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New SODIMM-style COM standard to debut on an Allwinner A20 based module

Oct 12, 2017 — by Eric Brown 896 views

Olimex unveiled a new “SOM204” form factor for computer-on-modules and previewed an open spec, Allwinner A20 based “A20-SOM204” COM built in the new format.

Last week Olimex announced it was standardizing all future computer-on-modules on a new “SOM204” form factor with an 204-pin SODIMM edge connector. It also previewed the first SOM204 module: the “A20-SOM204,” based on the Allwinner A20 SoC. The module will ship in November with an evaluation board at prices comparable to that of the company’s earlier A20-SOM, says Olimex. Schematics for the A20-SOM204 COM and A20-EVB204 carrier board are already available for free download.

A20-SOM204 prototype (left) and mounted on SOM204-EVB evaluation board
(click images to enlarge)

Olimex jumped into the COM market back in 2014 when it announced its Allwinner based A13-SOM and A20-SOM and its TI Sitara based AM3352-SOM. Each of these modules, as well as a Rockchip RK3188 based RK3188-SOM announced soon after, had different designs with custom EVB evaluation boards. The RK3188-SOM was notable for its open source hardware, which was almost unheard of for a COM in 2014 and is still a rarity today.

In an attempt to simplify production and maintenance both for itself and for its customers, Olimex will now build all its new COMs with a universal layout “with known interfaces on known pinout.” With a universal design, customers can switch to a new module with more memory and/or a faster processor without switching to a new pinout, says Olimex.


Original A20-SOM

Olimex will continue to manufacture its existing COMs, but the focus will now be on SOM204 models. In addition to the A20-SOM204, the company will produce an AM335x follow-on, but will not upgrade its A13 and RK3188 models. Instead it plans new SOM204 modules based on the Allwinner A64, to be followed by a module based on the hexa-core Rockchip RK3399, which is also available in a new Firefly RK3399 Coreboard module. No launch dates were provided for these upcoming SOM204 entries, all of which will similarly support Linux and Android.

In the blog announcement (see link below), Olimex has posted the features that will be available on all SOM224 modules, as well as schematics for the A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB evaluation board. The module will provide 1GB RAM and up to 64GB eMMC. A GbE port will be standard and a second, but 10/100Mbps, port will be optional, in which case both ports will operate at 10/100Mbps. SPI flash will also be optional.

Standard interfaces on all SOM204 modules will include USB host and OTG, including USB 3.0, and one or two Ethernet controllers, including GbE. The modules will also offer WiFi and Bluetooth LE, as well as SATA, SD, CAN, IR, CSI, HDMI, VGA, audio I/O, SPDIF, and serial interfaces.

Further information

The A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB will go on sale in November. More information may be found at Olimex’s SOM204 announcement. Schematics for the A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB prototypes are currently available here and here.

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