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i.MX8M SBC on pre-order for $165

Mar 13, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,416 views

Boundary Devices has launched a $165 “Nitrogen8M” SBC that runs Linux or Android on a quad-core i.MX8M with GbE, WiFi, BT, HDMI 2.0, mini-PCIe, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, 4x USB 3.0, and optional -40 to 85°C support.

Boundary Devices has updated its Nitrogen line of NXP i.MX based SBCs with a Nitrogen8M model that runs Android, Yocto, Ubuntu, Buildroot, or Debian based Linux on NXP’s i.MX8M. Available on pre-order starting at $165 with 2GB RAM, the SBC will ship this Spring.

At 136.7 x 87mm, the Nitrogen8M is slightly larger than the i.MX7 based Nitrogen7 and much larger than the earlier i.MX6-fueled Nitrogen6. Boundary Devices is also known for its open source, i.MX6 based BD-SL-i.MX6, which was sold by Freescale (now NXP) as the SABRE Lite.

Nitrogen8M, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Nitrogen8M Board is also available as part of a $190 Accessory Kit that adds a 5V power adapter, serial cable, antenna, battery, and microSD card pre-loaded with a Linux OS. An unpriced Nitrogen8M Development Kit that also adds a touchscreen should be available for order soon.


The Nitrogen8M comes standard with the quad-core i.MX8M Quad, but Dual and QuadLite models are also available. No clock rate was listed for the four Cortex-A53 cores, but they are typically clocked to 1.5GHz. FreeRTOS is supported on the SoC’s Cortex-M4F MCU.

The board defaults to 2GB of LPDDR4, but 1GB to 4GB is optional. You can choose between a microSD Card slot or 8GB eMMC, with the latter expandable to 128GB. There are 0 to 70°C and -40 to 85°C versions, plus volume-order options including conformal coating and the elimination of certain features to save on cost.

The Nitrogen8M ships with a 4K-ready HDMI 2.0 port and touch-enabled MIPI-DSI connection. You also get a pair of MIPI-CSI links and audio I/O. A GbE port is onboard along with a BD-SDMAC wireless module with precertified WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.1.

Nitrogen8M (left) and i.MX8M block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

The Nitrogen8M has 3x USB 3.0 host ports and a micro-USB 3.0 OTG port. Other I/O includes serial, CAN, SPI, I2C, and JTAG, and you get an RTC with battery. For expansion there’s a full-size mini-PCIe slot plus an optional mini-PCIe daughter card. This likely connects to the one of two 60-pin high-speed expansion interfaces that offers dual PCIe links.

Specifications listed for the Nitrogen8M include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Quad (4x Cortex-A53); optional dual-core Dual or quad-core QuadLite); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4F @ 266MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB LPDDR4 RAM (optionally 1GB or 4GB)
    • MicroSD slot or 8GB eMMC (expandable to up to 128GB)
    • MicroSD card preloaded with Linux available with accessory kit
    • 16MB QSPI
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0 port with CEC for up to 4k@60 with HDR
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane) for up to 1080p60 with touch support
    • Touchscreen available with dev kit
    • 2x MIPI-CSI (4-lane)
    • Audio L/R/mic jack
    • Speaker out interface
    • 1W per channel amp
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11ac WiFi (pre-certified BD-SDMAC module)
    • Bluetooth 4.1 (pre-certified BD-SDMAC module)
    • Antenna available with accessory kit
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB 3.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 3.0 OTG port
    • 3x I2C
    • 2x RS-232
    • CAN, SPI, JTAG
  • Expansion:
    • Up to 2x miniPCIe (1x standard, 1x via optional daughter card)
    • 2x 60-pin high-speed connectors (see block diagram)
  • Other features — RTC with battery; 10-year lifespan; serial cable available with accessory kit
  • Power — 5V DC input; 5V adapter and battery available with accessory kit
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C; optional -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 136.7 x 87mm
  • Operating system — Android, Yocto, Ubuntu, Buildroot, or Debian; BSP with U-Boot, Linux Kernel, Yocto-based Qt, user-space components; FreeRTOS supported on Cortex-M4F

The Nitrogen8M joins other i.MX8M based SBCs including SolidRun’s HummingBoard Pulse, the armStone MX8M from F&S, as well as sandwich-style carrier boards sold as SBCs such as CompuLab’s SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit and Variscite’s VAR-DT8MCustomBoard SBC. Most of these will similarly ship in May or June.

Further information

The Nitrogen8M (NIT8MQ_2rWB_BRD) is available for pre-order starting at $165, with shipments due this Spring. More information may be found in the Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M product page.

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