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Pico-ITX SBC runs Linux on quad Cortex-A53 Snapdragon

Mar 7, 2017 — by Eric Brown 2,591 views

F&S unveiled a Linux-ready “armStone A53SD” Pico-ITX SBC with a Snapdragon 410E, up to 8GB LPDDR3 and 32GB eMMC, plus Ethernet, WiFi, BT, and 4x USB ports.

F&S Elektronik Systeme is expanding its line of armStone-branded Pico-ITX boards, including its i.MX6-based ArmStone A9-v2, with an armStone A53SD SBC that employs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410E. Other Snadragon 410E embedded boards include Inforce Computing’s Inforce 6309L SBC and Inforce 6301 COM.

F&S armStone A53SD, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

While the Inforce boards run Linux or Android, the armStone A53SD provides its own F&S Linux BSP, derived from Linux 4.1 and Buildroot and Yocto Project code, as well as a preconfigured version of Ubuntu. The board also supports Windows 10 IoT. The armStone A53SD won’t ship until the third quarter, and specs are listed as preliminary, but you can take a peek at it at Embedded World 2017 on Mar. 14-16.

Qualcomm released the Snapdragon 410e and 600E last September as embedded versions of its Snapdragon 410 and 600 SoCs. The quad-core, 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 410E is identical to the 400 except for the lack of an integrated 4G LTE baseband. The difference is that it’s available to anyone, not just major mobile device OEMs, and it ships with 10-year availability. The Snapdragon 410E is equipped with an Adreno 306 GPU and a Hexagon DSP for audio and computer vision processing.

armStone A53SD (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The armStone A53SD SBC offers a larger maximum memory allotment than the Inforce 6309L SBC, with up to 8GB LPDDR3 and 32GB eMMC. A microSD slot is also available.


With its larger 100 x 72mm dimensions compared to the 85 x 54mm Inforce 6309L, the F&S SBC offers more features overall. For example, F&S provides an Ethernet port in addition to WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as a third USB 2.0 host port and a CAN interface. It also supplies more serial and GPIO interfaces over a 66-pin expansion connector.

On the other hand, the Inforce board adds GPS and external antennas not found on the armStone board. It also supplies a second MIPI-CSI camera interface.

The armStone A53SD provides DVI and LVDS interfaces, with the latter supported with optional 7-inch displays, with or without capacitive touch. The 5V board consumes about 4W, and is available with optional extended temperature support.

Other options include an armStone Extension add-on that routes signals from the board’s 66-pin feature connector to standard connectors. There is also an optional failsafe flash filesystem and remote software update mechanism.

Preliminary specifications listed for the armStone A53SD SBC include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ up to 1.2GHz); Qualcomm Adreno 306 GPU @ 400MHz; Hexagon QDSP6 DSP
  • Memory/storage:
    • Up to 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
    • Up to 32GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • DVI port at up to 1080p HD playback
    • 24-bit LVDS TFT-LCD at up to WUXGA
    • Optional 7-inch LVDS display with or w/o capacitive touch
    • MIPI-CSI interface
    • Audio jack (in/out/mic)
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE (with BT 2.1+EDR support)
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 device port
    • 66-pin expansion connector plus optional interface with standard connectors:
      • CAN 2.0
      • 2x UART
      • 2x I2C
      • SPI
      • 32x DIO
  • Other features — support for ext. RTC
  • Power — 5V DC input; 4W typ. consumption
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C; optional -20 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Operating system — Yocto/Buildroot with Linux 4.1; Ubuntu; Windows 10 IoT

Further information

The armStone A53SD will ship in the third quarter. More information may be found on the F&S armStone A53SD product page. The company will demonstrate the product at Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany, at F&S booth 511 in hall 4A, Mar. 14-16.


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