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Low-power ARM9 SBC supports Linux

Jun 18, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Glomation announced an ARM9-based single-board computer (SBC) that consumes only 0.25 Amps. The 3.75 x 3.5-inch GESBC-9G20 is equipped with an Atmel AT91SAM9G20 system-on-chip clocked to 400MHz, and offers Ethernet, USB, and serial connections, among other I/O, says the company.

Glomation GESBC-9260
(Click image for further information)

The GESBC-9G20 (above and farther below) appears to be a follow-on to Glomation's GESBC-9260 SBC (pictured at right), which shipped last August equipped with Atmel's earlier, 200MHz AT91SAM9260 processor. Atmel's newer AT91SAM9G20, announced in May 2008, is clocked to 400MHz and offers 32KB each of data and instruction cache, or twice the clock speed and four times the cache of its predecessor. It also doubles internal ROM to 64KB, doubles internal SRAM to 16KB, and consumes half the power of the earlier SoC, for a maximum of 80mW.

The GESBC-9G20 backs up the AT91SAM9G20 with a choice of 64MB or 128MB of 100MHz SDRAM, as well as flash storage ranging from 256MB to 1GB, all soldered on, says Glomation. Other real-world connectors include dual USB host ports and a USB device port, plus a nine-pin connector for one of the board's three RS-232 ports.

Glomation GESBC-9G20
(Click to enlarge)

Additional I/O is available via pin headers, including two RS-232 ports, one RS-485 port, 10/100 Ethernet, SD/MMC, I2C, and SPI. The SBC also supplies up to 40 individually configurable digital I/O connections, as well as a four-channel, 10-bit A/D converter.

The GESBC-9G20 is equipped with an on-chip real time clock with battery backup and watchdog timer, says the company. The SBC is also touted for a low power consumption of 0.25 Amps, using a 5V DC supply.

The Linux distribution offered with the SBC includes a Debian ARM Linux 2.6.27 kernel, U-boot 1.3.4, GCC 4.2, Perl, and MySQL. The package is said to include a Linux cross development tool-chain, as well as other utilities “for rapid native application development.”

Specifications listed for the GESBC-9G20 include:

  • Processor — Atmel AT91SAM9G20 @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 64MB or 128MB SDRAM (100MHz)
  • Flash — 256MB to 1GB
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB — 2 x USB host; 1 x USB device port
  • Serial — 3 x RS-232; 1 x RS-485
  • GPIO — Up to 40 individually configurable digital I/Os
  • ADC — Four-channel, 10-bit A/D converter
  • SPI — 1 x SPI expansion bus
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C); fanless, optional extended temperature version -22 to 185 deg. F (-30 to 85 deg. C)
  • Power requirements — 5V; consumes 0.25 Amps
  • Dimensions — 3.75 x 3.5 inches
  • Operating system — Linux, Windows CE


The GESBC-9G20 appears to be available now at an unnamed “low price.” The previous GESBC-9260 board sold at about $70 apiece in quantity. More information may be found here.

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