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SMARC module runs Linux on i.MX8M

Dec 5, 2018 — by Eric Brown 602 views

Axiomtek’s “SCM180” SMARC module features NXP’s dual- or quad-core i.MX8M SoC with up to 4GB LPDDR4 and 64GB eMMC plus TPM, GbE, HDMI 2.0, MIPI-DSI/CSI, and support for up to -40 to 85°C temperatures.

We cover a lot of Axiomtek products, but most are embedded systems or SBCs rather than computer-on-modules, which include last year’s Apollo Lake based Q7M311 Qseven module. We missed the company’s first SMARC module — the i.MX6 based SCM120. Now Axiomtek has returned with a second SMARC module with its SCM180, which taps NXP’s more recent, Cortex-A53 based i.MX8M SoC. The only other i.MX8M-based SMARC module we’ve seen is Seco’s SM-C12.

SCM180, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Taiwan-based Axiomtek says it plans to accelerate its SMARC product family for the North American market with the help of its Axiomtek USA design team. The expansion supports North America’s “rising preferences for a mobile, RISC-based SOM,” said Axiomtek, referring to Arm-based designs.

The 82 x 50 x 1.2mm SCM180 is primarily designed to run Linux, including Yocto Project and Ubuntu, but it also supports Android and QNX. The module is available in Dual or Quad i.MX8M models, with the -A53 cores clocked to 1.3GHz. The i.MX8M also features a Cortex-M4 MCU and a Vivante GC7000 Lite GPU.

SCM180 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The SCM180 defaults to 1GB LPDDR4-3200 RAM, with up to 4GB possible. You can choose either 8GB to 64GB eMMC or a microSD slot. The module is touted for its TPM security chip, which is rare on SMARC modules.


The module provides a GbE controller and HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.3 display interfaces for up to 4K video. You also get 4-lane MIPI-DSI or dual-channel LVDS, as well as 2x MIPI-CSI2 v1.1 (2- and 4-lane) for camera duty

The SCM180 is equipped with 2x USB 3.0 and single USB 2.0 and USB OTG client interfaces, as well as 2x COM (TX/RX/RTS/CTS) and 2x serial RX/TX links, one of which acts as a debug console. Other features include 2x CAN 2.0B, 3x I2C, up to 12x GPIO, and single PCIe 2.0, I2S, and audio connections. QSPi, and SPI interfaces are available with “2 Chip Select.”

The module is available in 0 to 85°C and -40 to 85°C versions, and a heatspreader and heatsink are optional. Axiomtek notes that a battery is required on a connected baseboard, presumably for the RTC shown on the block diagram.

Further information

The SCM180 module will be available in January at an undisclosed price. More information may be round in Axiomtek’s SCM180 announcement and product page.


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