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MXM emerges as new CPU module form factor

Nov 30, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 32 views

Embedian announced two credit-card sized computer modules that use the MXM (Mobile PCI Express Module) format. The company claims that the MXM-7110 and the graphics-enhanced MXM-7114, both of which run Debian Linux, are the first ARM-based industrial computers to use the MXM format.

Established in 2004 by nVidia and a number of notebook vendors, MXM is an open, graphics interconnect standard commonly used in laptops. Nvidia created MXM with the goal of making laptop graphics cards more standardized and user-upgradeable.

However, it now appears that MXM's board edge connector has been pressed into use as a CPU module interconnect, in much the same way that the SODIMM interface standard for laptop memory modules was re-purposed by CPU module vendors like Strategic Test, Toradex, Cogent Computer Systems, Duolabs, Arcom, and others.

Embedian's 2.60 x 1.97-inch MXM-based boards maintain roughly the same dimension as the SODIMM module format, says the company. Instead of SODIMM's 200 pins, however, MXM uses a 242-pin “golden finger” connector. The result, says Embedian, is more design flexibility and expandability.

Embedian MXM-7114

The MXM-7114 and MXM-7110 appear to be identical except for the addition to the MXM-7114 of a Silicon Motion SM502 graphic chip. Like Embedian's recently announced COM-7211, both boards use a Samsung S3C2440A built around an ARM920T core running at 400Mhz, says Embedian. Equipped with 64MB SDRAM and 64MB NAND, the boards are said to include a 24-bit (32-bit) TFT LCD interface, two USB host ports, Ethernet, and extensive I/O (see specs below).

MXM-7114 block diagram

Specifications for the MXM-7114 include:

  • Processor — Samsung S3C2440A, 400 MHz
  • Memory — 64MB SDRAM (expandable to 128MB); 64MB NAND
  • Video — 1280×1024 SM502 graphics; 4-wire analog resistive touchscreen support
  • Audio — AC '97 compatible; line-in/out, mic interfaces
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 5 x standard serial ports (three from CPU and two from SM502)
    • 2 x SSP (synchronous serial protocol) ports (e.g. for SPI support)
    • 12 GPIOs
    • 8 external Interrupts
    • 2 x USB 1.1 host port with 4 x PWM outputs and I2C interface
  • Expansion:
    • 3.3V IDE interface or CompactFlash interface
    • 16-bit system bus
    Power supply — 5 VDC input voltage only, maximum 1.6 W power consumption
  • Dimensions — 2.60 x 1.97 inches (66mm x 50mm)
  • Operating temperature — -5 to +75 degrees C

The MXM-7114 module being inserted into the APC-7116 development board by the world's smallest hand

Embedian also offers an APC-7116 development board for the new modules (see photo). Alternatively, customers can “re-spin” the carrier board, designing custom boards to meet their specific I/O needs.


MXM-7110 and MXM-7114 are available now with Debian Linux or Windows CE 5.0 pre-installed, says Embedian. An evaluation kit is also available for customers. Pricing was not disclosed.

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