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Rhombus Tech EOMA-68 CPU Card Prototype

December 18th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Do you remember Rhombus Tech AllWinner A10 EOMA-PCMCIA CPU card that targets a BOM cost of $15 US, that was announced at the end of last year? Well, after much wait, the first prototype is now available.


This CPU module is based on AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 processor, with 1GB RAM, a NAND Flash, one USB OTG port, microSD slot, HDMI, PMIC, an Ethernet PHY (at the back), an expansion header, and the EOMA-68 connector giving access to peripherals signals (SATA, Ethernet, RGB/TTL, I2C etc…). It can act as a Linux/Android stand-alone computer or be connected to a baseboard. One of the first project will be a laptop for the Chinese market.

AllWinner A10 SoC may be a little underpowered to be used in laptop compared to the latest ARM processors, but since EOMA-PCMCIA is a standard, pin-to-pin compatible modules will eventually be designed and manufactured with different/faster (ARM) processors. New modules are expected to be designed much faster than the first one which took over one year.

PCMCIA only has 68 pins, and as Barry Kauler explains, many signals from the processor won’t go through this connector, which could explain the expansion header at the bottom of the board. Other system-on-modules are usually design with standard connectors with much more pins: SO-DIMM has 200 pins, and EDM & ULP-COM standards provide MXM 3.0 connectors with 314 pins. The lack of signals carried through the 68-pin connector will most probably affect the number of supported features and/or upgradability of those EOMA CPU cards. There are, however, pros and cons for all SoM form factors, you can read more on elinux.org.

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  1. Harley
    December 19th, 2012 at 23:50 | #1

    Maybe they will also release an Allwinner A20 based version?

  2. onebir
    December 20th, 2012 at 01:58 | #2

    Also I think an A20 or A31 cubieboard is likely.

  3. December 20th, 2012 at 08:45 | #3

    @Harley
    Since A20 is pin-to-pin compatible with A10, this should be no problem, at least in theory.

  4. December 20th, 2012 at 08:47 | #4

    @onebir
    I haven’t followed that much, but if they do, it will be an Android board only (no linux), at least at the beginning.

  5. Pieter
    April 15th, 2013 at 19:29 | #5

    That aim for a BOM of $15 is a bit misleading. That is not their aim: http://www.rhombus-tech.net/faq/#index4h2
    I think a BOM of $15 is not even possible without Mass Volume (millions of units?) and even then, a BOM price doesn’t say too much about the actual product price :-)

  6. April 15th, 2013 at 20:05 | #6

    @Pieter
    Actually, it’s not misleading at all. The announced target (at the time) was to get enough orders (100k+) to try to get the BoM cost down to $15, and they did not provide retail target in 2011. They’ve changed the page since then. But since I don’t want to get people into trouble (See arm-netbook mailing list post), I’ve crossed out the $15 target in the post above.

  1. December 19th, 2012 at 01:15 | #1
  2. April 13th, 2013 at 16:45 | #2