SECO’s focus on creating cutting-edge solutions has led the company to become a reliable partner in many industries, and in 2020 the company is going further.

Indeed, SECO is now entering a new market, keeping a leading-edge portfolio with a new standard from PICMG®: the COM-HPC™. This line enables SECO to take part in the HPC revolution, emerged from the needs of an increasingly demanding market, in line with the performance and speed of the newest processors, retaining high computation and low-latency features.

HPC computers, short for Computer-On-Modules High Performance Computing, are part of a new technology that uses supercomputers and parallel processing to solve complex computational problems. Having multiple PCs working on the same problem at the same time, the final performance is highly optimized. HPC technology is focused on the development of algorithms and systems that process in parallel, incorporating computational administration and parallel techniques.

COM Express™ modules meet most of the high performance applications needs and will keep on maintaining their position, but most modern applications are starting to demand even higher performance: IoT devices, edge-computing, 5G traffic, robotics, smart factory, safety/mission critical applications that process huge amounts of data and signals in fractions of seconds and usually require video stream and up to 8K resolution. These are only a few examples.

It has been therefore necessary to develop a brand new standard for COM modules, in order to provide the hardware capabilities required for the most recent processing and high power applications, with new high-speed connectors able to support existing Gen3, Gen4 and future Gen5 PCI Express interfaces.

Nevertheless, the COM-HPC™ standard will not replace the current COM Express™: the previous standard will still be suitable for situations requiring less data to be processed.

Starting October 2018, PICMG® is working on the details of the new COM-HPC™ standard. Since then, development departments of the companies that are part of the PICMG® work group, including SECO, are working on the design based on the latest processor technology, which companies like Intel are sharing through early access programs. With the recent adoption of the pinout (November 2019), the members of the work group have now an outset to work with: support up to 100 GbE and PCIe Gen 4.0 and Gen 5.0; 8 DIMM sockets and high-speed processors with more than 200 watts. The ratification of version 1.0 of the specification is scheduled for the first half of 2020.

COM-HPC™ will support Ethernet at 25 Gbps. While COM Express™ makes the connection using 440 pins, the COM-HPC™ specification provides 800 pins. In addition, the maximum number of PCIe lanes doubles from 32 for COM Express™ Type 7 to 64 for COM-HPC™ / Server. COM Express™ supports a maximum of PCIe Gen 3.0 with 8 GBit / s per lane, while a COM-HPC™ module with PCIe-5.0 reaches up to 32 GBit / s per lane.

The COM-HPC™ modules will be available in two versions with different performance requirements: COM-HPC™ / Server and COM-HPC™ / Client.

The COM-HPC™ / Server modules are designed for peripheral server environments, requiring as much memory as possible for server applications, powerful server Ethernet connectivity, and managing high workloads. Thus, this type of COM-HPC™ modules will be suitable for high-performance applications, such as machine learning and deep learning, computer assisted engineering, seismic imaging, and autonomous vehicles.

The COM-HPC™ / Client modules are a bit more compact and can be used for high-end applications in embedded computing. Unlike server modules, they provide a maximum of 2 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and come with integrated video interfaces, which can control up to four independent high-resolution displays – this making them suitable for high streams of video.

SECO, always at the forefront of the latest technologies, has decided to include the COM-HPC™ standard in its portfolio, offering its customers both client and server solutions, meeting the ultimate high performance demands and fitting the future processor generations.