COM-Based SBCs: The Superior Architecture for Small Form Factor Embedded Systems

A COM-based solution takes an entirely different approach. The CPU, which is the highest complexity, highest risk, and shortest lifecycle component, is made into a standard form factor, interchangeable module that can be purchased from a variety of manufacturers. The rest of the system consists of a "baseboard" which contains most or all of the remaining circuitry and I/O connections required for the solution. The form factor of the baseboard may be highly customized to meet packaging requirements, or it may be more general purpose to fit a range of applications. The baseboard may also include expansion connectors to allow for future upgrade or configuration needs.

Because the COM-based SBC utilizes an off-the-shelf, standard format module for the processor, the designer has the option to swap out the processor for a different one with minimal effort. In most cases the effort is limited to rebuilding the application software with a new set of software drivers for the processor and various peripheral ICs on the COM.