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Snapdragon-based COM supports extreme temperatures

May 14, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,301 views

Variscite announced a COM based on Qualcomm’s 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon APQ8064 SoC, supported with Android and Linux, and usable from -40 to 85°C.

The VAR-SOM-SD600 builds upon the same Snapdragon APQ8064 system-on-chip as another computer-on-module announced this week: CompuLab’s CM-QS600. Qualcomm’s 1.7GHz, quad-core SoC is also known as the S4 Pro, and Variscite refers to it under the broader Snapdragon 600 nomenclature. The Snapdragon APQ8064 is equivalent to a quad-core Cortex-A15-based SoC, featuring a quartet of 28nm-fabricated 1.7GHz “Krait” cores with 11-stage pipeline and out-of-order execution. The Krait cores are accommodated by 2MB of L2 cache, an integrated Adreno 320 GPU, and a 500MHz “Hexagon” QDSP6V4 DSP (digital signal processor).

(click image to enlarge)

Like yet another APQ8064-based COM, Inforce Computing’s IFC6400, Variscite’s module presents its I/O via edgecard fingers. However, the VAR-SOM-SD600 is built on an 82 x 56mm footprint with a 314-finger MXM 3.0 connector as its baseboard socket, instead the Qseven-compatible IFC6400’s 70 x 70mm footprint and older, 230-finger MXM connector.

Two block diagrams for the VAR-SOM-SD600
(click images to enlarge)

The VAR-SOM-SD600 feature set is similar to that of CompuLab’s CM-QS600 and InForce’s IFC6400. You get up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM plus an eMMC flash drive, in this case up to a generous 64GB. Like the CM-QS600 it offers extended and industrial temperature versions, but there are no anti-shock or vibration ratings listed. Unlike the IFC6400, there’s no mention of a GPS module. On the other hand, Variscite’s COM is the only model that offers SATA storage and DSI display interfaces.

Other features are fairly similar to those of its COM rivals, including HDMI and LCD support, dual CSI camera ports, USB ports, and a gigabit Ethernet controller. WiFi, and Bluetooth are optional. You also get a variety of serial interfaces, and PCI Express expansion, which is still something of a novelty in the ARM world.

VAR-SD600 CustomBoard with VAR-SOM-SD600 module (left) and CustomBoard block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The VAR-SOM-SD600 COM can be brought to life by plugging it into an optional carrier board, called the VAR-SD600 CustomBoard, which serves as a reference design for application-specific baseboards. We did not see a spec sheet for the this board, but Variscite supplied a block diagram (above), which indicates ports for most of the major interfaces. The photograph farther above reveals a variety of coastline ports.


Specifications listed for the VAR-SOM-SD600 include:

  • Processor:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 SOC (aka Snapdragon 600 series)
    • Quad-core ARM “Krait” clocked at 1.7GHz; 2MB L2 cache
    • Adreno 320 GPU
    • QDSP6V4 DSP
  • RAM — up to 2GB DDR3
  • Flash — up to 64GB eMMC
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet controller
    • Optional 802.11a/b/g/n with optional MIMO
    • Optional Bluetooth 4.0
  • A/V interfaces (via edge connector):
    • HDMI, up to 1920 x 1080
    • LVDS, up to 2048 x 1536
    • DSI, up-to 2048 x 1536
    • Audio analog line in and out, mic in
    • I2S audio interface
    • Up to 2x MIPI-CSI camera ports
    • I2S audio out
  • Other I/O (via edge connector):
    • USB host; USB OTG
    • SATA 1.0 interface (1.5Gbps)
    • 2x SD/MMC
    • 3x UARTs (up to 3.6Mbps)
    • Up to 6x I2C
    • Up to 6x SPI
  • PCI Express Gen 2 (via edge connector)
  • Other features — RTC
  • Connector — 314-finger MXM 3.0 edgecard connector
  • Power — 3 to 4.5VDC input; supports 1.8V digital I/O levels
  • Operating temperature options — 0 to 70°C, -20 to 70°C, or -40 to 85°C
  • Weight — 30 g
  • Dimensions — 82 x 56 x 3.6mm
  • Operating system – Linux, Android (Android 4.4 due in July)

Variscite’s VAR-SOM-SD600 COM supports both Linux and Android, although both BSPs appear to be lagging behind the hardware development somewhat, which is not unusual. The Linux stack is said to be “coming soon,” and an Android 4.4 upgrade is due in July. A May 14 press release announced that TimeSys is developing LinuxLink support for Variscite’s modules, including the VAR-SOM-MX6, the VAR-SOM-AM33, and TI OMAP4460 based DART-4460. No mention was made about the VAR-SOM-SD600, however.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the VAR-SOM-SD600. More information may be found at Variscite’s VAR-SOM-SD600 product page.

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