One of the largest systems integrators -- that develops and produces weapons, military, and defense technologies -- sought an Intel®-based solution for its air defense system. The system needed to function in harsh environments, extended temperature ranges and resist the high g-force of shock and vibration. The main criteria, however, would be its immediate reaction (fast boot) to sudden threats.

After considering various options, the company designed the air defense system using a COM Express modular solution because its flexible design saved time and costs during the initial phase of development, while achieving faster time-to-market, simplifying the upgrade path, providing future scalability and increasing the application lifecycle.

COM Express form factor based solutions offer a greater advantage in their combination of design simplicity along with flexibility in the choice of processor and I/O. Without having to deal with high-performance interfaces like processor-to-memory and processor-to-chipset signal paths, they can focus on the carrier board's I/O aspect of the solution.

The customer choose to implement Portwell's PCOM-B211VG COM Express module solution from a variety of other elite vendors because it offered a rugged and embedded COM Express module with features tailored to meet its specific demands.


The system was designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to 70 kilometers (43 miles) away and whose trajectory would take them to a populated area. The system was required to work in all weather conditions, including low clouds, rain, dust storms or fog. The solution also had to include unique features such as boot up within 1.8 seconds, cold start at -46°C and a strong protection mechanism that could sustain sufficient vibration to avoid a data crash under unstable conditions. solution. Plus, with its inherently strong security and manageability features, this SoC is ideally suited for the micro server and the next wave of cost-effective, intelligent system devices.

Portwell's PCOM-B634VG utilizes Intel's first product in the Broadwell line: the 8-core 14nm Broadwell-DE SoC. The PCOM-B634VG includes a range of interfaces, such as dual Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 Host ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and 8-channel analog to digital convertor inputs. It's also support PCIe Gen3 24 lane.

Because of its modular configuration, this solution will provide benefits such as reduced time-to-market and associated cost savings gained by shortening the development period and the extended life-cycle support associated with the COM-Express solution and Broadwell-DE SoC platform.

Solution and Benefit

A truly rugged COM Express solution

From the selection of peripheral components, through circuit design, to extensive temperature validation test, Portwell had the know-how to fulfill the customer's requirement for operation in extreme temperatures, and designed a solution that operated reliably in harsh conditions. Furthermore, in order to meet high g-force, all components were mounted on board with conformal coating.

Tailor-made for rugged embedded applications

Tailor-made pin definition provides great flexibility and is just one of the many features Portwell offer customers looking for COM Express module solutions with unique application requirements. During the spec-in process, Portwell customized the BIOS to fulfill this particular customer's demand for boot up in 1.8 seconds to initial missile system and instant launch necessary to intercept an incoming attacking missile.

Upgradable with time-to-market benefit

The customer selected a Portwell solution utilizing the first generation Intel Pentium™ M processor family with Mobile Intel® 945GME Express Chipset, which can be upgraded to the new 3rd generation Core i solution. Advantaging the Intel x86 architecture's easy upgrading benefits, the customer needed to change only the COM Express card without the need for extra software or hardware: a simple "plug and play" action that sped up time-to-market.