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96Boards CE SBC runs Linux on Renesas RZ/G2L or RZ/V2L

Mar 8, 2022 — by Eric Brown 470 views

Geniatech’s 96Boards CE Extended form-factor “Ahaura” and “Akitio” SBCs run Linux on Renesas’ 1.2GHz, dual -A55 RZ/G2L and NPU-equipped RZ/V2L variant, respectively, and offer up to 8GB RAM and 128GB eMMC, 2x GbE, 3x USB, HDMI, and 4G LTE.

In Jan. 2021, Renesas announced a low-power RZ/G2L SoC for IoT, and later in the year introduced a pin-compatible and similarly Linux-driven, Cortex-A55 based RZ/V2L variant with a 1-TOPS NPU. Geniatech has now posted a product page for two almost identical 96Boards CE Extended SBCs that feature the SoCs: the Ahaura RS-G2L100 and Akitio RS-V2L100.

Ahaura (or Akitio) and Renesas RZ/G2L block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

RZ/G2L and RZ/V2L


The RZ/G2L is the highest end model of a family of three SoCs with up to dual-core, 1.2GHz Cortex-A55 cores accompanied by a 200MHz Cortex-M33 real-time core. The RZ/G2L and RZ/G2LC offer a choice of single or dual-core models plus a Mali-G31 GPU while the RZ/G2UL is limited to a single CPU core and a 2D LCD graphics controller.

The RZ/G2LC offers the Cortex-M33 as optional and lacks the RZ/G2L’s VPU with H.264 decoding at 1920 x 1080. The RZ/G2LC is also limited to single GbE rather than the the dual-GbE support of the other two models, and its ADC support is 8-channel rather than 12-channel on the RZ/G2L and 1x on the RZ/G2UL.

Renesas offers a SMARC module and carrier board for the RZ/G2L. The low-end RZ/G2UL is pin-compatible with Renesas’ recently announced RZ/Five family of Linux-driven RISC-V processors, which are based on Andes’ AX45MP cores.

We missed the announcement of the RZ/V2L, which appears to be identical to the RZ/G2L except for the addition of a 1-TOPS DRP-AI NPU. The low-power AI accelerator is accompanied by a DRP-AI translator software package designed to work with ONNX. DRP-AI consists of an AI-MAC (multiply-accumulate processor) and a DRP (reconfigurable processor). AI-MAC is dedicated to operations on the convolution layer and fully connected layer while DRP handles complex processing such as preprocessing and pooling layer.

The RZ/V2L is the second member of an RZ/V family, following the quad -A53, 1GHz RZ/V2M. The RZ/V2M lacks a 3D GPU or Cortex-M33 MCU but adds an ISP with 4K/30fps support designed for vision AI applications. The RZ/V2M generally offers reduced I/O support compared to the RZ/V2L except that it adds a native HDMI interface, as well as a second MIPI-CSI interface in place of CSI and Parallel camera connections.

Ahaura RS-G2L100 and Akitio RS-V2L100

Geniatech’s Ahaura RS-G2L100 and Akitio RS-V2L100, which were developed in collaboration with Renesas, are identical except for the different processors. The CNXSoft report that alerted us to the boards calls them 96Boards CE Extended 2.0 boards, although Geniatech refers to them only as 96Boards CE 2.0. The 2.0 update adds LAN support and the option for a second high-speed I/O connector.

The 100 x 85mm Ahaura and Akitio are just slightly larger than the 100 x 80mm Extended spec and offer CE 2.0’s second high-speed expansion connector along with the usual dual low-speed GPIO links. Geniatech’s Snapdragon 410-based, Development Board IV, which uses a 96Boards CE Standard form factor, but is slightly larger, is not listed by 96Boards on its official CE product list, and we doubt the Ahaura and Akitio will appear there, either. It is unclear if the expansion connectors support common 96Boards mezzanine add-ons.

Ahaura (or Akitio), front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Ahaura and Akitio SBCs run a Yocto-constructed Linux stack with a Linux CIP 4.19 kernel. This appears to be Renesas’ standard Verified Linux Package (VLP) equipped with Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) Linux, an industrial-grade Linux offering long-term maintenance support for more than 10 years.

The SBCs ship as a default with 4GB LPDDR4 and 8GB eMMC, expandable to 8GB and 128GB, respectively. There is a microSD slot as well as 2x GbE, 2x USB 2.0, micro-USB OTG, and MIPI-DSI-driven HDMI (1080P) ports.

Ahaura (or Akitio) block diagram and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The boards ship with a 4G LTE Cat-M1 module with micro-SIM card slot and an optional dual-band WiFi/Bluetooth 4.0 module. The high-speed expansion connectors include signals for MIPI-DSI/CSI, USB, SD, SPI, and GPIO, while the low-speed connections supply UART, I2C, SPI, GPIO, I2S, speaker, and mic.

The Ahaura and Akitio provide a 12V/3A input with adapter. The boards ship with a UART debug interface plus JTAG/SWD and Arm CoreSight debug. There is also a PMIC, boot switch, and LED.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Ahaura RS-G2L100 and Akitio RS-V2L100 boards. More information may be found on Geniatech’s product page.

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