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ARM11 CPU module gains Linux tools

Sep 23, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 37 views

Microcross Inc. has released an embedded Linux development kit aimed at easing the design of portable, multimedia-enabled devices. The new version of Microcross's GX-Linux Enterprise Platform targets Cogent Computer Systems's CSB733, an SO-DIMM-sized computer module based on Freescale's i.MX31 SoC… (system-on-chip).

Microcross, an established distributor of open-source embedded development tools, has been partnering with board-maker Cogent for several years on development kits for Linux-based device designs. Last year, it released a similar GX-Linux Enterprise Platform for Cogent's CSB735, based on Freescale's i.MX21 SoC. It says its latest GX-Linux tools release, for the CSB733, can be used to build cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, medical devices, industrial controls, and kiosks.

CSB733 Module

Cogent's new CSB733 module is based on Freescale's i.MX31 SoC, a high-integration, high-performance SoC that weds an ARM1136 processor core with a 2D/3D MBX graphics engine, Java accelerator, a vector floating point math coprocessor, a video processing engine said to support full-motion (30 frames/sec) 720 x 480 video encoding with MPEG-4 or H.264 formats, and numerous other functions and interfaces (see block diagram).

Cogent CSB733 module, top and bottom
(Click either view to enlarge)

The CSB733 clocks the i.MX31 processor at 532Mhz, and joins it to 128MB of SDRAM and 16MB of SRAM via a 132MHz bus. On-board storage includes 64MB of NOR flash, along with 512MB of NAND. Storage can be expanded via an SD/MMC interface.

The CSB733's I/O includes:

  • 1 x USB 2.0 “full-speed” (12Mbps) host port
  • 1 x USB 2.0 “high-speed” (480Mbps) host port
  • 1 x USB 2.0 “high-speed” (480Mbps) client port
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • RS232 Debug UART at 230Kbps
  • 3 x TTL UARTS at 1.875Mbps
  • SIR and FIR IrDA (via UARTs)
  • SPI
  • I2C
  • PWM timer output
  • Audio I/O via I2S, SSI5
  • 8/10-bit YUV/RGB video camera input
  • 10+ GPIO lines
  • Hardware RNG (random number generator)

The CSB733 is built in a 200-pin SODIMM-sized format measuring 2.6 x 2 x 0.3 inches (66.8 x 50.8 x 8mm). The module ships standard from Cogent with the Micromonitor bootloader, and either Linux or Windows CE pre-installed on flash.

CSB703 dev board

Like other Cogent CSB7xx series modules, the CSB733 module is supported by Cogent's CSB703 development board.

CSB703 baseboard, top and bottom
(Click either view to enlarge)

As shown above, the CSB7xx board integrates a 4.3-inch 480 x 272 LCD display. For applications requiring larger displays — up to SVGA (800 x 600) is supported by the CSB733 — the baseboard also offers a 41-pin interface to Cogent's CSB909xx display boards, available with 6.5-inch or 7-inch LCDs, as well as LVDS inverters and DVI-D interfaces. Various expansion boards are also available for the baseboard.

CSB733(left) and CDB703 (right) block diagrams
(Click either to enlarge)

Microcross GX-Linux tools

The kit includes the company's Visual X-Tools IDE (integrated development environment), based on the SlickEdit IDE. Supporting Linux (or Windows, via Cygwin) development hosts, the software can be used to edit, build, run, and debug applications, libraries, open source kernels, RTOSes, drivers, and third party software modules, to remote target JTAG/BDM environments via serial, Ethernet or USB connection, Microcross says.

Microcross Visual X-tools screenshot
(Click to enlarge)

Other components of the GX-Linux Enterprise package are said to include:

  • GNU X-Tools ARM Linux/ELF toolsuites with Visual GDB and GDB server
  • Linux v2.6.24 (stable) kernel and BSP with MMU support
  • Shared glibc and stdc++ libraries for embedded development
  • ROM, USB (pendrive), SD/MMC, or remote NFS Filesystem mounts
  • BusyBox v1.7.2 (stable) utilities
  • Linux Drivers
    • Serial I/O
    • SD / MMC
    • TCP/Ethernet
    • Audio
    • USB host
    • Framebuffer
    • SDIO and SPI available with customization


GX-Linux and Cogent CSB733 DevKits are available now from stock, through Microcross, the tools vendor says. The Enterprise GX-Linux BSP and Visual X-Tools IDE are priced at $5,000, and include a year of support. More product details may be found here.

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