What are the benefits of utilizing a COM Express architecture? 

There are a wide variety of benefits to utilizing a COM Express architecture for embedded computing devices. By using COM architecture, manufacturers can provide application-specific solutions without the design, time, cost, and lifecycle management issues inherent to a more traditional design.

COM Express systems offer an off-the-shelf computer module combined with a custom, application-specific carrier board. By leveraging the more standardized computing functions provided by the COM module, engineers can focus on the design of the carrier board to address the unique I/O requirements of the application.

Fast Development and Fast Time to Market

The most complex portions of the design are provided by the COM Express module. These include things like the CPU, memory, graphics, Ethernet and USB communications, SSD interface, and expansion buses. By achieving this functionality in an off-the-shelf COM module, design time is reduced dramatically compared to a ground-up design effort. Designers can often combine existing circuit designs for serial, digital, and analog I/O to exactly match the specific requirements with reduced design time and risk.

Scalability and Long-Term Availability

As the processor and core computer functions are contained on a discrete COM module, a single carrier board design can work with multiple COM Express modules ranging from low-power, low-cost Intel ATOM designs to the latest generation industrial processors. This scalability allows the product to have tiered offerings. Further, extended temperature COM Express modules are available with an up to 15-year lifecycle guarantee.

Application specific I/O

Utilizing a COM Express architecture allows you to dedicate the development and design time to the carrier board. The carrier board contains all of the I/O for the system and is tailored to meet the required system functionality outside of the core features supplied by the COM Express module.

Flexible Mechanical Configuration – Rugged and Resilient Design

The carrier board can be designed to the mechanical footprint allowed by the application. Many COM Express modules are designed for embedded applications and wide operating temperatures. Users can select low-power, low-heat, and fanless processor modules that are capable of extended temperature ranges of -40°C to 85°C.

As new computing and chipset technologies are released, new generations of COM Express modules will be available to allow an easy upgrade path. The application-specific circuits on the carrier board typically use ICs with a very long lifecycle and generally will not require redesign.