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Bay Trail and Braswell COMs tap new Qseven 2.1 spec

Jul 21, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 298 views

Advantech’s Linux-friendly SOM-3567 and SOM-3568 COMS offer Intel Bay Trail and Braswell chips, respectively, and adopt the Qseven 2.1 form factor.

Advantech’s SOM-3567 and SOM-3568 computer-on-modules are the first we’ve seen to use Qseven 2.1. This is the Qseven computer-on-module standard’s first update since version 2.0 hit in Sep. 2012, and eight years after the debut of Qseven 1.0.

Announced in March, Qseven 2.1 adds to the 70 x 70mm, MXM-based COM form factor with new PCI Express Gen3 support, which “enables Qseven users to fully benefit of latest hardware generations running at transfer speeds of up to 8 GT/s (gigatransactions per second and lane) without limitations,” according to SGET, which oversees the standard, as well as the SMARC and Embedded NUC formats. Qseven 2.1 also defines one more USB SuperSpeed port, adds another interrupt-capable GPIO port, and reserves some unneeded power pins for future features.

SOM-3567 (left) and SOM-3568
(click images to enlarge)

Despite both COMs being called “Qseven 2.1 modules” in their announcements, it’s unclear whether either actually implements any of the updated Qseven spec’s new features. For example, both modules support three PCIe x1 signals — or if you want to sacrifice the GbE port, one PCIe x4 — but all the processors supported by these modules derive their PCIe signals directly from the Intel SoCs, which are all limited to PCIe 2.0 support. Currently, only the SOM-3568’s product page and data sheet mentions Qseven 2.1, whereas the SOM-3567’s product page makes no mention of its Qseven version and its data sheet (currently dated May 2016) actually lists Qseven 2.0.

The SOM-3567 and SOM-3568 are very similar except for their processors. The SOM-3567 offers the 22nm fabricated Intel Bay Trail Atom E3800 in single, dual, and quad-core (1.91GHz Atom E3845) flavors, as well as the related, quad-core, 2.0GHz Celeron J1900. All these SoCs feature 5W to 10W TDPs.

The SOM-3568 advances to the 14nm Intel Braswell family of SoCs with much improved Intel HD Graphics Gen8, while reducing TDPs to the range of 4W to 6W. These include the quad-core 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) Pentium N3700, the quad-core Celeron N3160, the dual-core Celeron N3060 and N3010, and the quad-core Atom x5-E8000, which can dynamically shift from 1.04GHz to 2GHz.

SOM-3567, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The different SoC families result in different display resolutions available on the two modules. They both provide dual-channel LVDS, as well as DDI interfaces that support for HDMI 1.4a, DVI, and DisplayPort. However, the SOM-3567 has dual-display support, with resolutions ranging from 1920 x 1200 to 2560 x 1600 (DP), while the SOM-3568 can handle triple displays, with resolution ranging from 1920 x 1200 (DVI) to 3840 x 2160 (DP and HDMI). The SOM-3568 offers the option — most likely subject to special order and minimum quantities — of substituting eDP for LVDS on its Qseven edge-connector, by bypassing the on-board eDP-to-LVDS conversion logic, whereas the SOM-3567 omits that option.

SOM-3568, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Both modules support up to 8GB of DDR3L, although only the SOM-3568 supports the faster DDR3L-1600. They are both available with up to 32GB of eMMC 4.51 flash, and support dual SATA 3.1 ports. Each has seven USB ports, but two of those are USB 3.0 on the SOM-3568 vs. one on the SOM-3567.

SOM-3567 (left) and SOM-3568 block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Although only the SOM-3567 lists a pair of MIPI-CSI camera ports in its specs, the interface is equally evident on both modules’ block diagrams, so it might be a special-order option on the SOM-3568. The SOM-3567 is the only one available with GPIO, while the SOM-3568 is the only one with SDIO/SDXC. Otherwise the modules appear to be identical. You get a Gigabit Ethernet port, a 4-wire COM port, and HD audio, plus LPC, SMBus, I2C, SPI, smart fan, a watchdog, and the aforementioned PCIe x4 interface.

The modules accept 5V voltage and support an RTC with battery, and they offer 0 to 60°C support with 3.5-Grms vibration resistance. Both Linux and Windows Embedded are supported. There’s also a “WISE-Paas/RMM kit in accessory box and an intelligent self-management agent with software control functions and standalone hardware design: iManager on board,“ says Advantech.

The SOM-3567 and SOM-3568 are said to be suitable for battery-operated, thin, compact, and ruggedized installations, including in-vehicle, portable, medical, industrial, and military applications.

SOM-DB3520 carrier

Although only the SOM-3568’s announcement, product page, and data sheet currently reference it, Advantech’s new Qseven 2.1-compliant SOM-DB3520 carrier board most likely also supports the SOM-3567. The 170 x 170mm, Mini-ITX form-factor carrier’s coastline ports appear to include the GbE port, a RS232/422/485 DB9 port, HD audio I/O, the sole USB 3.0 port, and three of the seven USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a DisplayPort (optionally HDMI or DVI), along with LVDS or optional eDP available internally.

SOM-DB3520 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Other interfaces include SD and SIM card sockets and dual SATA ports, one of which can be swapped out for mSATA. There’s also a PCIe x4 slot, and an optional mini-PCIe slot. You get an internal RS232 header, with optional mux with 8-bit GPIO, plus LPC, SMBus, I2C, and smart fan interfaces.

Further information

Advantech’s SOM-3567 and SOM-3568 Qseven 2.1 modules, as well as the Mini-ITX style SOM-DB3520 carrier, will be available in the third quarter at an unstated price. More information may be found at the product pages for the SOM-3567, SOM-3568, and the SOM-DB3520.

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