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Renesas adds to RZ/G2 line with three Cortex-A55 SoCs

Jan 20, 2021 — by Eric Brown 658 views

Renesas unveiled three low-end “RZ/G2L” members of its RZ/G2 family of Linux-driven IoT SoCs with single or dual -A55 cores plus a Mali-G31, Cortex-M33, and up to dual GbE support. There is also a SMARC module and dev kit.

Renesas’ RZ/G2 line of industrial-focused system-on-chips include the hexa-core RZ/GM and octa-core RZ-G2H, both with mixtures of Cortex-A57 and -A53 cores and 4K support, as well as two dual-core models: a Cortex-A53 based RZ/G2E with HD video and a Cortex-A57-equipped RZ/G2N with 4K. Instead of filling in the middle of the Linux-focused product line with some quad-core models, the Japanese chipmaker has instead come back with three new low-end models, featuring single or dual-core Cortex-A55 cores.

RZ/G2LC and the two sizes of RZ/G2L (left) and the RZ/G2L carrier board with SMARC module
(click images to enlarge)

The new RZ/G2L and RZ/G2LC offer a choice of single or dual cores while the RZ/G2UL has a single core. Renesas is also prepping a SMARC module for the RZ/G2L chips that will be available on an RZ/G2L Evaluation Kit (see farther below).

The three new models add a 200MHz Cortex-M33 MCU, which is optional on the RZ/G2UL. Several Renesas infographics show a Cortex-R7 MCU on the earlier RZ/G2 models, but we do not see further documentation of this.


The RZ/G2L and RZ/G2LC replace the earlier range of PowerVR GPUs with a 500MHz Arm Mali-G31 while the RZ/G2UL is limited to a 2D LCD controller. Only the RZ/G2L has a VPU, which provides an H.264 codec vs. both H.264 and H.265 on the earlier RZ/G2 models. Resolution is limited to 1920 x 1080.

RZ/G2L block diagram (left) and comparison with other new models
(click images to enlarge)

In a first for the product line, error checking and correction (ECC) protection has been extended beyond on-chip memory to also check DDR. In another first, the RZ/G2L and RZ/G2UL support up to dual GbE ports. Those two models are also the only ones that provide 12-bit ADC, which is 8-channel on the RZ/G2L and 1-channel on the RZ/G2UL. The RZ/G2L is available in 15mm or 21mm BGA packages, while the other two models are 13mm.

Below is the full line-up of RZ/G2 models, with the new models in bold:

  • RZ/G2L — 1x or 2x -A55 @ 1.2GHz; Mali-G31; H.264 codec for HD video; Cortex-M33, up to 2x GbE
  • RZ/G2LC — 1x or 2x -A55 @ 1.2GHz; Mali-G31; Cortex-M33; 1x GbE
  • RZ/G2UL — 1x -A55 @ 1.0GHz; Cortex-M33, up to 2x GbE
  • RZ/G2E — 2x -A53 @ 1.2GHz; PowerVR GE8300; HD video
  • RZ/G2N — 2x -A57 @ 1.5GHz; PowerVR GE7800; 4K video
  • RZ/G2M — 2x -A57 @ 1.5GHz, 4x -A53 @ 1.2GHz; PowerVR GE6250; 4K video
  • RZ/G2H — 4x -A57 @ 1.5GHz, 4x -A53 @ 1.2GHz; PowerVR GE6650; 4K video

The Cortex-A55 IP offers 20 percent improved performance over -A53 and is 6x “faster in essential processing for AI applications,” claims Renesas. This appears to be the basis of pitching the new models as AI processors, although there is no dedicated neural processor.

Like the other RZ/G2 SoCs, the new models support the Linux Foundation’s 64-bit Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) Super Long-Term Support (SLTS) Linux kernel. This means you get more than 10 years of kernel support and extensive security support.

RZ/G2LC (left) and RZ/G2UL block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

The RZ/G2L, RZ/G2LC, and RZ/G2UL support DDR3L and DDR4 RAM, as well as 2x CAN-FD, 2x USB 2.0, and SD interfaces. The RZ/G2L, RZ/G2LC provide MIPI-DSI for displays while the RZ/G2L and RZ/G2UL each have a Parallel-IF connection. They all support 4-lane MIPI-CSI at up to 5-megapixels.

Other I/Os include 4x SSI audio, SPI, I2C, and more as seen in the block diagrams above. A security chip is optional.

SMARC module and eval kit

The SMARC 2.1 module for the new processors is a short-sized model as opposed to the full-size SMARC 2.0 SoM that Renesas and RelySys launched last November for the earlier RZ/G2 SoCs. The earlier RZ/G2 processors are also available on TQ’s TQMaRZG2x module and Embedded Starterkit STKaRZG2x evaluation board, as well as a pair of Renesas 96Boards SBCs.

RZ/G2L SMARC module (left) and carrier board block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

The SMARC module provides 2GB DDR4, 64MB QSPI NOR, and 64GB eMMC. The module is further equipped with a microSD slot, an ADC interface, and a JTAG connector.

The 160 x 100 carrier board extends the module with 2x GbE, USB 2.0 host, micro-USB 2.0 OTG, and micro-HDMI ports. A second microSD slot is available along with MIPI-CSI2 with support for the Google Coral camera. You also get 2x PMOD, dual audio jacks, dual CAN-FD, and a USB Type-C port for power input.

Further information

The RZ/G2L, RZ/G2LC, and RZ/G2UL have begun sampling, with production scheduled to start in August. You can reserve the evaluation kit with SMARC module, which will presumably show up before then. Reference designs, including circuit diagrams and board layout data, are available now. A new PMIC for the processors will ship later this year. Pricing was undisclosed.

More information may be found in Renesas’ announcement, as well as the RZ/G2L, RZ/G2LC, and RZ/G2UL product pages.


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