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i.MX8M Nano appears on Raspberry Pi-like SBC

Feb 17, 2021 — by Eric Brown 7,563 views

Avnet’s “MaaXBoard Nano” SBC runs Android or Linux on an i.MX8M Nano with 1GB DDR4, 16GB eMMC, GbE, WiFi/BT, MIPI-DSI/CSI, 4x USB 2.0, and 40-pin GPIO.

In 2019, Avnet’s Embest unit launched a $60 MaaXBoard SBC featuring NXP’s i.MX8M and followed up last year with a similar MaaXBoard Mini based on the i.MX8M Mini. Now, the company has has opened pre-orders for a similarly Raspberry Pi-like SBC with the slightly lower powered, VPU-less i.MX8M Nano. Like the other MaaxBoards, this does not appear to ship with open specifications and community support, but images will be available for Android 9.0 and Linux.

MaaXBoard Nano, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

This is one of the first SBCs that ship exclusively with the i.MX8M Nano. We missed the Nitrogen8M Nano, which shipped last year from Boundary Devices and shares many features with the i.MX8M Mini based Nitrogen8M_Mini. There are also other SBCs that offer the Nano as an alternative for volume buyers to the pin-compatible Mini, such as SolidRun’s HummingBoard Ripple.

Compute modules equipped with the Nano include F&S’ 40 x 35mm PicoCore MX8MN, iWave’s 67.6 x 37mm iW-RainboW-G34M-SM SODIMM module, and a pair of 82 x 50mm SMARC modules: Congatec’s Conga-SMX8-Nano and Avnet/MSC’s MSC SM2S-IMX8MINI, which also supports the Mini. The latter, however, is not used on Avnet’s MaaXBoard Nano.


Like the i.MX8M Mini, the i.MX8M Nano has up to 4x 14nm-fabricated Cortex-A53 cores, but they top out at 1.5GHz instead of 1.8GHz. The small, more powerful efficient Nano similarly features a Vivante GC7000UL 3D/2D GPU, but lacks the Mini’s video processing unit. However, instead of the Mini’s Cortex-M4 real-time core, the Nano offers a faster Cortex-M7.

MaaXBoard Nano and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The MaaXBoard Nano is almost identical to the MaaXBoard Mini, with the biggest difference being its limitation to 1GB DDR4. Other features include 16GB eMMC, microSD, GbE, WiFi/BT, 4x USB 2.0, and a USB Type-C for power.

Media features include MIPI-DSI, presumably with HD resolution, and MIPI-CSI. There is also an audio jack, and the block diagram indicated a pair of digital mics. Options include a $78.95 display, a $26.95 camera, and a $6.12 power supply.

Specifications listed for the MaaXBoard Nano include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Nano Quad (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Vivante GC7000UL 3D/2D GPU; Cortex-M7@ 600MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB DDR4
    • 256mB QSPI flash
    • 16GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking/wireless:
    • 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
    • 802.11ac with Bluetooth 5.0
    • External ant. connector
  • Media I/O:
    • MIPI-DSI with optional display
    • MIPI-CSI with optional camera
    • Audio jack
    • 4x digital mics
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB Type-C port with 5V power input only
  • Expansion — 40-pin GPIO connector (RPi HAT compatible) with I2C, SPI, UART, I2S, SAI, GPIO, etc.
  • Other features — 2x user buttons; 2x LED
  • Power — 5V/3A via USB Type-C; PMIC; optional power supply
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56mm
  • Operating system — Android 9.0 and Linux images

Further information

A shopping page has been posted for the MaaXBoard Nano that lists zero stock and a 16-week factory lead time. The CNXSoft report that alerted us to the product page says the board is available for $80.95, but aside from the priced accessories listed above, all we see is a click to quote link that requires registration. The product page says the board is “available in quantities of five hundred or greater,” but the shopping page suggests there may be a single-unit option. More information may be found in Avnet’s product page.

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