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Universal SMARC carrier launches with Elkhart Lake module

Nov 13, 2020 — by Eric Brown 402 views

Data Modul announced a universal “eDM-CB-SM-IPCS” carrier for Arm and x86 SMARC modules plus a Linux-ready “eDM-SMX-EL” SMARC module featuring Intel’s Elkhart Lake Atom x6000E.

One of the benefits of standardized compute module form factors such as SMARC is that manufacturers can easily upgrade to a faster new module using the same basic design and vendor. In some cases, there is the potential to switch processor families and even architectures. Last year, for example, MSC launched a universal SimpleFlex carrier for SMARC modules that supports i.MX6, i.MX8/M/Mini, Zynq UltraScale+, and Intel Apollo Lake. Now, Data Modul has announced its own universal SMARC carrier called the eDM-CB-SM-IPCS plus an Elkhart Lake based eDM-SMX-EL SMARC module that runs on it (see farther below).

eDM-CB-SM-IPCS and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The eDM-CB-SM-IPCS is a thin Mini-ITX carrier with support for Arm and x86 SMARC 2.0 and 2.1 modules. The universal SMARC carrier is designed to act as a “starting point for customer-specific designs.”

The 170 x 170mm carrier stands out with its V-by-One interface, which we have seen on a few products including Shenzhen Tomato’s Amlogic S922X based XYT-6689 SBC. This SerDes-based alternative to LVDS runs faster over twisted-pair copper lines.


Data Modul’s V-by-One implementation supports up to 4K resolution and supports standard interfaces like DisplayPort or LVDS. V-by-One can power all displays driven by the carrier board with up to 60 Watts and can also supply the backlight with up to 144 Watts using a separate connector. “Hence, large format and high-resolution HMI systems can be driven directly by this motherboard,” says Data Modul.

In addition to the V-by-One interface, you get DisplayPort and dual-channel, 24-bit LVDS, which is supplied with a backlight control and can be shared with an eDP interface. The carrier has a microSD slot and a SATA interface, as well as 2x GbE ports.

The eDM-CB-SM-IPCS is further equipped with USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and a USB Type-C port with PD and DP support. You can optionally add a second USB 3.0 port and “on request” you can add 2x USB 3.0 headers. There are also 3x standard USB 2.0 headers.

The carrier board supplies internal I/Os including RS485, RS232, 2x UART, 2x SPI, CAN, and 4x fan headers. Audio features include an HD Audio driven audio jack, a buzzer, and an I2S interface.

Expansion features include a Data Modul feature connector, with add-on options undisclosed. You also get an M.2 M-key 2242 slot for an SSD, and an M.2 A-key 2230/2242/3042 and M.2 B-key 2242, both with PCIe and USB 2.0 support. The A-key slot includes a nano-SIM socket.

The 24V powered board has an STM32-based board controller linked to power and reset button, among other features shown in the block diagram above. The carrier has a 0 to 60°C operating range with < 90% non-condensing relative humidity tolerance. Safety, shock, and vibration certifications include EN60950, EN62638, UL60950, IEC/EN60068-2-27, and IEC/EN60068.

eDM-SMX-EL module

The eDM-SMX-EL module combines Intel’s Elkhart Lake with the 82 x 50mm “short” SMARC 2.1 form factor. This same combination is used on Advantech’s SOM-2532 and Kontron’s SMARC-sXEL (E2). The module supports Linux, Yocto, and Windows 10 and 10 IoT. Other Data Modul modules include the 8th Gen Coffee Lake based EDM-COMB-CF6 COM Express Basic Type 6 module.

eDM-SMX-EL and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The eDM-SMX-EL lists five dual- and -quad-core Atom x6000E SKUs up to a quad-core, 1.8GHz/3.0GHz Atom x6425E with a 12W TDP. Some are standard “E” models while other are “RE” parts, which lack Turbo clock rates, but add support for TSN and Intel’s complementary TCC technologies for synchronized networking and soft real-time applications. Data Modul’s announcement says the module also supports Elkhart Lake Celeron and Pentium parts.

All the Elkhart Lake SoCs feature 10nm SuperFin Tremont CPU cores and up to 32EU Intel Gen11 graphics with triple 4K display support and greater potential for AI. Intel claims up to 1.7x better single-thread, 1.5x better multi-thread, and 2x better graphics performance compared to Gemini Lake. Elkhart Lake integrates an Intel Programmable Services Engine (Intel PSE) built around a real-time Cortex-M7 core for power management and remote out-of-band (OOB) and in-band (INB) device management.

Like the Advantech and Kontron modules, Data Modul’s module can load 2GB to up to 16GB LPDDR4, in this case supporting up to 4267 MT/s RAM including RAM with Intel’s new Inband ECC support. Like the Advantech module, the eDM-SMX-EL takes advantage of Elkhart Lake’s UFS 2.1 support, providing up to 64GB of UFS, with greater capacity available on request. (Unlike the PR, the datasheet lists only UFS 2.0.)

The eDM-SMX-EL has dual GbE controllers and support for DP++ (DDI) at up to 4KP60, as well as HDMI 1.4b or an optional second DP++. You also get dual-channel LVDS, which can be swapped out for eDP or MIPI-DSI on request. HD Audio and I2S are also available.

The module is further equipped with 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 at up to 10Gbps plus 4x USB 2.0, SATA III, and up to 4x PCIe Gen3. Additional I/O includes 4x UART, 2x CAN, 3x I2C, 12x GPIO, and single SPI, eSPI, and SDIO.

The eDM-SMX-EL provides a Data Modul Embedded Controller with a watchdog and other functions. TPM 2.0 and an automatic BIOS recovery feature are available on request.

The 5V module has a -40 to 85°C operating range with < 80% non-condensing relative humidity tolerance. Safety, shock, and vibration compliances include EN60950, IEC/EN60068-2-27, and IEC/EN60068-2-6

Further information

The first samples of the eDM-CB-SM-IPCS carrier will be available at the end of November at an undisclosed price. No pricing or availability information was provided for the eDM-SMX-EL module. More information may be found in Data Modul’s announcement for both products, as well as the eDM-CB-SM-IPCS and eDM-SMX-EL product pages.

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