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SMARC module runs Linux on i.MX8X

Dec 21, 2018 — by Eric Brown 835 views

Kontron’s industrial temperature “SMARC-sAMX8X” module runs Linux on a dual- or quad Cortex-A35 i.MX8X SoC with up to 3GB LP-DDR4, up to 64GB eMMC, dual GbE controllers, and PCIe.

Like Congatec’s Conga-SMX8X, Kontron’s SMARC-sAMX8X delivers NXP’s mid-range i.MX8X SoC package in an 82 by 50mm SMARC 2.0 form factor. Other i.MX8X modules include a Qseven-based Conga-QMX8X COM announced at the same time as the Conga-SMX8X, plus Phytec’s phyCORE-i.MX 8X, Variscite’s VAR-SOM-MX8X, and the Toradex Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X.

SMARC-sAMX8X and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

NXP’s power-efficient, Cortex-A35 based i.MX8X is clocked to 1.2GHz and includes a Cortex-M4 chip for real-time duties. You can choose between the quad-core i.MX8X QuadXPlus, the dual-core i.MX8 DualXPlus, or the dual-core i.MX8 DualX, all of which are available on the SMARC-sAMX8X module. Like the QuadXPlus, the DualX Plus model has a 4-shader Vivante GT7000Lite GPU while the DualX has a 2-shader GT7000UltraLite.

Like the other i.MX8X modules, the SMARC-sAMX8X ships with a Yocto Project based Linux stack, supports -40 to 85°C temperatures, and offers up to 64GB eMMC, but unlike some it lacks a wireless option. The module ships with up to 3GB LP-DDR4 compared to 2GB or 4GB for its competitors.


Designed for “networked terminal devices in industrial environments,” the SMARC-sAMX8X features 2x GbE controllers and offers dual-channel LVDS, HDMI, DisplayPort, and MIPI-CSI interfaces. Other I/O includes up to 4x serial (2x with RX/TX only), up to 6x USB 2.0, and single USB 3.0, SDIO, and I2S connections.

The SMARC-sAMX8X is further equipped with 4x I2C, 2x SPI, 2x CAN, and 12x GPIO interfaces. A standard PCIe interface is available only on the dual-core options, but any of the configurations can be fit with 3x PCIe lanes on request. The 3-5.25V power supply can run on Lithium Ion batteries. Kontron’s Approtect security solution is optional.

SMARC Evaluation carrier 2.0
(click image to enlarge)

The module is available with Kontron’s SMARC Evaluation carrier 2.0 board, which is also available with its i.MX7 based SMARC-sAMX7 module. The 12V, 210 x 200mm carrier supplies dual GbE ports, an SD slot, and two USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports apiece. Other features include mSATA, 2x mini-PCIe slots, and 2x PCIe slots. HDMI and DP++ ports are available along with LVDS, audio, MIPI-CSI, CAN, and other I/O.

Further information

The SMARC-sAMX8X module is coming soon at an undisclosed price. More information may be found at Kontron’s SMARC-sAMX8X product page.


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