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Nano-ITX dev kit shows off Samsung Exynos 8895

Sep 14, 2018 — by Eric Brown 3,545 views

Howchip has launched a sandwich-style, Nano-ITX form factor “ExSOM-8895 DVK” that runs Android 7.0 and Linux 4.4.13 on Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 8895 SoC with 4GB DDR4, dual UFS 2.1 storage interfaces, and MIPI-DSI and -CSI.

A Chinese firm called Howchip, owned by Unibest, has launched an Android Nougat Development Platform. The ExSOM-8895 DVK showcases Samsung’s Exynos 8895, an octa-core SoC that is available on EMEA-bound versions models of the primarily Snapdragon 835 based Galaxy S8 phone. The 120 x 120mm Nano-ITX form-factor board integrates an unnamed 70 x 50mm compute module that houses the Exynos 8895 and runs Android 7.0 with Linux kernel 4.4.13.

ExSOM-8895 DVK (left) and ExSOM-8895 module
(click images to enlarge)

The only encounter we’ve had with Howchip was when the company partnered with a now-defunct project to launch an ill-fated, Exynos 5 based ARMBRIX Zero SBC back in 2013. The board never shipped, and Howchip claimed at the time that it was refunding all customers. Since then, it has developed several modules and development kits based on Samsung chips such as the Exynos 4412.

Like the Snapdragon 835, the Exynos 8895 is a 10nm FinFET fabricated SoC with four, Cortex-A73 like cores and four lower-powered, Cortex-A53 cores. In this case, the high-end block is called the Mongoose Quad and the four -A53 cores are dubbed Apollo. Samsung lists the maximum clock rates for the two quad blocks at 2.3GHz and 1.7GHz, but Howchip mentions only a maximum 2.1GHz rate. The product pages suggests this rate is for the -A53 cores, but it may instead apply to the Mongoose cores.


The octa-core Exynos 8895 also has a high-end Mali-G71 MP20 GPU, which Arm announced in conjunction with its Cortex-A73 design. On the ExSOM-8895 DVK, the SoC appears to lack the mobile version’s 4G LTE and GPS modules, but it offers an ISP engine that supports up to 28-megapixel images.

The ExSOM-8895 module connects to the ExSOM-8895 DVK via 6x 60-pin connectors for 360 pins total. The module is equipped with 4GB LPDDR4-1866 in POP format, as well as an unpopulated UFS 2.1 Gear 3, two-lane interface for storage.

The DVK carrier board also adds a microSD slot and a separate UFS 2.1 Gear 3, one-lane slot for additional UFS storage. A mini-DP port is included via a standard add-on module, and you get an up to 4K ready MIPI-DSI interface. There’s also a MIPI-CSI2 camera connector and a two-way audio jack. Dual USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.0 port are available along with a serial DB9 port.

The CNXSoft post that alerted us to the ExSOM-8895 DVK notes that the GbE port is implemented via a mini-PCIe interface and suggests that you’ll need to remove it to use another mini-PCIe card. This situation remains unexplained in the somewhat spotty spec list, which also notes a separate standard mini-PCIe 2.0 interface “for future use” that does not show up as a separate interface on the images.

There’s no mention of an expansion connector for the available “GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART and more…” As befits a development kit, the board offers multiple debug options, control buttons, and a boot switch.

Specifications listed for the ExSOM-8895 DVK include:

  • Processor — Exynos 8895 (4x Mongoose and 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.1GHz); Mali-G71 MP20 GPU; ISP
  • Memory/storage:
    • 4GB LPDDR4-1866 in POP format on module
    • UFS 2.1 Gear 3 two-lane interface on module
    • UFS 2.1 Gear 3 one-lane slot on carrier
    • MicroSD slot on carrier
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port (PCIe based)
  • Display/media:
    • Mini-DisplayPort 1.2
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane, 2-ch) at up to 3840 x 2400
    • MIPI-CSI2
    • Audio jack (earphone and mic-in)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • 2x USB 2.0 ports
    • Serial port
    • “GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART and more…”
    • Debug, JTAG, and micro-USB ADB connectors
  • Expansion — Mini-PCIe slot currently populated by GbE port
  • Other features — Boot switch; 4x control buttons
  • Power — Power input jack; power software switch
  • Dimensions — 120 x 120mm; Nano-ITX
  • Operating system — Android 7.0 Nougat with Linux kernel 4.4.13; sources provided on delivery

Further information

No pricing information was provided for the ExSOM-8895 or module, which appears to be available. More information may be found on Howchip’s ExSOM-8895 DVK product page.

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One response to “Nano-ITX dev kit shows off Samsung Exynos 8895”

  1. Chris says:

    Android 7!? We’re up to Android 9 now. Exynos architecture devices never seem to get a great deal of support after launch.

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