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SMARC COM runs Linux or Android on quad core AM437x

Feb 1, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,078 views

Embedian’s “SMARC-T4378” module runs Linux or Android on TI’s Cortex-A9 AM437x SoC, and features up to 1GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, dual GbE, and an optional carrier.

The SMARC-T4378 appears to be the first SMARC form-factor computer-on-module to be based on the Texas Instruments Sitara AM4378 system-on-chip. The 82 x 50mm Embedian COM joins AM437x-based modules in various other sizes from CompuLab, Variscite, and MYIR that were introduced over the past year, and follows Embedian’s SMARC-compatible SMARC-T335X, which runs on the Cortex-A8 based Sitara AM3354. The Cortex-A9-based AM4378 is clocked to 1GHz instead of the AM3354’s 600MHz.

(click image to enlarge)

The SMARC-T4378 ships with a Yocto Project based Linux BSP complete with test and design utilities, as well as reference codes. It also supports Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4. The module is designed for embedded applications, including human machine interfaces (HMI), IoT gateways, and industrial automation.

Like the previous Sitara, the module’s AM4378 SoC features a PRU-ICSS (Programmable Real-Time Unit and Industrial Communication Subsystem) for real-time controls. This latest PRU has been redesigned with a quad-core subsystem that offers dual simultaneous control of fieldbus protocols. Other COMs based on the AM437x include MYIR’s MYC-C437X and Variscite’s VAR-SOM-AM43.

Block diagrams: SMARC-T4378 COM (left) and TI AM437x SoC
(click images to enlarge)

Embedian is offering two versions of the module: an 800MHz module with 512MB DDR3L RAM, and a 1GHz version with 1GB. Both models feature 4GB eMMC flash with 4MB NOR flash.


The SMARC-T4378 is further equipped with a 24-bit Parallel LCD interface and dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers. I/O is enhanced compared to the SMARC-T335X, with two USB host ports, a USB OTG port, a Parallel camera interface, and dual CAN bus ports. Other interfaces include SPI, I2C, I2S, serial, and GPIO.

The module runs on 3V or 5V power and typically consumes 2.7W, claims Embedian. Commercial and industrial temperature ranges are available.

Specifications listed for the SMARC-T4378 include:

  • Processor — TI Sitara AM4378(1x Cortex-A9 @ 800 or 1000MHz); PowerVR SGX530 GPU; PRU-ICSS subsystem
  • Memory:
    • 512MB (@ 800MHz) or 1GB (1GHz) DDR3L RAM
    • 4GB eMMC 5.0 flash
    • 4MB SPI NOR flash
  • Display/camera — 24-bit Parallel RGB; Parallel camera interface (10-, 12-, 16- or dual 8-bit input motion video or still images
  • Networking — 2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet controllers
  • Other I/O (via 314-pin MXM SMARC connector):
    • 2x SDIO (4-bit SDIO and 8-bit eMMC)
    • 2X USB 2.0 host
    • USB 2.0 OTG
    • 4x serial UARTs (2x with 2-wire handshake)
    • 2x CAN bus
    • 2x SPI
    • I2S
    • 3x I2C
    • 12x GPIO (incl. PWM
  • Other features — RTC; multiple boot options
  • Power — 3V or 5V, running on fixed supply or single-level Li-Ion battery; typical 2.7W consumption
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C or -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 82 x 50mm; SMARC “short module” format
  • Operating systems — Linux 4.1.13 BSP with Yocto Project support; supports Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4


The SMARC-T4378 is available with an optional, Mini-ITX (170 x 170mm) EVK-STD-CARRIER evaluation carrier board. This is very similar to a carrier of the same name provided for last year’s i.MX6 based SMARC-FiMX6, but with a few changes.

(click images to enlarge)

Among other minor changes, the board now has a wide-range 12-24V power supply, four SPI interfaces instead of two, and three I2C interfaces instead of two. Continued features include dual GbE ports, two coastline USB host and one mini-USB client ports, and four serial ports including two RS232/422/485 on DSUB9 connectors. LVDS, VGA, and HDMI ports handle display duties. Schematics and layout checklists are available.

Further information

The SMARC-T4378 is available now starting at $61 to $79 depending on volume. The EVK-STD-CARRIER is available for $279 to $299 depending on volume. More information may be found at the SMARC-T4378 and EVK-STD-CARRIER product pages.

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