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Ultra mini-PC with i.MX8M Plus starts at $99

Feb 10, 2021 — by Eric Brown 2,034 views

SolidRun’s 50 x 50 x 50mm “CuBox-M” mini-PC runs Android 11 or Linux 4.9 on NXP’s NPU-equipped i.MX8M Plus along with up to 8GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMMC, HDMI 2.0, 2x USB, and GbE with optional PoE.

SolidRun has announced the latest in its line of 8-cubic-inch CuBox ultra mini-PCs and the first enclosed computer we have seen based on NXP’s AI-enabled i.MX8M Plus. The CuBox-M Micro Desktop Computer sells for $99 or $120 with a PoE option, both with the quad-core i.MX8M Plus.

The CuBox-M follows the NXP i.MX8M-based CuBox Pulse and earlier, i.MX6-based CuBoxTV and Cubox-i 4X4. Just as the CuBox Pulse is based on a compute module (i.MX8 SOM) that also powers an SBC (HummingBoard Pulse), the CuBox-M taps the i.MX8M Plus based iMX8M Plus CoM, which drives the HummingBoard Mate.

(click images to enlarge)

The CuBox-M is designed for on-the-go demos. product development, camera-based image recognition, AI and machine learning inference at the edge, digital signage management, and home automation, says SolidRun. The product is particularly well suited for software developers for applications such IoT and virtual assistant apps.


iMX8M Plus CoM

“Not everyone working on Arm-based IoT software wants an exposed SBC lying on their desk with wires hanging out of it,” stated SolidRun’s chief systems architect Jon Nettleton. “Sometimes a software developer or machine learning researcher just wants a streamlined system to test their product on, be it an Android application or a new Edge-based AI inference algorithm. CuBox-M offers them exactly that, a small, powerful, and cost-effective machine for testing software that benefits from the incredible capabilities of the new i.MX 8M Plus.”

NXP’s i.MX8M Plus is like a faster version of the i.MX8M Nano, but with a 2.3-TOPs NPU and more coprocessors. The 14nm-fabricated SoC offers up to 4x 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 cores plus Vivante GC7000UL 3D and GC520L 2D GPUs and support for 1920 x 1080 @ 60fps encoding and decoding. There is also an 800MHz Cortex-M7 MCU, an 800MHz HiFi4 DSP, and 2x ISPs for stereo vision or a single 12-megapixel camera.

Although the standard SKUs ship with provides the quad-core i.MX8M Plus, the system is also available with a dual-core configuration. The Cubox-M, which is also referred to in some places as the CuBox M, is supported with Android 11 or Linux Kernel 4.9.

Unlike the HummingBoard Mate, which is aimed more at hardware prototyping, the mini-PC lacks expansion features such as the MikroBus, mini-PCIe, M.2, and SIM card connectors. However, the system appears to offer the same open specifications and community support as the HummingBoards, which like the iMX8M Plus CoM are available with schematics.

The standard SKUs supply 1GB LPDDR4-4000, expandable to 4GB or 8GB. You also get a microSD slot and 8GB eMMC.

The major ports of the CuBox-M are much like those of the HummingBoard Mate, including HDMI 2.0 up to 1080p@60Hz, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port with optional PoE. The $21 PoE option can power the CuBox-M over Ethernet but cannot power external devices such as cameras. The system also has a 12V DC input jack.

There does not appear to be easy access to the iMX8M Plus CoM’s MIPI-CSI interface so any cameras you might connect will need a USB port. You might also be able to drive a self-powered IP camera via GbE. It is unclear if the wireless module with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth is standard or optional.

The CuBox-M is further equipped with an IR receiver, an RTC, and LEDs. The fanless, 50 x 50 x 50mm device supports an operating temperature of 0 to 40°C, with an unpriced option for up to 0 to 70°C. The enclosure is made of ABS plastic.

Further information

The CuBox-M Micro Desktop Computer sells for $99 or $120 with PoE. More information may be found in SolidRun’s product and shopping pages.

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3 responses to “Ultra mini-PC with i.MX8M Plus starts at $99”

  1. Sander says:

    > i.MX8M Plus along with up to 8GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMM

    > The standard SKUs supply 1GB LPDDR4-4000, expandable to 4GB or 8GB

    The [1]product page says 1GB or 4GB. I cannot seem to find notion of a 8GB version. Could that be a mistake?


  2. Jeff Child, Chief Editor- LinuxGizmos says:

    Thanks for your question Sander.
    There are some ambiguities (as yet unresolved) between the pre-announce specs, the product page and the shopping page. We were told by SolidRun that it’s 4GB for standard models, expandable to 8GB. But the standard SKUs appear to start at 1GB.

  3. pepa65 says:

    Too bad, no SATA connectivity…

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