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SODIMM-style Tegra 3 COM gains updated ARM Linux

Apr 17, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Toradex has released an updated embedded Linux BSP for its tiny, SODIMM-style COM (computer on module) based on Nvidia’s 1.4GHz, quad-core Tegra 3 processor. The Colibri T30 COM is equipped with 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 2GB of flash, and integrates controllers for HDMI, Ethernet, USB, analog input, and various other I/O functions.

Announced in early 2012, the Colibri T30 began sampling in January 2013, and only recently shipped with a v2.x beta-quality Linux BSP (board support package).

The 68 x 37mm-sized Colibri T30 is pin-compatible with earlier Colibri ARM modules, such as the Tegra 2-based Colibri T20. Toradex, which also sells a line of x86-based “Robin” COMs, recently announced a new ARM module line called “Apalis.” The Tegra 3-based Apalis T30 uses a larger 82 x 42mm form-factor, built around an MXM3 connector (with a custom pinout).



Toradex Colibri T30 COM
(click image to enlarge)

The Colibri T30 uses the same quad-core, ARM Cortex-A9-based, Tegra 3 as the Apalis T30, similarly clocked to 1.4GHz, and provides the same 1080p encoding and all-around multimedia processing power as the newer model. The Apalis, however, doubles RAM to 2GB, adds a SATA port and a pair of PCI Express (PCIe) interfaces. It also adds a camera interface, LVDS, DSI, digital audio, and SPDIF, as well as dual CAN bus interfaces.

The Colibri T30 supplies 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 2GB of NAND flash, and provides a variety of I/O through its 200-pin edgecard connector. This includes two USB ports (host and OTG), dual SDIO/SD/MMC interfaces, HDMI, 10/100 Ethernet, and a variety of serial interfaces, among others.

The Colibri T30 provides DVFS (Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Switching) and thermal throttling power management features, which continuously adjust operation frequency and voltage in response to workload and temperature, says Toradex. Power dissipation is said to run between 1.4 and 5.1 Watts, and only commercial (0 to 70° C) temperatures are supported.

Specifications listed for the Colibri T30 include:

  • Processor — Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 Cortex-A9 @ 1.4GHz
  • Memory – 1GB DDR3; 2GB NAND flash
  • A/V-related interfaces:
    • LCD interface controller (RGB 24bit)
    • HDMI output with 1080p and 3D video support
    • Analog video output (up to 1920×1200 px)
    • Touch (4 wires)
    • Audio I/O
    • S/PDIF
  • Serial interfaces: 3x I2C; 5x SPI; 5x UART; one-wire interface
  • Other interfaces:
    • 2x SDCard/MMC
    • Up to 110 GPIO lines
    • USB — 1x 2.0 high speed OTG; 1x USB 2.0 high speed host
    • Fast Ethernet
    • Keypad interface
    • 4x PWM
    • 4x analog inputs



Colibri T30 COM block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The new V2.0Beta1 release of the Colibri T30 embedded Linux BSP includes Linux kernel 3.1.1, U-Boot 2011.06, and OpenEmbedded 2012.1 (LXDE environment). The release fixes a variety of bugs and adds new features such as a virtual keyboard app. Toradex will ship a Windows CE 6.0/7.0 BSP “soon,” but no Android support appears to be in the works.



Colibri Evaluation, Iris, and Orchid carrier boards
(click images to enlarge)

The COM is supported with three carrier board options: the top-of-the-line Colibri Evaluation Board (200 x 200mm), featuring camera and CAN support, as well as the Orchard Carrier Board (160 x 100mm), and the Iris Carrier Board (100 x 72mm).

The Colibri T30 is now sampling, but has yet to enter volume production. Volume pricing is listed at $169 per unit for up to 499 pieces, moving down to $125 for 10,000 or more. The Colibri Evaluation Board costs $279. More information may be found at the Toradex Colibri T30 product page. To compare features with the Apalis T30, the Colibri T20, and other Toradex modules, see this handy Toradex comparison chart.

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