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BeagleBone AI board ships with EVE machine learning cores

Sep 23, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 695 views

The open-spec BeagleBone AI has arrived for $125 with a dual Cortex-A15 TI AM5729 with dual C66x DSPs and 4x EVE cores for AI. The SBC supplies 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, GbE, USB 3.0 Type-C, and micro-HDMI.

The long-awaited heir to the BeagleBone Black that was unveiled by the BeagleBoard.org Foundation in February has reached market. The open-spec, community-backed BeagleBone AI has begun selling with pre-installed Debian Linux for a low of $125 at Arrow, Mouser, and OKdo. The layout and dimensions appear to be the same as the 86 x 53mm BeagleBone Black and it supports the same Cape add-on boards.



BeagleBone AI, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The BeagleBone AI’s 1.5GHz, dual-core Cortex-A15 Texas Instruments Sitara AM5729 is a major performance boost over the 1GHz, Cortex-A8 Sitara AM3358 found on the BeagleBone Black and its many variants. Although the CPU trails most of its competitors in the Linux hacker board arena, the main selling point here are the many coprocessors, led by the SoC’s TI 4x embedded-vision-engine (EVE) neural processing cores with AI capabilities.

The EVE cores, which use a Vision AccelerationPac architecuture, provide a programmable imaging and vision processing engine for AI acceleration. Machine learning is supported by an optimized TI Deep Learning (TIDL) software framework with OpenCL API and pre-installed software tools.



TI AM5729 and EVE block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Unlike the AM3358, the AM5729 adds 2x TI C66x digital signal processors (DSPs) and 2x Cortex-M4 MCUs in addition to the EVE cores. Like the earlier SoC, the AM5729 is equipped with 4x programmable, real-time PRU-ICS (Programmable Real-Time Unit and Industrial Communication SubSystem) cores. The same PowerVR SGX544 3D GPU and Vivante GC320 Core 2D accelerator are the same as before.

The CPU is a 32-bit holdout in the modern era of 64-bit chips. However, it offers “out-of-order speculative issue 3-way superscalar execution pipeline for the fastest execution of existing 32-bit code,” says the BeagleBoard Foundation.



BeagleBone AI detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The BeagleBone AI doubles the RAM to 1GB and quadruples the eMMC storage to 16GB eMMC compared to the BB Black. The board provides a GbE port (up from 10/100), as well as 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. A USB 3.0 Type-C OTG port supports power input, and there’s also a USB 2.0 host port.

As before, the new BeagleBone is designed more for industrial and home automation than media center applications. You are once again limited to an HD-ready micro-HDMI port and an LCD/touchscreen interface.



BeagleBone AI and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Audio is available via the BeagleBone standard expansion interface with dual 46-pin headers. As before, there are a host of industrial interfaces including CAN. The BeagleBone AI ships with a serial debug interface, and there’s a heat sink and antenna.

Specifications listed for the BeagleBone AI include:

  • Processor — TI Sitara AM5729:
    • 2x Cortex-A15 @ 1.5GHz with 2.5MB of L3 cache
    • PowerVR SGX544 3D GPU
    • Vivante GC320 Core 2D accelerator
    • 4x Embedded Vision Engines (EVEs) with Vision AccelerationPac architecture
    • 2x C66x floating-point VLIW DSPs
    • 2x Cortex-M4
    • 2x dual-core PRU (4x cores total)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB DDR3L (2x 512MB)
    • 16GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Dual-band 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.2 (AzureWave AW-CM256SM)
  • Media I/O:
    • Micro-HDMI 1.4a port at up to 1080p @ 30fps or 4K @ 15fps (H.264)
    • 16-bit LCD interface
    • Touchscreen controller
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 Type-C dual-role port with power and I/O
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • 4x UART
    • 2x I2C
    • 2x SPI
    • PRU I/O pins
    • Serial debug header; JTAG
  • Expansion — BeagleBone Cape compatible expansion header (2x 46-pin)
  • Other features — 5x LEDs; heatsink; antenna; cables; fan support
  • Power:
    • Input via USB Type-C or expansion pin
    • TI TPS6590379 PMIC
    • 7x step-down converters for 6A output plus 3A regulator for up to 9A output
    • Power and reset buttons
  • Operating system –- Debian 9.9

 
Further information

The BeagleBone Ai is available for $156.29 at Newark and $125 at Arrow, Mouser, and OKdo. More information may be found on the BeagleBone Ai product and shopping page, which links to various wikis and other documentation.

 

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3 responses to “BeagleBone AI board ships with EVE machine learning cores”

  1. Gary Stewart says:

    The price is $156 at Newark. The others are as you reported $125.

  2. Jeff Child says:

    Thanks Gary. We’ve updated that accordingly.

  3. Gary Stewart says:

    After a quick check of the prices and reporting what I found here I went back to purchase one and I found that (for now?) Arrow has free standard overnight shipping on orders over $50. In the interest of full disclosure I have no relationship with Arrow other than being a new customer.

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