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Linux-friendly Type 7 modules take to the skies

Dec 4, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,259 views

[Updated: Dec. 11] — Congatec unveiled two rugged, up to 16-core COM Express Basic Type 7 modules for aircraft computers: a Xeon D 15xx and Pentium D-15xx based Conga-B7XD and an Atom C3xxx driven Conga-B7AC that supports up to 96GB DDR4. There’s also a new Conga-X7EVAL Type 7 carrier.

Congatec has been slow to get into the COM Express Basic Type 7 “server-on-module” market but has made up for lost time by announcing two Linux- and Windows supported Type 7 models. Designed for “converged edge servers in aircrafts,” the Intel Xeon D and Pentium D based Conga-B7XD and the Intel Atom C3xxx based Conga-B7AC are the first aviation-focused Type 7 modules we’ve seen.

Conga-B7XD (left) and Conga-B7AC
(click images to enlarge)

A week after this story was first posted, Congatec announced that the Atom-based Conga-B7AC now supports up to 96GB DDR4 SODIMMs via 3x 32GB-ready sockets. Congatec calls this a a “new milestone for COM Express Type 7 based designs,” and notes that “with 96 GB RAM, 12 virtual machines now have 8 GB RAM available on each partition…”

The Conga-B7XD competes with general-purpose Xeon D 15xx powered Type 7 modules like Portwell’s PCOM-B700G while the Conga-B7AC measures up against Atom C3xxx COMs like Adlink’s Express-DN7. (Both of these stories link to other Type 7 modules in the same class.)


The 125 x 90mm modules are designed for “airborne platforms for connected aircrafts, passenger infotainment, and augmented reality applications,” says Congatec. Specific applications range from passenger services such as seatback and mobile device streaming to cockpit duties like predictive maintenance, Big Data applications, video surveillance, cloud based flight data recordings, augmented reality navigational aids in low visibility areas, and AI-based virtual assistants for improving pilot productivity and efficiency.

Congatec’s Type 7 modules feature “high shock and vibration resistance,” although no specs were provided, as well as optional coating for humidity resistance listed as “10 to 90% r. H. non cond.” Temperature ranges are either a slightly extended 0 to 60°C or an industrial -40 to 85°C, depending on the processor (see CPU list below).

Congatec’s Type 7 CPU choices (left) and new Conga-X7EVAL carrier board
(click images to enlarge)

Both modules support Intel chips ranging from 4x to 16x cores, with the latter configuration available on the 2.1GHz Xeon D1577 (Conga-B7XD) and 2.0GHz Atom C3958 (Conga-B7AC). Both supply 3x SODIMM sockets for ECC or non-EEC DDR4 2400 MT/s RAM ranging up to 48GB for the Conga-B7XD and 96GB for the Conga-B7AC.

The Xeon-based Conga-B7XD provides a single Intel I210A GbE controller as well as 2x 10GbE with KR interface support. (The 10GbE PHY must be implemented on the carrier board.) The Conga-B7AC lacks a GbE controller, but supports 4x 10GbE with KR.

The Conga-B7XD enables 24x PCIe Gen 3 and 8x PCIe 2.0 lanes while the Conga-B7AC gives you 12x and 8x PCIe interfaces, respectively. Both provide 4x USB 2.0 interfaces while the Conga-B7XD gives you 4x USB 3.0 and the Conga-B7AC supplies two.

Block diagrams for Conga-B7XD (left) and Conga-B7AC
(click images to enlarge)

Both modules offer dual SATA III storage interfaces, as well as 2x UART and single SPI and LPC bus connections. The Conga-B7XD adds an I2C connection while the Conga-B7AC instead serves up SMBus.

Standard features include a Congatec Board Controller with watchdog and board statistics, as well as embedded BIOS features like flash updates. Only the Conga-B7XD provides ACPI 5.0 power management and optional TPM security.

Linux support includes RHEL 6.6 & 7.1, SuSE 11 SP4 & 12 SP1, Fedora 22, Ubuntu 14.10, CentOS 6.6 & 7.1, and Yocto v.2.0 Kernel 4.1. They also support Windows and Windows Server, as well as FreeBSD and other platforms.

Conga-X7EVAL carrier

Congatec is supporting its Type 7 modules with a new Type 7 carrier board called the Conga-X7EVAL. The 294 x 244mm board is available in a commercial temperature range model with 4x standard copper 10GbE ports, as well as an industrial temperature model with 4x 10GbE SFP+ fiber/copper ports. The latter lacks a baseboard management controller (BMC) Ethernet port.

Conga-X7EVAL detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The Conga-X7EVAL is equipped with a standard GbE port and the following PCIe Gen 3 lanes: 32 PCIe (or 1x PCIe x16), 2x PCIe x4, and PCIe x8, with the fifth of the 8x cores shared with the BMC. You get 4x each of USB 3.0 and 2.0, with the latter set shared with the BMC. A VGA port is available for displaying BMC info.

Other features include 2x SATA III with SATA power, 2x COM, and single LPC, I2C, SMBus, GPIO, and fan interfaces. You’ll also find a variety of buttons, 4×7-segment postcode LEDs, and a “feature connector.” The ATX supply has a 12V jack.

Further information

Congatec’s Conga-B7XD and Conga-B7AC modules, as well as the Conga-X7EVAL carrier, are available for order, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found on the Conga-B7XD, Conga-B7AC, and Conga-X7EVAL product pages.

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