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Low-cost XScale PXA255 CPU module runs Linux

Oct 18, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 42 views

CompuLab is shipping embedded Linux with a tiny low-cost processor module based on a 400MHz Intel PXA255. The ARMcore-GX measures 2.6 x 1.7 inches (66 x 44mm) and costs $51 in quantities of 1,000, and is available with a PC/104 carrier board.

Intel's PXA255, the predecessor to the PXA270 (Bulverde), was announced in June of 2003. It has since been used in Linux-based PDAs such as the Sharp Zaurus, Linux-based smartphones such as Samsung's SCH-i519, and even in a Linux-based mobile VoIP phone, the NexGen NexPaq. Processor modules based on the PXA255 have been marketed by Gumstix, Strategic Test, and In-Hand, while Arcom offers a PC/104 board based on the chip.

In addition to the PXA255 processor, CompuLab's ARMcore-GX is available with 16 to 64 MB of SDRAM, and between 1MB and 512MB of Flash. It also includes an LCD controller verified with a number of LCD modules, CompuLab says, including some supporting resolutions up to 800 x 600 (SVGA).

Top and bottom views of ARMcore CPU module
(Click either image to enlarge)

Additional features and peripherals include:

  • Power consumption under 1 watt
  • PCMCIA controller
  • GPIO lines
  • Serial, LPT, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, IrDA
  • Optional Ethernet, sound, touchscreen, hard disk, and USB ports

The module uses “CompuLab's aggregated module interface” (CAMI) to interface with carrier boards such as the PC/104-based ARMbase shown below. Also, it is compatible with older ARMcore modules, CompuLab says.

Top and bottom views of ARMbase PC/104 carrier board
(Click either image to enlarge)

The ARMcore module is available now, with base configurations as cheap as $51 in 1K quantities, CompuLab says. Also available are “ready-to-run” packages for Linux, Windows CE, and VxWorks.

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