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While COM Express isn’t going anywhere, many businesses are wondering when they should make the switch to the next-generation computer-on-module standard, COM-HPC. Well, the answer depends on the application and computing demands. Partners like Advantech, a leader in embedded and automation solutions, leveraging Intel® processors, make it easy to decide by offering a variety of options depending on application, industry, and time.
Claus Giebert: My Name: I am Claus Giebert. The Product Sales Manager at Advantech responsible for the CPU-based computer-on-modules, meaning I’m also in charge for the COM Express and in addition for the new upcoming fantastic COM-HPC product line.
I think COM Express is a very well-established form factor which will be on the market and successful for at least another say eight or 10 years. Because for many applications, the current performance and interface requirements are not higher than COM Express.
Say it this way. Everything you can implement by COM Express today can be implemented by COM Express also for the next decade or so. But if you have application which you cannot cover by COM Express today this will be supported by COM-HPC. So server class applications, router applications, high in ethernets who put in the hundred gigabit area, stuff like this.
This will be taken over by COM-HPC but since this niche is not covered by COM Express today, I think that COM Express for many existing application areas will remain the dominating form factor for many years to come.
Since the most advantage of COM-HPC is supporting a lot of PCI Express lanes, faster PCI Express, a lot of ethernet, I would focus on CPU, which have fast CPU either fast ethernet from the CPU or fast PCI Express. Say typical example is something like the Alder Lake CPU. The Alder Lake CPU offers PCI Express gen five. which is doable. We are COM-HPC, but you have to basically limit the paths to gen four, if you want to do it on COM Express.
So basically Alder Lake S for example is a perfect fit for COM-HPC, but it will not make sense on COM eight Express at all and see it the other way around. If you do it this sign based on an Adom based platform like the formally called Elkhart Lake it does only support say kind of older PCI Express. It does not support fast ethernet, but it supports a lot of stuff which is used in today’s application. CPU’s like this I would continue to use on COM Express. As alternative is for example, the Tiger Lake CPU family, Tiger Lake H, Tiger Lake UP suite. This fits perfect on COM Express but there’s no real benefit to do it on COM-HPC.
In addition to our hardware, we offer some additional middleware to make integration for our customers much easier.
One of our products, the WISE-PaaS for example, enables you to do a cloud enablement to get data to your back end in your company for internal analyze much easier than doing it yourself. So instead of writing something from scratch you can use WISE-PaaS to easily connect our platforms to the cloud or to your in-house analyzing system which is a big benefit to save travel problems, security issues, and stuff like this.
In addition to this we also offer kind of more hardware related, hardware closer solution like iManager—which is basically a micro controller running independent from the whole CPU, which can offer many kind of supervisory functions, kind of communication functions, kind of redirecting of output to zero, stuff like this.
And which helps you more on the local side. While WISE-PaaS helps you in connecting to the cloud. iManager helps you to connect to your hardware on a low level, in an easier and standardized way.
As of today, we focus on the Intel CPU’s. And since there are two different flavors of COM-HPC—you have the COM-HPC client, which is intended to offer graphics, PCI Express, fast speed. And you have your COM-HPC server, which is more intended for fast ethernet, faster CPU, more faster PCI Express. We decided to go for two different CPU lines. So for the formally called Ice Lake D which is a kind of single chip server class processor we decided to go for the COM-HPC server pin out, which is basically our product on my right shoulder, which is basically this one.
(On screen: Advantech’s computer-on-module product: SOM-D580)
It’s called the SOM-D580, which is based on the Ice Lake D high core count version offering up to 20 CPU cores. While for this client class, we decided that the new Alder Lake offers the great graphics performance and a decent IO interface. So we decided for COM Express client we go for the Alder Lake offering PCI Express Gen5 for connecting an additional external graphics card. While at the same time offering an internal graphics to implement a lot of HMI or say medical imaging applications without an external graphics card using the internal Intel GPU.
Getting more information on our products is quite easy for all of you. All of our documentation is available on our website. And if you need more information, please contact your local salesman or your local distribution channel. We are in constant contact to all of them. We give them regular monthly training. So all of them are up to speed and are knowing all the new products and in the very unlikely case they don’t know it, we will contact you directly to someone like me our product sales managers, in this case for the European region it’s me, but we have people like me around worldwide being able to support you even on deep technical support level.
The preceding transcript is provided to ensure accessibility and is intended to accurately capture an informal conversation. The transcript may contain improper uses of trademarked terms and as such should not be used for any other purposes. For more information, please see the Intel® trademark information.