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Pico-ITX board based on i.MX8M ships with Linux BSP

Jul 6, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 661 views

F&S has launched a $407 and up “armStone MX8M” Pico-ITX SBC that runs Linux on an i.MX8M with up to 8GB LPDDR4 and 64GB eMMC with GbE, WiFi/BT, 5x USB, MIPI-CSI, DVI, and a mini-PCIe slot.

F&S Elektronik Systeme originally announced the NXP i.MX8M-based armStone MX8M Pico-ITX board in early 2018 with an intention to begin sampling in Q2 of that year. The i.MX8M-based SBC has finally arrived, selling for 360 Euros ($407) in a kit that includes cables, a Yocto/Buildroot BSP, and full access to documentation.

The key new addition since the 2018 announcement is a mini-PCIe slot and SIM card slot. Instead of supplying 4x USB 2.0 host ports, you get 2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0, and the micro-USB OTG port has been updated from 2.0 to 3.0.



armStone MX8M (updated 2020 images), front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The armStone MX8M is designed for “applications with demanding graphics in building automation, all kinds of HMI in industry and medical technology, as well as POS and POI terminals,” says F&S. Other i.MX8 family products from the German embedded vendor include the i.MX8M Mini based OSM-MX8MM and i.MX8M Nano based PicoCore MX8MN modules, both of which were announced at this year’s Embedded World show in February. Other armStone Pico-ITX SBCs include the company’s Snapdragon 410E powered armStone A53SD and i.MX6-driven ArmStone A9-v2.

Although it is a bit unclear from the shopping page, the $407 starter kit package would appear to give you 1GB DDR3L, expandable to 8GB, as well as 4GB eMMC and 256MB SLC flash, expandable to 64GB and 1GB NAND, respectively. The press release mentions a 64GB eMMC capacity, but the product sheet still says 32GB.



armStone MX8M and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The press release and product page suggest that the wireless module with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 may be optional, although it is not listed among the accessories. The listed options include a MIPI-CSI camera kit, a heat sink, a WiFi patch antenna, a 12-24V power adapter, a USB stick, LVDS cabling, and an I2C adapter board with GPIOs, ADC, and PWM.

There is also a display customization disc for creating a DeviceTree for the board based on the supplied Yocto 2.2/Buildroot Linux stack built on Linux 4.14.78. It is unclear if customers receive schematics. However, a 3D step model is publicly posted along with extensive documentation.

Specifications listed for the armStone MX8M include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M (2x or 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 @ 266MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • 4GB to 32GB eMMC
    • 256MB to 1GB SLC NAND
    • Optional microSD slot
  • Networking:
    • 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
    • Pre-certified 802.11b/g/n with Bluetooth 4.1 LE (possibly optional)
  • Media I/O:
    • 2x 24-bit LVDS up to HD resolution and optional cable kit
    • DVI up to 4K resolution
    • Analog resistive and PCAP touch via I2C
    • MIPI-CSI with optional camera kit
    • Audio line-in/out/mic
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 host ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 3.0 OTG port
    • CAN
    • RS232
    • 2x TTL UART
    • 4x I2C with optional I2C exp. board
    • 2x SPI
    • 32x DIO
  • Expansion — mini-PCIe slot; SIM card slot
  • Other features — RTC with coin battery slot; availability through 2028; optional heatsink and other accessories
  • Power — 5V DC input; optional 12-24V adapter
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C; optional -20 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Weight — 40 g
  • Operating system — BSP with Yocto 2.2/Buildroot, Linux 4.14.78, BusyBox, etc.; FreeRTOS supported for Cortex-M4

 
Further information

The armStone MX8M is available now in a starter kit for 360 Euros ($407). More information may be found in the F&S Elektronik Systeme announcement and product/shopping page.

 

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