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Portwell and Congatec spin Elkhart Lake modules in multiple form factors

Nov 24, 2020 — by Eric Brown 417 views

Portwell unveiled a “PQ7-M109” Qseven module with Intel’s Atom x-6000. Congatec recently announced x6000 modules in Qseven (Conga-QA7), SMARC, (Conga-SA7), Mini Type 10 (Conga-MA7), and Compact Type 6 (Conga-TCA7) form factors.

Portwell has announced the PQ7-M109, its first product based on Intel’s 10nm fabricated Elkhart Lake family of low-power system-on-chips, which includes several Atom x-6000, Celeron, and Pentium models. In September, in reporting on Congatec’s Elkhart Lake based Conga-PA7 Pico-ITX SBC, we promised to cover Congatec’s four Elkhart Lake compute modules in a separate report. Well, better late than ever: We briefly summarize Congatec’s Conga-QA7 (Qseven), Conga-SA7 (SMARC), and Conga-MA7 (COM Express Mini Type 10) and Conga-TCA7 (Compact Type-6) modules farther below.

Portwell’s PQ7-M109 (left) and Congatec’s Conga-QA7
(click images to enlarge)

Portwell’s PQ7-M109 supports the standard “E” series Atom x-6000 dual- and quad-core models, along with the dual-core Celeron N6211 and quad-core Celeron J6413. The four Congatec modules support the same “E” series Atom x-6000 models and core Celeron J6413 along with the quad-core Celeron J6425.

The Congatec modules also support three “RE” series Atom models, which lack a Turbo mode but add support for Intel Time Coordinated Computing (Intel TCC) and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN). The “RE” models supported by Congatec are the quad-core Atom x6425RE and Atom x6414RE and the dual-core Atom x6212RE.

Intel’s Elkhart Lake lineup (left) and Congatec’s Elkhart Lake lineup with Conga-PA7 Pico-ITX SBC at left
(click images to enlarge)

Intel claims up to 1.7x better single-thread, 1.5x better multi-thread, and 2x better graphics performance with Elkhart Lake compared to the 14nm Goldmont Plus based Gemini Lake. All the Elkhart Lake chips offer an Intel Programmable Services Engine (Intel PSE) built around a real-time Cortex-M7 core. Intel PSE supports functions such as advanced power management and remote out-of-band (OOB) and in-band (INB) device management. None of the Portwell or Congatec models adopt the “FE” functional safety Elkhart Lake models, which are available on Eurotech’s CPU-161-19 and CPU-161-20 Compact Type 6 modules.



Portwell’s Qseven 2.1 compliant PQ7-M109, which follows its Apollo Lake based PQ7-M108 Qseven module, is available with Linux, Yocto, and Win 10 IoT Enterprise and IoT Core. The PQ7-M109 and Conga-QA7 are the first Elkhart Lake Qseven modules we have seen.

PQ7-M109 rear view and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The 70 x 70mm module ships with up to 8GB LPDDR4-3200 RAM with In-Band ECC (IBECC) support, as well as up to 256GB eMMC 5.1. An Intel i210 AT/IT GbE controller is on board.

The PQ7-M109 supports triple independent displays via 2x up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz DDI interfaces for either DP 1.4 or HDMI 2.0b. There is also a 24-bit, dual-channel LVDS connection for up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz, which can be swapped out for eDP.

Portwell’s module supports either 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 with 6x USB 2.0 or a single USB 3.2 Gen1 with 8x USB 2.0. The module is further equipped with 2x SATA III, 4x PCIe Gen3 x1, SDIO, I2C, HDA, JTAG, SMBus, LPC, CANbus, WDT, and UART.

The PQ7-M109 has a 5V DC input compliant with ACPI 5.0 power management, as well as a Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator (FIVR). A TPM 2.0 security chip is also available. Two operating ranges are available: 0 to 70°C and -40 to 85°C.

As with the Congatec modules, no carrier boards were listed. Portwell’s Apollo Lake PQ7-M108 is supported with five different Qseven carrier options.


The 70 x 70mm Conga-QA7 Qseven 2.1 module offers the same OS options as Portwell’s PQ7-M109 along with Android, RTS Hypervisor and the standard version of Windows 10. Like all the Elkhart Lake Congatec modules, it is available in 0 to 60°C and -40 to 85°C models with 10 to 90%, non-condensing relative humidity resistance. The Conga-QA7 follows Congatec’s Apollo Lake powered Conga-QA5 module.

Conga-QA7 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Conga-QA7 supports twice the maximum RAM compared to the PQ7-M109 with up to 16GB LPDDR4 at up to 4.267 MT/s with IBECC. The module exploits Elkhart Lake’s support for UFS 2.0 storage by offering up to 64GB with optional increases to up to 512GB. An Intel-based GbE port supports TSN accompanied by a real-time trigger.

The module offers the same display interfaces except that you can optionally swap out the LVDS for 4-lane MIPI-DSI instead of eDP. The module enables 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 interfaces compared to the pair of slower Gen1 interfaces on the Portwell module and offers up to 8x USB 2.0, including OTG support.

Other interfaces are the same except SPI is listed instead of WDT. You also get a
Congatec Board Controller, embedded BIOS features, ACPI 5.0, and smart battery management.


Congatec’s Conga-SA7 complies with the same 82 x 50mm SMARC “short” form factor adopted by its Apollo Lake powered Conga-SA5. Other Elkhart Lake equipped SMARC modules include Advantech’s SOM-2532, Data Modul’s eDM-SMX-EL, and Kontron’s SMARC-sXEL (E2).

Conga-SA7 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Conga-SA7 offers the same up to 16GB LPDDR4 and 64GB UFS 2.0 storage as the Conga-QA7 and adds an option for an M.2 based WiFi/Bluetooth module. The module offers dual GbE controllers with TSN and trigger compared to one on the Conga-QA7.

The Conga-SA7 is equipped with 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 6x USB, SATA III, and 4x PCIe Gen3 interfaces. Other I/Os are much like those on the Conga-QA7 with additions including GPIOs and I2S. It is the module in this story that offers multiple interfaces on I2C (2x), UART (4x), and CAN (2x). Display support and other features are identical.


Congatec’s COM Express Mini Type 10 spin on Elkhart Lake follows its Apollo Lake based Conga-MA5. The 84 x 55mm module joins other Elkhart Lake Mini Type 10 modules such as Kontron’s COMe-mEL10 (E2) and TQ Embedded’s TQMxE40M.

Conga-MA7 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Conga-MA7 has the same RAM, GbE, display, USB, and PCIe specs as the Conga-QA7 Qseven module, although there is no 512GB UFS 2.0 option. The module advances to dual SATA III interfaces. Other I/Os are closer to the Conga-QA7 than the SMARC based Conga-SA7, which offers more multiple interfaces. Other features are the same as both modules.


Unsurprisingly, the largest module in Congatec’s Elkhart Lake announcement — the 95 x 95mm COM Express Compact Type 6 Conga-TCA7 — also offers the most features. Following its Apollo Lake based Conga-TCA5 Compact Type 6 entry, the Conga-TCA7 joins other Elkhart Lake Compact Type 6 modules including Kontron’s COMe-cEL6 (E2), Eurotech’s CPU-161-19 and CPU-161-20, and TQ’s TQMxE40C1 and TQMxE40C2.

Conga-TCA7 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Conga-TCA7 is the only module here that supports up to 32GB LPDDR4-3200 via dual channels. UFS 2.0 storage is optional, with up to 512GB capacity.

Like all but the dual-GbE Conga-SA7, there is a single GbE with TSN and trigger. It’s the only module here with dual DP 1.4 connections, with other displaye interfaces remaining the same.

The Conga-TCA7 enables up to 6x PCIe Gen3 and offers dual SATA III, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, and up to 8x USB 2.0. The remaining I/O is similar to the Qseven and Type 10 modules, with the only multiple being one of the two UARTs, which can be muxed with CAN. Other features are identical.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Portwell PQ7-M109 Qseven module or the Congatec Conga-QA7 (Qseven), Conga-SA7 (SMARC), Conga-MA7 (COM Express Mini Type 10), and Conga-TCA7 (COM Express Compact Type-6) modules. More information may be found on in Portwell’s announcement and PQ7-M109 product page. More on the Congatec products may be found in Congatec’s Elkhart Lake announcement and its product pages for the Conga-QA7, Conga-SA7, Conga-MA7, and Conga-TCA7.


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