Here are Compute Module 3 specifications as a reminder:
SoC – Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Videocore IV GPU
System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2
CM3L – SD card signals through SO-DIMM connector
CM3 – 4GB eMMC flash
200-pin edge connector with:
2x I2C, 2x SPI, 2x UART
2x SD/SDIO, 1x NAND interface (SMI)
1x HDMI 1.3a
1x USB 2.0 HOST/OTG
1x DPI (Parallel RGB Display)
1x 4-lane CSI Camera Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane), 1x 2-lane CSI Camera Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane)
1x 4-lane DSI Display Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane), 1x 2-lane DSI Display Interface (up to 1Gbps per lane)
Power Supply – VBAT (2.5V to 5.0V) for BCM2837 processor core, 3.3V for PHYs, UI and eMMC flash, 1.8V for PHYs, IO, and SDRAM, VDAC (2.8V typ.) for video composite DAC, GPIO0-27_VREF & GPIO28-45_VREF (1.8 to 3.3V) for the two GPIO banks.
Dimensions – 67.6 x 31 mm; compliant with JEDEC MO-224 mechanical specification used in DDR2 SO-DIMM memory module
Temperature Range – -25 to +80 degrees Celsius
The module is mostly electrically & mechanically backward compatible with the original Compute Module, and benefits from the software running on Raspberry Pi 3 board. You’ll find specific documentation here.
In order to get started quickly, a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 devkit is also offered with a CM3 module and a “Compute Module IO V3” baseboard exposing GPIO headers, an HDMI port, a USB port, a micro SD slot, and more.
Raspberry Pi Compute Modules CM3 and CM3L, as well as the development kit (~$150), can be purchased on RS Components and element14.
[Update: The board featured below was initially announced as Orange Pi Zero Plus, but considering it may have confused people as it is not at all compatible with Orange Pi Zero, it has been renamed to Orange Pi 2G-IoT]
Linaro mentioned Orange Pi i96 board last fall at Linaro Connect US. It was supposed to be a $9.99 board powered by an RDA Micro Cortex A5 processor with 2Gbit RAM and 4Gbit NAND flash on-chip. There has not been any news since then, but Shenzhen Xunlong has apparently gone ahead with an RDA Micro Cortex A5 board since they’ve posted some pictures of Orange Pi Zero Plus (Note: very slow server) with an RDA Micro ARM Cortex A5 processor.
Orange Pi 2G-IoT preliminary specifications:
SoC – RDA Micro 8810PL ARM Cortex A5 processor @ up to 1.0 GHz with 2Gbit (256 MB) on-chip LPDDR2 RAM, 4Gbit (512 MB) on-chip SLC NAND flash , 256KB L2 cache, Vivante GC860 3D GPU, and GSM/GPRS/EDGE Modem (Download datasheet)
External Storage – micro SD slot
Display I/F – LCD connector up to qHD resolution
Video – Decoding up to 1080p30, encoding up to 1080p30 H.264
Audio I/F – 3.5mm audio jack, one built-in micorphone?
Connectivity – Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS/EDGE with SIM card slot
Camera – MIPI CSI-2 connector for camera sensor up to 2MP
USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB port (for power?)
Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; maybe one pin on header
Dimensions – ~70 x 44 mm(estimated)
Certifications – CE and FCC based on PCB silkscreen
We don’t have much more info about the board, but since the processor is used in a few Android phones such as Aqua G2 or Challenger V40LD, so Android 4.4 Kitkat should be available for the board. Linaro, although they might not be involved, also mentioned an Ubuntu Linux for Orange Pi i96 board, so an Ubuntu Linux image is very likely to be provided. If Linaro has been involved in the kernel/software development, then you should expect somewhat OK support, but if they haven’t, I’m expecting a world of pain at the beginning, at least compared to the relatively well community supported Allwinner H3 based Orange Pi boards. If you intend to use the SIM card, you may want to check if your country has any plans to phase out of 2G, as several have already done so, and many others will shutdown 2G networks in the next few years.
The board is scheduled to be launched right after Chinese New Year in the first half of February. We don’t have pricing info, but I’d expect it to costs less than $10 + shipping as it was the price announced for Orange Pi i96 board, and you can get a complete Android RDA8810PL phone for around $25.
One surprise at CES was QNAP’s entry into the developer board market with the introduction of the QBoat Sunny developer board. It’s a rather odd beast to say the least and Qnap is even offering a cut-down version of its QTS OS for, simply named QTS Lite. The only thing we know about QTS Lite at this time is that it’ll support “basic server functions” as well as apps from the QNAP app center, such as the Container Station which will allow you to run the QIoT Suite which will apparently help you to build IoT solutions quicker.
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But let’s go back to the board itself. The specs are as follows.
Storage – 4GB eMMC, two M.2 2260/2280 SATA only slots for SSDs (RAID-1 support)
Network connectivity – 3x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x WAN 2x LAN
USB – 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 OTG (micro USB 3.0 port), USB 2.0 DOM header
PCIe – 1x M.2 2230 for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
Others – Audio out, mic via 3.5mm jacks, I2C, UART, SPI, SDIO, GPIO via 40-pin connector, debug console via 3.5mm jack, RTC battery, indicator LED’s.
Power – 12V/3A
Size – 120x120mm
Besides the port listed on top, the board on display also had what looks like a USB-C port, but it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the specs.
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The processor choice is a very unusual one to say the least. Apparently this family of processors from Intel is normally used in things like service provider gateways, although QNAP’s new TGX-150 NAS/Router combo device is based on the same processor. More details about the Intel AnyWAN GRX705 processor family can be found here.
The board seems to be targeting the DIY community rather than being offered as a platform to build commercial solutions on, which sort of makes sense, as it’s unlikely that QNAP is going to want to license it’s full OS to third parties.
The heatsink you see in the top picture is apparently part of the board and it covers the entire back of the board. This is also where the processor, memory and eMMC is located.
We’re not sure that this will be a winner though, as it’s an odd combination of hardware to say the least, and pricing will be $100 to $120 according to a QNAP’s project manager.
Regular readers may remember MQMaker MiQi board, a $35 (and up) development board powered by Rockchip RK3388 quad core ARM Cortex A17 processor, based on Raspberry Pi 3 form factor, but much faster according to benchmarks. Sadly, the board’s crowdfunding campaign was not that successful, possibly because of the “its’ a 2-year old processor” syndrome. But now, Minimachines has found that ASUS has designed a very similar board, dubbed Tinker Board, with an extra WiFi and Bluetooth LE module, audio jack, MIPI DSI connector, and a few other modifications.
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Asus Tinker Board specifications (bold highlights and strike-through show differences with MiQi board):
SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port (for power)
40-pin “somewhat Raspberry Pi compatible” header with up to 28x GPIOs, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 4x UART, 2x PWM, 1x PCM/I2S, 5V, 3.3V, and GND
2-pin contact point with 1x PWM signal, 1x S/PDIF signal
Misc – Button, unpopulated fan header
Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port
Dimensions – 85.6 x 54 cm
The company targets education, maker, and IoT markets for the board, with applications ranging from mini PC to portable game console and RC products like drones. The board supports Debian with Kodi.
ASUS also provided a quick comparison table with Raspberry Pi 3 model B, that mostly shows the advantages over the Tinker board. The table is mostly fine, and I got some Phoronix benchmarks showing RK3288 can be about three times as fast as BCM2837 processor for FLAC audio encoding. The last row with officially supported OS appears to show both boards on the same footings, but Raspberry Pi 3 model B will have a clear advantage here, although I’m not sure why Asus did not list Android OS support for their board. The table does not include any price information either.
The only information I could find was from the Slideshare presentation above, and there does not appear to be any official website or page on Asus website.
WiSoC – Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex-M3 micro-controller @ 83 MHz
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
USB – 1x micro USB port for programming and power
Expansion – 2x 16-pin breadboard friendly headers with GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, I2S, power signals….
Misc – Reset and test button, RGB LED
Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or Vin pin
Dimensions – 49 x 24.5 mm (same as NodeMCU)
As you can see from the picture above,the board is actually based on the B&T RTL-00 module I previously tested. This is obviously quite easier to use since you don’t need to solder any cables to connect a USB to TTL board since RTLduino is equipped with CH340g and a micro USB port.
The Aliexpress page has some claims about 5 function that accordingly to kissste are not quite all correct:
Function 1 – “Mbed debugging mode” over micro USB cable -> you won’t get – this is a different board (at least for now)
Function 2 – “JTAG debugging mode” over micro USB cable -> you won’t get – this is a different board
Function 3 – “Simple & fast by OTA to upgrade debugging” -> you will get partially – no debugging, but you can OTA upload new sketch
Function 4 – “Serial data directly to the network transceiver function” (serial console via UART) -> OK
Function 5 – “Smartconfig mode” -> yes, will work – OTA upload new sketch
If you want to do debugging, I understand you’ll still need a JTAG or SWD programmer. If you want to get started with Arduino on the board:
Banana Pi BPI-R1 board was launched in 2014 with 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, SATA interfaces, and powered by Allwinner A20 board. SinoVoip his now about to launch an updated version – Banana Pi BPI-R2 – powered by Mediatek MT7623A quad core Cortex A7 processor with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 2 SATA connectors, mPCIe, USB 3.0, and more.
BPI-R2 board specifications:
SoC – MediaTek MT7623A quad-code ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ up to 1.3 GHz with Mali 450 MP4 GPU
System Memory – 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (option 16/32/64GB), up to 2x SATA interfaces, micro SD slot up to 256GB expansion
Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI 1.4 up to 1920×1200, MIPI DSI connector
Connectivity – 5x 10/100/1000 Mb Ethernet port (via MT7530), Bluetooth 4.1 & dual band 802.11b/g/n WiFi (MT6625L module)
USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
Expansion – Mini PCIE interface, 40-pin “somewhat Raspberry Pi 3 compatible” GPIO header with UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, I2S…
Misc – Power, reset, uboot, and 2x user buttons; LEDs; IR receiver; 5V fan header; debug UART pins
Power Supply – 12/2A via power barrel; 6-pin miniJST header for battery + built-in 3.7V Lithium battery charging circuit
Dimensions – 148 x 100.5 mm
The company claims the board can run Android 5.1, OpenWrt, Debian, Ubuntu Linux, Raspbian and others operating systems. Some (limited) hardware information is available on the Wiki, but there’s nothing about software right now, apart from a few placeholder links.
There’s no info about availability nor pricing, except the hardware is ready, but the company has been working for the last month or so on operating systems and drivers. It’s not the first board to feature a Mediatek MT762x processor, but previous attempts like FireWrt, MQmaker WiTi board, and Geek Force did not end up being a commercial success. One of the reasons, at least for FireWrt, was the high cost of Mediatek processors in low quantities, but since SinoVoip has a close relationship with Foxconn, they may be able to leverage their purchasing power as the chip should be used in other hardware platforms manufactured by Foxconn.
Intrinsyc has unveiled a new smaller version of their Snapdragon 820 based Open-Q 820 system-on-module, simply called Open-Q 820 µSOM bringing the module size from 82 x 42mm to 50 x 25mm, while keeping many of the features of the large SoM with 3GB LPDDR4, 32GB UFS 2.0 flash, 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.1. It competes with other small Snapdragon 820 modules such as Inforce 6601 micro SoM.
Open-Q 820 µSOM specifications:
SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core Kryo cores with 2x cores @ up to 2.2GHz, and 2x cores @ up to 1.6GHz, Adreno 530 GPU, Hexagon 680 DSP
System Memory – 3 GB LPDDR4 @ 1866 MHz
Storage – 32 GB UFS 2.0 1-lane gear3 flash
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2×2 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1, Qualcomm IZat Gen 8C GPS
3x board-to-board connectors with the following interfaces:
2x MIPI-DSI 4-lane, 60fps, up to 2560×1600 (single port), 4096×2160 (dual port)
1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4096×2160, 60fps
Audio – 3x I2S, 1x PCM, 6x Analog in, 6x Analog out, 3x Digital mic
Camera – 3x MIPI-CSI 4-lane, dual ISP, up to 28MP
USB – USB 3.0 client or host, 1x USB 2.0 host
2x PCIe v2.1
8x BLSP 4-pin port configurable as I2C, SPI, UART or GPIO
Power Supply – 3.6V to 4.2V
Dimension – 50 x 25mm
Temperature Range – -10°C to +70°C
The company provide Android 7.x Nougat support for the module, as well as Open-Q µ820 Development Kit with the module and a baseboard to get started.
The baseboard exposes two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, a display connector, a mini PCIe slot+ SIM card slot, a PCIe 1x slot, three camera connectors, audio in and out headers, digital I/O expansion headers, a micro SD card and more.
I wrote about Jevois-A33 computer vision camera based on Allwinner A33 quad core Cortex A7 processor last week, and today, I’ve come across OpenMV Cam M7 open source computer vision board based on a much less powerful STMicro STM32F7 ARM Cortex M7 micro-controller, but with the advantage of consuming less power, and exposing some extra I/Os.
OpenMV Cam M7 board specifications & features:
MCU – STMicro STM32F765VI ARM Cortex M7 @ up to 216 MHz with 512KB RAM, 2 MB flash.
External Storage – micro SD slot
Omnivision OV7725 image sensor supporting 640×480 8-bit grayscale images or 320×240 16-bit RGB565 images at 30 FPS
2.8mm lens on a standard M12 lens mount
USB – 1x micro USB port (Virtual COM Port and a USB Flash Drive)
Expansion – 2x 8-pin headers with SPI, I2C CAN bus, asynchronous serial bus (Tx/Rx), 12-bit ADC, 12-bit DAC, 3x I/Os for servo control; interrupts and PWM on all I/O pins; 3.3V (5V tolerant)
Misc – RGB LED and 2x 850nm IR LEDs
Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 3.6 to 5V via VIN pin
Power Consumption (@ 3.3V) – Idle: 110mA; active no μSD Card: 190mA; active with μSD Card: 200mA
Dimensions – 45 x 36 x 30 (H) mm
Weight – 16 grams
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The camera board supports frame differencing (motion detection), marker tracking, face detection, eye tracking, color tracking (up to 32 colors at the same time), optical flow, edge/line detection, template matching, image capture (BMP/JPG/PPM/PGM), and video recording (MJPEG/GIF). Programming is done in OpenMV IDE using MicroPython language. You’ll find more details in OpenMV Cam’s documentation, and watch a description of the board and a QR code detection demo in the video below.
The computer vision board can be pre-ordered now for $55 on the product page with shipping scheduled for March 2017.