Picmg approves credit-card dimensions for CoM spec

  • December 14, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Standards body Picmg has approved the dimensions of a credit-card sized computer-on-module (CoM) specification that could be used for IoT gateways.

The Picmg CoM-HPC technical subcommittee has approved the pinout and footprint of the 95 by 60mm CoM-HPC Mini specification, which is now entering the home stretch towards final ratification, scheduled for the first half of 2023.

Designed for small yet performance-hungry applications, the CoM-HPC Mini specification will open up the prospect of developing powerful microcomputers the size of a four- or eight-port Ethernet switch, for example. Such small sizes are needed in many segments of embedded and edge computing.

Target markets include box PCs, control cabinets, Din-rail PCs, adaptive IoT gateways for the brownfield, cyber-secure edge computers for critical IT and OT infrastructures, rugged tablets, robots and in-vehicle computers wanting to take advantage of the soldered RAM, which is a standard feature of these modules.

Processors predestined for this form factor are the 12th-generation Intel Core processor series for which German company Congatec already offers a ready-to-deploy design study for initial lab tests and customer feedback loops.

“The pinout approval is an essential milestone as carrier board designers and computer-on-module manufacturers such as Congatec who are active in the CoM-HPC working group can now embark on first compliant small form factor sized embedded and edge computers based on these pre-approved data,” said Congatec’s Christian Eder, chair of the CoM-HPC working group. “The goal is to bring modules to market at the same time as Intel and other application processor vendors launch their new high-end processor generations, which is expected to happen next year.”

Providing 400 pins, as compared with CoM Express Mini’s 220 pins, the CoM-HPC Mini standard is designed to satisfy the rising interface needs of heterogeneous and multi-functional edge computers. Extensions include up to four USB 4.0 with full functionality including Thunderbolt and DisplayPort alternate mode, PCIe Gen 4/5 with up to 16 lanes, and two 10Gbit/s Ethernet ports. The CoM-HPC Mini connector is qualified for bandwidths of more than 32Gbit/s, enough to support PCIe Gen 5 or even Gen 6.