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Tiny SODIMM-sized CPU module runs Linux on i.MX27

Nov 26, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 23 views

Swedish board vendor Strategic Test is readying a tiny processor module based on Freescale's new i.MX27 SoC (system-on-chip). The TX27 runs Linux, measures 2.6 x 1 x 0.16 inches (67.6 x 26 x 4.2 mm), and is designed to fit into an SODIMM slot (small outline dual in-line memory module slot).

The TX27 is the first of Strategic Test's DIMM and SODIMM-shaped modules to use Freescale's i.MX mobile application processors, but not the last, the company says. It plans to ship other tiny modules based on i.MX family processors in 2008, it said. Previously, the company has shipped a Triton family of DIMM-sized CPU modules based on XScale processors from Intel and Marvell.

Strategic Test's TX27
(Click to enlarge)

The i.MX27 that powers the TX27 is not exclusively targeted at mobile applications. Essentially a 90nm die-shrink of the popular ARM926EJ-S based i.MX21, the i.MX27 adds a hardware H.264 codec, Ethernet 10/100 MAC, a hard drive interface, and security and power management features. Along with mobile devices like hard drive-equipped portable media players, the i.MX27 targets plugged-in low-power devices, including video surveillance equipment, videophones, point-of-sale devices, and industrial and healthcare instrumentation.

i.MX27 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

In addition to an i.MX27 clocked at 400MHz, Strategic Test's TX27 CPU module integrates 64MB or optionally 128MB of “mobile” DDR-SDRAM, and 128MB of NAND Flash. Another interesting feature is an onboard power supply claimed capable of delivering up to 1 amp of 1.8V or 3.3V power to the carrier board — obviating the need for a separate power supply in some cases, Strategic Test claims.

Notable features of the TX27 module include:

  • Processor — 400 MHz Freescale i.MX27
  • Memory — 64MB mobile DDR-SDRAM (expandable to 128MB)
  • Flash Memory — 128MB 16-bit NAND Flash
  • USB 2.0 host and device
  • LCD controller supporting up to 1024 x 1024 resolution
  • Camera interface
  • Keypad 5×5 support
  • 200-pin SODIMM connector
  • Other — Three 4-wire UARTs; I2C; two SSI/AC97/I2S; two 4-wire SDIO; CSPI
  • Power Supply — 1.8V or 3.3V power supply with sources including 1-cell Li-Ion/Polymer battery (3.0V to 4.2V); 5.0V USB supply; AC wall adapter
  • Dimensions — 2.6 x 1 x 0.16 inches (67.6 x 26 x 4.2 mm)
  • Temperature range — -20 degree C to +85 degree C


TX27 shipments are scheduled for Q1 2008, says Strategic Test. Unlike modules based on PXA320 processors, the TX27 will be available for evaluation without the need to sign a Marvell NDA (non-disclosure agreement), Strategic Test promises. Concurrent with TX27 availability, the company plans to deliver a development kit with ports of both Linux 2.6 and Windows CE 6.0. Pricing will be announced in December, it said.

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