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SODIMM-style modules run Linux on ARM Cortex-A8 CPUs

Apr 5, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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Denx Computer Systems has introduced a second member of its SODIMM-style COM (computer-on-module) product line. The M53 module is available with Freescale’s i.MX535 or i.MX537 SOCs (system-on-chip processors), which integrate an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core, graphics engines, and numerous other functions.

The M53 COM’s i.MX53x processor includes an integrated display controller, full HD capability, and enhanced graphics and connectivity features. Denx says the module’s high performance processing, advanced graphics capabilities, and low power consumption make it suitable for applications in consumer, automotive, medical, and industrial products and devices.



Denx M53 computer-on-module
(click image to enlarge)

Denx’s M53 module is designed to plug into a 230-pin MXM2 connector, located on an application-oriented baseboard. The MXM2 (and earlier MXM) connector was developed by Nvidia for use on its graphics accelerator add-on modules for PCs. Denx’s M-series COMs use MXM2 in a nonstandard manner.

Key features of the Denx M53 module, as listed by the company, include:

  • Processor — choice of 1.2GHz i.MX535 or 800MHz i.MX537
    • ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core
    • Graphics engine supports 1080p HD video decode and 720p video encode
    • Independent OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG 1.1 hardware accelerators
    • Vector floating point coprocessor
  • Memory — up to 2GB DDR3 on-board RAM; 256MB on-board NAND flash
  • USB — High-speed USB 2.0 OTG and USB 2.0 Host ports (both with PHYs)
  • Video out — simultaneous dual-display outputs, with options for TFT LCD, LVDS, analog, TV (composite, component, RGB), and standard VGA
  • Video in — 2x simultaneous camera inputs with hardware pre-processing
  • Other I/O — 10/100 Ethernet; SATA; SDIO; SPI; I2C; UART; I2S and S/PDIF audio interfaces
  • Form-factor — 70 x 40mm card with 230-pin MXM2 edge connector

The M53 module’s block diagram appears below.



Denx M53 computer-on-module
(click image to enlarge)

Freescale i.MX53 SOCs (system-on-chip processors) are based on ARM Cortex-A8 CPU cores with clock rates up to 1.2 GHz. The block diagram below shows what’s integrated within the i.MX537 chip. The main distinction, functionally, between the i.MX537 and the i.MX535 is lack of CANbus interface in the latter part.



Freescale i.MX537 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Denx offers extensive embedded Linux support for its COM products, including the U-Boot bootloader, Xenomai real-time framework, and more.

For further information on the M53 and other Denx COMs, visit the company’s website, here.
 

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