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RISC/DSP SoCs ship with Linux tools

Jul 29, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

[Updated Jul. 31] — Texas Instruments (TI) is now shipping all four of its OMAP35xx system-on-chips (SoCs), along with a Linux-based Digital Video Software Development Kit (DVSDK) to go with them. Meanwhile, Cogent and Gumstix have joined Logic and Digi-Key in announcing OMAX35xx-based development platforms.

(Click for larger view of the OMAP35xx EVM)

TI announced its OMAP35xx line in February. The low-end OMAP3503 model started shipping this Spring, along with an OMAP3503-based Evaluation Module (EVM, pictured above) built by Mistral. Now, all four OMAP35xx parts described in the table below are shipping, TI says.

x Core 2D/3D graphics DSP
OMAP3530 Cortex-A8
OpenGL ES 2.0 C64X+ DSP
and video accelerator
OMAP3525 Cortex-A8
n/a C64X+ DSP
and video accelerator
OMAP3515 Cortex-A8
OpenGL ES 2.0 n/a
OMAP3503 Cortex-A8
n/a n/a

TI's OMAP35xx family

TI's new DVSDK is based on the Mistral EVM mentioned above, and is available immediately to registered EVM customers. Along with a TI-designed Linux BSP (board support package) and development libraries, it includes a U-boot bootloader, 2.6.22 kernel, peripheral drivers, and an RFS (root filesystem) based on busybox. The development libraries comprise codecs and an API said to communicate “directly” with the SoCs' digital signal processor (DSP) and video accelerators. A future version based on “Windows Embedded CE 6.0” is also planned, TI says.

OMAP 3503 block diagram

Cogent CSB740

The embedded industry appears to be taking to the OMAP35xx, with several development platforms announced recently. The newest is from Cogent Computer, which has unveiled a Linux-based CSB740 single-board computer (SBC) in a SODIMM SOM (system-on-module) form-factor based on the OMAP3530.

Cogent CSB740 diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Designed for low-power, embedded control systems, the 2 x 2.6-inch SOM offers 128MB of RAM, and “all GPIO and peripherals available,” says Cogent. The board is similar to the CSB737 SODIMM-based SOM announced in April, which is based on Atmel's AT91SAM9263 processor, and uses the same CSB703 carrier board. Features are said to include an on-chip LCD interface, 2D/3D graphics engine, 480Mbps USB Host/Device interface, 10/100 Ethernet controller, I2S Audio interface, dual 4-Bit SDIO, three UARTS, and Dual SPI.

Gumstix Overo

Also yesterday, Gumstix announced that the OMAP35xx will drive a new “Overo” embedded platform, which it described only as “the next generation of Gumstix products which will be available in Q4 2008.” Gumstix, which is known for its tiny ARM-Linux- and PXA270-based Verdex SBCs, provided no details on Overo, but reported that the OMAP35xx “will give open source innovators a small form factor, state-of-the-art ARM processor platform that can run advanced multi-media application content.” One more clue: the new platform will provide a “Gumstix development environment and volume deployment solution.”

TI's Beagle Board
(Click for details)

Beagle Board

Yesterday, Digi-Key announced that it has started distributing a Linux-based “Beagle Board” evaluation board, which is based on the high-end OMAP3530. Aimed at low-volume embedded developers, hobbyists, and students, the 3-inch square Beagle Board integrates not a single peripheral, instead simply bringing the OMAP35xx's on-chip peripheral interfaces out to a half-dozen real-world connectors. See our earlier coverage for more details.

Logic OMAP35x SOM-LV

Logic's OMAP35x SOM-LV
(Click for details)

Logic's SOM and development baseboard for the OMAP35xx SoCs now appears to be shipping. Announced in June, the OMAP35x SOM-LV baseboard and Zoom OMAP35x dev kit are aimed at medical device developers. Logic offers a choice of all four OMAP35xx models, and like TI with its DVSDK, includes a Linux 2.6.22 BSP (board support package).

Finally, Timesys last week announced the availability of a LinuxLink subscription for the OMAP35xx. The subscription includes the new 2.6.26 Linux kernel, toolchain, and hundreds of prebuilt, ready-to-use RFS (root file system) packages optimized for the processors and the OMAP 35x EVM reference platform, says Timesys.

Stated Dr. W. Gordon Kruberg, president and CEO of Gumstix, “The performance, power efficiency and multimedia capabilities provided by the OMAP35x processors make it a clear choice.”


The OMAP3503, OMAP3515, OMAP3525 and OMAP3530 SoCs are now available in 100 unit quantities, priced at $25.95, $39.23, $43.49 and $48.34 respectively, says TI. The TMDXEVM3503 evaluation kit is available now for $1,500, and the Zoom Medical OMAP35x Development Kit (TMDXMEVM3503-L) is available for $1,000, says TI. The DVSDK is available now for download, by registered users who have purchased the OMAP35x EVM.

TI will be showing off its OMAP 35xx line and related development tools at booth #1232 at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco next week. More information on the OMAP35x platform may be available here.

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