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Cortex-A8 module ships with baseboard, Linux BSP

Dec 3, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Direct Insight is readying a SODIMM-sized computer-on-module (COM) based on Freescale's ARM Cortex-A8 i.MX51 system-on-chip. The 800MHz, 2.7 x 1.0-inch Triton-TX51 module offers extensive I/O, including Ethernet and USB 2.0 On-The-Go and host, plus an available “StarterKit-5” baseboard with a Linux BSP, says the company.

Like certain other COMs from U.K.-based Direct Insight (as well as Sweden's Strategic Test), the Triton-TX51 is manufactured by Germany's Ka-Ro Electronics. Other recent Direct Insight modules include the SwiftModule-OM, a Variscite-manufactured product that is based on Texas Instruments' Cortex-A8 OMAP35x system-on-chip (SoC).

Triton-TX51 module

The Triton-TX51 (above) is instead based on the other major, general-purpose Cortex-A8 SoC now shipping in volume: Freescale's i.MX515. The SoC is the first of several i.MX51-family SoCs, including industrial-focused models, and has already featured in other recent modules — Avalue's RSM-MX515 and Digi International's ConnectCore Wi-MX51.

The i.MX515 offers a Cortex-A8 core clocked to 800MHz, and is equipped with a NEON floating point unit, a PowerVR graphics engine supporting OpenGL ES 2.0, and a hardware-implemented video codec. These capabilities are said to provide the Triton-TX51 with D1 encode (at 30fps) and 720p decode for MPEG-4/H264 video. The SoC's image processing unit also includes a CMOS sensor input, 24-bit LCD controller, and TV out, says Direct Insight.

The Triton-TX51's i.MX515 is accompanied by 128MB of mobile DDR400 RAM and 128MB NAND flash, according to the company. The 68 x 26mm, 200-pin SODIMM module offers two high-speed SDIO/SD Card ports, a 1280 x 768 LCD touchscreen controller, plus PAL/NTSC out. Other I/O is said to include a 10/100 Ethernet controller, USB 2.0 OTG and Host, and interfaces including I2C, SPI, I2S, 1-Wire, and PWM.

The Triton-TX51 module uses a single 3.0 to 5.5 V power supply, accompanied with power management capabilities. It provides up to 1A output current 1.8V and 3.3V outputs for use on Direct Insight's StarterKit-5 baseboard development system (below).

StarterKit-5 baseboard
(Click to enlarge)

The StarterKit-5 ships with a "production quality" BSP for either Linux 2.6 or Windows CE 6.0. Physical connectors are provided for all the module interfaces listed below, and the board also supplies additional peripherals, including a UCB1400 audio codec, touchscreen controller, and video DAC, says Direct Insight.

An optional 640 x 480 touchscreen is also available that connects via the 40-pin LCD header. The board can be powered via USB OTG, or with a li-ion/polymer 3.0 – 4.2 V battery, or an external 5 V supply (not provided).

Specifications listed for the Triton-TX51 include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX51 @ 800MHz
  • Memory — 128MB mDDR400 SDRAM
  • Flash — 128MB NAND flash
  • Display:
    • 1280 x 768 LCD controller (24bpp)
    • Optional 640 x 480 VGA display
    • Touchscreen interface
    • 1 x PAL/NTSC out (via headers)
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100 Ethernet PHY
  • Other I/O interfaces:
    • 1 x USB 2.0 Host
    • 1 x USB Client
    • 1 x USB OTG
    • 2 x SSP
    • 3 x RS232 UARTs (D-SUB 9 on baseboard)
    • 1 x 1-Wire
    • 2 x SD card/SDIO (4-bit)
    • 1 x SPI
    • 1 x PWM controller
    • 1 x JTAG
  • Other features — Audio, external RTC (DS1339)
  • Operating temperature — -4 to 185 deg. F (-20 to 85 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 2.7 x 1.0 inches (68 x 26mm); SODIMM200 connectors
  • Operating system — Linux 2.6; Windows CE 6.0


The Triton-TX51 will be available in January, says Direct Insight, with pricing expected to be around 150 Euros (about $227 U.S.).

Direct Insight also offers baseboard design and manufacturing services. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

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