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Open-spec Nitrogen8M_Mini SBC ships along with new Mini-based SOM

Mar 11, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,591 views

Boundary Devices has begun selling its open-spec, Linux-driven Nitrogen8M_Mini SBC starting at $135. It also announced a similarly i.MX8M Mini based Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM module with carrier.

Boundary Devices announced its Nitrogen8M_Mini a month ago and has now launched the SBC starting at $135. In early February, the Nitrogen8M_Mini was the only announced SBC with NXP’s quad -A53 i.MX8M Mini. Since then we’ve seen two modules available with carrier boards — Ka-Ro’s TX8M and CompuLab’s UCM-iMX8M-Mini. In addition, TechNexion recently pre-announced an upcoming Mini-based, Raspberry Pi-style AXON-Pi SBC and AXON-Neuron Mini-ITX board while also unveiling three i.MX8M Mini modules: the PICO-IMX8M-Mini, FLEX-IMX8M-Mini, and AXON-IMX8M-Mini.

Nitrogen8M_Mini (updated REV01) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

In addition to launching the 114.3 x 88.9mm Nitrogen8M_Mini, Boundary Devices announced a Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM module. The module has similar memory specs as the SBC, except that it adds a standard SKU with 4GB RAM instead of 2GB (see farther below).

All four available models of the Nitrogen8M_Mini use the quad-core i.MX8M model clocked from 1.5GHz to 2.0GHz with 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and 8GB eMMC. The Mini SoC also has an HD-ready Vivante GPU/VPU and a 400MHz Cortex-M4 chip. Memory can be expanded to up to 4GB and 128GB, respectively, but no prices were available.


The boards are available with or without a precertified WiFi/BT module (QCA9377 BD-SDMAC) with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1. Either version is available in board-only or dev kit versions. The latter includes a 5V power supply, an 8GB microSD card with Linux, a battery, and a serial console cable.

The Nitrogen8M_Mini SKUs include:

  • $135 — Board only
  • $155 — Dev Kit
  • $155 — Board only with WiFi/BT
  • $175 — Dev Kit with WiFi/BT

The WiFi/BT models are available immediately, and the other two SKUs ship later in the month. Prices drop to as low as $100 with volume discounts, and customization services are available.

The Nitrogen8M_Mini has been slightly revised since it was announced, with a few minor spec changes which we’ve added to the updated spec list below. As noted in the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the new shopping page, the new REV01 version switches the location of the coastline Ethernet port and microSD slot and “adds some extra connectors.”

The connectors, which are located behind the USB 2.0 host and micro-USB ports, may be linked to some new interfaces we did not see before: 4x UARTs and 2x USB 2.0 interfaces. We also had previously listed 10/100Mbps Ethernet but Boundary Devices now lists it as GbE (10/100/1000Mbps).

The image shows a new Pulse chip behind the LAN port, which appears to be the previously mentioned Power-over-Ethernet transformer (Pulse H6062FNL). A $50 PoE daughtercard is also required. Pricing is now available for the optional touchscreens and camera, but we saw no listing for the previously mentioned second PCIe slot option. Other standard features include MIPI-DSI and -CSI, audio I/O, PCI, and optional industrial temp support.

There are now details on the available Linux and Android images (see below). This is an open-spec board with schematics, a wiki, and other info. Registration is required to gain access to files, but it’s free and easy. There’s a message board in the works, but currently there’s no active link.

Specifications listed for the slightly updated Nitrogen8M_Mini REV01 include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Mini Quad (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz to 2.0GHz); Cortex-M4F @ 400MHz; GCNanoUltra for 3D, GC320 for 2D GPUs; 1080p60 H.264, VP8/1080p60 H.265, H.264, VP8, VP9 video
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB LPDDR4 RAM (option for up to 4GB)
    • 8GB eMMC (option for up to 128GB)
    • MicroSD slot
  • Media I/O:
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane) for up to 1080p60
    • Optional 7-, 8-, 10.1-inch PCAP touchscreens
    • MIPI-CSI (4-lane)
    • Optional 5MP MIPI camera (OV5640 sensor)
    • Headphone and analog mic jacks
    • 2W amp
  • Wireless — Optional WiFi/BT module (QCA9377 BD-SDMAC) with
    802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1

  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port with optional PoE (802.3af) daughter card
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • 3x I2C
    • 4x UARTs
    • SPI, GPIO
  • Expansion — PCIe slot (second PCIe may become available via optional daughter card)
  • Other features — RTC with battery; optional conformal coating
  • Power –- 5V DC input jack; PF8100 PMIC
  • Operating temperature – 0 to 70°C; optional -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 114.3 x 88.9mm
  • Operating system – Yocto (Pyro), Ubuntu 18.04, Debian Stretch 9.5, Android 8.1; Linux kernel 4.9x with U-Boot; FreeRTOS supported on Cortex-M4F

Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM and carrier

The SODIMM-style Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM is open for pre-sales with availability beginning in early April. The shopping page shows the same 4GB/8GB configuration for both the $120 and $138 models. We’re guessing that’s a typo and that the $120 SKU has 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC.

Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The 67.6 x 48.4mm module is available with a $299 carrier board that matches the specs of the Nitrogen8M_Mini SBC except for memory and other basic functions that now appear on the module. The optional wireless module is located on the carrier instead of the Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM. Like the SBC, the module ships with schematics and other open source resources, although it requires a free registration.

Nitrogen8M_Mini Carrier Board
(click image to enlarge)

Further information

The Nitrogen8M_Mini REV01 is available starting at $135 with shipments due by the end of the month. More information may be found in the new blog launch announcement and on the Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M_Mini product page and shopping page.

The Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM is available for $120 to $138 in single orders and as low as $75 in volume. The carrier board is available for $299. More information may be found on the Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM product page and Nitrogen8M_Mini Carrier Board product page.


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