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ARM9-based device dev kit runs Linux

Sep 21, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

A small Italian company specializing in gaming hardware is offering a Linux-friendly, SODIMM-sized processor module/baseboard combo. Duolabs's “Eskido” module has a 180MHz ARM9 processor and secure EEPROM, while the baseboard offers PCMCIA and Smartcard I/O, with programmability via a Xilinx… FPGA.

Duolabs spokesperson Dario Tolio said the company developed the Eskido board for a “special application,” adding, “Now, we want to see if someone else needs this device.”

Eskido module, top and bottom

The Eskido processor module is based on an Atmel AT91SAM9261, an ultra-low-powered microcontroller built with an ARM926EJ-S core clocked at 180MHz. In addition to Thumb instructions, the core supports DSP instructions, allowing it to process signals or cryptographic tasks in bursts, and then shut down to conserve power, Atmel says. The core also integrates ARM's Jazelle Java accelerator.

In addition to the Atmel processor, the Eskido module integrates 64MB of 100MHz SDRAM, and 32MB of NAND flash. Also included is Maxim's DS2432 EEPROM with SHA-1 engine, a part that could be useful in devices requiring copyright protection, Duolabs suggests.

Eskido baseboard

The Eskido baseboard integrates a variety of I/O interfaces and connectors, including:

  • 2 x USB host ports
  • RS-232
  • USB device port
  • 2 x smartcard ports
  • SD card slot
  • PCMCIA slot
  • Power supply connector

Additionally, the baseboard has a Xilinx Spartan 3-E (XC3s250) FPGA, available without or without the bitstream developed by Duolabs. The device can be reprogrammed using Xilinx's ISE tools and Duolabs programming examples, and Tolio suggests, “If your application might be useful to many people, ask us to make it for you, it will became one of our examples.”

Eskido case

Also available is a plastic case described by Tolio as “Similar to an Apple MiniMac, but much smaller.”

The Eskido module, base, and case are available now, and are supported under Linux. Pricing was not disclosed. A small website devoted to the board can be found here.

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