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SODIMM-sized module runs Linux

Apr 24, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 22 views

Cogent Computer Systems is now shipping an SO-DIMM-sized computer module targeting “any size-restricted, low-power embedded system.” Based on Atmel's AT91SAM9263 processor, the CSB737 “system-on-module” (SOM) runs Linux, and is available with a development kit and carrier board.

The AT91SAM9263 SoC (system-on-chip) used by the CSB737 is based on an ARM926EJ-S core running at 240MHz, with a 100MHz system bus. With 96Kb of on-chip SRAM, the AT91SAM9263 offers features including 10/100 Ethernet, USB host and device ports, camera interface, LCD controller, and a 2D graphics co-processor. For more details, including a block diagram of the SoC, see our earlier coverage, here.

Cogent's CSB737 SOM, top (left) and bottom (right)
(Click on either to enlarge)

Cogent rates the CSB737's power requirements and consumption at:
  • 6VDC to 35VDC input range, 3.3V regulator
  • 1200mW maximum
  • 750mW typical
  • 50mW during sleep to RAM

Specifications of the CSB737 listed by Cogent include:

  • Processor — Atmel AT91SAM9263, clocked at 240MHz
  • Memory:
    • 64MB SDRAM
    • 64MB NOR flash ROM with secure 256-byte sector and 128-bit unique ID
    • 512MB NAND flash for OS and applications storage

  • Display:

    • On-chip LCD controller
    • 2D graphics acceleration
    • 1024 x 768 video resolution, 8MB frame buffer
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O ports:
    • 2 x USB 2.0 host
    • 1 x USB 1.1 client
    • 8/10-bit video input port supporting YUV4:2:2, CCIR656 and standard CMOS sensors
    • 1 x UART for debug port
    • 3 x UARTS (one 4-wire TTL, two 2-wire TTL)
    • 2 x SPI
    • SSI
    • AC '97
    • 12C
    • CAN interface
    • SD/MMC controller
    • 10 dedicated GPIO lines
    • DS1339 real-time-clock with external battery input
  • Expansion — CompactFlash and SD/MMC interfaces (sockets and buffers are off-board)
  • Dimensions — 2.6 x 2 x 0.3 inches (66.8 x 50.8 x 8 mm)
  • Power — 6VDC to 35VDC

Carrier board

Like other SODIMM modules, the CSB737 passes all its I/O to, and receives power from, a 200-pin socket located on a carrier board. Cogent offers the CSB703 baseboard, a 5 x 4.5 inch device that provides standard PC-style connectors to some of the module's interfaces, plus headers that permit access to the remainder.

Cogent's CSB703 carrier board, top (left) and bottom (right)
(Click on either to enlarge)

For example, the CSB703 (shown above with the SODIMM module in place) has a standard 10/100 Ethernet port, dual USB host ports, SD card slot, and Compact Flash slot. Notably, it also includes a 4.3-inch touchscreen LCD display with 480 x 272 resolution, plus a AC '97 audio codec with mic in, line in, and headphone out.

CSB737 (l) and CDB703 diagrams
(Click either to enlarge)

In addition to Linux, Windows CE is compatible with the CSB737 module. Both the CSB737 and CSB703 carrier board are shipping now, and each costs approximately $300 when purchased singly.

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