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Variscite unveils its first i.MX8X module

Nov 14, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,105 views

Variscite’s “VAR-SOM-MX8X” COM runs Linux or Android on NXP’s up to quad -A35 core i.MX8X SoC with up to 4GB LPDDR4 and 64GB eMMC, plus WiFi/BT, dual GbE controllers, and -40 to 85°C support.

Variscite has launched its first i.MX8X-based computer-on-module. The 67.6 x 51.6mm VAR-SOM-MX8X runs Yocto Project based Linux or Android on NXP’s dual- or quad-core Cortex-A35 based, 1.2GHz i.MX8X. The up to -40 to 85°C tolerant module is aimed at industrial automation and control, defense, medical, telematics, building control, failover displays/HMI, and robotics applications. The only other i.MX8X module we’ve seen is Phytec’s Linux-compatible, 55 x 40mm phyCORE-i.MX 8X module.

VAR-SOM-MX8X (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The VAR-SOM-MX8X is pin-compatible with three of Variscite’s i.MX6 based modules: the similarly sized, quad-core VAR-SOM-MX6, as well as the smaller, single-core VAR-SOM-SOLO and dual-core VAR-SOM-DUAL. It also offers pin compatibility with an upcoming VAR-SOM-MX8 module. “Customers can develop a single custom carrier board to support different pin-compatible SoM solutions from Variscite, thus reducing development time, cost and risk,” says the company.

i.MX8X in brief


The industrial IoT focused i.MX8X is the only Cortex-A35 member of the i.MX8 family, and one of only a handful of -A35 SoCs. Others include MediaTek’s embedded oriented MediaTek MT8516 and the high-end, deca-core Helio X30, which also includes Cortex-A73 and -A53 cores. Cortex-A35 is claimed to draw about 33 percent less power per core and occupy 25 percent less silicon area than Cortex-A53.

i.MX8X block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The i.MX8X SoC is equipped with a 264MHz Cortex-M4 MCU, a Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP, and a multi-format VPU. It has and the same Vivante GC7000Lite GPU found on NXP’s Cortex-A53 based i.MX8M, a higher-end SoC that Variscite tapped for its DART-MX8M module. The i.MX8X features ECC memory support, reduced soft-error-rate (SER) technology, hardware virtualization, cryptography functions, and other industrial and automotive safety related features.

Inside the VAR-SOM-MX8X

The VAR-SOM-MX8X is available with the quad-core i.MX8X QuadXPlus, as well as the dual-core i.MX8 DualXPlus and i.MX8 DualX. The DualX Plus model has a 4-shader Vivante GPU compared to the 2-shader version on the DualX. All three models run at 1.2GHz and support 4K H.265 video decode and 1080p H.264 encode/decode.

The module ships with 1GB to 4GB LPDDR4, as well as 4GB to 64GB eMMC. You get onboard, pre-certified 802.11ac/a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2/BLE, as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers.

Pin compatible models in Variscite’s VAR-SOM and DART module families
(click image to enlarge)

Media I/O includes three 24-bit video interfaces with resistive and capacitive touch support: MIPI-DSI and dual LVDS, both at 1920 x 1080, and parallel LCD at 720p. Camera support includes MIPI-CSI2 and parallel CSI 8/10-bit.

The VAR-SOM-MX8X leverages the i.MX8 family’s extensive audio support. You get standard line in/out support, along with digital and analog stereo mics, a headphone driver, and digital audio serial interfaces including 4x I2S (SAI), ESAI, and S/PDIF.

Other features include PCIe Gen 3, 6x UARTs, and either dual USB 3.0 or single USB 3.0 OTG and USB 2.0 host/device connections, depending on the reference. You also get 5x I2C, 4x SPI, 3x CAN/CAN-FD, and 6x 12-bit ADC interfaces, as well as single SD/MMC, QSPI, keypad, optional JTAG, and support for a real-time clock (RTC).

The VAR-SOM-MX8X runs on 3.3V power and offers commercial, extended, and industrial temperature ranges. Support is available through 2033.

An evaluation kit is said to be available, but no details were provided. Considering the i.MX8X’s new features, there will likely be an upgrade to the VAR-SOM-MX6 baseboard available with the pin-compatible VAR-SOM-MX6 modules.

Further information

VAR-SOM-MX8X Evaluation Kits are now available for early access orders. More information may be found at Variscite’s VAR-SOM-MX8X announcement and product page.

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One response to “Variscite unveils its first i.MX8X module”

  1. Mark says:

    FYI, Digi also recently announced the ConnectCore 8X family of SOMs and SBCs based on i.MX8X SoCs. Limited kits are available today for early access customers. You can learn more here:

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