An Introduction to COM-HPC: High-Performance Computer-on-Modules

An Introduction to COM-HPC: High-Performance Computer-on-Modules

What is COM-HPC?

COM-HPC (Computer-on-Module High-Performance Computing) is a standardized form factor designed for high-performance computing applications. It is a modular solution that provides enhanced processing power and flexibility for industrial and embedded computing systems.

COM-HPC: Types

There are two types of COM-HPC modules available in the market. They are:

  • COM-HPC Client Module: This type of module is suitable for client applications that require high-performance computing capabilities.
  • COM-HPC Server Module: Designed for server-class applications, this module offers advanced processing power and scalability.


COM-HPC modules come in different sizes, allowing them to be used in various form factors and space-constrained environments. The sizes A, B and C are typical Client Type sizes.

  • Size A: 95 × 120 mm (3.7 × 4.7 in)
  • Size B: 120 × 120 mm (4.7 × 4.7 in)
  • Size C: 160 × 120 mm (6.3 × 4.7 in)

The larger D and E sizes are typical Server Type sizes to support full size DRAM modules

  • Size D: 160 × 160 mm (6.3 × 6.3 in)
  • Size E: 200 × 160 mm (7.9 × 6.3 in)

COM-HPC: Specification

The COM-HPC specification defines the mechanical, electrical, and thermal characteristics of the modules. It ensures interoperability and compatibility between different manufacturers’ modules. Key features of the specification include:

  • High-speed interfaces such as PCIe, USB, and Ethernet.
  • Advanced processor options, including multi-core and high-frequency CPUs.
  • Support for graphics, memory, and storage options.
  • Enhanced thermal management and power delivery capabilities.

The full COM-HPC specification is hosted by PICMG.

COM-HPC: Carrier Modules

The carrier module, also know as a carrier board serves as a bridge between the COM-HPC module and the main system. It provides the necessary interfaces and connectivity options for the system.

An Introduction to COM-HPC: High-Performance Computer-on-Modules

COM-HPC: Application Areas

COM-HPC modules find applications in a wide range of industries and sectors. Some common application areas include:

  • Industrial Automation: COM-HPC modules enable high-performance control systems in industrial automation, allowing for real-time processing and data analytics.
  • Medical Systems: This form factor is well-suited for medical devices and imaging systems that require powerful computing capabilities.
  • Transportation: COM-HPC modules can be used in transportation systems such as autonomous vehicles and railway control systems, providing reliable and efficient computing solutions.
  • Defence and Aerospace: These modules are suitable for defence and aerospace applications, where ruggedness, reliability, and high-performance computing are crucial.

COM-HPC: Example Uses

Here are a few examples of how COM-HPC modules are being utilized in various industries:

  • Edge AI Solutions: COM-HPC modules are used in edge computing applications to perform real-time AI processing for tasks such as object detection, facial recognition, and predictive analytics.
  • High-Performance Data Acquisition: COM-HPC modules are employed in data acquisition systems for high-speed data processing and analysis, enabling real-time decision-making.
  • Intelligent Robotics: COM-HPC modules power intelligent robots, providing the computational power necessary for complex algorithms and machine learning models.
An Introduction to COM-HPC: High-Performance Computer-on-Modules

COM-HPC vs COM Express: Understanding the Differences

COM-HPC (Computer-on-Module High-Performance Computing) and COM Express are both standardized form factors used in industrial and embedded computing. While they share similarities, there are key differences between the two. Let’s explore these differences:

  • Form Factor and Size:
    • COM-HPC modules come in five different sizes: Size A, B and C are typical Client Type sizes. D and E sizes are typical Server Type sizes to support full size DRAM modules
    • On the other hand, COM Express modules are available in three sizes: COM Express Mini, COM Express Compact and COM Express Basic. Mini is the smallest. The Compact form factor is smaller than the Basic form factor, allowing for more compact designs in space-constrained environments.
  • Processing Power and Performance
    • COM-HPC is specifically designed for high-performance computing applications. It offers advanced processing power and scalability, making it suitable for tasks that require intensive computing capabilities.
    • COM Express, on the other hand, is designed for a broader range of applications, including both low-power and high-performance solutions. It offers a range of processor options, including both low-power CPUs and high-performance processors.
  • Connectivity and Expandability
    • Both COM-HPC and COM Express modules provide high-speed interfaces such as PCIe, USB, and Ethernet. However, COM-HPC modules offer enhanced connectivity options, allowing for greater expandability and flexibility in system design.
    • COM Express modules, while still offering a wide range of connectivity options, may have slightly fewer options compared to COM-HPC modules. This can impact the ability to integrate additional peripherals and expansion cards.
  • Thermal Management and Power Delivery
    • COM-HPC modules are designed with enhanced thermal management capabilities, allowing for efficient heat dissipation in high-performance computing applications. This ensures reliability and prevents overheating issues.
    • COM Express modules also offer thermal management features, although the level of thermal management capability may vary depending on the specific module and form factor.

COM-HPC vs COM Express: Application Focus

  • COM-HPC modules are specifically targeted for high-performance computing applications, such as industrial automation, medical systems, transportation, defence, and aerospace. They provide the necessary processing power and reliability for these demanding applications.
  • COM Express modules, on the other hand, are more versatile and can be used in a wider range of applications. They can be suitable for low-power systems, as well as applications requiring moderate computing capabilities.
An Introduction to COM-HPC: High-Performance Computer-on-Modules

Explore BVM for Your Industrial and Embedded Computing Needs

When it comes to fulfilling your modular computing needs, BVM is your go-to solution provider. Our team of experts can help you find the ideal COM-HPC and COM Express solutions specifically tailored to meet your requirements. In addition, we offer the ability to design custom carrier boards, ensuring that your computing systems are perfectly aligned with your individual needs.

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we are committed to providing services and cutting-edge solutions to our clients. Our dedicated team of professionals is always ready to assist you in finding the best solutions for your specific needs.

Contact our sales team today to discuss your requirements and explore how BVM can help you:

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