Tag Archives: SOM

Google Unveils USB Type-C Version Of It’s Edge TPU AI Chip

Google has come up with its Edge TPU machine learning chip announcement by also revealing a USB Type-C based device that can be plugged into any Linux or Android Things computer, including a Raspberry Pi. The company announced a USB stick computer version of Edge TPU that can work with any Linux or Android Things computer. It also published more details on the upcoming, NXP-based Edge TPU development kit, including its SoC NXP i.MX8M.

Two views of the Edge TPU dev kit
Google’s Edge TPU dev kit

The Edge TPU Accelerator uses the same mini-scaled Edge TPU neural network coprocessor that is built into the upcoming dev kit. It has a USB Type-C port to connect with any Debian Linux or Android Things computer to accelerate machine learning (ML) inferencing for local edge analytics. The 65 x 30mm device has mounting holes for host boards such as a Raspberry Pi Zero.

Same as the Edge TPU development kit, the Edge TPU Accelerator enables the processing of machine learning (ML) inference data directly on-device. This local ML accelerator increases privacy, removes the need for persistent connections, reduces latency, and allows for high performance using less power.

The Edge TPU Accelerator starts competing with products like Intel’s Neural Compute Stick, previously referred to as the Fathom. The USB-equipped Neural Compute Stick is equipped with the Movidius Myriad 2 VPU and neural network accelerator.

The Edge TPU dev kit details

The Edge TPU Accelerator is going to ship in October this year along with the Edge TPU chip and development kit. It was informed that the computer-on-module that features the Edge TPU will run either Debian Linux or Android Things on NXP’s i.MX8M. The 1.5GHz, Cortex-A53 based i.MX8M integrates a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU and VPU, as well as a 266MHz Cortex-M4 MCU.

The yet unnamed, 48 x 40mm module will ship with 1GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMMC, dual-band WiFi-ac, and Bluetooth 4.1. The baseboard of the dev kit will add a microSD slot, as well as single USB Type-C OTG, Type-C power (5V input), USB 3.0 host, and micro-USB serial console ports.

The Edge TPU development kit baseboard is further provided with GbE and HDMI 2.0a ports, as well as a 39-pin FPC connector for 4-lane MIPI-DSI and a 24-pin FPC for 4-lane MIPI-CSI2. There’s also a 40-pin expansion connector, but with no claims for Raspberry Pi compatibility. The 85 x 56mm board also provides an audio jack, a digital mic, and a 4-pin terminal for stereo speakers.

More information may be found in the Edge TPU Accelerator announcement, as well as the original Edge TPU announcement.

Kobol’s Open-Spec Helios4 NAS SBC Features 4x SATA 3.0 Ports

Singapore-based startup Kobol has successfully launched its open-spec “Helios4 NAS (network-attached storage) SBC and fanned system. In May 2017, Kobol tried to launch the open-spec Helios4 SBC and fan-equipped system for NAS on Kickstarter. Though a total of 337 backers helped to raise $74K for the Helios4, Kobol fell short of its $110K funding goal.

Kobol Helios4 mainboard
Kobol Helios4 mainboard

The Helios4 NAS SBC runs Debian on a Marvell Armada 388, a dual Cortex-A9, 1.6GHz SoC with cryptographic and XOR DMA engines with 2GB ECC RAM and offers 1x GbE, 2x USB 3.0, and 4x SATA 3.0 ports for up to 48TB. Kobol no longer offers the low “early bird prices” of the Kickstarter campaign, but pricing is otherwise the same as the standard 2GB RAM packages. The 1GB packages are discontinued. The Helios4 Basic Kit (SBC only) is available at $176.12 and a Full Kit with SBC, fans, and 4x SATA is available at $194.46. Both of the kits ship with 2GB of DDR3L ECC RAM.

The Armada 388 SoC and 2GB of error-correcting DDR3L are made available via a SolidRun MicroSoM A388. This Linux-ready module was first announced as the 38x-MicroSoM and is also referred to by Kobol as the A38x MicroSoM. Kobol’s new SBC sports with 4x SATA 3.0 ports, 4x SATA cables and 2x Molex interfaces “to dual SATA power cable”. The clever design lets the user connect up to 48TB storage. Also, Helios4 features 2x USB3.0 port and a full duplex GbE port. A microSD slot and a mini-USB-to-serial port for the console are too present. Other features incorporate I2C, GPIO, control panel, and PWM fan headers. A DC jack connects to 12V/8A adapter, and there are HDD power connectors and a reset button.

The company is now running its own funding campaign to manufacture a second 500-unit batch. So far, the Full Kit is half funded while the Basic Kit has drawn little interest. Kobol says that it will refund the money if the campaign doesn’t reach its 500-unit goal by Aug. 5. Shipments are due in October. The Helios4 SBC Basic Kit and Full Kit system are available for crowdfunding on Kobol’s website for $176.12 and $194.46, respectively.  More information may be found on Kobol’s relaunch announcement, as well as the Basic Kit and Full Kit crowdfunding/shopping pages. There’s also a Helios4 wiki.

A Blend of Two Worlds – A SBC and a System-on-Module Powered by Rockchip RK3399

The Rasberry Pi 3 and other boards like the Asus Tinker Board are Single Board Computers (SBCs) that gives the user the full power of a computer without the need of any external parts. SBC offers a ready-to-use embedded development platform and helps to accelerate the time to market for a new product with mitigating risks. The Raspberry Compute Module 3, on the other hand, is a Computer on Module/System on Module that usually designed to be used in an embedded product.

Unlike SBCs that usually comes with fixed computing, resources, memory, peripherals, and I/O sections, CoM/SoM gives engineers and developers the full ability to customize their board as per the needs of the application. You can decide on what you want, the GPIO ports you need to extend out, or even the memory options. Another significant use of SoM is they are usually future proof, unlike SBCs.

Khadas Edge

So what if we don’t have to choose between both worlds, get the smooth deployment of the SBCs plus the customisation of the SoM without necessarily having to purchase 2 different boards. The Khadas Edge is an upcoming product that is going to make this realization possible.

The Khadas Edge board is a board that attempts to combine both worlds. A single standalone board and system on module powered by the Rockchip RK3399 SoC. It combines a USB receptacle and HDMI output as well as 314-pin MXM3 edge connector to connect to a Khadas Captain baseboard or any other custom compatible baseboard.

The Khadas Edge will be a different step from their usual Amlogic based SBC as found on the Khadas Vim and Khadas Vim2 SBC. It is powered by a hexa-core Rockchip RK3399 SoC carrying Big Cluster CPU; a Dual-core Cortex-A72 running at up to 1.8GHz, and a Little Cluster CPU; a quad-core Cortex-A53 running at up to 1.5GHz with a Mali T864 GPU.

The Khadas Edge is expected to come in three variants; the Basic, the Pro, and the Max. The Khadas Edge can plug into the Khadas Captain baseboard to act as a full standalone SBC.

Below are the specification listed for the Khadas Edge board:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 at up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53) with Mali-T860 GPU; 8-bit STM8S003 with programmable EEPROM
  • Memory:
    • Basic — 2GB LPDDR4 RAM, 16GB eMMC 5.1
    • Pro — 4GB/32GB
    • Max — 4GB/64GB
    • All models — 16MB SPI flash
  • Wireless:
    • Basic — 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz 2×2 MIMO with Bluetooth 4.1 (Broadcom AP6356S)
    • Pro and Max — 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz 2×2 MIMO with RSDB and Bluetooth 5.0 (Broadcom AP6938S)
    • 2x WiFi antennas
  • Networking — GbE controller with WoL (PHY only, no port)
  • Display/camera:
    • HDMI 2.0a port with CEC for up to up to 4K@60Hz, HDCP 2.2
    • DisplayPort 1.2 available via 1x USB Type-C
    • Simultaneous dual display support
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 Type-C ports (1x power only, 1x with DP and USB support)
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Fan header
  • Expansion:
    • FPC connector A — UART, I2C, SPI, SD/MMC, ADC, PWM, IOs
    • FPC connector B — USB, I2S (8 ch.), I2C, MCU IOs
    • 314-pin MXM3 board-to-board connector
  • Other features — 3x buttons; 2x LEDs; heatsink (TBC); optional Edge IO and Khadas Captain boards
  • Power — 5-20V DC input via USB Type-C, Pogo Pads, MXM3; 2-cell battery module
  • Weight — 25 gm
  • Dimensions — 82.0 x 57.5 x 5.7mm
  • Operating system — Android Oreo, Ubuntu 18.04, Debian 9.0, etc. with mainline Linux and U-Boot; support for TensorFlow and Android NN (Neural Networks API)

The board should ship with two Wi-Fi antennas and a heatsink. Operating systems support includes Android Oreo, Ubuntu 18.04, and Debian 9.0 with mainline Linux, as well as AI features such as TensorFlow, Android NN (Neural Networks API).

The Khadas Edge and Khadas Captain are expected to launch in a crowdfunding campaign in August, and more information should be available on the product page by then.

Linux Powered Apalis iMX8 SoM Built On NXP’s QuadMax

Toradex, a Swiss embedded technology firm announced the world’s first embedded board built on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax back in Mar. 2017. Recently, Toradex has opened early access for selected customers to the SODIMM-style Apalis iMX8 module. A sign-up form offers the potential for newcomers to get an early look.

Apalis iMX8 module
Apalis iMX8 module

This new Linux powered, wireless-enabled Apalis iMX8 uses the QuadMax, which is the most powerful i.MX8 Quad model. Like the Quad and QuadPlus, it offers 4x 1.26GHz Cortex-A53 cores, 2x 266MHz Cortex-M4F cores for real-time processing, one or two Vivante GC7000LiteXS/VX GPUs, and a HIFI4 DSP. The QuadPlus adds a 1.6GHz Cortex-A72 core, and the Apalis i.MX8’s QuadMax provides two -A72 cores. The module supports up to 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM.

The Cortex-A cores run a Yocto Project based Linux distribution provided via a BSP (Board Support Package). The M4F MCU cores run FreeRTOS which is also provided by the same BSP. With its dual GPUs, the Apalis iMX8 supports multiple-screen automotive installations. However, the module is designed for a broader range of cutting-edge computer vision systems, as well as signal processing and HMI applications. The module offers onboard, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, and the dual-mode Bluetooth module is said to be Bluetooth 5.0 ready.

The module is equipped with 2x PCIe Gen 3 interfaces, 3x CAN, 4x SPI, 7x UART, and 8x analog inputs. The I2C count has increased to 7x, and the PWM count has advanced to 6x. You also get an IrDA connection, up to 133 GPIOs, and 8- and 4-bit SDIO/SD/MMC interfaces. The Apalis iMX8’s SATA interface has moved from SATA II to III. As before, there’s a GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) controller with a second RGMII. You get a USB 3.0 host interface, and 3x USB 2.0 host ports, one of which is OTG.

The module provides a quad-lane MIPI-DSI interface and offers an HDMI 2.0a interface for up to 4K UHD 2160p. There’s also a single/dual-channel LVDS interface with up to 1920 x 1200 x 24bpp resolution and 4-wire resistive touch. One new feature is a choice of DisplayPort 1.3 or eDP 1.4.  An optional 5MP camera module is supported by dual quad-lane MIPI-CSI interfaces. Analog audio I/O includes a stereo line in, mono mic in, and stereo headphone out interfaces.

Apalis iMX8 carrier boards: Apalis Evaluation Board
Apalis iMX8 carrier boards: Apalis Evaluation Board

The Apalis i.MX8 offers the same two carrier board options provided for the Apalis TK1: a 250 x 250mm Apalis Evaluation Board, as well as a less feature-rich, 125 x 90mm Ixora Carrier Board. The boards have real-time clocks and 7-27V DC input support. The Apalis i.MX8 appears to be ready to ship soon to qualified early access providers. You can sign up to apply for early access on the Apalis i.MX8 product page.

Microchip’s New Open Source SAMA5D27 SOM Module Runs Mainline Linux

American microcontroller manufacturer company Microchip has unveiled an open source, mainline Linux ready “SAMA5D27 SOM” module. This module is based on a SiP implementation of its Cortex-A5-based SAMA5D27 SoC with 128MB RAM. The 40 x 38mm module is also compatible with a SOM1-EK1 dev board.

SAMA5D27 SOM1

SAMA5D27 SOM1
SAMA5D27 SOM1

The SAMA5D27 SOM is Microchip’s first computer-on-module based on a Linux-ready application processor, and the first SiP-based module built around a SAMA5 SoC. It is mainly designed for rugged IoT applications and the module can be soldered onto a baseboard for versatile ease of use. It offers long-term availability and supports industrial grade -40 to 85°C temperature range.

The SAMA5D27 SOM1 combines the RAM-ready SAMA5D27C-D1G SiP with 64Mb of non-volatile QSPI boot flash and a 10/100 Ethernet PHY.  The module also integrates a 2Kb EEPROM with pre-programmed MAC address. The SOM is further equipped with a PMIC and a 3.3V power supply. Typical power consumption ranges from 120mA to 160mA. There’s also a 60mA idle mode and an ultra-low 30mA mode.

This module has 128 GPIO pins including 2x USB 2.0 host, one USB device, and 2x SD/MMC interfaces with eMMC 4.51 support. There is also support for 10x UART, 7x SPI, 2x CAN, camera and audio interfaces, and much more.

Like the Xplained boards, the module is open source, from the mainline Linux support to the posting of open schematics, design, Gerber, and BoM files for both the SOM and the optional SOM1-EK1 development board.

SAMA5D2 SiP

SAMA5D2 SiP
SAMA5D2 SiP

The newly launched SAMA5D2 SiP is built around the Microchip SAMA5D2. The FreeRTOS-focused 128MB version uses a lower-end SAM5D22 model limited to 16-bit DDR2 RAM while the Linux-ready 512MB and 1GB versions use the higher end SAMA5D27 and SAMA5D28, respectively, with 16/32-bit DDR. All the models are renowned for offering CAN support, and because the SAMA5D28 also adds security features, it’s the only one that is pre-certified for PCI Security.

The SAMA5D has fewer I/O pins and slower performance (166-500MHz) compared to the earlier, 600MHz SAMA5D4, but the power consumption is significantly lower. The SAMA5D2 SoC can run at less than 150mW in active mode at 500MHz with all peripherals activated, and at less than 0.5mW in low power mode with SRAM and registers retention.

SOM1-EK1 development board

SOM1-EK1 Development Board
SOM1-EK1 Development Board

The SAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 development kit is built around a baseboard with a soldered SAMA5D27-SOM1 module with the 128MB (1Gb) configuration. This board is enhanced with SD and microSD slots, as well as a 10/100 Ethernet port, a micro-USB host port, and a micro-USB device port with power input.

Additional I/O option for this dev board includes USB HSIC, CAN, JLINK, and JTAG interfaces. There’s a tamper connector, 4x push buttons, an LED, supercapacitor backup, and an ATECC508 CryptoAuthentication device. A Linux4SAM BSP is available with Linux kernel and drivers.

The ATSAMA5D27-SOM1 is available for $39, and the ATSAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 development board is available for $245 each. The ATSAMA5D2 SiP starts at for $8.62 each. More information may be found in Microchip’s SAMA5D2 SiP and SOM announcement and launch page, which points to SOM and SiP pages, as well as the SAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 dev board page.

Hardware Acronyms: SiP, SoC, SoM, CoM, SBC – What Are They?

If you are new into hardware or still familiarizing yourself to the hardware ecosystem, you will realize some common terms often appear which could sometimes sound confusing or something out of rocket science, but it’s not. Here’s a quick look at five common terms used in hardware products or boards and what they denote.

Let’s take a look at them –

System-in-a-Package (SiP)

Cross section of a SiP

A system in package (SiP) contains several ICs (chips) including a microprocessor on a single substrate such as ceramic or laminate. An example SiP can comprise several chips—such as a specialized processor, DRAM, flash memory—combined with passive components—resistors and capacitors—all mounted on the same substrate. This means that a complete functional unit can be built in a multi-chip package so that few external components need to be added to make it work.

SiP dies can be stacked vertically or tiled horizontally, unlike slightly less dense multi-chip modules, which place dies horizontally on a carrier. SiP connects the dies with standard off-chip wire bonds or solder bumps.

The appeal of a SiP is that it can be compact an otherwise complex system into a very simple package, making it easier to integrate into larger systems. It also simplifies PCB layouts.

Unlike a SOC that is based on a single silicon die, SiP can be based on multiple dies in a single package. SiP is believed to provide more interconnection in the future and possibly face out SoCs.

Package-on-a-Package (PoP)

Package on a Package

A Package-on-a-Package stacks single-component packages vertically, connected via ball grid arrays. Packages can be discrete components (memory, CPU, other logic) or a System-in-a-Package stacked with another package for added or expanded functionality.

PoP provides more component density and also simplifies PCB design. It can also improve signal propagation since the interconnects between components is much shorter.

System-on-a-Chip (SoC)

A System-on-a-chip (SoC) is a microchip with all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a  given system, such as a smartphone or wearable computer, into a single integrated circuit (IC).

An SoC integrates a microcontroller (or microprocessor) with advanced peripherals like graphic processing unit (GPU), Wi-Fi module, or coprocessor.

Think of an SoC as a computer package inside a chip. The SoC integrates all components of a system into one. It may contain digital, analog, mixed-signal, and often radio-frequency functions – all on a single substrate. An SoC can be based around either a microcontroller (includes CPU, RAM, ROM, and other peripherals) or a microprocessor (includes only a CPU). It is also possible for SoCs to be customized for a specific application, including whatever components, memory, or peripherals necessary, ranging from digital/analog signal ICs, FPGAs, and IOs.

One of the major advantages of an SoC is that it is usually cheaper, smaller, easy to scale, and even more energy efficient. It is easier to build around a SoC for a product than to add several components individually. Despite its obvious advantages, SoC still has a significant disadvantage – you are going to be locked into that hardware configuration for life. This could be fine for consumer products, since you don’t expect any hardware upgrade or so but would limit hacking for makers related application.

A good example of an SoC is what we have in the Raspberry Pi; The Raspberry Pi uses a system on a chip as an almost fully-contained microcomputer. SoCs can help engineers speed up a product to market and even the adoption of new protocols, such as those Bluetooth 5 SoCs, that make it easier to integrate Bluetooth 5 into new products.

System on Module (SoM) / Computer on Module (CoM)

Computer on a module

A System on a Module (SoM) and Computer on Module usually refers to the same thing. A Computer-on-a-module is a step above an SoC. It means a computer or system packaged in a single module. CoMs usually provide every piece you need to build a complete system; they incorporate an SoC (most of the time), connectivity, multimedia and display, GPIO, operating system, and others into one single module.

SoM based designs are usually scalable. SoMs/CoMs are usually paired with a carrier board. These carrier boards are usually used to extend out the SoMs functionality or parts. A SoM helps system designers realize a fully customized electronics assembly, complete with custom interfaces and form factor without the effort of a ground-up electronics design. Customers can purchase an off-the-shelf SoM and marry it to an easy to develop custom baseboard to create a solution functionally identical to one that is fully custom-engineered.

CoMs provide a plug-and-play type advantage since a CoM can be replaced or upgraded within a carrier, without having to change the carrier. There are some benefits to the SoM approach vs. ground-up development. These include cost savings, reduced risk, a variety of CPU choices, decreased customer design requirements, and a small footprint.

Unlike an SBC, a computer-on-module is a type of single-board computer made to plug into a carrier board, baseboard, or backplane for system expansion.

Single Board Computers (SBCs)

A Raspberry Pi SBC

single-board computer (SBC) is a complete computer built on a single circuit board, with a microprocessor(s), memory, input/output (I/O) and other features required for a functional computer. Single-board computers were made as demonstration or development systems, for educational systems, or for use as embedded computer controllers.

Single-board computer builds on SoC to provide a full-fledged computer on small circuit board. Examples of popular SBCs are Raspberry Pi boards, Nvidia Jetson, Beaglebone, and several others.

New Mini-ITX Form Factor Open-X 8M Development Kit Is Built Around i.MX8M Module

The Canada based company Intrinsyc has announced the Open-X 8M System on Module (SOM) a month ago. Now Open-X 8M is followed up with a Mini-ITX form factor Open-X 8M Development Kit build. The kit includes a GbE port, dual USB 3.0 ports, M2 expansion, and much more user-friendly features.

Open-X 8M SOM

Intrinsyc Open-X 8M SOM front side
Intrinsyc Open-X 8M SOM front side

The Open-X 8M SOM can run Linux and Android 8.0 on the high-end Quad model of the i.MX8M, the same model used by most of the other i.MX8M boards. The i.MX8M Quad has 4x Cortex-A53 cores, single 266MHz Cortex-M4F, VPU, and Vivante GC7000Lite GPU chips. These CPU cores can be clocked in the range of 1.3GHz to 1.5GHz.

The Open-X 8M SOM comes with 3GB LPDDR4 RAM and 16GB eMMC. It includes a wireless module with 2.4/5.0GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with the support of 2×2 MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1. A Gigabit Ethernet controller is also there for wired connectivity. Visual output is available with the help of the module’s 3x 100-pin connectors. There is also support for HDMI 2.0a for up to 4096 x 2160 at a 60Hz resolution and 4-lane MIPI-DSI for up to 1920 x 1080 at 60Hz. There are also dual 4-lane MIPI-CSI2 camera inputs.

The Open-X 8M SOM is moreover equipped with 2x debug UART, 2x USB 3.0, 4-bit SDIO, JTAG, and PCIe Gen2 additional I/O ports. This 3.3V module has an NXP PF4210 PMIC, and it can operate in 0 to 70°C temperature range.

Open-X 8M Development Kit

Intrinsyc Open-X 8M Development Kit
Intrinsyc Open-X 8M Development Kit

The Open-X 8M SOM is the heart of the new Open-X 8M Development Kit. It has a footprint of 170 x 170mm, which classifies as Mini-ITX form factor. The board has a MIPI-DSI connector and choice for mounting an optional, smartphone-sized Open-X LCD/Touchscreen is available.

The Open-X 8M Development Kit includes USB 3.0 host, USB 3.0 Type-C, and HDMI 2.0a ports, as well as a microSD slot. A GbE port is available as an alternative to the module’s WiFi. There’s also a 3.5mm audio output jack. Dual MIPI-CSI2 connectors support is available for optional camera module attachment.

The Open-X 8M SOM and Open-X 8M Development Kit are available now. Though, pricing information is not available yet. More information may be found at Intrinsyc’s Open-X 8M SOM and Open-X 8M Development Kit product page.

Microchip MC1409UK – MPU based system on module

Simplify industrial-grade Linux® designs with SAMA5D2 MPU-based system on module (SOM) with Microchip’s MC1409u.

There is a great deal of design effort and complexity associated with creating an industrial-grade microprocessor (MPU)-based system. The ATSAMA5D27-SOM1, which contains the ARM® Cortex®-A5 ATSAMA5D27C-D1G-CU System in Package (SiP), greatly simplifies design by integrating the power management, non-volatile boot memory, Ethernet PHY and high-speed lower power DDR2 memory onto a small, single-sided Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The SAMA5D27 SOM1 is built on a common set of proven Microchip components and limits the design rules of the main application board, reducing overall PCB complexity and cost.

ATSAMA5D27 SOM1

  • SAMA5D27 ARM Cortex-A5 processor
  • 1Gb (128MB) DDR2 DRAM
  • On-board power management unit
  • Single 3.3V supply
  • Pre-programmed EUI-48 MAC address
  • Industrial temperature range (-40 to 85°C)
  • 40 x 38 mm Module, 0.8 mm pitch

You can solder the SOM on a mother board and take it to production, or it can be used as a reference design along with the free schematics, design and Gerber files and complete bill of materials which are available online. You can also transition from the SOM to the SiP or the SAMA5D2 MPU itself, depending on your design needs. No matter which option you select, all products are backed by Microchip’s customer-driven obsolescence policy which ensures availability for as long as needed.

source: www.avnet.com

OpenEmbed Releases em3399 Rockchip RK3399 SoM plus an Evaluation Kit

The RK3399 processor from Rockchip has seen adoption in some boards in recent times. The Rockchip RK3399 processor has been deployed on boards like the Odroid-N1 board, Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399, the Theobroma RK3399-Q7 SoM, and more recently the Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi RK3399.

The RK3399 is a low power, a high-performance processor for computing, personal mobile internet devices, and other smart device applications. Based on Big Little architecture, it integrates dual-core Cortex-A72 and quad-core Cortex-A53 with a separate NEON coprocessor and also a Mali T860 MP4 GPU all in one single package. It is the processor to beat and due to its display capabilities has made it seen applications in TV Boxes especially in China.

em3399 SoM

If you are still on the lookout for a system-on-module based on Rockchip RK3399, then another SoM to put for consideration is the OpenEmbed em3399. OpenEmbed has launched their first system-on-module referred to as the em3399 SoM board and even comes with an optional “emPAC-RK3399-EVB” evaluation board.

The em3399 SoM supports 2GB to 4GB DDR3L RAM and 16GB to 128GB eMMC 5.1. It provides support for HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, MIPI-DSI (dual-channel) and eDP 1.3 display interfaces. It comes with a 2x MIPI-CSI camera interface, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, USB type C, USB 2.0, SPi, i2C, GPIO and several others.

The following are some of the specifications of the OpenEmbed em3399:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with 2x Cortex-A72 cores, 4x Cortex-A53 cores, and an Arm Mali-T860MP4 GPU
  • System Memory –  2GB or 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • Storage – 16GB to 128GB eMMC 5.1 flash
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet transceiver (Atheros AR8033)
  • Power Management – Rockchip RK808D PMIC
  • 2x 120-pin board-to-board connectors (0.8mm pitch)
    • Camera – 2x MIPI-CSI (up to 13MP or dual 8MP); VOP (up to 5MP)
    • Audio – S/PDIF output, 8-channel I2S, HDMI and DP
    • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
    • USB – 2x USB 3.0 host ports or 2x USB type C, 2x USB 2.0 host
    • 1x PCI-e x1
    • 5x SPI, 8x I2C, 100+ GPIOs
  •  Display:
    • HDMI 2.0 port with audio for up to 4K @ 60Hz
    • DisplayPort 1.2 with audio for up to 4K @ 60Hz
    • MIPI-DSI (dual-channel) at up to 2560×1600 @ 60 Hz
    • eDP 1.3 (4-lane)
  • Dimensions – 84 x 55 mm
emPAC-RK3399-EVB development board

The emPAC-RK3399-EVB evaluation board has the same footprint as the em3399 SoM and stacks on top of the module via a dual 120-pin connector. The em3399 SoM is layered between the carrier board on top and also a heatsink on the bottom.

The emPAC-RK3399-EVB development board extends the em3399 with single a Gigabyte Ethernet port, USB 3.0, and USB Type-C ports, as well as dual USB 2.0 ports. It also extends out the HDMI 2.0 port, an audio jack, and MIPI-CSI and eDP connectors. A Wireless WiFi/Bluetooth module is available, and 20 GPIO pins have been extended out as well.

The following are the specification of the emPAC-RK3399-EVB:

  • 2x 120-pin board-to-board connectors for em3399 CPU module
  • Display – HDMI 2.0a port, eDP connector, DisplayPort via USB type C port (TBC)
  • Audio – Via HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack (mic + stereo audio)
  • Camera – 1x CSI connector
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi & Bluetooth module
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type C port
  • Expansion – 20-pin GPIO/Debug header with GPIOs, UART, 3.3V, 3.3V, 1.8V, GND
  • Misc – Power, Recovery and reset buttons; 5V power LED; 2-pin RTC battery header
  • Power Supply – 12V DC via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions – 84 x 55 mm

The company provides support for Android 7.1 and a Linux distribution with an Ubuntu Core still under development. You can purchase the SoM and the evaluation board on the OpenEmbed’s Taobao page for respectively 650 CNY ($102.50) or 899 CNY (~$142 US) for the 2GB/16GB configuration and 950 CNY ($151) or 1,199 CNY ($189) or for the 4GB/32GB models.

InnoComm NXP i.MX8M System on Module – An Advanced Video Processing SoM with Connectivity

Last year (2017), NXP announced its new applications processors, the i.MX 8 series. The i.MX 8M family of applications processors based on Arm® Cortex®-A53 and Cortex-M4 cores provide industry-leading audio, voice and video processing for applications that scale from consumer home audio to industrial building automation and mobile computers. NXP announced a select group of partners that have been engaged in the development of an ecosystem for the i.MX 8M family processor. Taiwan based Innocomm Mobile Technology was one of those selected partners among others and have announced their NXP i.MX 8M quad-core system-on-module – called WB10 with wireless and wired connectivity options.

Innocomm WB10

Innocomm WB10 is a next generation Wireless System-on-Module powered by the NXP i.MX 8M SoC. It offered advanced video processing capabilities and designed for application in the areas of internet audio, home entertainment, smart speakers among many others. With inbuilt Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet connectivity options, the WB10 can quickly find applications in the trending areas of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial applications.

The WB10 is a small module and measured at just 50 x 50 mm. The WB10 module comes with only 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and an 8GB eMMC flash memory. It provides onboard support for WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Ethernet controller with MIMO 2 x 2 and Bluetooth 4.2. Apart from impressive connectivity options, you also get a host of other interfaces like – USB 3.0 host, USB 2.0 device, 2x I2C, 3x UART, GPIO, PWM, SPI, and PCIe interfaces.

WB10 Block Diagram

The WB10 has an impressive audio and video interfaces with is Media I/O expressed via three 80-pin connectors that include an HDMI 2.0a supporting 4K and HDR, as well as MIPI-DSI, 2x MIPI-CSI, SPDIF Rx/Tx, 4x SAI, and the high-end DSD512 audio interface.

The following are some of the SoM specifications:

  • Processor – NXP i.MX8M Quad, Cortex-A53 x 4 + M4
  • Display  –
    • 4K + HDR
    • HDMI 2.0a
    • MPI DSI
  • RAM – 2GB LPDDR4
  • Flash Memory – 8GB eMMC Flash
  • Connectivity –
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    • MIMO 2×2 / BT 4.2
    • Ethernet 10/100M/1Gbps
  • Audio –
    • SAI
    • SPDiF Rx/Tx
    • DSD512
  • Dimension – 50 x 50 mm
  • Others –
    • USB 3.0/2.0 Host
    • USB 2.0 Device
    • i2C
    • SPI
    • UART
    • GPIO
    • CSI
    • PWM
    • PCIe
    • 80 pins x 3, board to board connectors
Carrier Board

Although no official software support has been provided, it is expected the SoM should support the usual Android and Linux BSPs as seen in most modules. A development carrier board is made available by the company to extend the SoM interfaces and will surely make development easier. The module connects to the carrier board through three 80-pin board-to-board connectors exposing many of the I/Os provided by the latest NXP processor.

At this point, no pricing or availability information is provided for the WB10. More information about the module can be found on the product page.