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Freescale i.MX Overview, SDK and Development Boards

Freescale i.MX Processors Overview

Freescale i.MX multimedia applications processors  are based on ARM9, ARM11 and ARM™ Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 core technologies “delivering an optimal balance of performance and long battery life for rich multimedia experiences on the go”.

There are quite a few families within the Freescale i.MX Series namely:

  • i.MXS Processors:ARM9 Core @ 100-200Mhz (i.MX1 (not recommended for new designs), i.MXL and i.MXS).
  • i.MX21 Processors:  ARM9 Core @ 233-266Mhz (i.MX21 and i.MX21S)
  • i.MX23 Processors: ARM9 Core @ 454 Mhz (i.MX233)
  • i.MX25 Processors: ARM9 Core @ 400MHz for industrial and automotive applications  (i.MX251, i.MX253, i.MX255, i.MX257 and i.MX258)
  • i.MX27 Processors: ARM9 Core @ 400Mhz for Video over IP, VoIP, Cordless and Mobile phones… (i.MX27 and i.MX27L)
  • i.MX28 Processors: ARM9 Core @ 454 Mhz  for industrial and consumer applications (i.MX281, i.MX283, i.MX285, i.MX286 and i.MX287)
  • i.MX31 Processors:  ARM11 Core @ 400-532 Mhz for industrial, consumer and automotive applications (i.MX31 and i.MX31L)
  • i.MX35 Processors: ARM11 Core @ 400-532 Mhz  for industrial, consumer and automotive applications (i.MX351, i.MX353, i.MX355, i.MX356 and i.MX357)
  • i.MX37 Processors: ARM11 Core @ 532 Mhz with hardware video decoder (i.MX37)
  • i.MX50 Processors: ARM Cortex A8 Core @ 800 Mhz with E-Ink display controller (i.MX508)
  • i.MX51 Processors: ARM Cortex A8 Core @ 600-800 Mhz (i.MX512, i.MX513, i.MX514, i.MX515 and i.MX516)
  • i.MX53 Processors: ARM Cortex A8 Core @ 1Ghz for automotive (i.MX534 and i.MX536) and consumers ( i.MX535) applications.
  • i.MX6 Processors: ARM Cortex A9 Core up to 1.2 GHZ for smartphones, tablets, eReaders and other consumer electronics equipment. Available Q4 2011.

The chart below summarizes the different cores and performance among the Freescale i.MX series.

Comparison freescale i.MX23, i.MX25. i.MX28, i.MX31, i.MX35, i.MX50 and i.MX51There is also a quick comparison table for i.MX processors that will allow to review in more details the differences between processors.

Freescale will provide reasonably good documentation for its processors. You can go to Freescale i.MX Application Processors for further details about each processors.

Freescale i.MX Processors Software Development Kits

A software development kit is available for the following operating systems:

  • Android – A board support package(BSP) is available for the i.MX51 platforms here.
  • Linux – LEIMX: Embedded Linux for i.MX Applications Processors. The latest  release for i.MX51 is based on Linux 2.6.35 (Free registration required for download). A Linux devkit is available for most i.MX processors.
  • Windows Embedded – WEIMX: Windows® Embedded for i.MX Applications Processors.

Both Android and Linux devkits are available free of charge, for Windows Embedded you can get a 180-day evaluation period after having purchased an evaluation kit on Freescale site.

The table below summarizes the hardware support implemented for Linux, Windows Embedded and Android for several i.MX processor. bear in mind that version supported are constantly changing and supported features (especially for Android) are likely to evolve over time.

i.MX53 i.MX51 i.MX35 i.MX31 i.MX27
Linux * Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (Suspend / Resume / Frequency scaling / PMIC)
* Video acceleration
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* X-Window acceleration
* Audio
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (Suspend / Resume / Frequency scaling / PMIC)
* Video acceleration
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* X-Window acceleration
* Audio
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (Suspend / Resume / Frequency scaling / PMIC)
* Multi channel audio (5.1)
* Audio Sample Rate Converter
* 2D acceleration support
* CAN and MLB bus
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (Suspend / Resume / Frequency scaling / PMIC)
* Video Processing Acceleration
* 3D Acceleration (Open GL)
* X-Window acceleration
* Audio
* MPEG4 Encoder Codec with hardware acceleration
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (Suspend / Resume/ Frequency scaling / PMIC)
* Video Processing Acceleration
* Ethernet
* Audio
* MPEG4 and H.264 Encoder and decoder with hardware acceleration
Windows * Windows Embedded Compact 7
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* XAML run-time (Silverlight) Open GL ES plugin
* WinCE 6.0 R3
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* XAML run-time (Silverlight) Open GL ES plugin
* WinCE 6.0 R3
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Multi channel audio (5.1)
* Audio sample rate converter
* CAN Bus
* 2D acceleration (Open VG)
* WinCE 6.0 R2
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES and Direct 3D)
* MPEG4 encoder with hardware acceleration
* WinCE 6.0 R2
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* Ethernet
* MPEG4 and H.264 encoder and decoder with hardware acceleration
Android * Android 2.1
* Graphics acceleration
* Video Processing Acceleration
* Android 2.1
* Graphics acceleration
* Video Processing Acceleration
N/A N/A N/A

You can also go to Freescale i.MX Software and Development Tools for details about Embedded Software available for a particular processor, OS  and development board.

Freescale i.MX Processors Development Boards

There is a development board available for each i.MX series, I’ll just describe i.MX51 development board here. You can purchase i.MX51 Evaluation Kit for 699 USD and the optional WVGA LCD module for 250 USD.i.MX515 Development Boardi.MX51 evaluation kit specifications:

  • i.MX515 Processor
  • 512 MB DDR2 memory
  • NAND connector
  • Dual USB Ports
  • Ethernet
  • Serial Port
  • JTAG
  • DVI, LCD Module and LVDS connectors
  • SATA Connector
  • MMC/SD Card support
  • Mic and Audio jacks
  • Power management IC (MC13892)
  • External WVGA LCD Module
  • Expansion card: Keypad, TV/Video outputs and CMOS camera sensor

As show above, you’ll be able to run Android, Linux or Windows Embedded on this development boards by downloading the BSP provided by Freescale at http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=MCIMX51EVKJ

i.MX53 i.MX51 i.MX35 i.MX31 i.MX27 i.MX25 i.MX23
Linux * Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Video acceleration
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* X-Window acceleration
* Audio
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Video acceleration
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* X-Window acceleration
* Audio
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Multi channel audio (5.1)
* Audio Sample Rate Converter
* 2D acceleration support
* CAN and MLB bus
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Video Processing Acceleration
* 3D Acceleration (Open GL)
* X-Window acceleration
* Audio
* MPEG4 Encoder Codec with hardware acceleration
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Video Processing Acceleration
* Ethernet
* Audio
* MPEG4 and H.264 Encoder and decoder with hardware acceleration
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Video acceleration
* Multi channel audio (5.1)
* CAN Bus
* Linux 2.6.31
* Power Management (suspend/resume/Frequency scaling/PMIC)
* Ethernet
* On-chip Audio
Windows * Windows Embedded Compact 7
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* XAML run-time (Silverlight) Open GL ES plugin
* WinCE 6.0 R3
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES, Open VG)
* XAML run-time (Silverlight) Open GL ES plugin
* WinCE 6.0 R3
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Multi channel audio (5.1)
* Audio sample rate converter
* CAN Bus
* 2D acceleration (Open VG)
* WinCE 6.0 R2
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* 2D/3D acceleration (Open GL ES and Direct 3D)
* MPEG4 encoder with hardware acceleration
* WinCE 6.0 R2
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Audio (WAVEDEV2)
* Video acceleration with DirectShow support
* Ethernet
* MPEG4 and H.264 encoder and decoder with hardware acceleration
* WinCE 6.0 R3
* Power Management (Suspend / DVFC / PMIC)
* Multi channel audio (5.1)
* CAN Bus
* WinCE 6.0 R3
* On-chip PMU
* On-chip Audio
Android * Android 2.1
* Graphics acceleration
* Video Processing Acceleration
* Android 2.1
* Graphics acceleration
* Video Processing Acceleration
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
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  1. February 28th, 2011 at 21:58 | #1

    If you don’t feel like forking 699 USD, Freescale has just released a low cost i.MX535 development board available for 149 USD – Source: http://media.freescale.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=196520&p=irol-newsArticle_Print&ID=1533244&highlight=

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