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Tiny COM runs Linux, Android on quad-core i.MX6

Apr 15, 2013 — by Eric Brown 5,291 views

CompuLab is shipping a Linux- and Android-ready COM built around the 1.2GHz Freescale i.MX6 processor, giving developers a choice of one, two, or four ARM Cortex-A9 cores. The CM-FX6 measures 75×65 mm, offers up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and uses dual 140-pin connectors to supply interfaces like I2C, CAN, SATA, and HDMI.

With its focus on the general embedded market rather than smartphones and tablets, Freescale’s i.MX6 doesn’t have the same name recognition as other multicore Cortex-A9 system-on-chips (SOCs) like the Tegra 3 or Samsung Exynos. Yet, it’s an increasingly popular choice for ARM computer-on-modules (COMs), in part because it offers developers a choice of one, two, or four cores. The latest to jump on the i.MX6 bandwagon is CompuLab, which has launched a COM based on the processor called the CM-FX6.

CompuLab CM-FX6 top and bottom views
(click images to enlarge)

The tiny CM-FX6 COM provides three i.MX6 SOC options, with the single- (C1000) and dual-core (C1000DM) versions limited to 1GHz operation. The quad-core C1200QM is clocked to 1.2GHz, and like the dual-core version offers a GPU supporting OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenVG 1.1, and OpenCL EP. All three models offer video acceleration supporting up to 1080p, 30fps encoding and decoding.


The module ships with up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, as well as up to 1GB onboard flash, and a SATA-connected solid state drive with up to 32GB, says CompuLab. The COM supports up to four simultaneous displays with 1920x 1200 resolution, with supported interfaces including LVDS and HDMI 1.4.

The CM-FX6 furnishes a gigabit Ethernet controller, along with one USB OTG and four USB host ports. PCI Express x1 and SATA connections are also provided. Other I/O is expressed via dual 140-pin connectors, including an RS232 port, five UARTs, three I2C, four SPI, three I2S, and dual CAN bus interfaces. WiFi and Bluetooth are also said to be available.

Specifications listed for the CM-FX6 include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 (1GHz single-core C1000; 1GHz dual-core C1000DM with GPU; or 1.2GHz quad-core C1200QM with GPU)
  • RAM — 256MB to 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Flash — 128MB to 1GB onboard NAND flash; SATA 2 interface supporting 8-32GB onboard SSD (MLC)
  • Display — 24-bit parallel; 2x LVDS; HDMI 1.4; MIPI/DSI
  • Expansion — PCI Express x1 (Gen 2)
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet controller
  • USB — 1x USB 2.0 OTG; 4x USB 2.0 host
  • Other I/O (via dual 140-pin connectors):
    • RS232C
    • 5x UARTs
    • 2x CAN bus (FlexCAN)
    • 3x I2C
    • 4x SPI (eCSPI)
    • 3x I2S plus audio codec, HDMI audio out, and S/PDIF I/O
    • Camera port (up to 20-bit) via MIPI CSI-2 serial
    • Touchscreen interface (4-wire resistive)
    • Up to 3x MMC/SD/SDIO
    • 802.11b/g/n plus Bluetooth 3.0
    • 98x GPIO
  • Dimensions — 75 x 65 x 8 mm
  • Power — 5V DC
  • Operating temperature — commercial (0 to 70° C); extended (-20 to 70° C); or industrial (-40 to 85° C)
  • Shock/vibration — shock 50G / 20ms; vibration 20G/ 0-600Hz

CM-FX6 COM and Freescale i.MX6 SOC block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

CompuLab supports the CM-FX6 with Linux, Android 4.x, and Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating systems. An optional SB-FX6 evaluation kit includes a carrier board (shown below) with numerous real-world ports, plus an LCD panel, 12V power supply, WiFi antenna, and various cables. Applications are said to include high-end multimedia devices, including surveillance and digital signage equipment.

Optional CM-FX6 carrier board
(click to enlarge)

CompuLab’s 1000-piece pricing starts at $55 for the single-core C1000 with minimal memory and I/O options. The dual-core C1000DM adds another $14, and the quad-core C1200QM adds $14 on top of that. A fully-featured, commercial temperature C1200QM with 4GB RAM, 1GB NAND, 32GB SSD, plus Ethernet, audio, touchscreen, five USB ports, and WiFi/Bluetooth costs $232. More information may be found on CompuLab’s website, here.

(advertise here)

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2 responses to “Tiny COM runs Linux, Android on quad-core i.MX6”

  1. Patola says:

    And how do we order one single unit? It seems ordering is just for bulk orders.

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