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nanoETXexpress 2.0 specification approved

Parallel to the nanoETXexpress Industrial Group, Kontron has announced the approval and release of the nanoETXexpress 2.0 specification for ultra small COM Express Computer-on-Modules.

The PCI Industrial Manufacturers Group (PICMG) identified the need to adopt the COM Express specification to the new capabilities for ultra-sized modules with latest processor technology. With the COM Express specification rev. 2.0, PICMG laid the groundwork for ultra-sized modules by adding the Type 10 pin-out, a next generation to the previously introduced Type 1 pin-out.

Keeping in line with the COM Express specification, the nanoETXexpress specification rev 2.0 implements all relevant parts of the current COM Express specification. The definition of the new pin-out Type 10, which provides another evolutionary path for modular solutions in addition to Type 1, is the most impactful update to the nanoETXexpress specification as it puts more capabilities within reach for embedded application developers.

“With ultra small COM Express modules, customers are prepared as the industry continues to move toward ever-smaller SFF designs. This extends the ecosystem of COM Express solutions that are the most solid and rugged basis for such extremely small modules,” explains Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron AG. “The majority of extremely small COM Express pin-out Type 1 and Type 10 modules already are following this ‘ultra’ COM Express format. Many thanks to all PICMG members who, together with Kontron, have campaigned for the Type 10 pin-out.”

Consistent with the COM Express specification rev 2.0, the nanoETXexpress specification 2.0 calls out the same Type 1 and Type 10 pin-outs and keeps the overall footprint of the modules and the corresponding cooling solutions compatible to those called out for the COM Express basic and compact form factors.

The most important addition to the new nanoETXexpress specification is the introduction of the new COM Express Type 10 pin-out. It, explicitly addresses the requirements of new and highly-compact processors families. COMs adhering to the nanoETXexpress specification utilising the COM Express Type 10 pin-out support one Digital Display Interface (DDI) with SDVO port or alternatively DisplayPort or HDMI/DVI.

As a result, developers get more design freedom and performance in display connectivity and still maintain backward compatibility to pin-out Type 1 designs. Combined with the single-channel LVDS, nanoETXexpress modules now support dual-display as well.

New for both the Type 1 and Type 10 pin-outs defined in the nanoETXexpress specification is the support of PCI Express Gen 2 as well as the addition of dedicated pins for serial interfaces or CAN bus. Revision 2 of the nanoETXexpress specification now allows the BIOS or firmware interface for internal and external boots via serial peripheral interface (SPI). 

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