Tag Archives: computer

NXP i.MX8M SoC Powered ArmStone MX8M Pico-ITX SBC Runs Linux With 8GB LPDDR4 RAM

F&S Elektronik Systeme has unveiled its latest Pico-ITX format (100 x 72mm) SBC named ArmStone™MX8M. This board is powered by the NXP i.MX processor. Preliminary shipping will not until Q2 of this year.

armStone MX8M Single Board Computer
ArmStone MX8M Single Board Computer

The new ArmStone™MX8M is available with dual or quad-core variants of the 1.5GHz, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M. The SoC combines a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU and VPU, enabling 4K HEVC/H265, H264, and VP9 video decoding with HDR. It also provides a 266MHz Cortex-M4 core for real-time tasks, as well as a security subsystem. This is the first i.MX8M based board to support up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM instead of 4GB. The storage is supported by up to 32GB on eMMC and 1GB SLC NAND memory.

Other major features include the availability of a 10/100 Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE. These also a PCIe interface with SIM card support inbuilt. There are 4x USB 2.0 host ports, an RS232 interface, and extra SPI and I2C signals. A Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port is also available as additional I/O option.

The board is going to be shipped with a BSP that includes Linux 4.9.x, U-Boot, Yocto Project 2.2 or optional Buildroot build system and documentation and sample code. Configurations for standard cases (minimal, X11, Qt5, Wayland/Weston, Framebuffer) got very easy with this new board. The BSP release also includes precompiled binary images that can directly be downloaded to the board.

Key specifications of the ArmStone™MX8M:

  • Processor:

NXP i.MX8M (2x or 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 @ 266MHz

  • Memory:
    • Up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • Up to 32GB eMMC
    • Up to 1GB SLC NAND
    • Optional SD slot
  • Multimedia:
    • 2x 24-bit LVDS
    • DVI
    • Analog resistive and PCAP touch via I2C
    • MIPI-CSI
    • Audio line-in/out/mic
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE (with BT 2.1+EDR support)
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O Ports:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port
    • CAN
    • RS232
    • 2x TTL UART
    • 4x I2C
    • 2x SPI
    • 32x DIO
  • Power — 5V DC input
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C; optional -20 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Weight — 60 g
  • Operating system — BSP with Yocto 2.2/Buildroot, Linux 4.9.x, U-boot

More information may be found at F&S Elektronik Systeme’s ArmStone MX8M product page.

Odroid-N1 Features Gigabit Ethernet And Can Run Android 7.1, Ubuntu, Debian

The Rockchip RK3399 has revolutionized the open-spec single-board computer world. Hardkernel’s new Odroid project has made the multi-core SoC RK3399 to firm it’s grip further. Recently Hardkernel released images, specs, and extensive benchmarks on a prototype for its storage-oriented new Odroid-N1 board. The boards can be expected to launch for about $110 in May or June this year.

New Odroid-N! based on Rockchip's RK3399
New Odroid-N1 based on Rockchip’s RK3399

The 90x90x20mm SBC is highlighted for offering dual channel SATA III interfaces and 4GB DDR3-1866 dual-channel RAM. The Odroid-N1 can run Android 7.1, as well as Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian 9 with Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS. This new board can also be open source as its previous flagship Odroid-XU4.

The RK3399 features two Cortex-A72 cores that are clocked at up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 cores, which are clocked at 1.5GHz. (Some other RK3399 boards have listed 1.42GHz.) This board also includes a high-end ARM Mali-T864 GPU. Hardkernel’s benchmarks have shown the hexa-core RK3399 based Odroid-N1 is running significantly faster on most tests, beating the Odroid-XU4’s octa-core (4x Cortex-A15, 4x -A7).

The Odroid-N1 is equipped with a GbE port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and 2x USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 port for up to 4K Video output. There’s also a 40-pin GPIO header. The Power input is mentioned at 12V/2A, although attaching two 3.5inch HDD will require a 12V/4A PSU. As with the other RK3399 boards, there are no hopes of Raspberry Pi add-on compatibility.

The RK3399 has powered many similar SBCs previously. The first major RK3399 SBC was Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399, soon followed by Vamrs’ similarly open source Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire. More recently we’ve seen Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi RK3399.

The RK3399 is also finding key roles among many commercial boards. We just saw Aaeon take the leap with its OEM-oriented RICO-3399 PICO-ITX SBC. Earlier, Videostrong announced a VS-RD-RK3399 SBC.

ODROID-N1 key features:

  • Rockchip AArch64 RK3399 Hexa-core processor
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 2Ghz processor and Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 1.5Ghz processor, big-LITTLE architecture
  • Mali-T860MP4 GPU, support OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenCL 1.2
  • 4Gbyte DDR3-1866 RAM, Dual channel interface for 64bit data bus width
  • 2 x SATA3 port, native SATA implementation via PCIe-gen2 to SATA3 interface
  • eMMC 5.0 (HS400) Flash storage and a UHS capable micro-SD slot.
  • 2 x USB 3.0 host port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 host port.
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • HDMI 2.0 for 4K display
  • 40-Pin GPIO port
  • OS: Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian Stretch with Kernel 4.4 LTS, Android 7.1
  • Size: 90 x 90 x 20 mm approx. (excluding cooler)
  • Power: 12V/2A input (Attaching two 3.5inch HDD requires a 12V/4A PSU)
  • Price: US$110 (To be adjusted based on DRAM market price changes)
  • Mass production schedule: TBD

More information is available in the Odroid-N1 announcement.

Spectrum Next, A New of ZX Spectrum

In 1982, the UK’s best selling computer, ZX Spectrum, was released by Sinclair as 8-bit personal home computer highlighting the machine’s color display. And today, a group of makers are introducing the Spectrum Next, an updated and enhanced version of ZX Spectrum.

The Spectrum Next is fully compatible with the original one. It enhanced to provide a wealth of advanced features such as better graphics, SD card storage, and manufacturing quality control. It also comes with a new software to make use of the new hardware, including new graphics modes and faster processor speeds.

As it is implemented with FPGA technology, it can be upgraded and enhanced using special memory chips and a clever design, while remaining compatible with the original hardware. It has a Z80 within, clocked to a blazing-fast 7Mhz, and an optional 1Ghz co-processor.

Technical Specifications:

  • Processor: Z80 3.5Mhz and 7Mhz modes
  • Memory: 512Kb RAM (expandable to 1.5Mb internally and 2.5Mb externally)
  • Video: Hardware sprites, 256 colours mode, Timex 8×1 mode etc.
  • Video Output: RGB, VGA, HDMI
  • Storage: SD Card slot, with DivMMC-compatible protocol
  • Audio: 3x AY-3-8912 audio chips with stereo output + FM sound
  • Joystick: DB9 compatible with Cursor, Kempston and Interface 2 protocols (selectable)
  • PS/2 port: Mouse with Kempston mode emulation and an external keyboard
  • Special: Multiface functionality for memory access, savegames, cheats etc.
  • Tape support: Mic and Ear ports for tape loading and saving
  • Expansion: Original external bus expansion port and accelerator expansion port
  • Accelerator board (optional): GPU / 1Ghz CPU / 512Mb RAM
  • Network (optional): Wi Fi module
  • Extras: Real Time Clock (optional), internal speaker (optional)

Spectrum Next has three graphical modes; “Radastan”, “Layer 2” and Sprites. Radastan is a 128 x 96 with 16 colours per pixel from an enhanced palette. “Layer2” is a Next exclusive mode that supports a “layer screen”, a 256 x 192 with 256 colours per pixel. Sprites are exclusive to the Next too and can be used over the other modes. A “sprite” is a 16×16 image with 256 colours per pixel that can be drawn anywhere on screen, including the border area. Sprites can also be moved incredibly fast over the screen, because the job is done by hardware, not software.

ZX Spectrum Next in action

Next is a “esxDOS ready” that uses the system designed by Miguel Guerreiro, and it’s one of the most powerful OS available at this time, including support for the .TRD format widely used in Russia and required for some of the most advanced programs currently available for the Spectrum.

Three days remaining of Spectrum Next crowdfunding campaign, where they already reached 215% of their goal. The current cost is about $225 and you can pre-order your board through the kickstarter campaign. More details about Spectrum Next is available on the official website.

Open source 25-core processor can be stringed into a 200,000-core computer

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Researchers at Princeton University have built a 25-core chip that can scaled easily to create a 200,000-core computer. by Agam Shah @ pcworld.com:

It won’t happen anytime soon, but that’s one possible usage scenario for Piton. The chip is designed to be flexible and quickly scalable, and will have to ensure the giant collection of cores are in sync when processing applications in parallel.

Open source 25-core processor can be stringed into a 200,000-core computer – [Link]

Building a “$5 Forth computer”

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Ken Boak has designed a tiny 16-bit computer around a FRAM based MSP430 microcontroller. He writes:

In this post we look at a new MSP430 FRAM based device – the MSP430FR2433. It has 15K of FRAM, 0.5K of Info FRAM and 4K bytes of SRAM. As well as the memory, there are 3 serial communications interfaces, a multichannel 10 bit ADC and 3 timers. All of this in a tiny low cost package – which makes an almost perfect Forth Computer.
The MSP430FR2433 from Texas Instruments costs about $1.36 in volume – and $2.58 in 1 off.
With a little creative design, low cost parts and a tiny 2 layer pcb we are en-route to offering a Forth Computer which could cost as little as $5 when produced in volume.

Building a “$5 Forth computer” – [Link]

SCIO: The Fun New Way To Learn Coding, Computers and STEM

SCIOA new board that aims to fill an education gap for programmable boards is on kickstarter. SCIO enables anyone, without the need of previous experience, to experiment with electronics and coding and build various projects based on onboard sensors, work on the cloud, make light shows and even more.

Within an hour of opening the box, someone who previously knew nothing about computers, programming and “boards,” can write programs that explore, educate, and entertain.

When someone buys a Raspberry Pi or Arduino without any prior programming experience, this person often reports being lost because they do not have the technical skills to use it. The information available for programming and using these devices is often difficult to understand for beginners.

SCIO: The Fun New Way To Learn Coding, Computers and STEM – [Link]

PINE A64, First $15 64-Bit Single Board Super Computer

PINEA64

PINE A64 is the world’s first 64-bit expandable Quad Core 1.2Ghz supercomputer, tablet, media center, and more… starting at just $15.

PINE A64 is not only a computer, it is a super affordable 64-bit high performance expandable single board computer (SBC). Whether you are an IT professional, electronics hobbyist, student, teacher, hacker, inventor, or just someone who wants to have more flexibility to increase their productivity at work, the PINE A64 is a computer board made for everyone. Enjoy more fun and entertainment at home with endless possibilities.

PINE A64, First $15 64-Bit Single Board Super Computer – [Link]

LattePanda – A £45 Win10 Computer For Everything

lattepanda

LattePanda is featured with quad-core 1.8Ghz, 2/4G RAM, 32/64 GB eMMC, WIFI, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 3.0, plus onboard Arduino processor!

It includes everything a regular PC has and can do anything that a regular PC does, all at a low price of 69 USD.

LattePanda runs perfectly on the go. Creating documents with Microsoft Office, playing HD videos and running Windows apps on LattePanda is exactly the same experience as using a regular PC.

LattePanda comes pre-installed with a full edition of Windows 10, including powerful tools such as Visual Studio, NodeJS, Java, Processing, and more!

LattePanda – A £45 Win10 Computer For Everything – [Link]

Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer

 

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Raspberry Pi has announced a really cheap micro computer priced at only 5$. You can even get it for free with the December issue of MagPi magazine. Raspberry Pi  Zero runs Raspbian and main features are:

  • A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
  • 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
  • 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • A micro-SD card slot
  • A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer – [Link]

Orange Pi undercuts Raspberry Pi

20150901022403_Opi

by Martin Cooke @ elektormagazine.com:

Over the last few months the Asian manufacturer Shenzhen Xunlong Software has released a number of capable open-spec single board computers with the ‘Orange Pi’ label that are both Linux and Android-ready. Their latest offering is the Orange Pi PC which packs an Allwinner (Cortex-A7) quad-core H3 SoC running at 1.6 GHz, priced at just $15. That’s less than half the price of the latest Raspberry Pi board which uses the Broadcom processor based around the same quad cores but running at 900 MHz.

Orange Pi undercuts Raspberry Pi – [Link]