Intel PSE) built around a real-time Cortex-M7 core. Intel PSE supports functions such as power management and remote out-of-band (OOB) and in-band (INB) device management. Other Elkhart Lake highlights include support for 64GB and ECC RAM and 2.5GbE ports with TSN. Like the other Elkhart Lake products we have seen so far, including TQ’s TQMxE40 line of Type 6, Type 10, and SMARC modules and Advantech’s SOM-2532 SMARC module, the Kontron modules do not support the two low-power “FE” models, which offer functional safety features.

COMe-cEL6 (E2) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Kontron’s Elkhart Lake modules follow Kontron Apollo Lake based modules including the Compact Type 6 COMe-cAL6 (E2), Mini Type 10 COMe-m4AL10, and SMARC-sXAL4. While the Apollo Lake modules offer up to 8GB, 16GB, and 8GB RAM, respectively, the 95 x 95mm COMe-cEL6 (E2) Type 6 module supports up to 32GB DDR4-3200, including IBECC error-correcting RAM via dual sockets.


The 84 x 55mm, Mini Type 10 COMe-mEL10 (E2) and 82 x 50mm SMARC-sXEL (E2) instead offer up to 16GB soldered LPDDR4 including IBECC. The COMe-mEL10 (E2) RAM is listed with 4267 MT/s RAM.

The modules lack the UFS flash supported by Elkhart Lake, but offer up to 128GB of optional eMMC 5.1 (MLC) or optionally, 64GB pSLC. The COM Express modules support 2x SATA III while the SMARC module gives you 1x SATA III.

The Ethernet specs are a little confusing. The announcement suggest that all three models provide GbE or optional 2.5GbE controllers with TSN support along with 2x or 1x (SMARC) optional SGMII ports via PCIe for SERDES connections. Yet the datasheets for the COM Express modules list GbE (GPY115) or optional 2.5GbE (GPY215) controllers, and the COMe-mEL10 (E2) also lists 2x optional 2.5GbE with a note that 2x optional SGMII are available in place of the 2x SATA.

The SMARC-sXEL (E2), which is the only one to show the SGMII connection on its block diagram, lists 2x GbE, one of which can be designated as the SGMII, but it mentions nothing about 2.5GbE. The SGMII connection reduces the standard 4x PCIe x1 to 3x. Meanwhile, the COMe-cEL6 (E2) has 6x PCIe lanes and the COMe-mEL10 (E2) has 3x, both of which are listed as Gen3.

COMe-mEL10 (E2) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The two COM Express modules provide 2x USB 3.1 and 6x USB 2.0. The larger COMe-cEL6 (E2) also offers an option for 4x USB 3.1 and 4x USB 2.0. The SMARC-sXEL (E2) supports 2x USB 3.0 and 4x USB 2.0, and as with the others, one of the 2.0 ports can be OTG.

The COM Express modules provide 2x RX/TX serial interfaces along with SPI, LPC, SMB, Fast I2C, staged Watchdog, and RTC. The SMARC-sXEL (E2) supplies 4x serial (2x RX/TX) plus 5x I2C, 2x SPI, 14x GPIOs, and I2S. TPM 2.0 is standard on the SMARC-sXEL (E2) and optional on the others.

SMARC-sXEL (E2) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

For displays, the COMe-cEL6 (E2) leads the way with dual DDI DP++ interfaces and up to 48-bit, dual-channel LVDS. The COMe-mEL10 (E2) has a single DDI DP++ plus 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS, and the SMARC-sXEL (E2) furnishes DP++, HDMI (or optional DP) plus dual-channel LVDS. All the products offer eDP as an option instead of LVDS and they all offer Intel HD Audio.

All the modules provide wide-range DC inputs, including 8.5-20V on the COMe-cEL6 (E2), 4.75-20V on the COMe-mEL10 (E2), and 3.0-5.25V on the SMARC-sXEL (E2). The two COM Express modules feature ACPI 6.0 power management. They are all available in 0 to 60°C and -40 to 85°C models along with IEC 60068-2-78-compliant humidity resistance.

Further information

No pricing information was provided for the COMe-cEL6 (E2), COMe-mEL10 (E2), and SMARC-sXEL (E2), which will ship in Q1 2021. More information may be found in Kontron’s announcement and COMe-cEL6 (E2), COMe-mEL10 (E2), and SMARC-sXEL (E2).


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