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Dev boards extend Vybrid and Cyclone V-based COMs

Jan 31, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,063 views

[Updated Feb 4] — iWave announced development boards for two of its Linux-friendly computer-on-modules, supporting Freescale Vybrid and Altera Cyclone V SoCs, respectively.

Last year, Bangalore-based iWave Systems Technologies announced two Linux-ready computer-on-modules (COMs) that offer embedded building blocks for two interesting system-on-chips that combine ARM cores with other types of processors. Now the company is extending these COMs with a pair of Linux-friendly development boards.

The iW-RainboW-G16D board (pictured at top and farther below) supports the Rainbow-G16M-µMXM COM announced in August. The module is built around Freescale’s Vybrid VF6xx SoC, which integrates a 500MHz ARM Cortex-A5 processor along with a Cortex-M4 microcontroller. The Vybrid can also be found in products such as the Toradex Colibri VF61 COM.


The iW-RainboW-G17D board (pictured farther below) extends the Qseven form factor iW-RainboW-G17M-Q7 COM. The module builds on Altera’s Cortex-A9/FPGA Cyclone V SX SoC, which can also be found on Critical Link’s MityARM-5CSX COM.

iWave has been building RainboW boards for years. A sampling from our LinuxDevices Archive includes a 2006 iW-RainboWG1 board that incorporated a PXA320 processor, a few months before Intel sold the PXA line to Marvell. In 2007, iWave launched the iW-Rainbow-G3, which took on the Freescale i.MX27 SoC.


With the iW-RainboW-G16D, iWave extends the Vybrid-based Rainbow-G16M-µMXM module with a variety of I/O, as well as a touchscreen. The development board is said to be best suited for smart grid or industrial control.

iW-RainboW-G16D (left), and with touchscreen
(click images to enlarge)


Rainbow G16M-µMXM
(click to enlarge)

The underlying 85 x 40mm µMXM COM (shown at right) taps the powers of the Vybrid VF6xx, which combines a 500MHz ARM Cortex-A5 processor running Linux with a 167MHz Cortex-M4 microcontroller running Freescale’s MQX real-time operating system (RTOS).

The module ships with 256MB DDR3 RAM, expandable to 1GB, and 256MB NAND flash, expandable to 2GB. Its MXM edge connector offers I/O including LCD, SS, I2S, camera, USB, serial, GPIO, CAN, and other analog and digital I/O, including eight GPIOs.

The iW-RainboW-G16D board supplies the module with the default memory allotments, and offers an optional, 4.3-inch, 480 x 272-pixel touchscreen. An SD slot is available, as well as real-world ports like Fast Ethernet, dual USB ports, and a serial debug port.

The iW-RainboW-G16D is listed with the following specifications:

  • Processor (via Rainbow-G16M-µMXM module) – Freescale Vybrid VF6xx CPU (Cortex-A5 core @ 500MHz, Cortex-M4 core @ 167MHz)
  • Memory — (via Rainbow-G16M-µMXM module) — 256MB DDR3 RAM; 256MB NAND flash (default boot)
  • Storage — SD slot
  • Display — optional 4.3-inch (480 x 272) RGB TFT; I2C resistive touch controller
  • Networking — 10/100MHz Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • USB 2.0 OTG device port
    • RS232 debug console port
  • Other features — I2S audio codec; on-chip power management, encryption, secure boot, anti-tamper, and anti-clone features
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm
  • Operating system — Linux 3.0.15 with generic BSP support, based on customer request


The iW-RainboW-G17D expands upon the iW-RainboW-G17M-Q7 module with a 7-inch touchscreen and various real-world ports. The development board is said to be well suited for industrial automation, smart energy, video surveillance, automotive telematics, medical instrumentation, defense, and aerospace applications.

iW-RainboW-G17M-Q7 COM (left), and with iW-RainboW-G17D dev platform and touchscreen

The foundational Qseven COM showcases Altera’s Cyclone V SoC, which, like the Xilinx Zynq, combines a developer-accessible, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor clocked to 800MHz each with field programmable gate array (FPGA) logic similar to that found in Altera’s Cyclone V FPGAs. A high-speed AXI interconnect closely links the subsystems of this complex SoC. (We’ve included an updated photo of the iW-RainboW-G17M-Q7 module below, as our earlier coverage showed only a prototype.

Both the module and its development board are available with the standard 512MB DDR3 RAM for the ARM subsystem and 256MB DDR3 for the FPGA. On the module, the latter is expandable to 512MB.

The iW-RainboW-G17D board features a gigabit Ethernet port and an SD slot, as well as a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. Port details were a bit fuzzy (literally, given the photo), but the board is listed as USB and debug ports, as well as having I2C, GPIO, and UART interfaces. You also get a PCI-Express slot for adding wireless radios and other devices. Linux and Windows BSPs are said to be available.

The iW-RainboW-G17D is listed with the following specifications:

  • Processor (via iW-RainboW-G17M-Q7) — Altera Cyclone V 5CSXFC6 (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 800MHz; FPGA with 110K LEs)
  • Memory — (via iW-RainboW-G17M-Q7) — 512MB DDR3 RAM with ECC (ARM); 256MB DDR3 RAM (FPGA)
  • Storage — SD slot (boot)
  • Display –- 7-inch TFT (resolution N/A); I2C capacitive touch
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Debug console port
    • UART
    • I2C
    • GPIOs
  • Expansion — PCIe slot
  • Other features — SMP support
  • Operating system — Linux and Windows Embedded Compact 7 BSPs

Further information

The iW-RainboW-G16D (Vybrid) and iW-RainboW-G17D (Cyclone V) development boards appear to be available now. More information may be found in the iW-RainboW-G16D and iW-RainboW-G17D announcements, respectively.

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2 responses to “Dev boards extend Vybrid and Cyclone V-based COMs”

  1. Nubi says:

    > each with field programmable gate array (FPGA) logic similar to that found in Altera’s Stratix V FPGAs

    Don’t know where you got that from — but the device is called “Cyclone V” SoC for a reason. That is, it uses “low cost” Cyclone V fabric, not Stratix V, which is way faster and more expensive. The midrange has its own name: Arria V SoC. And for high end, there is currently no SoC (but upcoming in a year or so). For Zynq it is Artix or Kintex ingredients depending on device.

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