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SMARC module runs Linux on i.MX8 QuadMax

Jul 31, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,099 views

Congatec unveiled a Linux-driven, SMARC form factor “Conga-SMX8” module with an i.MX8 QuadMax, QuadPlus or DualMax, plus up to 8GB LPDDR4, dual GbE, HDMI 2.0, optional onboard eMMC and wireless, and optional “Conga-SEVAL” carrier and -40 to 85°C support.

The Conga-SMX8, which follows other Congatec SMARC 2.0 modules such as the Conga-SA5, is designed for a wide range of stationary and mobile industrial applications including real-time robotics and motion controls and in-vehicle computers. Like iWave’s iW-RainboW-G27M SMARC module, this rugged, 82 x 50mm COM runs Android and Linux (Yocto and standard) on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax SoC.

Conga-SMX8 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The i.MX8 QuadMax features 2x high-end Cortex-A72 cores, 4x Cortex-A53 cores, 2x Vivante GC7000XSVX GPUs, and 2x Cortex-M4F real-time cores. The Conga-SMX8 also supports the QuadPlus, which is identical to the QuadMax except that it only has one Cortex-A72 core. This is the first product we’ve seen that also supports the i.MX8 DualMax, which is identical with the QuadMax except that it lacks any Cortex-A53 cores.

No clock rates were listed, but Toradex, which offers a SODIMM-style, i.MX8 QuadMax based Apalis iMX8 module says it clocks the -A72 cores at 1.6GHz and the -A53 cores at 1.26GHz. Congatec, meanwhile, touts the SoC’s AES-128 encryption, as well as its hardware based virtualization and resource partitioning, all of which are supported on the Conga-SMX8.


The press release also claims the module enables the SoC’s support for triple independent 1080p displays or a single 4K screen. However, the product page and data sheet spec lists mention only 4K and dual simultaneous display support.

The Conga-SMX8 can load up to 8GB of 3200 MT/s LPDDR4 MLC or pseudo SLC RAM and up to 64GB of optional eMMC 5.0. There’s also a microSD slot. For networking you get 2x GbE controllers with optional IEEE1588 compliant precision clock synchronization, as well as an optional, soldered M.2 1216 based WiFi/Bluetooth BLE module.

Interfaces expressed via the edge connector include 4x USB 2.0 host ports, a micro-USB OTG port, and “up to” 1x USB 3.1 port. You also get either 3x PCIe Gen 3.0 expansion links or else 2x PCIe and 1x SATA 3.0. Other features include an HDMI 2.0a port with HDCP 2.2 and support for DP 1.3. There’s also 1x eDP 1.4, and either 2x 24-bit LVDS or 1x LVDS and 1x MIPI-DSI. Dual MIPI CSI-2 camera inputs (2- and 4-lane) are also available.

The Conga-SMX8 is further equipped with 2x FlexCAN bus, 4x UART, 2x I2S for audio, plus single SDIO 3.0, I2C, SPI, QSPI, JTAG, watchdog, and RTC. Both 0 to 60°C and -40 to 85°C models are available.

The module ships with 15-year longevity support. There’s a “ready-to-go” boot loader implementation, as well as U-Boot and BSPs for Linux, Yocto, and Android. Congatec also provides extra-cost services including “requirements engineering support and boot loader configuration with extended OS support to test, validation and debugging services.” Heatspreaders and active and passive cooling solutions are also available.


The Conga-SMX8 is available with an optional Conga-SEVAL SMARC 2.0 carrier board, which at 294 x 172mm, is a bit smaller than the Conga-TEVAL board used for Congatec’s COM Express modules. The -40 to 85°C ready evaluation board offers coastline ports including 2x GbE, HDMI, DisplayPort++, USB 3.0 and 2.0 host, micro USB 2.0 OTG, and USB Type-C with power and DisplayPort support. In addition, there appears to be an SD slot, and one of the two RS-232 interfaces is available via a DB9 port.

(click image to enlarge)

The Conga-SEVAL is equipped with I/O including 2x 24-bit LVDS, 2x MIPI-CSI2, and I2S and HDA audio interfaces. Other features include 2x CAN, 2x I2C, and single SPI, eSPI, fan, and disk drive power interfaces. There’s also a Congatec Feature Connector, various buttons and LEDs, and a 12-24V ATX power supply.

Further information

The Conga-SMX8 will be available by the end of the year, says Congatec. More information may be found on its preliminary Conga-SMX8 and Conga-SEVAL product pages.


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