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SODIMM-sized module offers 1GHz SoC, 1080p video playback

Feb 9, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Strategic Test announced a SODIMM-sized computer-on-module (COM) based on Freescale's ARM Cortex A8-based i.MX535 system-on-chip. Clocked at 1GHz, the 2.66 x 1.2-inch TX53 offers extensive I/O, including Ethernet and dual USB 2.0 ports, plus an available “Strategic Development Kit 5” baseboard, and a Linux BSP, says the company.

Like certain other SODIMM-sized modules from Woburn, Mass.-based Strategic test (as well as some from the U.K.'s Direct Insight), the TX53 (below) is actually manufactured by Germany's Ka-Ro Electronics. Previous Freescale-powered Ka-Ro modules have included the TX28, the TX25, the TX37, and the TX27.

The Strategic Test (Ka-Ro) TX53
(Click to enlarge)

The new TX53 device offers the ARM Cortex A8-based i.MX535 that Freescale announced last May. Clocked at up to 1GHz, this SoC (system on chip) runs at 1.GHz, boosting video decoding performance to 1080p and encoding performance to 720p, according to the chipmaker.

Freescale says that, compared to its earlier i.MX515, the i.MX535 also adds support for up to 2GB of DDR2 or DDR3 memory, SATA, and four USB ports instead of three. (For further details about the SoC, see our earlier coverage.)

According to Strategic Test (and Ka-Ro), the TX53 module pairs the i.MX535 with from 512MB to 2GB of soldered-on DDR2 memory and 128MB of flash. Interfaces — all, of course, routed via the 200-pin DIMM connector — are said to include 10/100 Ethernet with IEEE 1588 support, two high-speed USB 2.0 ports, and three serial ports.

The module has dual camera interfaces plus an LCD controller that supports resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 pixels, according to Ka-Ro. Other interfaces include SDIO, SSI, I2S, I2C, and AC '97 audio, the company adds.

Specifications listed by Strategic Test and Ka-Ro for the TX53 include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX535 clocked at 1GHz
  • Memory — from 512MB to 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM
  • Storage — 128MB NAND flash
  • Display:
    • LCD controller supports up to 1600 x 1200 pixels
    • Optional dual LVDS display port
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet with IEEE 1588 support
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x camera interfaces
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • 3 x RS232 UARTs (D-SUB 9 on baseboard)
    • 2 x SD/SDIO
    • 2 x SSI/AC '97/I2S
    • 2 x CAN
    • I2C
    • keypad
    • external memory I/F
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 2.66 x 1.2 inches
  • Operating system — Linux; Windows Embedded Compact 7

The Strategic Development Kit 5 baseboard

For a development baseboard, Strategic Test recommends its Strategic Development Kit-5 (below), which appears to be a rebranded version of a product sold by Ka-Ro as its StarterKit-5. Physical connectors are provided for the module's interfaces, and the board also supplies additional peripherals, including an audio codec, a touchscreen controller, and video DAC, the company says.

The Strategic Development Kit-5 (a.k.a. StarterKit-5) baseboard
(Click to enlarge)

As shown above and below, the Development Kit-5 provides standard connectors for a 10/100 Ethernet connector, VGA, USB 2.0 host and device, an RS232 serial port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The board also has a 10-pin header for a second serial port, plus a 40-pin connector that can be used to connect an optional touchscreen display, Ka-Ro says.

Connectors on the Strategic Development Kit-5
(Click to enlarge)

Features added by the Development Kit-5 are said to include:

  • 2 x SD card slots
  • USB 2.0 host and device connectors
  • VGA port with D-SUB connector
  • 10/100 Ethernet port
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x RS232 ports (one with 9-pin connector, one with 10-pin header)
  • Camera interface
  • JTAG interface
  • Dimensions — 6.3 x 3.9 inches (160 x 100mm)

Further information

According to Strategic Test, the TX53 will become available during the second quarter, priced at $179 before any volume discounts. The Development Kit-5, containing a module, baseboard, a Linux BSP, and Windows Embedded Compact 7 binaries, and will cost $1,490, the company adds.

Strategic Test does not yet appear to have a product page for the TX53, but further details of the hardware may be found on Ka-Ro's TX 53 product page.

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