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Google’s Dev Board Mini SBC launches for $100

Oct 17, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 26159 views

Seeed has opened $100 pre-orders on Google’s “Coral Dev Board Mini,” which runs Linux on a quad -A35 MediaTek 8167s along with a 4-TOPS Edge TPU. The Mini supplies 2GB LPDDR3, 8GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, micro-HDMI, MIPI-DSI/CSI, 2x Type-C, and 40-pin GPIO.

In January, Google announced a stripped down Coral Dev Board Mini version of its Coral Dev Board, as well as a solderable Coral Accelerator Module implementation of Google’s 4-TOPS Edge TPU. Now Seeed has opened $100 pre-orders on the Mini along with a pre-soldered Coral Accelerator Module, with shipments starting at the end of the month.



Coral Dev Board Mini, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The specs have remained largely the same since the original announcement, but with a few more details available. Unlike the sandwich-style Coral Dev Board, which has dropped to a low of $130 at Amazon, the Coral Dev Board Mini does not use the NXP i.MX8M and Edge TPU equipped Coral SOM, but instead directly incorporates a less powerful MediaTek 8167s SoC along with the new solderable Edge TPU module. Like the Coral Dev Board, the Mini version runs Mendel, Google’s version of Debian Linux.

The power-efficient MediaTek 8167s is equipped with 4x Cortex-A35 cores and an Imagination PowerVR GE8300 GPU. No clock rate is listed, but the SoC is known to achieve up to 1.3GHz. Compared to its higher-resolution siblings, the MediaTek 8167a and 8167b, the SoC adds extensive audio interfaces including I2S and 8-channel TDM input and output.

In the original announcement Google said the SoC excels at 720P video encoding and decoding. The MediaTek 8167s supports 1280 x 800-pixel displays and H.264, H.265, and HEVC decoding and offers a 12MP camera ISP and H.264 encoding



Coral Dev Board Mini (left) and Coral Dev Board
(click images to enlarge)

The Coral Dev Board Mini, which is also referred to as the Dev Board Mini, is designed as an evaluation device for the new Acceleration Module. The Edge TPU is a stripped-down version of Google’s TPU Unit. It’s designed to run TensorFlow Lite ML and AutoML Vision Edge models for high-speed ML inferencing on low-powered Arm Linux systems. Google describes AutoML as a library of “fast, high-accuracy custom image classification models.” The Edge TPU runs at 4 TOPS using 0.5 watts for each TOPS (2 TOPS per watt), says Google.

The Coral Dev Board Mini measures 64 x 48mm, down from 88.1 x 59.9mm on the original Dev Board. The SBC ships with 2GB LPDDR3 and 8GB eMMC. Features that have been removed from the original Dev Kit include the microSD slot and GbE and USB 3.0 host ports. The dual USB 2.0 Type-C ports remain and the HDMI 2.0a port has shrunk to a micro-HDMI 1.4.

Like the larger board, the Mini provides 802.11ac with Bluetooth (now 5.0) and offers 4-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI2 FFC connectors. It also similarly supplies a 40-pin GPIO connector and a 3.5mm audio jack. You get a single digital PDM microphone and a 2-pin rather than a 4-pin stereo speaker connector. We saw no evidence of the heatsink shown in an image of the prototype.

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As noted by Hot Hardware, the Dev Board Mini goes up against Nvidia’s $99 Jetson Nano Developer Kit and new, $59 Nano 2GB Developer Kit. The Jetson Nano modules that drive the kits offer AI processing via their 128-core Maxwell GPUs. Unlike the Nano kits, this is presumably an open-spec board like the original Coral Dev Kit, although open source files do not yet appear to have been posted.

Specifications listed for the Coral Dev Board Mini include:

  • Processor — MediaTek 8167s (4x Cortex-A35); Imagination PowerVR GE8300 GPU; separate Edge TPU AI chip via Coral Accelerator Module
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3; 8GB eMMC
  • Networking — 802.11ac with Bluetooth 5.0
  • Media I/O:
    • Micro-HDMI 1.4 port
    • 4-lane MIPI-DSI via FFC
    • 4-lane MIPI-CSI2 via FFC
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Digital PDM mic
    • 2-pin speaker terminal
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 Type-C ports with power input support
    • 40-pin GPIO header
  • Dimensions — 64 x 48mm
  • Operating system — Mendel Linux (Debian based)

 
Further information

The Coral Dev Board Mini is open for $99.99 pre-orders at Seeed and is available for pre-order direct from Google at the same price, but with a link to contact sales. Shipments are due from Seeed starting Oct. 31.
 

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