COM-HPC: An innovative computing standard for server-grade performance at the edge

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“Everyone talks about the impact of edge computing in IoT” said Rex Lee, director of Advantech Embedded IoT Group. “As a global leader in embedded platforms and IoT enabled solutions, Advantech sees opportunity in the market for cost-performance balanced architectures from cloud computing to edge computing. At COM-HPC, our innovative computer-on-modules will migrate server-grade performance to the edge. We are working together with PICMG and leading embedded companies to meet these market requirements.”

Cloud computing, where servers can store and analyse high volumes of data uploaded by end users for specific applications, has been essential to this process. Data is collected, stored, and then analysed on the cloud to solve problems related to an array of different application scenarios.

In order to transmit and analyse big data, the cloud must be extremely powerful—offering high performance and wider bandwidth for successful transmission. As the volume of data increases, “edge computing” is emerging as a key solution to achieve effective data management and making computing processes significantly more efficient.

Currently, there is strong and growing demand for edge computing. COM Express, a very popular standard, has been used for over a decade and the “Type 7” COM Express was created for this purpose. COM-HPC represents the “next generation” technology in this field. Compared with COM Express, COM-HPC supports significantly higher performance levels and features an innovative design that fulfills high-end computing demand.

COM-HPC is a new industrial standard for embedded computer on module. There are two types of COMHPC for different purposes: one is a server type for high performance computing and data transmission; and the other one is for embedded computing with graphics requirements. With unique form factors and optimised pin definition, COM-HPC supports powerful CPU, memory capacity up to 1TB, and it offers next generation super-speed interfaces such as PCIe Gen4/5 (16Gbps/32Gbps), USB4.0 (20Gbps), and 10G ports. Such features are highly suitable for edge computing.

COM-HPC specifications are currently under definition. As a global provider of the embedded market, Advantech plays a key role in the process. This encompasses the early industrial specification ETX, XTX in 2006, COM Express 2.0 in 2010, and COM Express 3.0, including Type 7 in 2017. In 2019, Advantech is 1/2 honoured to work with other leading manufacturers and PICMG to engage in the COM-HPC concept discussion in its earliest stages.

Advantech provides a comprehensive product design and validation process that includes schematics and layout simulation, power transient testing, power quality, and signal integrity using e.g. high bandwidth (25GHz) oscilloscope.

This process is helpful for products using a super-speed interface and powerful design, such as COM-HPC. Reliability tests, like thermal shock and harsh environment testing, ensure products are stable and durable. Advantech strives to provide early sample stability, giving customers more time for product development and verification to accelerate the time-to-market.

From embedded design-in service to IoT integration, Advantech provides a one-stop service model for the successful integration of embedded boards, systems, software, displays, and peripherals. A series of integrated IoT solutions and services—from edge computing to cloud services—accelerates IoT solution business development and implementation worldwide.

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