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Debian COMs connect via MXM

Jul 10, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 25 views

Embedian has announced two computer-on-modules (COMs) and a baseboard that connect via an MXM (Mobile PCI Express Module) connector. The MXM-8310 and MXM-8110 run Debian on a PXA320 (Monahans-P) processor, and offer interfaces for Ethernet, USB, TFT LCD, RS232, CF, and IDE.

(Click for larger view of MXM-8310)

The announcement appears timed in response to an announcement yesterday from Qseven, an industry group pushing a multi-vendor COM spec that also uses an MXM connector. Formed by European COM module vendors Congatec, MSC Vertriebs, and Seco, and with 14 members total, Qseven yesterday launched the first version of its Qseven specification. Boasting four mounting holes instead of Embedian's two, and slightly larger at 70 x 70 mm instead of Embedian's 66 x 50 mm, Qseven bills its format as being mobile-device oriented and “legacy-free,” offering support for new formats like SDIO, while spurning some older I/O technologies.

Embedian's original MXM-7114
(Click for details)

So far, no commercial Qseven products have been announced, however. Embedian, in contrast, is shipping several, it says, having launched its original MXM-7114 COM last November.

Both of Embedian's new MXM-8×10 boards are pin-to-pin compatible with the earlier MXM-7110 and MXM-7114 modules, it says. The higher-end MXM-8310 COM is based on a Marvell PXA320 SoC clocked at 806MHz, with 128MB of RAM, while the MXM-8110 clocks its PXA320 at 624MHz, and comes standard with 64MB of RAM. Additionally, Embedian has launched an EVKM-MXM-8×10 baseboard (pictured below) that works with both COMs, and likely with the earlier modules as well.

MXM-8310 (rear view)
(Click to enlarge)

Specifications for the MXM-8310, with exceptions noted for the MXM-8110, include:

  • Processor — Marvell PXA320 (Monahans-P) 32-bit XScale core (ARM V5TE instruction set); 806Mhz (624MHz for MXM-8110)
  • System bus — 260Mhz
  • Cache — 256KB L2
  • BIOS — BLOB; Ethernet TFTP download; boot from NAND flash
  • Memory — 128MB NAND Flash; 128MB 32-bit Mobile DDR-SDRAM (64MB Mobile on MXM-8110); 768KB SRAM
  • CompactFlash — CPU Card bus; Type I and Type II, 3.3V; “True IDE” mode
  • Storage — IDE interface; CPU Card bus; 40-pin ATA interface (PIO mode only)
  • Display — TFT VGA (1024 x 768); 18-bit; 65k colors
  • Networking — IEEE 802.3u 100Base-TX; 802.3 10Base-T
  • USB — 2 x USB 1.1 host ports (12Mbit/s); 1 x USB 2.0; 1 x USB 2.0 UTMI (Universal Transceiver Macrocell Interface)
  • Serial — 3 x RS232 ports interface (2 x with TX, RX, CTS and RTS; 1 x with full RS232)
  • Audio — CPU IIS or AC97 bus; stereo mic input; headphone output; Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) API support
  • GPIO — 12 general-purpose pins
  • Watchdog timer — 16-bit
  • System bus interface — CPU memory bus; 16- or 8-bit support
  • IIC interface — 1-ch Multi-Master IIC-Bus; Serial, 8-bit oriented; bi-directional transfers at 100Kbps (400Kbps in fast mode)
  • SPI interface — 2-ch Serial Peripheral Interface Protocol 2.11; 2×8 bits shift register for Tx/Rx; DMA- or interrupt-based
  • Pulse Width Modulation — 4-ch 16-bit timer with PWM; 1-ch 16-bit internal timer; DMA- or interrupt-based
  • Interrupt request — 8 x available
  • Touchpanel or ADC interface — 10-bit CMOS 4-pin ADC
  • Power — +5V DC input only; max. 2.0 W consumption; Wireless Intel Speedstep Technology
  • Dimensions — 2.6 x 2.0- inches (66 x 50 mm)
  • Operating temperature — 14 to 167 degrees F (-10 to 75 degrees C)
  • Operating system — Linux 2.6.25 Debian ARM Linux; Windows CE 5.0

EVKM-MXM-8×10 kit

The EVKM-MXM-8×10 evaluation kit includes three MXM-8×10 modules, plus a carrier board, reference schematics, and a TFT LCD panel offered in sizes ranging from 5.6 inches to 15 inches, says Embedian. The kit also includes cables, a power board and adapter, a 1GB CompactFlash memory card, and tech support.

Established in 2004 by nVidia and a number of notebook vendors, MXM was originally intended as an open, graphics interconnect standard for use in laptops. Embedian has leveraged MXM's board edge connector into a CPU module interconnect, just as CPU module vendors have re-purposed the SODIMM interface standard for laptop memory modules. Embedian's 2.6 x 2.0-inch boards are similar in size to SODIMM, but in place of SODIMM's 200 pins, use MXM's 242-pin “golden finger” connector.


The MXM-8310, MXM-8110, and EVKM-MXM-8×10 kit are available now at an undisclosed price, with Linux or Windows CE 5.0 pre-installed, says Embedian. Information on the MXM-8310 may be available here, and information on the EVKM-MXM-8×10 evaluation kit should be here.

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