Kontron welcome the publication of the COM Express carrier board design guide 1.0 by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG). As a next step, a PICMG specification for smaller Computer-on-Modules is essential, as demands in the market for smaller Computer-on-Modules are increasing.
For COM Express, it is an important milestone that the COM Express carrier design guide has been published by PICMG. According to Norbert Hauser, Vice President, Marketing, Kontron Australia, the modules from different manufacturers that conform with the COM Express specification are interchangeable on the carrier boards based on the design guide 1.0.. The introduction by Kontron Australia of the compact microETXexpress (95mm x 95mm) and ultra small nanoETXexpress (55mm x 84mm) modules offers up to two COM Express compatible (following pin-outs Type 2 and 1 respectively) footprints that represent a logical advancement of the existing COM Express specification to basic and extended footprints noted under the standard.
An official PICMG specification for these smaller Computer-on-Modules would make COM Express a universal specification for all module sizes and ensured compatibility of carrier boards. Consequently, this will lead to an even faster and more wide-spread usage of COM Express modules in a range of applications in addition to the ousting of other alternatives that are less vendor-independent.
The 160-page publication of the carrier board design guide is an important milestone as, for the first time, it provides complete vendor-independent standardisation which is required for scalable Computer-on-Module designs. The PICMG carrier board design guide 1.0 offers information for developers of custom-designed carrier boards for COM Express modules. In combination with the latest COM Express specification and the module vendors' product manuals, the design guide will simplify design efforts and ensure optimal interchangability of Computer-on-Modules from different manufacturers.
For reference, the carrier board design guide 1.0 includes numerous connection diagrams and external switching circuits plus descriptions of suitable implementation solutions for all COM Express interfaces. The carrier board design guide 1.0 was produced in close cooperation with 14 different manufacturers to ensure that carrier boards are developed according to Best Practice principles. As this is also dependent on the carrier board design, it has been essential a carrier board design guide be officially published in addition to the Computer-on-Modules specifications.