News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Cortex-A8 SODIMM module supports Linux, Android

Sep 3, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Direct Insight announced a SODIMM-sized COM (computer on module) based on TI's Sitara AM3703 or DM3730, with ARM Cortex-A8 cores clocked at up to 1GHz. The SwiftModule-DM offers up to 256MB of RAM and 256MB of flash storage, and a touchscreen interface supporting up to 2048 x 2048 pixels, and is compatible with both Linux and Android.

U.K.-based Direct Insight has an ongoing relationship with Israel's Variscite, reselling a variety of SODIMM-sized modules produced by the latter company. Examples include the Marvell PXA3xx-based SwiftModule-PX from 2008, plus last year's SwiftModule-OM, the latter offered with a variety of TI OMAP35xx processors.

Direct Insight's SwiftModule-DM

The "new" SwiftModule-DM is — as Direct Insight freely acknowledges — also based on a previously released Variscite product, the VAR-SOM-OM37. The module again employs ARM Cortex-A8 processors from TI, but this time turns to OMAP35x descendants that were announced in June: the Sitara AM37xx and DM37xx SoCs.

According to Direct Insight, the SwiftModule-DM is available with TI's Sitara AM3703 (block diagram, here), which may be clocked at either 800MHz or 1GHz. Alternatively, the company adds, it may be equipped with the more powerful DM3730, which was formally announced just last month.

Compared to the AM3703, the DM3730 (block diagram, here) adds a Powervr SG 2D/3D graphics accelerator. The SoC also includes a C64x+ DSP (digital signal processor, enabling 720p video and audio decoding, according to TI.

Direct Insight says the SwiftModule-DM supports resolutions of up to 2048 x 2048 pixels, along with both HDMI and LVDS video outputs. Employing these video outputs requires a separately available baseboard (see below), because the all of the module's signals — including 10/100 Ethernet, three UARTs, audio, USB host/On-The-Go, and two SD/MMC interfaces — are carried to and from the outside world by its 200-pin SODIMM connector.

A block diagram of the Swift Module-DM (a.k.a. Variscite's VAR-SOM-OM37)
(Click to enlarge)

According to Direct Insight, the SwiftModule-DM is offered with 256MB of flash storage and either 64MB, 128MB, or 256MB of RAM. It accepts DC power inputs ranging from 3.3 to 5 Volts, typically uses 1 Watt, and operates in temperatures ranging from -49 to 185 deg. F (45 to 85 deg. C), the company adds.

In addition to supporting Linux and Android 2.1, the SwiftModule-DM supports Windows CE 6.0, and provides a special deep-sleep state for the Microsoft embedded OS. In this mode, it uses just 5mA, and it can return to full operating in about a tenth of a second, claims the company.

Direct Insight SwiftLite-DM baseboard
(Click to enlarge)

The baseboard for the SwiftModule-DM is Variscite's VAR-OM35xCustomBoard, resold by Direct Insight as the SwiftLite-DM baseboard. As well as offering a socket for the SODIMM module itself, the 3.54 x 3.54-inch SwiftLite-DM has a 40-pin connector for an LCD, plus a separate 24-bit LVDS port, the company says.

Also on the SwiftLite-DM are an HDMI port, a 10/100 Ethernet port, USB host and On-The-Go connectors, an SD slot, and four expansion headers. The latter accept a daughterboard (right) featuring an on-board three-port USB hub, two RS232 ports, and a JTAG interface, the company says.

Features and specifications listed by Direct Insight for the SwiftModule-DM and SwiftLite-DM combo include:

  • Processor — TI Sitara AM37xx or DM37xx clocked at 600MHz, 800MHz, or 1GHz
  • Memory — 64MB, 128MB or 256MB of RAM and 256MB of flash storage
  • Display:
    • Module supports touchscreen displays with up to 2048 x 2048 pixel resolution
    • Baseboard accepts 7-inch touchscreen (800 x 480), plus header for separate LVDS display
  • Expansion — 2 x SD/SDIO (1 SD slot on baseboard)
  • Networking:
    • LAN — 10/100 Ethernet; baseboard provides RJ45 connector
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x UARTs (1 RS232 header on baseboard)
    • 1 x USB host, with connector on baseboard
    • 1 x USB On-The-Go, with baseboard connector
    • 2 x I2C
    • 1 x SPI
    • 1 x HDMI, with connector on baseboard
    • 1 x LVDS (connector on baseboard)
    • Headphone out
    • 6×6 keypad interface
  • Dimensions:
    • Module — 2.66 x 1.39 inches (67.6 x 35.5mm)
    • Baseboard — 3.54 x 3.54 inches (90 x 90mm)
  • Operating temperature (module) — -49 to 185 deg. F (45 to 85 deg. C)

Further information

According to Direct Insight, the SwiftModule-DM and SwiftLite-DM are available now, with prices starting at approximately $90 for the former. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

Product pages for the similar VAR-SOM-OM37 and VAR-OM35xCustomBoard may be found on the Variscite website here and here, respectively.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.