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System on Modules (SOM)/Computer on Modules (COM)

What is a system on module?

A system on module (SOM) also called computer on module (COM), is a small embedded computer that is soldered or plugged onto a carrier board. All relevant functional units are located on the module, such as processor and graphics unit, working- (DRAM) and program memory (NOR, NAND, eMMC), as well as clock- and energy management and a variety of communication interfaces (Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, SPI, I2C, UART, etc.).

A SOM encapsulates the essential parts of an embedded computer, it is not an operational system unlike a single board computer (SBC). The missing parts, e.g. power supply, connectors and other required components must be housed on the SOM carrier board.

The application areas of system on modules are mainly in the field of ​​the multi-media human-machine interface (HMI) as well as in automation, robotics and communication.

Why are there system on modules?

With the ongoing digitization and the growing demands for even more powerful and smaller embedded computers, the complexity of these systems is rapidly increasing. In order to make this development manageable for the user, more and more functions are being integrated by the leading semiconductor manufacturers in system on chips (SoC).

Our goal as a SOM manufacturer is to place the critical timing of the high-speed components and the very high number of connections in the smallest possible space and to produce the SOM in high quality and quantity.

What are the advantages of system on modules/computer on modules from the user’s point of view?

The user can concentrate fully on his essential task and does not have to deal with the design of a highly complex computer module. The main advantages for the user are obvious:

The term "time to market" means the time from product development to placing the product on the market. In this phase, only costs arise and no sales are generated. It is therefore extremely important to make this phase as short as possible.

This is the biggest advantage of a system on module. A shorter development phase in hard- and software design is possible thanks to the immediate availability of a computer module and matching software.

That you can also save time and money is a nice, not insignificant side effect. In addition, the complexity of the layer construction of the carrier board is usually significantly reduced by a SOM, which leads to further savings in development and costs.

Furthermore the user has the flexibility to easily select the processor of his choice from a SOM series. With compatible system on module series - like our DHCOM family - this can easily be used to perform processor upgrades or downgrades.

Conclusion:

the use of SOM not only accelerates the product introduction and saves time and costs, but also gives the user the necessary flexibility and quality in product design.

 

Product overview