March 2, 2022

PICMG Committee to Develop New Modular Box PC Open Specification

Industry NewsNewsPICMG

ModBlox7 introduces an open standard to proprietary multi-billion USD market

PICMG, a leading consortium for developing open embedded computing specifications, announces a technical subcommittee formed to create a new PICMG form factor specification named ModBlox7. This specification will transform the multi-billion dollar Box PC industry by introducing an open standard to what is currently a proprietary market. Box PCs are highly integrated computing solutions, but the lack of interoperability limits the ability for end users to achieve truly cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

The ModBlox7 specification will describe a compact and modular Box PC that is flexibly configurable and can be wall-mounted, snapped onto a DIN rail, or integrated into a 19” subrack. The height and depth are fixed; the width is variable in multiples of 7HP. The maximum length is 84HP. The modular Box PC designs will be very robust, support passive conductive cooling, and be used for demanding applications such as railway, avionics, mobile machines and autonomous mobility as well as machinery in discrete manufacturing and controls in critical process industry infrastructures. The result of the committee’s work will be a basic specification describing the housing mechanics, the modular functional units, and the electrical interconnection of the units. The standard will guarantee interoperability of units for manufacturers as well as interoperability for users of the Box PC, while combining the advantages of modular systems and highly integrated cost-sensitive Box PC solutions.

The open specification will contain the following requirements or specified functions:

  • Cost-efficient design with minimum mechanical effort. No additional backplane or heat sink will be required. Coplanar board-to-board connectors couple each unit to its neighbor and route defined I/O interfaces (PCIe and USB) to the next board. 
  • Modular, functionally encapsulated plug-in units in multiples of 7HP width pitch. Units form functional assemblies such as power supply, CPU, switch and I/O. Units can be multiples of 7HP, e.g., implement more interfaces or functionality in a single building block assembly.
  • This results in a wide range of device combinations in a modular design in increments of 7HP (21HP, 28HP, 42HP to 84HP), making it cost-efficient even in small quantities.
  • Each modular computing unit can host a stack of 1, 2, or 3 PCBs – depending on the complexity. Separation is typically made according to the front I/O and the power and communication requirements between the host unit and its expansion units.
  • Flexible mounting with minimal accessory components for wall, din-rail, and 19″ subrack installations.

“For industrial end users, the advantages of an Box PC open standard lie in the cost-effective design of the dedicated systems and the flexible interchangeability of components to tailor the platform for dedicated tasks. Manufacturers also benefit, as the interoperability between the units strengthens their core competence, and they do not have to develop each unit and its embedded components such as cables and mechanics themselves. For VARs and system integrators, the new ecosystem will provide faster configuration options with components from multiple vendors,” states Mathias Beer, chief product officer at Ci4Rail.

According to Markets and Markets, the global industrial PC market size is estimated to reach USD 6.1 billion by 2026 from USD 4.6 billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 5.8%. The market growth is fueled by increasing demand for industrial IoT, a steady shift towards digitalized manufacturing from traditional manufacturing, growing awareness for resource optimization in manufacturing industries, and stringent regulatory compliances.

The goal is to have the specification ratified by the end of 2022. The team has elected Bernd Kleeberg of EKF Elektronik as chairman of the committee. Manfred Schmitz of Ci4Rail is the technical editor, and Johann Klamer of ELTEC Elektronik acts as secretary.

This initiative has over 15 active member companies, including: ADLINK, Ci4Rail, EKF Elektronik, Elma Electronic, ELTEC Elektronik, Embeck, ept, General Micro Systems, HEITEC, Hirose Electric, Intel, Kontron, nVent, Schroff, Samtec, Sealevel Systems and TEWS TECHNOLOGIES. Further vendors are invited to join the committee to actively develop the new modular Box PC open standard.

For more information, visit the PICMG website:


January 27, 2022

PICMG Releases brand new COM-HPC® Carrier Board Design Guide

Industry NewsJess IsquithNews

The design guide supplements the COM-HPC specification for high performance compute modules 

Wakefield, MA., 2022 – PICMG, a leading consortium for developing open embedded computing specifications, announces that the COM-HPC® Carrier Board Design Guide is released and freely available on the PICMG website. The 160-page document provides electronics engineers and PCB layout engineers comprehensive information for designing custom system carrier boards for COM-HPC modules. COM-HPC – short for computer-on-module (COM) – high performance computing (HPC) – is a brand new open Computer-on-Module form factor standard that targets extremely high I/O and computer performance levels from high end clients up to the entry server class and even beyond. Standard COM-HPC modules plug into a carrier or baseboard that is typically customized to the application. OEM benefits are fast and cost effective layout with high design security for application specific embedded and edge computing boards on the basis of open standards.

Especially helpful is the detailed discussion of the challenging module to carrier board Ethernet KR and KR4 backplane signaling. To save pins on COM-HPC modules, the sideband signals for the 10G / 25G / 40G / 100G Ethernet KR interfaces are serialized and must then be deserialized on the carrier board. The design guide provides instructions for this in a series of diagrams.

Additionally, the guide provides enhanced schematics and block diagrams for all provided interfaces such as Serial ATA, PCI Express up to Gen 5, USB4, Boot SPI, eSPI, eDP, MIPI-CSI, SoundWire, asynchronous serial port interfaces, I2C/I3C, GPIO, System Management Bus (SMBus), thermal protection and module type detection. PCB design rule summaries further enable engineers to efficiently design fully signal compliant COM-HPC carrier boards. Also, a section has been added to discuss mechanical considerations including heat spreader/module attachment, alternative board stack assemblies and board stiffeners for carrier boards. Information about all COM-HPC interfaces and a list of useful books to facilitate carrier board designs complete PICMG’s COM-HPC Carrier Board Design Guide.

Electronic design engineers and printed circuit board developers shall note that while the design guide contains additional detailed information it does not replace the PICMG COM-HPC specification. For complete guidelines on the design of COM-HPC compliant carrier boards and systems, it is necessary to refer to the full specification – the design guide is not intended to be the only source for any design decisions. Besides consulting the latest COM-HPC specification, it is also strongly recommended to use the module vendors’ product manuals as a reference. The design guide and base specification are accompanied by a Platform Management Interface Specification, and the COM‑HPC EEEP. The existing Embedded API (eAPI) specification also applies to COM-HPC.

The COM-HPC specification and the COM-HPC Carrier Board Design Guide are available for download on the PICMG website at A preview document is also available, as well as additional resources to learn more about the specification.

Christian Eder, chairman of the COM-HPC committee, said, “This comprehensive document will further accelerate the fast start of the COM-HPC standard. While the specification documents in themselves are already of great use for developers, the detailed Carrier Board Design Guide helps to avoid design problems, especially when handling high-speed signals, such as PCIe Gen 5 and USB4. I expect to see further time-to-market improvements for COM-HPC-based solutions.”

PICMG thanks all members of the PICMG COM-HPC committee who have worked on these documents. Special thanks go to Christian Eder, Stefan Milnor and Dylan Lang. Christian Eder, marketing director at congatec, acted as the chairman of the COM-HPC committee. He was previously a draft editor of the current COM Express standard. Stefan Milnor from Kontron and Dylan Lang from Samtec supported Christian Eder in their respective functions as editor and secretary of the PICMG COM-HPC committee.

January 5, 2022

congatec launches 10 new COM-HPC and COM Express Computer-on-Modules with 12th Gen Intel Core processors

CongatecMember NewsNews

A quantum leap in core count

San Diego, Las Vegas/USA, 4 January 2022 * * * congatec – a leading vendor of embedded and edge computing technology – introduces the 12th Generation Intel Core mobile and desktop processors (formerly code named Alder Lake) on 10 new COM-HPC and COM Express Computer-on-Modules. Featuring the latest high performance cores from Intel, the new modules in COM-HPC Size A and C as well as COM Express Type 6 form factors offer major performance gains and improvements for the world of embedded and edge computing systems. Most impressive is the fact that engineers can now leverage Intel’s innovative performance hybrid architecture. Offering of up to 14 cores/20 threads on BGA and 16 cores/24 threads on desktop variants (LGA mounted), 12th Gen Intel Core processors provide a quantum leap [1] in multitasking and scalability levels. Next-gen IoT and edge applications benefit from up to 6 or 8 (BGA/LGA) optimized Performance-cores (P-cores) plus up to 8 low power Efficient-cores (E-cores) and DDR5 memory support to accelerate multithreaded applications and execute background tasks more efficiently.

In addition, the mobile BGA processors with, up to 96 Execution Units of the integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU have been estimated to deliver extraordinary improvements of up to 129% [2] in graphics performance for immersive user experience and can also process parallelized workloads faster, such as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, as compared to the 11th Gen Intel Core processors.

Optimized for highest embedded client performance, the graphics of the LGA processor based modules delivers now up to 94 % faster performance and its image classification inference performance has nearly tripled with up to 181% higher throughput [3]. In addition the modules offer massive bandwidth to connect discrete GPUs for maximum graphics and GPGPU based AI performance. Compared to the BGA versions, these and all other peripherals benefit from doubled lane speed as they come with ultra-fast PCIe 5.0 interface technology in addition to PCIe 4.0 off the processor. Furthermore, the desktop chipsets provide up to 8x PCIe 3.0 lanes for additional connectivity and the mobile BGA variants also offer up to 16x PCIe 4.0 lanes off the CPU and up to 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes off the chipset.

Target industrial markets for both BGA and LGA variants can be found wherever high end embedded and edge computer technology is deployed. This includes, for example, edge computers and IoT gateways incorporating multiple virtual machines for smart factories and process automation, AI based quality inspection and industrial vision, real-time collaborative robotics, and autonomous logistics vehicles for warehouses and shipping. Typical outdoor applications include autonomous vehicles and mobile machines, video security and gateway applications in transportation and smart cities, as well as 5G cloudlets and edge devices requiring AI supported packet inspection.

“Leveraging Intel’s innovative performance hybrid architecture with impressive P – core performance in combination with power efficient E – cores Intel Thread Director assigns each workload to the proper cores for optimum performance. Selected processors are also suitable for hard real-time applications with Intel TCC and TSN. In combination with full support for Real-Time Systems’ hypervisor technology, they are the ideal platform to consolidate a multitude of different workloads on one single edge platform. As this applies to low-power and high-performance scenarios alike, it enables highly sustainable designs with a small ecological footprint,” explains Christian Eder, Director Marketing at congatec.

Besides highest bandwidth and performance, the new flagship COM-HPC Client and COM Express Type 6 modules impress with dedicated AI engines supporting Windows ML, Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit and Chrome Cross ML. The different AI workloads can seamlessly be delegated to the P-cores, E-cores, as well as the GPU execution units to process even the most intensive edge AI workloads. The built-in Intel Deep Learning boost technology leverages different cores via Vector Neural Network Instructions (VNNI), and the integrated graphics supports AI accelerated DP4a GPU instructions that can even be scaled to dedicated GPUs. Furthermore, Intel’s lowest power built-in AI accelerator, the Intel Gaussian & Neural Accelerator 3.0 (Intel GNA 3.0), enables dynamic noise suppression and speech recognition and can even run while the processor is in low power states for wake-up voice commands.

Combining these features with support for Real-Time Systems’ hypervisor technology as well as OS support for Real-Time Linux and Wind River VxWorks, makes these modules a truly rounded ecosystem package to facilitate and accelerate the development of edge computing applications.

The 12th Gen Intel Core mobile processor based conga-TC670 COM Express Type 6 Compact modules (95 mm x 95 mm) and the conga-HPC/cALP COM-HPC Client Size A modules (120 mm x 95 mm) will be available in the following configurations:


(P + E)


Freq. [GHz]


Freq. [GHz]




GPU Compute Units


CPU Base Power [W]

Intel Core i7 12800HE  

14 (6+8)


2.4 / 4.6


1.8 / 3.5







Intel Core i5 12600HE  

12 (4+8)


2.5 / 4.5


1.8 / 3.3







Intel Core i3 12300HE  

8 (4+4)


1.9 / 4.3


1.5 / 3.3







12th Gen Intel Core desktop processor based conga-HPC/cALS COM-HPC Client Size C modules (120 mm x 160 mm) will be available in the following variants:


(P + E)


Freq. [GHz]


Freq. [GHz]




GPU Compute Units


CPU Base Power [W]

Intel Core i9 12900E  

16 (8+8)


2.3 / 5.0


1.7 / 3.8







Intel Core i7 12700E  

12 (8+4)


2.1 / 4.8


1.6 / 3.6







Intel Core i5 12500E  

6 (6+0)


2.9 / 4.5


– / –







Intel Core i3 12100E  

4 (4+0)


3.2 / 4.2


– / –







All these modules come with comprehensive board support packages for all these leading RTOSes, including hypervisor support from Real-Time Systems as well as Linux, Windows and Android.

For more information on the conga-HPC/cALS COM-HPC Client Size C modules, please visit

Further information on the new conga-HPC/cALP COM-HPC Client Size A modules can be found at:

To find out more about the conga-TC670 COM Express Type 6 Compact modules, please visit

 * * *

About congatec

congatec is a rapidly growing technology company focusing on embedded and edge computing products and services. The high-performance computer modules are used in a wide range of applications and devices in industrial automation, medical technology, transportation, telecommunications and many other verticals. Backed by controlling shareholder DBAG Fund VIII, a German midmarket fund focusing on growing industrial businesses, congatec has the financing and M&A experience to take advantage of these expanding market opportunities. congatec is the global market leader in the Computer-on-Modules segment with an excellent customer base from start-ups to international blue chip companies. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Deggendorf, Germany, the company reached sales of 127.5 million US dollars in 2020. More information is available on our website at or via LinkedInTwitter and YouTube.


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Phone: 858-457-2600

[email protected]

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Intel, the Intel logo, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.  

[1] Previous congatec COM Express Type 6 and COM-HPC Client size A modules with 11th Gen Intel Core and Xeon processors featured up to 8 cores.

[2] Source: Measurements by Intel as of November 2021. Single-threaded performance measured with SPECrate2017_int_base (1-copy)IC19_0u4. Multithreaded performance measured with SPECrate2017_int_base (n-copy)IC19_0u4. Graphics performance measured with 3DMark Ver. 2.11.6846, Fire Strike graphics score. GPU image classification inference performance measured with MLPerf TM v1.1 OpenVINO v2021.4.1,

resnet50: Offline, int8, GPU. MLPerf Inference Edge v1.1 Inference ResNet-v1.5; Result not verified by the MLCommons Association. The MLPerf name and logo are trademarks of MLCommons Association in the United States and other countries. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited. See for more information.10th Gen Intel Core processors are the previous generation in this series for IoT. Configuration 1: Processor: Intel Core i9-12900E PL1=65W TDP, 16(8+8)C, 24T, Turbo up to 5.0GHz. Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 770 driven by X e Architecture. Memory: 32GB DDR5-4800.

Storage: Intel SSDPEKNW010T8 (1024 GB, PCI-E 3.0 x4). OS: Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 21H2.Bios: ADLSFWI1.R00.2355.B00.2108270706 (08/27/2021). CPUz Microcode: 0xD. Configuration 2: Processor:

Intel Core i9-10900E PL1=65W TDP, 10C, 20T, Turbo up to 5.2GHz. Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630. Memory: 32GB DDR4-2933. Storage: Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 1TB. OS: Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC

21H2. Bios: AMI UEFI (03/23/2021) CPUz Microcode: 0xCA.

[3] Source: Intel Core i7-12800HE scores are estimated by Intel as of November 2021. Pre-silicon estimates are subject to +/- 7 percent error. Intel Core i7-11850HE scores are measured by Intel. Single-threaded performance measured with SPECrate2017_int_base (1-copy)IC19_0u4 (est). Multithreaded performance measured with SPECrate2017_int_base (n-copy)IC19_0u4 (est). Graphics performance measured with 3DMark Fire Strike graphics score. Configuration 1: Processor: Intel Core i7-12800HE, PL1=45W, (6C+8c) 14C, 20T, Turbo up to 4.6GHz. Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics Architecture with up to 96 EUs. Memory: DDR5-4800 2x32GB. Storage: Samsung 970 Evo Plus (CPU attached). OS: Windows* 10 20H2, Windows Defender OFF, Virtual Based Security OFF. Configuration 2: Processor: Intel Core i7-11850HE (TGL-H), PL1=45W TDP, 8C16T, Turbo up to 4.7GHz. Graphics: Intel Xe Graphics Architecture with up to 32 EUs. Memory: DDR4-3200 2x32GB. Storage: Intel SSDSC2KW512GB (512 GB, SATA-III). Platform/ motherboard: Intel internal reference platform. OS: Windows 10 Pro 21H1, Windows Defender OFF, Virtual Based Security OFF. Bios: TGLSFWI1.R00.4151.A01.2104060640 (Release date: 04/06/2021).CPUz Microcode: 28h