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Raspberry Pi sized SBC runs Linux on single-core Cortex-A53 SoC

Dec 29, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 6539 views

[Updated Dec. 30] — Scalys announced a “Grapeboard” SBC that runs Linux on NXP’s single-core -A53 LS1012A SoC, and offers dual GbE and WiFi/BT, plus PCIe, USB 3.0, and SATA via M.2 connectors.

Netherlands-based Scalys announced an upcoming Grapeboard SBC that will be more fully illuminated at the CES show Las Vegas, starting Jan. 9. The SBC, which runs Linux on NXP’s single-core, Cortex-A53 QorIQ LS1012A SoC, is designed for IoT applications that require “a combination of CPU performance, high-speed networking, and data storage and retrieval, including sensor gateways, communication hubs, and secure edge devices,” says the company.

(click image to enlarge)

Scalys makes a number of COMs, as well as a Raspberry Pi-like Scalys-LS1012 SBC, all of which run Linux on NXP SoCs (see farther below). None of these are open source SBCs, and there’s no indication that the Grapeboard is, either, but the fact that it has its own (currently bare-bones) website suggests that at the very least it will be targeted at the general consumer market, if not also at OEMs.

The Grapeboard is built around NXP’s 800MHz QorIQ LS1012A, which we first saw in February on the efus A53LS COM from F&S Elektronik Systeme. It’s also set to drive the Arrow Oxalis 96Boards Enterprise Edition (EE) SBC, which was announced in March, but does not yet appear to be shipping.

LS1012A block diagram
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The LS1012A is still the only SoC we’ve seen that uses a 64-bit Cortex-A architecture processor in a single-core configuration. This minimalist approach enables the networking focused SoC to run at a typical 1W. The 9.6 x 9.6mm LS1012A features a 2Gbps packet crypto accelerator, a packet forwarding engine, and ARM TrustZone and QorIQ Trust Architecture security.

The Grapeboard provides 1GB of DDR3L, 8MB of SPI NOR flash for BCD and bootloader, and 64MB of SPI NOR flash for U-boot and a user-customizable Linux Kernel. A microSD slot is also available.

Grapeboard detail view
(click image to enlarge)

SATA storage is available via one of the three M.2 connectors. The others support USB 3.0/2.0 and PCIe 2.0 expansion, respectively. Coastline ports include 2x GbE ports and 2x USB 3.0 ports with USB 2.0 support. There’s also a USB-to-serial interface, as well as 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 BLE via a USB-connected RTL8723BU chip.

The Grapeboard offers a 26-pin expansion connector said to be compatible with the first 26 pins of the Raspberry Pi connector, but with caveats that some RPi expansion boards won’t be supported. No dimensions were provided, but it appears to be about the size of a Raspberry Pi. The board has a 4.5 to 16V input.

Scalys-LS1012 SBC and Scalys COMs

The previously released Scalys-LS1012 SBC runs Linux on the same QorIQ LS1012A SoC as the Grapeboard. It offers a Raspberry Pi 3 form-factor and compatible 40-pin expansion connector, as well as 1GB DDR3L, 512MB SPI flash, and a microSD slot. Other features include USB 3.0 and 2.0 host ports, a SATA interface, and WiFi.

(click image to enlarge)

Scalys’s Linux-powered COMs include a 67.2 x 52mm, SODIMM-style SES-MX536 equipped with an old-school NXP i.MX536 with a single 800MHz Cortex-A8 core. The module ships with 1GB DDR3 RAM, 2GB NAND, and a microSD slot. Other features include a micro-USB port, a SATA-150 interface, and an accelerometer. The -20 to 70°C tolerant SES-MX536 has a 4-10V input, a battery charger, and a 3.2V/1.8V output.

SES-MX536 (left) and SES-MX6S/D/Q
(click images to enlarge)

The SES-MX6S/D/Q is an 82 x 50mm SMARC form-factor module with an NXP i.MX6. The module has 2GB DDR3L and 64GB eMMC, and offers a GbE controller. The -20 to 70°C ready SES-MX6S/D/Q supports dual USB 2.0, HDMI, Parallel display, 2x camera, PCIe, SATA, and many other interfaces.

Other Scalys modules include a SiMC-T10xx built around an NXP QorIQ T10xx processor and a SiMC-T2081 based on a QorIQ T2081. Both are supported with a SiMC-TCB01 micro-ATX carrier board.

Further information

No pricing or availability information is provided for the Grapeboard, but this should be revealed during CES. More information may be found on the preliminary Grapeboard product page. The Scalys-LS1012 SBC and other modules are available now at an undisclosed price at Scalys.

(advertise here)

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2 responses to “Raspberry Pi sized SBC runs Linux on single-core Cortex-A53 SoC”

  1. Bart C says:

    Like all sbc’s this board has no hardware acceleration for video.

    • Chip says:

      It doesn’t have hardware acceleration for video because it doesn’t have video output at all, the reason being that it doesn’t even need it. If you read carefully the specs it clearly states the board is aimed at a lot of stuff completely unrelated to video.

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