COM Express hot among military electronics users while CompactPCI levels off
October 18, 2017 | BY: Mike Southworth
Authored by: John McHale, Editorial Director
Published in Military Embedded Systems- excerpt from article below:
PICMG standards such as CompactPCI have been leveraged for years in aerospace and defense applications such as communications, avionics, and satellites. Today, the fastest growing standard from the PICMG experts is COM Express, thanks to its flexibility and reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) characteristics.
Standards such as CompactPCI, Advanced TCA, and – to some extent – MicroTCA have played a role in aerospace and defense electronics applications. CompactPCI led the way, as it provided a robust, cost-effective alternative to VME, especially in the 3U form factor. Today, however, stringent SWaP requirements are requiring form factors smaller than 3U; this area is where the Com Express standard is thriving.
COM Express growth is emblematic of the strength of the overall computer-on-module market.
“Computer-on-module market growth is just outstanding for certain types of form factors, and COM Express crosses both industrial and military lines. Curtiss-Wright uses it in a healthy number of systems, as we’ve found it to have significant advantages over PC/104 systems,” says Mike Southworth, a product marketing executive with Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (Ashburn, Virginia). “Historically, Parvus [acquired by Curtiss-Wright in 2013] mission computers were designed with PC/104 technology, which helped us achieve a great degree of modularity. However, PC/104 SBCs [single-board computers] didn’t have standardized I/O connectors like COM Express, and this led to longer engineering development cycles for system integration, which meant longer time to market. In addition, PC/104 introduced thermal management challenges when using hotter CPUs.
“When we started to integrate COM Express modules into our system architectures, we reduced our legacy system size by more than 25 percent, increased system technology re-use, and overcame our traditional thermal management challenges,” Southworth continues. “COM modules works quite well for reduced SWaP applications in avionics and other applications that require the smallest SWaP possible.” (Figure 3.)
Figure 3: Curtiss-Wright leverages COM Express for its ultra-small-form-factor (USFF) mission computer, the Parvus DuraCOR Family - see above the Duracor XD1500.
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