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Cortex-A8 dev system supports Linux

Sep 9, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Direct Insight announced a SODIMM-sized CPU module that runs Linux on an ARM Cortex-A8 processor. Available with a separate 90 x 90mm breakout board, the SwiftModule-OM includes up to 256MB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, Ethernet, and optional WiFi, the company says.

Last year, Direct Insight released the Windows CE-based SwiftModule, a 2.4 x 1.6-inch module based on the VAR-320SBC produced by the Israeli company Variscite. Connecting to a separately available baseboard via two 140-pin connectors, the SwiftModule — still offered, and now dubbed the SwiftModule-PX — comes with Marvell's PXA300 or PXA320 processor, with clock speeds of 208MHz, 624MHz, or 806MHz.

Direct Insight's SwiftModule-OM

Now, Direct Insight offers the SwiftModule-OM, yet again based on Variscite hardware (specifically, the VAR-OM35xxSBC). This time around, the module measures 2.67 x 1.37 inches, and employs a 200-pin SODIMM connector as its interface to the outside world.

The SwiftModule-OM gains increased processing power from an ARM Cortex-A8-based CPU, clocked at 600MHz. According to Direct Insight, the module is offered with any of TI's OMAP35xx processors, including the low-end OMAP3503, the mid-range OMAP3515 or OMAP3525, and the high-end OMAP3530. Also included are 128MB or 256MB of soldered-on RAM and 256MB of flash storage, the company says.

As shown in the Variscite-supplied block diagram below, the SwiftModule-OM includes the OMAP35xx CPU, TI's TPS65930 power-management IC, and an SMSC LAN9220 10/100 Ethernet controller. The module also is said to provide a touchscreen interface, three UARTs, up to four high-speed USB 2.0 host ports, S-Video output, and optional WiFi, among other interfaces.

A block diagram of the SwiftModule-OM
Source: Variscite
(Click to enlarge)

A key rival for the SwiftModule-OM is DigiKey's similarly endowed BeagleBoard. DirectInsight asserts, however, that the SwiftModule-OM is more likely to let customers take their designs to production without a complete redesign. Because of the module's extensive functionality, most baseboards need do little more than supply "real world" connectors, the company adds.

The SwiftLite-OM baseboard
(Click to enlarge)

DirectInsight's own, separately available SwiftLite-OM baseboard (above) measures 90mm x 90mm and comes with a seven-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen. As well as accepting the SwiftModule-OM, the SwiftLite-OM provides connectors for HDMI output, USB host and On-The-Go ports, and 10/100 Ethernet. Also included are headers for a second, LVDS-interfaced display and an RS232 port, plus a SD slot, says Direct Insight.

According to Direct Insight, an optional extension board adds two more RS232 ports, a three-port USB hub, JTAG, and access to the on-module analog-to-digital converter. The extension board also includes an interface for GPS and GSM/GPRS modules, the company adds.

Features and specifications listed by Direct Insight for the SwiftModule-OM module and SwiftLite-OM baseboard include:

  • Processor — TI OMAP3530, OMAP3503, OMAP3515, or OMAP3525 clocked at 600MHz
  • Memory — 128MB or 256MB of RAM and 256MB of flash storage
  • Display:
    • Module supports touchscreen displays with up to 2048 x 2048 pixel resolution
    • Baseboard comes with 7-inch touchscreen (800 x 480), plus header for separate LVDS display
  • Networking:
    • LAN — 10/100 Ethernet; baseboard provides RJ45 connector
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g (on-module option)
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x UARTs (1 RS232 header on baseboard)
    • 1 x USB host (or, optionally, 4 x USB host), with connector on baseboard
    • 1 x USB On-The-Go, with baseboard connector
    • 2 x I2C
    • 1 x SSP
    • 1 x HDMI, with connector on baseboard
    • 1 x LVDS (connector on baseboard)
    • S-Video out
    • 1 x IrDA
    • JTAG
    • Headphone out
    • 6×6 keypad interface
    • CAN (via baseboard)
  • Expansion — 2 x SD/SDIO (1 SD slot on SwiftLite-OM baseboard)
  • Dimensions:
    • Module — 2.67 x 1.37 inches (68 x 35mm)
    • SwiftLite-OM baseboard — 3.54 x 3.54 inches (90 x 90mm)
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C)

Direct Insight is a product development company that typically collaborates with single-board computer vendors, sometimes helping with hardware, as well as with Windows Embedded OS ports. Previous collaborators have included Germany's Ka-Ro Electronics, India's E-Con Systems, and Japan's Sophia Systems.


According to Direct Insight, the SwiftModule-OM is supplied with "comprehensive, production-quality" board support packages (BSPs) for either Linux 2.6 or Windows CE 6.0. Available now, the module costs 995 U.K. Pounds (approximately $1,642) with the SwiftLite-OM baseboard and an 800 x 480 display, the company says.

More information on the SwiftModule-OM and SwiftLite-OM may be found on the Direct Insight website, here.

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