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Modules and dev kits expand upon Qualcomm QCS8250

Jul 22, 2021 — by Eric Brown 1,857 views

Thundercomm’s “TurboX C865 SOM” and dev kit and eInfochips’ “EIC-QCS8250-210” Mini-ITX run Android 10 on Qualcomm’s QCS8250, an IoT variant of the Snapdragon 865. We also look at the new QCS4290 and Wi-Fi 6E ready QCS6490 SoCs.

Last week, we reported on Thundercomm’s TurboX CM2290 and C2290 SOMs, which run Android or Linux on Qualcomm’s quad -A53 QCS2290 and 4G-equipped QCM2290 IoT SoCs. Qualcomm announced the QCS2290 and QCM2290 last month along with several other embedded IoT SoCs intended to showcase Qualcomm’s WiFi 6 and/or 5G modems. Here we look at Thundercomm’s TurboX C865 SOM and dev kit and eInfochips’ EIC-QCS8250-210 board, which are built around the octa-core Qualcomm QCS8250, an embedded oriented variant of the Snapdragon 865. First, we will take a quick look at the QCS8250, as well as two other SoCs in Qualcomm’s IoT roll-out: the QCS4290/QCM4290 and QCS6490/QCM6490.

TurboX C865 Development Kit with TurboX C865 SOM (left) and Qualcomm QCS8250 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Qualcomm QCS8250


Like the Snapdragon 865, the Qualcomm QCS8250 provides 8x Kryo 585 cores (4x at 2.85GHz and 4x at 1.8GHz). Other QCS8250 features include an Adreno 650 GPU and a Spectra 480 ISP that supports up to 7x concurrent cameras with up to 4K encoding resolution.

There is also a Hexagon DSP with quad Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX) V66Q at 1.5GHz, as well as Qualcomm’s AI Engine based on a dedicated NPU 230. Like the Snapdragon 865, the QCS8250 can achieve up to 15 TOPS AI performance.

It is unclear how the QCS8250 differs from the Snapdragon 865. Presumably, it has to do with the “extended life for hardware and software support” promised for the SoC. We saw no details on the temperature range.

Unlike the other new Qualcomm IoT SoCs, the Qualcomm QCS8250 is not split into two SKUs for WiFi-only and WiFi with cellular. The SoC supports Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), 5G, and 5G mmWave/Sub 6GHz baseband as optional baseband add-ons.

The 5G mmWave/Sub 6GHz option appears to be the same as the 3rd-gen Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System available with the latest, greatest Snapdragon 888, which is claimed to offer speeds of up to 7.5Gbps. This is an upgrade to the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System available with the Snapdragon 865. For more information on mmWave technology, which offers strong penetration of heavy weather, clothing, and even drywall, look here.

Qualcomm QCS4290/QCM4290

In addition to the QCS8250 and QCS2290/QCM2290, Qualcomm announced two processors that fall in between in power and capabilities. The QCS4290/QCM4290 is available now but has yet to appear in any products. Pin-compatible with the QCS2290/QCM2290, the SoC adds built-in support for Wi-Fi 6. The QCM4290 model adds 4G LTE Cat-13 support.

Qualcomm QCS4290 (left) and QCS6490 block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Designed for embedded applications including cameras, industrial handhelds and security panels, the 11nm fabricated QCS4290/QCM4290 is equipped with 8x, up to 2.0GHz Kryo 260 cores, which are found on Snapdragon 6xx series processors such as the similarly octa-core Snapdragon 660. Other components include a Hexagon 683 DSP and an Adreno 610 GPU.

As with the QCS2290/QCM2290, Qualcomm does not list OS support. Presumably, that means it similarly supports either Linux or Android, as evident in Thundercomm’s TurboX CM2290 and C2290 SOMs.

Qualcomm QCS6490/QCM6490 and Wi-Fi 6E

The higher end QCS6490/QCM6490 will be available later in the year. The 5nm fabricated processor in many ways rivals the QCS8250, despite being listed second by Qualcomm.

The QCS6490/QCM6490 has 8x Kyro 670 cores with 4x of them at up to 2.7GHz. This compares to 4x up to 2.85GHz cores on the 7nm, octa-core QCS8250. The Kyro 670 is also used on the Snapdragon 780G, a slightly downscaled variant of the Snapdragon 888, which features a single, 2.84GHz Cortex-X1 super core.

Other QCS6490/QCM6490 components include an Adreno 642L GPU, Adreno 633 VPU, Adreno 1075 DPU, and triple ISPs. There is also a Hexagon DSP with Qualcomm’s 6th gen AI Engine.

The QCS6490/QCM6490 advances from Wi-Fi 6 to Wi-Fi 6E, which adds a third 6GHz band based on 1200MHz of new spectrum that was recently liberated by the FCC. As soon as devices start to catch up with the standard, Wi-Fi 6E should enable a huge boost in throughput of up to 3.6Gbps or more. More on Wi-Fi 6E may be found in Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi 6E brief.

The QCM6490 model adds a built-in 5G mmWave/Sub 6GHz baseband. Like the QCS8250, only Android 10 support is listed.

Thundercomm TurboX C865 SOM

When Qualcomm OEM partner Thundercomm announced its TurboX line of compute modules in Feb. 2020, it did not mention the TurboX CM2290 and C2290 SOMs based on the recently introduced QCS2290 and 4G-equipped QCM2290. The company did include the TurboX C865 SOM, but said it was not yet commercially available. At the time, it was said to be based on the Snapdragon 865, but it now available with the more embedded Qualcomm QCS8250.

TurboX C865 SOM detail views (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The 56 x 45 x 9mm TurboX C865 SOM ships with 8GB LPDDR5 via a POP module and integrates 128GB UFS 3.1. The module incorporates a QCA6381 modem with 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.1.

Media features dominate the I/O line-up. Dual 4-lane MIPI-DSI interfaces support up to 5040 x 2160 @ 60fps resolution. There are also 6x MIPI-CSI 4-lane interfaces and 4x camera-dedicated I2C signals, 2x sensor-dedicated I2Cs, and a single sensor-dedicated SPI interface.

Audio I/O includes SoundWire interfaces for codec and smart speaker amp, respectively, plus 3x 2-lane MI2S for stereo and a single 4-lane MI2S for up to 8x channels. You also get 3x DMIC interfaces for up to 6x digital microphones.

The Android 10 driven module is further equipped with 2x USB 3.1 Gen2, one of which can be used for a Type-C with DP support. You also get PCIe 3.0 x2, UART, SDC, and ADCs, including some dedicated to input voltage sense and battery temperature detection.

The TurboX C865 SOM provides 11x QUPs (Qualcomm Universal Peripherals), which can be used as 4-pin SPI or 2-pin I2C. You also get 2x QUPs set as 2-pin I2C, a JTAG interface, and B2B connectors. The 3.8-4.2V powered module supports a -20 to 70℃ range.

TurboX C865 Development Kit

The 85 x 54mm dev kit for the TurboX C865 SOM is said to comply with the 96Boards spec, but it has a lot more expansion connectors than the similarly sized 96Boards CE variant. Thundercomm previously released a 96Boards-compatible Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Platform based on a Snapdragon 865-derived Qualcomm QRB5165.

The TurboX C865 Development Kit (see image at top) adds a microSD slot plus GbE, HDMI 1.4, 2x USB 3.0 host, USB 3.0 OTG Type-C, and a micro-USB 2.0 debug port. The board is equipped with an accelerometer and gyro, as well as dual Class-D speaker amps, a PDM mic, and a 96Boards mezzanine add-on with 2x additional PDM mics.

The carrier board provides 3x 60-pin high-speed connectors for MIPI-CSI, MIPI-DSI, PCIe 3.0 and the like, as well as 2x 40-pin low-speed links and a third 46-pin low-speed connector.

The carrier has a [email protected] adapter along with a power button, “force USB” boot switch, volume rocker, and 2x dip switches. You also get 14 LEDs, 4x of which are user controllable.

eInfoChips EIC-QCS8250-210

eInfoChips posted no image for its Mini-ITX form-factor EIC-QCS8250-210, which is built around an unnamed, 59.7 x 32.2mm compute module. Arrow-owned eInfochips is another Qualcomm OEM partner and has produced Qualcomm based modules such as the Snapdragon 820 based Eragon 820 SOM.

The eInfoChips module is equipped with the Qualcomm QCS8250, 8GB LPDDR5 (POP), 128GB UFS 3.1, and a QCA6391 802.11ax/BT 5.1 modem. These major specs match those of the TurboX C865 SOM.

EIC-QCS8250-210 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Media features include 2x 4-lane MIPI-DSI, HDMI 2.0, DP 1.4 over USB 3.1 Type-C, and 6x 4-lane MIPI-CSI. Audio features include 2x SoundWire, 1x MI2S, 6x PDM DMICs, and a WCD9385 based audio daughtercard with amp, mic, and speaker.

The EIC-QCS8250-210 provides GbE, USB 3.1 host, USB 3.1 Type-C, and micro-USB console ports. There are dual PCIe 3.0 x2 interfaces via an M.2 socket, which is supported with 2x SIM card slots. You also get UART, SDC, and the same camera- and sensor dedicated I2C and SPI interfaces found on the TurboX C865 SOM.

The board is equipped with IMU, temperature, proximity, and ambient light sensors, as well as a sensor expansion connector. There are high- and low-speed expansion connectors, with the latter providing GPIO.

The Android 10 driven board has a 12V/5A power supply and battery header. Accessories include an HD-ready, DSI-driven touchscreen, a camera sensor card, and daughter cards for separate HDMI input and output.

Further information

Thundercomm’s TurboX C865 Development Kit featuring the Thundercomm TurboX C865 SOM sells for $1,299. No pricing info was available for the eInfoChips EIC-QCS8250-210. More information may be found in the product pages for the TurboX C865 SOM, TurboX C865 Development Kit, and the EIC-QCS8250-210.


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