High demand for PCI-Express-based COMs for all kinds of applications has led Kontron to initiate a second round of COM Express standardisation with the introduction of Compact COM Express. The goal is to build PCI-Express-based COMs on the smallest possible form factor which it claims to have achieved with its Compact COM Express, based on the PICMG COM Express standard.
A pure PCI version will be available first. The inclusion of PCI in the standard is important to the developers of current systems because ETX, which was defined in 2000, offers PCI but does not support the latest processors and bus speeds, although there is demand for a combination of these particular features.
The physical design of the new 95x95mm form factor differs from the COM Express standard in its size and the addition of one extra mounting hole in the top right corner, for mounting the smaller board. ETXexpress (Basic COM Express) measures 118.75 cm2 (100%), and the microETXexpress (Compact COM Express) measures 90.25 cm2 (76%). The larger Extended ETXexpress (Extended COM Express) standard, whose specification was adopted along with ETXexpress, measures 170.5 cm2 (143.58%). Any feature that could not fit within the physical limits of the smaller COMs has been eliminated , but the position of the X1 and X3 ETX connectors in relation to the baseboard remain, so it was possible to ‘copy and paste’ many specification details.
ADlink and Evalue are already committed to the Compact COM Express form factor. Kontron will launch the 95x95cm standard Compact COM (Express) under the brands microETXexpress (for PCI-Express) and microETX (for PCI only).