Friday, March 1, 2024

PICMG Brings PCIe 5.0, USB4 & 10GbE To Far Edge

By Shivangi Kharoo

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Form Factor 95 mm x 70 mm COM specification brings low power and high-performance interfaces to drones, mobile robots, and mobile test equipment.

PICMG, a consortium for developing open embedded computing specifications, has announced the release of the new computer-on-module for high performance compute standard, COM-HPC 1.2 Mini specification. 

It is nearly half (95 mm x 70 mm) the size of the next-smallest COM-HPC form factor and provides a cost-effective, lower power module for far edge applications. 

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Mini’s smaller footprint also provides mechanical advantages. This 5 mm reduction compared to other variants means its modules must use soldered memory, which makes them inherently rugged through resistance to shock and vibration and provides direct thermal coupling to heat spreaders. 

A signal voltage reduction from 3.3V to 1.8V on most pins is in line with reduced I/O voltage on the latest low-power central processing units (CPUs). The input power is limited to a maximum of 107W at input voltage of 8V to 20V, leaving plenty of headroom for performance processors.

A single, rugged 400-pin connector allows it to support communications interfaces including 16x PCIe lanes (PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 5.0),  2x 10Gbps NBASE-T ethernet ports and 8x SuperSpeed lanes (for USB4/ThunderBolt, USB 3.2 or DDI) etc.

The 1.2 specification defines a separate flat  flexible cables (FFC) connector for Mobile industry processor interface’s (MIPI) camera serial interface (CSI). It also supports various communication protocols including serial peripheral interface (SPI), universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter (UART) and controlled area network (CAN) etc. Mini supports functional safety (FUSA) and power management signals.

PICMG, or PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group, is a consortium of over 140 companies. founded in 1994. The group was originally formed to adapt peripheral component interconnect (PCI) technology for use in high-performance telecommunications, military, and industrial computing applications, but its work has grown to include newer technologies.

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