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Tiny Cortex-A8 modules get a memory boost

Dec 9, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Gumstix announced a new version of its Linux-compatible Overo computer-on-module (COM) that doubles RAM to 512MB, said to improve performance on designs running Ubuntu or using SIM cards. The Overo Tide is equipped with the 720MHz version of the Texas Instruments OMAP3530 processor used on some other Overo modules, and retains the same 0.7 x 2.3 x 0.2-inch dimensions.

There's not much new about the Overo Tide, but the key stat — a doubling to 512MB RAM — should bring smiles to the faces of those trying to run full-fledged operating systems such as Ubuntu on their Overo-based devices. It will also be useful for those using the COMs for devices that run SIM cards, says Gumstix.

Overo Tide

The new Overo Tide runs on a 720MHz OMAP3530, and therefore offers OpenGL and video acceleration. However, it lacks the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support found on some Overo modules.

As with the other Overo COMs, the Tide measures 0.7 x 2.3 x 0.2 inches, and provides a microSD slot and TPS65950 power management module. It also supplies the standard dual 140-pin expansion connectors on the bottom side of the COM and the 27-pin camera connector located on top, says the company.

The Overo was launched in 2008 as a more powerful follow-on to the Verdex modules. All the Overo modules incorporate either the low-end (OMAP3503) or high-end (OMAP3530) versions of TI's Cortex-A8-based OMAP35x system-on-chips (SoCs), and are supported by Gumstix with a variety of expansion boards and Linux-ready development kits.

The Overo Earth and Overo Air (which adds Wi-Fi) both run on a 600MHz OMAP3503. The Overo Water (which adds OpenGL graphics), and Overo Fire (with OpenGL and Wi-Fi) originally ran on a 600MHz OMAP3530, but now, like the Tide, use the faster 720MHz version of the SoC.

Options available for the Overo series include a touchscreen LCD, HDMI-over-DVI, accelerometer, USB high speed and OTG, and 10/100 Ethernet (including dual Ethernet port support). Wireless options are said to include 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, and global positioning (GPS). Additional options are said to include NiMH battery power, battery backup, stereo audio, cluster computing, and camera functions.


The Overo Tide COM is available for $145 in orders of 1,000 units or more, says Gumstix. More information may be found here.

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