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COM Express Type 10 Mini module runs Linux on Skylake

Apr 9, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 736 views

Aaeon announced the NanoCOM-SKU, a Linux-ready, 84 x 55mm COM Express Type 10 Mini module with 6th Gen Intel Core CPUs and three PCIe interfaces.

According to Aaeon, the NanoCOM-SKU is the industry’s first COM Express Type 10 Mini computer-on-module equipped with 6th Gen Intel Core “Skylake” processors. This certainly appears to be true, although there’s no word on a ship date, and the datasheet is still stamped as preliminary. Applications for the module are said to include graphics-intensive medical equipment or digital signage, as well as high-loading robotics and automation controllers used in industrial automation.

(click image to enlarge)

Aaeon was also one of the first to announce Skylake-based COM Express Type 6 modules, joining Adlink, Advantech, Congatec, and Kontron in a flurry of product introductions shortly after Intel announced the 14nm-fabricated chips. A number of other Type 6 COMs have launched since then. Aaeon’s COM-SKHB6 was implemented in the full-size 125 x 95mm “Basic” format, and its COM-SKUC6 conformed to the 95 x 95mm “Compact” form-factor.

The new NanoCOM-SKU uses the “Mini” Type 10 form-factor, with a footprint of only 84 x 55mm. You can choose from any U-series 6th Gen Core chips, but the standard SKUs include the dual-core i3-6100U, quad-core i5-6400U, or dual-core 2.6GHz (3.4GHz Turbo) Core i7-6600U. This is the first time we’ve seen the Core i5-6400U, the only quad-core option here. It’s clocked to 2.7GHz with a 3.3GHz turbo rate and is equipped with Intel HD Graphics 530.

Like the other U-series chips, the three options have a single-chip package and a 15 Watt TDP. The U-series is less power-efficient than the 4.5W Y-series, but stingier than the 45 Watt TDP “H-series” processors and even higher-end S-series, each of which requires a dedicated external PCH “chipset.”

The NanoCOM-SKU supports up to up to 4GB of DDR4 RAM on the module according to the announcement, although the preliminary datasheet says that this is expandable to 8GB. Dual SATA II interfaces are available for storage, along with 10 USB ports two of which are 3.0.

NanoCOM-SKU rear view (left) and COM Express Type 10 A-B connector pinout
(click images to enlarge)

All of the module’s interface signals are expressed by means of the module’s COM Express A-B board-to-board connector.

To tap the 4K ready capabilities of the U-series Intel HD Graphics, Aaeon supplies a DDI interface. You can also choose between eDP or an 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS interface for up to 1920 x 1200 resolution.

The module is further equipped with a GbE controller with Wake-on-LAN, as well as three PCIe interfaces. Other I/O includes HD Audio, I2C, LPC, SMBus, dual 2-wire UARTs, and 8x GPIO. A watchdog and CPU temperature monitoring are also available.

The commercial temperature COM runs on 12V power, and draws about 18W with 4GB RAM under full loading, claims Aaeon. Options include a heat spreader, heat sink, and CPU cooler.

“The NanoCOM-SKU is a milestone in Aaeon’s circuit design and miniaturization experience and expertise,” stated David Hung, Product Manager of Aaeon’s Embedded Computing Division. “No one has yet been able to make something so small yet packs so much punch.”

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the NanoCOM-SKU. More information may be found in Aaeon’s NanoCOM-SKU product page, which at publication time was still pretty empty.

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