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Wandboard IMX8M-Plus SBC debuts AI-enabled i.MX8M Plus

Aug 14, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 1373 views

TechNexion’s “Wandboard IMX8M-Plus” SBC runs Linux or Android on NXP’s new i.MX8M Plus with 2.3-TOPS NPU. Pre-orders go for $134 with 2GB RAM or $159 with 4GB and WiFi/BT, both with 32GB and M.2 with NVMe.

In January, NXP announced its i.MX8M Plus — its first i.MX8 SoC with an NPU for AI acceleration — but so far the only product we’ve seen based on it is a briefly teased Verdin iMX8M Plus module from Toradex. Now, TechNexion has opened pre-orders for a Wandboard IMX8M-Plus SBC based on a SODIMM-style “EDM SOM” module equipped with the i.MX8M Plus.



Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-2G (left) and Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-4G EDM SOM modules
(click images to enlarge)

TechNexion has released photos of the modules, but only has a detail view sketch of the mainboard, as shown in the YouTube demo video farther below. There are two versions: a Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-2G with 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and a $159 Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-4G with 4GB RAM and WiFi/BT. Both models provide 32GB eMMC and an M.2 NVMe slot, among other features. Shipments are expected by the end of the year.


Preliminary Wandboard IMX8M-Plus detail view
(click image to enlarge)

Like NXP’s i.MX8M and variants like the i.MX8M Nano and i.MX8M Mini, the i.MX8M Plus has 4x Cortex-A53 cores, in this case clocked to up to 1.8GHz. TechNexion has used the earlier Mini in products such as its PICO-IMX8M-Mini module.

The 14nm-fabricated i.MX8M Plus features a 2.3 TOPS NPU that can process AI algorithms on MobileNet v1 at over 500 images per second, claims NXP. Other i.MX8M Plus features include Vivante GC7000UL 3D and GC520L 2D GPUs, an 800MHz Cortex-M7 MCU, an 800MHz HiFi4 DSP, and on some models, dual ISPs with support for stereo vision or a single 12-megapixel camera.



NXP i.MX8M Plus block diagram (left) and NXP’s i.MX8M Plus EVK with camera option
(click images to enlarge)

Designed for machine vision, robotics, and other embedded applications, the Wandboard IMX8M-Plus follows the i.MX6-based, open-spec Wandboard, which debuted in 2013 as one of the first community-backed Linux hacker boards. The board was updated in 2017 as the Wandboard Reload. There was also a short-lived Wand-Pi-8M based on the i.MX8M that instead gave way to various commercial i.MX8M family boards such as the PICO-PI-IMX8M, which are summarized in the Wandboard blurb of our catalog of 136 Linux hacker boards. Presumably the Wandboard IMX8M-Plus will have the same community support as the original Wandboard.

The SODIMM-style EDM SOM module that plugs into the Wandboard IMX8M-Plus mainboard is equipped with the RAM, eMMC, a PMIC, and a JTAG interface. The mainboard adds a microSD slot, GbE port, 3x USB 3.0 ports, and a micro-USB OTG with power input. In addition to the M.2 slot, which alternatively supports cellular cards with the help of the nano-SIM slot, there is a 40-pin expansion connector.

Like the i.MX8M Mini and Nano, the i.MX8M Plus is limited to HD video, which is enabled here via HDMI, LVDS, and MIPI-DSI connections. You also get dual-channel MIPI-CSI with HD support and an audio jack. The 0 to 50°C board has a 12V jack.

Linux, Yocto Linux, and Android 10 support will be available, and the demo suggests that mainline Linux will be supported. The demo below shows Android 10 booting and running at 3.54W. There is also a TensorFlow Lite demo showing 160ms object recognition time when using only the CPU cores, and 8ms recognition — 20 times faster — when activating the 2.3-TOPS NPU.

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Preliminary specifications listed for the Wandboard IMX8M-Plus include:

  • Processor (via EDM SOM) — NXP i.MX8M Plus (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.8GHz); Vivante GC7000UL 3D and GC520L 2D GPUs; 2.3 TOPS NPU; 800MHz Cortex-M7; 800MHz HiFi4 DSP, 2x ISPs
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB (2G) or 4GB (4G) LPDDR4 (via EDM SOM)
    • 32GB eMMC (via EDM SOM)
    • MicroSD slot
    • SSD and NVMe storage available via M.2 slot (see below)
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port (Atheros AR8035)
    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth (4G model only) via Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377
    • Antenna connector (4G model only)
    • Cellular available via M.2 slot (see below)
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI port @ 1080P
    • Dual-channel LVDS
    • MIPI-DSI
    • I2C touchscreen support
    • Dual-channel, 4-lane MIPI-CSI with 1080p60 H.265/H.264 video encode
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Speaker headers
    • I2S via 40-pin
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB 3.0 host ports
    • USB 3.0 OTG Type-C port with power support
    • 2x UART headers
    • JTAG (via EDM SOM)
  • Expansion:
    • 40-pin GPIO connector (CAN, SPI, I2C, PWM, UART, GPIOs, etc.)
    • M.2 slot with SSD/NVMe, PCIe, and cellular support
    • Nano-SIM card slot
    • 260-pin B2B connector to EDM SOM
  • Other features — Boot select switch; CE/FCC/RoHS/REACH certifications
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 50°C
  • Power — 12V DC jack or 5V via USB Type-C; NXP PCA9450 PMIC (via EDM SOM); reset button and power LED
  • Dimensions/weight — TBD
  • Operating system — Linux; Yocto Linux; Android 10




Wandboard IMX8M-Plus overview and demo

 
Further information

Pre-orders are open for the Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-2G with 2GB LPDDR4 ($134) and Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-4G with 4GB RAM and WiFi/BT ($159). Shipments are due by the end of the year. More information may be found in TechNexion’s announcement and 2G and 4G pre-order pages.

 

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