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Toradex launches Verdin module family starting with i.MX8M Mini and Nano models

Feb 21, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 417 views

Toradex unveiled a “Verdin” compute module family with a form factor similar to its Colibri family, but with 60 more pins and improved power features. Due in March are Linux-driven Verdin modules based on the i.MX8M Mini and Nano.

Toradex announced the Verdin iMX8M Mini and Verdin iMX8M Nano — the first two members of a new Verdin system-on-module (SoM) family and the company’s first i.MX8M family modules. The Verdin family seems destined to replace Colibri, as it has a similar form factor: 69.6 x 35.0 x 6.0mm (2,436 sq. mm) vs. 67.6 x 36.7 x 6.2mm (2,480.92 sq. mm) for the Colibri. The Verdin, however, supports 260 I/O pins on the DDR4 SODIMM connector compared to 200.



Verdin iMX8M Mini and Verdin iMX8M Nano
(click image to enlarge)

Compared to Colibri, Verdin, which is named after a tiny North American desert bird, provides a more battery-friendly design with a wide input 3.3 to 5V range and low-power 1.8V I/Os. The modules can more easily “extend power management to carrier board peripherals and off-the-shelf thermal solutions,” and they ship with an “extensive range of test reports including data on EMC, shock and vibration tolerance,” says Toradex.


Verdin

Most of the Verdin pins are fully compatible between any Verdin module while some are reserved pins with dedicated functions that are compatible on most modules. Type-specific pins specific to a given SoC are not guaranteed to be compatible.

The form factor is touted for its Toradex Direct Breakout technology, which is said to greatly simplify signal routing on carrier boards. Two carriers will be available for the pin-compatible Verdin modules, starting with a comprehensive Verdin Development Board (see farther below). There will also be a more compact, 120 x 120mm Dahlia board.



Verdin Development Board
(click image to enlarge)

Like Colibri and the larger Apalis form factor, Verdin lets you choose between two Linux solutions. There’s a Yocto-based reference image, as well as Toradex’s easy-to-use, container-enabled Torizon distro based on Yocto code. “Toradex is committed to Mainline and is currently actively working on mainlining code,” says the Swiss embedded firm.


Torizon architecture
(click image to enlarge)

An Android image and a QNX package are in the works. FreeRTOS will be available to support the SoCs’ Cortex-M MCUs.

 
Verdin iMX8M Mini and Nano

The Verdin iMX8M Mini and Verdin iMX8M Nano will start shipping next month, featuring NXP’s i.MX8M Mini and slightly lower-powered i.MX8M Nano, respectively. Neither of these Cortex-A53 powered SoCs is supported on a Colibri or Apalis module, although there is a Colibri iMX8X based on the even more power efficient Cortex-A35 based i.MX8X. Toradex also offers an Apalis iMX8 with the high-end i.MX8 QuadMax, and we just spotted a teaser page for an i.MX8X based Apalis iMX8X that we should be finding out about soon.



Verdin iMX8M Mini/Nano, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Toradex currently only has detailed specs for the Verdin iMX8M Mini, but the Nano is so similar that the modules are probably almost identical. The images above are identified as representing both modules. Several vendors have introduced modules that support either SoC, such as iWave’s similarly sized, 67.6 x 37mm iW-RainboW-G34M-SM SODIMM module.

NXP’s i.MX8M Mini and i.MX8M Nano use a more advanced 14LPC FinFET process than the i.MX8M. On the Mini, this results in lower power consumption and higher clock rates for the 1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A53 (1.8GHz) and single Cortex-M4 (400MHz) cores. The Mini also provides GCNanoUltra (3D) and GC320 (2D) graphics cores with video acceleration for 1080p60 instead of 4K for the i.MX8M.



Verdin iMX8M Mini block diagram (left) and Verdin mechanical diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The newer, smaller i.MX8M Nano similarly offers up to 4x -A53 cores but tops out at 1.5GHz. The Nano, which is pin-compatible with the Mini, has a Vivante GC7000UL 3D/2D GPU, but no VPU. It does, however, integrate a higher-end, 600MHz Cortex-M7 chip and has an under 2W TDP.

The Verdin iMX8M Mini and Nano modules support up to 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC and offer dual-band 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO WiFi and Bluetooth 5. The modules are available in 0 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C models and offer EN 60068-2-6-compliant 50g/20ms shock and vibration resistance. There’s an apparently optional NXP EdgeLock SE050 secure element.

Two Verdin iMX8M Mini modules are detailed: one with the dual-core DualLite clocked at 1.8GHz and the other with the Quad at 1.6GHz. The DualLite ships with 1GB LPDDR4 and 8GB eMMC while the Quad has 2GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC.

Common interfaces for both the DualLite and Quad iMX8M Mini modules include GbE with AVB, USB 2.0 host and OTG, JTAG, PCIe x1 Gen2, 4-lane MIPI-CSI2 and a display controller fed by 4-lane MIPI-DSI. You also get 4x UART, 4x PWM, 3x I2C, 2x SPI, and 4x ADC. For audio, there is S/PDIF in and out plus 4x SAI (I2S or AC97).

The DualLite quad model has up to 109x GPIO, 2x SDIO/SD/MMC, and 2x QSPI, while the Quad provides up to 84x GPIO and single SDIO and QSPI. The Quad adds a CAN FD interface.

 
Verdin Development Board and Dahlia Carrier Board

Toradex has posted basic specs for both the initially available 250 x 200mm
Verdin Development Board and the subsequent, 120 x 120mm Dahlia Carrier Board (see charts below). It has also provided a detailed datasheet for the Verdin carrier.



Feature comparison between Verdin Development Board and Dahlia Carrier Board
(click images to enlarge)

Both carriers provide 5x USB ports, DSI and CSI connectors, analog audio interfaces, and SD and mini-PCIe slots. The Verdin Development Board adds an HDMI port, 2x serial ports, digital audio I/O, and a special extension connector. It also offers a second GbE port, a second CAN port, and more GPIO. They both offer wide-range power inputs and 10-year availability. The Dahlia “is designed to provide a simplified development experience with features such as a convenient USB-C power option and full debugging over USB,” says Toradex.


Dahlia Carrier Board
(click image to enlarge)

Linear Computing and Revolution Robotics “are providing the first Verdin carrier boards from the Toradex Partner Network,” says Toradex. In addition, the Gumstix Geppetto online carrier board design tool will add support for Verdin over the coming weeks. Toradex will also provide “a wide range of compatible peripherals such as cameras and screens, and software solutions including UI and Machine Learning frameworks to custom engineering services.”

 
Further information

The Verdin iMX8M Mini and Verdin iMX8M Nano will be available in Mar. 2020, with undisclosed pricing. More information may be found on the Verdin and joint Verdin iMX8M Mini and Nano product pages. There are detailed datasheets on the Mini module and the Verdin Development Board.

Toradex will present Verdin at Embedded World in Nuremberg, Feb. 25-27, in booth 4-410, Hall 4. You can also sign up for one-on-one sessions about Verdin here. A Verdin webinar is coming Mar. 13.

 

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