A big benefit of computer-on-module (COM) Express is that when a module is discontinued, it can be replaced with a newer module that is compatible with the existing host system. This is happening as the extremely popular 3rd generation Intel®
Core™ processor family reaches end of life (EOL), along with the COM Express modules that use these processors.
But when one life ends, another begins as ADLINK announces a drop-in replacement COM Express Type 2 module, called Express-SL2/KL2, based on 6th and 7th generation Intel®
Core™ processors (formerly codenamed Skylake and Kaby Lake). The module supports all legacy Type 2 I/O and thereby allows customers to extend the production life of existing Type 2-based systems for at least another 10 years.
COM Express Advantages
The COM Express approach has been adopted in a wide range of industry applications, including industrial automation, test and measurement, and medical ultrasound, just to name a few. Compared to designing a full custom board, system developers can design a carrier board in about half the time, leaving the COM design to module vendors who better understand the fine details of computer design.
Developers can also optimize the cost-performance of their systems by choosing from a wide variety of commercially-available modules. This advantage and others make Type 2 modules indispensable for many system integrators and OEMs that have ongoing production systems with carrier boards based on the COM Express Type 2 pinout. In fact, the early COM Express Type 2 version has been one of the most successful COM form factors since the PICMG COM.0 form factor’s inception in 2005.
Processor EOL Implications
With the recent discontinuation of 3rd generation Intel®
Core™ processors, many users are now frantically searching for ways to extend the production lifetime of their Type 2 systems. Here are two alternative sourcing strategies worth considering:
One option is to migrate to a newer COM Express pinout, like Type 6, that incorporates more modern interfaces, such as HDMI and DisplayPort. But users need to design and qualify a new carrier board, which requires substantial development resources and budget.
Another option is to find a replacement module that supports the Type 2 pinout and legacy I/O, including PATA IDE and PCI-bus support. The module should have extended availability, hopefully through the lifetime of the system that uses it.
Drop-In Replacement Module
ADLINK’s new Express-SL2/KL2 is a Type 2 replacement module that can add up to ten years of life to their current systems. It is a drop-in solution at both hardware and software levels (Intel-to-Intel) with improved performance, a similar price level, and lower power consumption.
The Express-SL2/KL2 features 6th and 7th generation Intel Core processors (ranging from Intel®
processors) and supports the Type 2 pinout, including PCI-bus, PATA IDE, and VGA interfaces. The module is available in both commercial (0°C to 60°C) and Extreme Rugged™ (-
40°C to +
85°C) versions. In addition to hardware compatibility, the Express-SL2/KL2 runs on diverse operating systems, such as:
- Windows 7, WES 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10,
- Embedded Linux through the industry standard Yocto Project (https://github.com/adlink)
- Ubuntu LTS
ADLINK strives to support legacy designs as long as their customers need them. With Express-SL2/KL2, ADLINK is ready to help customers make a successful transition from other vendors’ EOL’d COM Express modules.
To make the changeover to the new Express-SL2/KL2 module as smooth as possible, ADLINK can assist with system bring-up, possible backporting of software, BIOS modifications, and whatever else may be needed. With legacy standard and essential software support, Express-SL2/KL2 efficiently facilitates a smooth system migration with enhanced performance.
Learn more about our ADLINK Express-SL2/KL2 COM Express Type 2 module