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COM runs Linux on tiny, power-sipping, 64-bit Cortex-A53 SoC

Feb 1, 2017 — by Eric Brown 1,781 views

F&S announced a tiny, wireless enabled “efus A53LS” module that runs Linux on NXP’s QorIQ LS1012A, billed as the world’s smallest 64-bit ARM SoC.

F&S Elektronik Systeme has unveiled the “efus A53LS” computer-on-module, which adopts its 62 x 47mm “efus” form-factor, as found in the i.MX6UL based efus A7UL. This time, F&S has tapped what might be considered the i.MX6UL of the 64-bit ARM world: NXP’s 9.6 x 9.6mm QorIQ LS1012A.

efus A53LS, front and back (preliminary)
(click images to enlarge)

When it was announced a year ago, the QorIQ LS1012A was promoted as the world’s smallest and lowest power 64-bit ARM SoC. Following earlier ARM-based QorIQ “Layerscape” SoCs such as the dual ARM Cortex-A7 QorIQ LS1020A, the QorIQ LS1012A is built around a single, 800MHz Cortex-A53 core running at a typical 1W.

QorIQ LS1012A block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The tiny LS1012 is aimed at IoT devices, including battery-powered gizmos, and is touted as being small enough to be integrated directly onto the PCB of a standard sized hard disk drive, enabling a so-called “Ethernet Drive.” The QorIQ LS1012A features a 2Gbps packet crypto accelerator with QorIQ trust architecture security and NXP’s VR5100 multi-output DC-DC converter for improved power management.

The Linux-driven SoC supports dual 2.5 GbE, PCIe, SATA 3, and USB 3.0, among other interfaces. It offers long availability up to 2030.


The efus A53LS module supports the LS1012A with NXP’s Yocto Project based Linux distribution with Buildroot, U-boot, Qt, GStreamer, cross-compiler toolchain, drivers, and source code. A pre-configured Ubuntu Root filesystem and Android are also available for download.

efus A53LS (left) and block diagram (preliminary)
(click images to enlarge)

The COM ships with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, expandable to 1GB, as well as up to 64MB QSPI NOR flash. Dual-band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 are optional, and onboard controllers support dual GbE ports.

The efus A53LS supplies interfaces via its 230-pin MXM2 connector, including single helpings of USB 3.0 OTG, serial UART, SATA, PCIe, SDIO, and optional CAN. The 5V DC module weighs 15 grams and runs at a typical 1 Watt with 2W dissipation. The COM is available in both 0 to 70°C and -20 to 85°C versions, and offers pin compatibility with other efus modules for easy upgrades.

An “efus A53LS-SKIT” baseboard will be available with schematic and EAGLE data. No other details are currently available.

Further information

The efus A53LS module will be available at an unstated price later in Q1 2017. More information may be found at the F&S Elektronik Systeme efus A53LS product page.

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