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Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs

Nov 16, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 685 views

Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 5.0.

NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.



Digi ConnectCore 8X module on ConnectCore 8X SBC PRO Development Kit
(click image to enlarge)

Toradex formally announced the Colibri iMX8X on Nov. 15. Digi had a brief ConnectCore 8X announcement back in February, and has recently posted a product page and spec sheet. This week, a Digi rep notified us that Digi had launched early access shipments of the ConnectCore 8X.


Toradex Colibri iMX8X, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

NXP’s power-efficient, Cortex-A35 based i.MX8X is clocked to 1.2GHz and includes a Cortex-M4 chip for real-time duties. You can choose between the quad-core i.MX8X QuadXPlus, the dual-core i.MX8 DualXPlus, or the dual-core i.MX8 DualX. Like the QuadXPlus, the DualX Plus model has a 4-shader Vivante GT7000Lite GPU while the DualX has a 2-shader GT7000UltraLite.

Toradex mentions one i.MX8X feature we have yet to notice: “Its updated NEON can accelerate computing loads such as Machine Learning and Computer Vision,” says the company. In addition, the company notes the SoC’s “SafeAssure failover-capable display controllers and other safety-minded features.”

Both the Toradex and Digi modules are supported with Yocto Project based Linux stacks. Digi also supports Android, and the Colibri iMX8X will offer an upcoming, Linux-based, Docker-equipped Torizon Software Platform option based on Linux MicroPlatform technology.

 
Colibri iMX8X

Toradex’s Colibri iMX8X is pin-compatible with other SODIMM-style Colibri modules such as the i.MX6 ULL based Colibri iMX6UL and others that feature NXP i.MX7 and i.MX6 SoCs, as well as Nvidia Tegra 2 and 3 chips. The 67.6 x 36.7 x 6.2mm Colibri iMX8X is the first Colibri module to offer dual-channel LVDS, MIPI DSI, and quad-lane MIPI CSI-2 camera interfaces, says the Swiss embedded firm.

Toradex is offering four SKUS. Two QuadXPlus models feature 4K video support and a Tensilica HiFi4 DSP for enhanced audio. The two quad-core models ship with 2GB LPDDR4 and 8GB eMMC, and offer -40 to 85°C support. One of them offers standard dual-band 802.11ac (WiFi 5) 2×2 MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 5.0/BLE.

Two more SKUs offer the lower end, HD-ready DualX with 1GB LPDDR4, 4GB eMMC, and -20 to 85°C support. One of these offers the WiFi 5/BT 5.0 module.



Colibri iMX8X IoT (left) and media specs
(click images to enlarge)

All the models provide USB host and OTG interfaces and a controller that supports both a 10/100Mbps and a 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet (GbE) port. Other I/O, shown in the spec lists above, provide IoT interfaces ranging from I2C to CAN. Media interfaces include the extensive audio features found on all the i.MX8 SoC variants.

Toradex’s “production-ready” Yocto Project based Linux BSP ships with free professional support. Support is also planned for QNX and FreeRTOS, which would presumably run on the Cortex-M4 chip. There’s also an upcoming, OpenEmbedded/Yocto Project based Torizon Software Platform, which is now available in a preview version.



Colibri iMX8X block diagram (left) and Torizon architecture
(click images to enlarge)

The open source, industrial-grade Torizon distribution is equipped with OTA and security features and “allows for easy migration from Windows Embedded Compact to Linux.” Based on Foundries.io’s Linux MicroPlatform, the managed Torizon stack provides an optional Docker container-based application runtime, as well as OSTree with Aktualizr OTA Client.

 
Digi ConnectCore 8X

The Digi ConnectCore 8X measures only 45 x 40mm, adopting the Digi SMTplus form factor. Digi SMTplus is also the form factor of Digi’s insanely small, 29 x 29mm ConnectCore 6UL, so the spec appears to be flexible in terms of size. You can choose between an easy-to-implement edge-castellated SMT — the default here — or a more versatile LGA package. (For more details, see the ConnectCore 6UL story.)



Digi ConnectCore 8X without shielding (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Digi ConnectCore 8X runs Yocto Project or Android 8.x on dual or quad-core i.MX8X parts. In addition to the SoC’s Cortex-M4, you get a NXP PF8100 PMIC with Cortex-M0+ based Digi Microcontroller Assist feature for ultra-low power modes. Tensilica DSP support is also available.

You can load up to 4GB of LPDDR4 and up to 64GB eMMC, and there’s a pre-certified module with dual-band, 2×2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 5.0 with BLE. In addition, dual GbE controllers are also onboard. As shown in the spec list below, other features include FlexCAN, PCIe 3.0, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and USB 3.0 and 2.0 OTG with PHY. The module supports Digi XBee modules, which provide WiFi, RF, Pro, 802.15.4, or DigiMesh XBee radios.



ConnectCore 8X I/O
(click image to enlarge)

Models are available with 0 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C support. Both include vibration/shock resistance compliant with IEC 60068-2-6, IEC 60068-2-64, IEC 60068-2-27, and HALT. The module is supported with Digi TrustFence security, as well as optional integration services for AWS IoT, AWS Greengrass, and AWS microservices.

Digi will offer two development platforms. First is a simple CC-WMX8-EXPRESS (ConnectCore 8X Express Development Kit) with an SBC Express baseboard, cables, power supply, and antennas.

There’s also an upcoming CC-WMX8-KIT (ConnectCore 8X SBC PRO Development Kit) with an industrial temperature SBC PRO Pico-ITX baseboard (see image at top). The kit features dual GbE ports, an XBee socket, a mini-PCIe slot with a SIM slot and cellular support. Other features include USB host and OTG ports, as well as UART, CAN, SPI, I2C, LVDS, and camera interfaces. You also get antenna and battery connectors, a UART console cable, a power supply, and antennas. Finally, there’s a ConnectCore 8X SBC Pro (CC-SBP-WMX-JM8E) SBC in the works.

 
Further information

The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X modules are available via early access programs, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found in Toradex’s Colibri iMX8X announcement and product pages, as well as Digi’s Digi ConnectCore 8X product page.

 

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