Computer-on-Modules

COM Express Module - New Era ElectronicsWhat is a COM Express Module? That is a very good question. On a survey of OEMs that work in the embedded computing industry by people that work in the field, only about 50% know what this module is, while the other half is left in the dark. With a statistic like that, and when you consider that these modules have been around since 2004, it stands to reason that these COM Express Modules could use an explanation.

A COM Express Module is a form factor of a Computer on Module. Knowing what a Computer on Module (COM for short) is is essential to understanding the COM Express specification. So we’ll touch on that briefly before we get into the meat and potatoes. A COM is just what it says, an entire single board computer built onto a small footprint circuit board. What makes this module different from any other motherboard is that while this module has a processor, RAM slots and I/O controllers, the module doesn’t actually have any I/O. So how the heck is it supposed to work? Continue Reading…

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COM Express starter kitThe time spent designing and implementing a motherboard for a product can be painstaking at best. Troubleshooting and deciding the exact specifications that an OEM’s product will require can be the lynch pins for development, and in some cases, provide the most challenges for designers.

Many of the questions surrounding this process pertain to determining what kind of board will complement the overall design. There are always choices, depending on the product’s application. One such avenue is a COM Express module.

These small footprint modules hold a unique place within the embedded systems world. They fill a certain set of applications that necessitate a powerful and expandable motherboard that can handle the main component specifications. By taking care of this aspect, designers are free to focus on making the product do all that it possibly can via a custom designed carrier board. A COM Express module helps to simplify an OEM’s design process through great tech and the addition of a starter kit.

COM Express Starter Kits: A Box of Possibilities

COM Express starter kit contains a sample ATX carrier board with a plethora of different I/O which designers can Continue Reading…

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Military Computing - COM ExpressThere is a quotation about warfare that says “War never changes.” The philosophical idea behind that statement may be correct, but in the realm of technology, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Military computing is constantly undergoing change. Technological breakthroughs and research into innovative solutions are always on the verge of becoming a reality. In pushing toward new ideas, a nation’s military must utilize the latest advancements in embedded computer modules. The “golden rules “of this type of technology are to create:

  • a space saving module
  • a technically proficient machine, in both processing and graphical power
  • a device with low power consumption

It is a difficult set of boxes to tick, but the Computer on Module Express, or COM Express, standard fills and advances this need.

The application for COM Express boards is not meant to replace standard full size industrial PCs. That form factor must still be relied upon for heavy computing necessary at major operations bases. However, the usual size of a full motherboard prohibits Continue Reading…

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Computer on modulesSmall form factor PC solutions within an integrated single-board computer fall under the category of computer-on-modules. As an embedded computer that is based on a single circuit board, the computer-on-module allows for core functionality on a customized setting. This allows engineers to design features that would cater to different applications, all embedded into the carrier board.

Computer-on-Module Product Categories

There are many categories for computer-on-modules, and each is dependent on the need and the purpose of the CPU module.

  • ETX – Also known as the embedded technology extended, the ETX is a computer-on-module that comes as a complete package of PC functionality despite its size of 95 mm by 114 mm. It’s been around since the turn of the century in the year 2000 and so it has the great benefit of being compatible with a wide range of legacy parts such as ISA, IDE and PS/2, which is a virtual godsend in the industrial computer industry. However, as a tradeoff, it doesn’t support newer technology such as Continue Reading…

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