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PICMG COM-HPC Mini working group reaches key milestone

8th December 2022
Kiera Sowery

PICMG announces that the COM-HPC committee has finalized the pinout and dimension definitions for the COM-HPC Mini form factor in record time.

This means that the vast majority of the details of the COM-HPC Mini standard have been defined and documentation has already begun. Reaching this critical milestone enables PICMG members to start design work on compliant modules so that embedded OEMs and developers will have access to an elaborated ecosystem shortly after specification launch. The outstanding performance of the 15 member companies in the COM-HPC Mini working group reflects the high market relevance and demand for a high-performance credit-card-sized Computer-on-Modules standard. Only 12 weeks passed between the approved Statement of Work and the final definition of the mechanics and pinout by the working group.

“The definition of COM-HPC Mini is happening almost at the speed of light. If the working group maintains this performance, and I see no reason to slow it down as there are no significant technical challenges left to address, I am confident to have a release candidate available for the PICMG release process in Q1 2023, and a published specification by Q2 2023. I anticipate first product announcements will be closely tied to the publication date,” explained Christian Eder, Chairman of the COM-HPC technical committee and Director Product Marketing at congatec.

“The ‘HPC’ in COM-HPC stands for ‘High-Performance Computing’ but we now use it to refer to the ‘High-Performance Crew’ developing the COM-HPC family of specifications. The team’s performance is keeping pace with the rapidly changing embedded applications and technologies,” adds Jessica Isquith, PICMG President.

The COM-HPC Mini pinout specification defines the use of one connector instead of the two implemented for the larger COM-HPC Client and Server modules (Sizes A -E), just like COM Express Mini compared to COM Express Type 6. But with COM-HPC, half the number of signal pins still means 400 signal lanes, which equals 90% of the capacity that COM Express Type 6 modules provide. COM-HPC Mini offers a 50% smaller footprint compared to COM-HPC Client Size A modules, the currently smallest available COM-HPC form factor. Such extremely small modules measuring only 60 x 95 mm are required for high-end embedded computer logic in devices such as top-hat rail PCs for control cabinets in building and industrial automation, or portable test and measurement devices.

In addition, the new specification will enable engineers to integrate state-of-the-art computer interface technologies such as PCIe Gen4 and Gen5 into ultra-small processing units that provide highest performance. As the new specification will come with a focused high-performance pinout and will comply with the entire COM-HPC ecosystem, it is expected to become the high-end standard on top of the PICMG’s earlier COM Express Mini standard. PICMG expects the COM Express specification to continue leading the COM market for many years as it meets numerous standard application requirements now to be allocated in the mid-range performance sector.

The working group comprises 15 member companies and is sponsored by ADLINK, Kontron and congatec. Christian Eder of congatec is the Chairman and Stefan Milner is the specification Editor.

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