Kontron launches Linux-friendly Kaby Lake COMs

Kontron has shipped three COM Express Basic and Compact Type 6 modules with Intel’s 7th Gen Kaby Lake CPUs, up to 32GB DDR4, and extended temp support.

Kontron has stepped up to Intel’s “Kaby Lake” generation by launching three COM Express Type 6 modules supporting the latest 7th Generation Intel Core and Xeon processors. The 95 x 95mm Compact form factor COMe-cKL6 and the 125 x 95mm Basic COMe-bKL6 are both available in 0 C to 60°C and -25 to 75°C versions. The bKL6R E2S, which is otherwise almost identical to the COMe-bKL6, comes standard with industrial -40 to 85°C support.kontron_comebkl6-sm6666410126_COMe-A81-CT6.png

COMe-cKL6 (left) and COMe-bKL6 (and COMe-bKL6R E2S)

Like Kontron’s 6th Gen “Skylake” based COMe-cSL6 Type 6 Compact and COMe-bSL6 and bSL6R E2S Type 6 Basic modules, the Kaby Lake models support Linux, and offer the new Kontron Security Solution. The latter comprises a security chip, Kontron’s Approtect software framework, and optional services. (For more information, see our COMe-bSL6 and bSL6R E2S coverage.)

The new COMs follow many other Kaby Lake Com Express modules announced over the last few months. However, most of these are only becoming available this quarter, so the now shipping Kontron modules aren’t really that behind after all.

The most recently announced Kaby Lake Com Express was Congatec’s Conga-TS175 Type 6 Basic module. Like the Conga-TS175, but not many others, Kontron’s new modules come with promised support for Intel Optane non-volatile memory technology. Intel Optane, which will ship in a few months, and is supported on associated carrier boards, but not the module itself, “works up to 1,000 times faster than a NAND flash memory and massively reduces latencies,” says Germany based Kontron.

Like other Compact Kaby Lake offerings, the COMe-cKL6 taps Intel’s dual-core, 15W TDP U-Series in Core i7, i5, i3, and Celeron 3965U flavors up to a 2.8GHz Core i7-7600U. These dual-core models offer integrated I/O control functions rather than the discrete controller chipsets found on the models supported by the two Basic models

The COMe-bKL6 and bKL6R E2S instead follow other Basic Kaby Lake modules in supporting faster, but less power efficient Kaby Lake chips. The COMe-bKL6 provides quad-core Core i7 and i5 EQ models, ranging from 2.1/2.9GHz (25W) for the Core i5-7442EQ to 3.0/3.7GHz (45W/35W) for the Core i7-7820EQ. The COMe-bKL6 can also run dual-core Core i3-E models at 2.1GHz (25W) and 2.9GHz (35W) as well as a pair of server class, quad-core Xeon-E3 models. The COMe-bKL6 offers an Intel Mobile CM238 or QM175 I/O chipset depending on the processor model.

The industrial temperature bKL6R E2S, meanwhile, supports only the i3-E and Xeon-E3 parts mentioned above, not the i5 and i7 chips. The E2S module ships with an Intel Mobile CM238 chipset.

The Compact COMe-cKL6 offers Intel Graphics 620 except for on the Celeron, which has Intel Graphics 610. The Basic COMs furnish Intel HD Graphics 630 for the Core chips and Graphics P630 for the Xeons. All these graphics offerings offer slight improvements over Skylake graphics.

Aside from Intel chip support and the temperature range, the only difference between the two Basic modules is that the COMe-bKL6 has wide-range 8.5-20W supply while the rugged bKL6R E2S offers a choice of standard ATX or single-supply power inputs. The Compact COMe-cKL6 also offers an 8.5-20W supply.


The Compact COMe-cKL6 module supports up to 24GB DDR4 by way of 8GB memory down and a 16GB SODIMM. By contrast, the COMe-bKL6 and bKL6R E2S give you up to the full 32GB DDR4-2400 via dual SODIMMs. On the other hand, the COMe-cKL6 is the only model to offer an option for up to 64GB of SLC eMMC 5.0 onboard flash.

COMe-bKL6 (left) and COMe-bKL6R E2S block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Other major differences appear in SATA and PCIe support. The COMe-cKL6 has 2x SATA 3.0 interfaces vs. 4x on the Basic modules. The Compact model provides 5x PCIE 3.0 on PCIe lanes 0-4 and 4x PCIe 3.0 on PEG lanes 0-3, while the COMe-bKL6 and bKL6R E2S each offers 8x PCIe x1 and 1x PEG x16 interfaces. However, the Compact COMe-cKL6 gives you an option for swapping out other features for an additional PCIe x1 interface.

Standard features on all three COMs include an Intel I219LM GbE controller, support for 4x USB 3.0 and 4x USB 2.0 ports, dual serial interfaces, and HD audio. They all have triple display support, with individual displays up to 4k@60Hz resolution. You get dual DP++ interfaces and what appears to be a choice of VGA, dual-channel, 18/24-bit LVDS, or eDP.

Other common features include SPI, LPC, SMB, Fast I2C, staged watchdog, RTC, TPM 2.0, ACPI 4.0, and optional VPro. They all support Linux, Windows 10, or VxWorks. Common options include various heatspreader and other cooling solutions.

COMe Ref.Carrier T6 (left) and COMe Eval Carrier T6 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

All three modules give you a choice of two optional carrier boards: a 170 x 170mm Mini-ITX COMe Ref.Carrier T6 and a more feature rich, 305 x 244mm COMe Eval Carrier T6 ATX board. The Ref.Carrier model stands out with its SIM Card slot while the Eval Carrier provides more I/O, including additional USB 3.0, DisplayPort, and PCIe interfaces.

COMe Ref.Carrier T6 (left) and COMe Eval Carrier T6 port-side detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Further information

Kontron’s new Kaby Lake COM Express modules are available now at undisclosed prices. More information may be found at the COMe-cKL6 and COMe-bKL6 and bKL6R E2S product pages.