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Posts Tagged ‘yocto’

VoltaStream ZERO NXP i.MX6ULL Linux Audio Board Follows Raspberry Pi Zero Form Factor

August 10th, 2017 20 comments

Back in 2013. Philip came with the idea of designing a development board for audio application, and after various experiments with off-the shelf Raspberry Pi boards and audio DACs,  he founded PolyVection company, and started designing the board. Forwarding to today, he has completed his work and introduced VoltaStream ZERO to the world, a board based on NXP i.MX6ULL processor with 512MB or 1GB RAM, and a choice of Texas Instruments DAC. It also follows Raspberry Pi Zero form factor, like the upcoming Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero board.

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VoltaStream ZERO specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX6ULL ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ 996 MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB or 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot
  • Audio
    • 1x I2S for integrated DAC, 1x I2S for GPIO access, 1x S/PDIF header / TOSLINK jack
    • Analog DAC – Texas Instruments PCM5121 (106 dB) or PCM5142 (112 dB)
  • USB – 1x micro USB slave port (USB gadget mode supported), 1x USB type A host port
  • Expansion Headers – 40-pin GPIO header with 5V, 3V3, GND, 2x UART, flexCAN, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 3x PWM, S/PDIF input
  • Misc – On/Off switch integrated button handler / accessible from header, RTC integrated into SoC
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or GPIO header;
  • Power consumption
    • 0.10 Watt – Linux suspend
    • 0.25 Watt – Linux idle
    • 1.10 Watt – USB WiFi busy
  • Dimensions – 65 mm x 30 mm (Raspberry Pi Zero form factor)

Note there’s no network connectivity, but that’s what the USB host port cam be used for by connecting a USB WiFi dongle or USB Ethernet dongle.

 

VoltaStream Zero with Case

The board has been designed with KiCAD 4.0.5, and the schematics and PCB layout files have been released in Github under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. The company has developed a Linux distribution called PolyOS, built with the Yocto Project, and that includes shairport-sync, librespot, DLNA renderer and a special atomic updater. A generic Debian distribution (PolyBian) is also available, and work is being done to support Volumio. Documentation with a getting started guide, and a system reference manual has also been published.

You’ll find all those resources on the product page, where you can also purchase the board starting at 41.93 Euros excluding VAT and shipping, for the 512 MB RAM / PCM5121 version.

Variscite DART-6UL SoM, an Alternative to Intel Edison Module

July 24th, 2017 4 comments

Intel recently announced it will discontinue manufacturing and selling all SKUs of the Intel® Edison compute modules and developer kits.

The initial version of Edison was released in the beginning of 2014, with a second version being released by the end of 2014. It was intended for the IoT market, with dimensions of 35.5x25x3.9mm. The Edison features an Intel Atom processor, consisting of two Atom Silvermont cores running at 500MHz. It includes a fixed configuration of 1GB integrated RAM, and 4GB eMMC flash on-board. Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB controllers complete the package.

According to Intel’s announcement, the last shipment of Edison family boards is planned for December 2017. This announcement will have a critical impact on companies that already integrated the Edison board in their products, as well as the many companies that engaged in the development process of integrating the Edison board into their products.

While some of these companies are rushing to place their orders by the end of the year, other companies are already looking for an alternative candidate to replace the Edison module. Naturally, the Edison alternative should be somewhat similar to the original selection, at least in terms of interfaces and connectivity. But if you are looking for an alternative solution, you should take into account that this is a rapidly evolving market, so the alternatives offered today can deliver higher performance solutions than those delivered in 2014, when Intel launched Edison.

Variscite DART-6UL SoM

One suitable alternative for the IoT segment is the DART-6UL System on Module platform, developed by Variscite. The DART-6UL, measuring only 25x50mm, is a highly flexible SoM based on NXP i.MX 6UltraLite / i.MX 6ULL ARM Cortex™-A7 processor, with frequencies up to 900MHz.

The following comparison table will help you see the similarities and the upgraded features:

Intel Edison

DART-6UL

CPU
CPU Name Intel® Atom™ Silvermont CPU and Intel® Quark™ microcontroller NXP i.MX6 UltraLite / i.MX 6ULL (Cortex™-A7)
CPU Cores 2 1
CPU Clock 500 MHz Up to 900 MHz
Memory
RAM 1 GB LPDDR3 128 – 512 MB DDR3L
SLC NAND

128 – 512 MB
eMMC 4 GB eMMC 4 – 32 GB
Multimedia
2D Graphics Acceleration

2D pixel acceleration engine (PxP)
Camera Interfaces

1x 24bit CPI
Display
Parallel RGB

1366 x 768 24-bit
Networking
Ethernet

2x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
Wi-Fi Broadcom* 43340 802.11 a/b/g/n; Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Certified Laird/LSR sterling LWB /LWB5

DART-6UL: 802.11 b/g/n
DART-6UL-5G: 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz)

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 4.1 / BLE
Audio
Headphone driver

Yes
Microphone

Analog
Digital audio serial interface

SSI(AUDMUX)/SPDIF
Line In/Out

Yes
Connectivity
SD / MMC x1 x1
USB Host / Device USB 2.0: 1x OTG USB 2.0: 1x Host, 1x OTG
UART x2 x8, up to 3.6 Mbps
I2C X2 x4
SPI 1 controller with 2 chip selects x4
OS Support
Linux Yocto Yocto, Debian
Mechanical Specifications
Dimensions 35.5 × 25.0 × 3.9 mm 25 mm x 50 mm x 4.0 mm (SoM)
Electronic Specifications
Supply voltage 3.3 to 4.5 V 3.3 V
Environmental Specifications
Operating temperature 0 to 40°C Commercial temperature (0 to 70°C)
Industrial temperature (-40 to 85°C)

More details about Yocto and Debian support can be found in the DART-6UL Wiki.

DART-6UL Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Variscite.

ROCK64 is a Rockchip RK3328 Development Board with Up to 4GB RAM, 4K HDR, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB 3.0

June 8th, 2017 81 comments

Rockchip RK3328 Android TV boxes such as A5X Plus or A95X R2 have been on the market for a couple of months, but since the processor is rather inexpensive, yet supports 4K UHD video output, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 interfaces, Pine64 has decided to create a new development board called ROCK64 with a form factor similar to Raspberry Pi 3 board.

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ROCK64 board specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-450MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1, 2, or 4 GB LPDDR3 @ 1866 MHz
  • Storage – eMMC flash module socket + micro SD card slot + 128 Mbit SPI flash
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10 and HLG support, 3.5mm AV port (composite video + stereo audio)
  • Video Codec – 4K VP9, H.265 and H.264, 1080p VC-1, MPEG-1/2/4, VP6/8
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion Headers
    • 40-pin Pi-2 Bus with GPIOs, 2x I2C, Analog inputs, UART, SPI, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND)
    • 22-pin Pi-P5+ Bus with GPIOs, I2S, S/PDIF, Ethernet, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND)
  • Misc – IR receiver; power, recovery  & reset buttons; eMMC jumper
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via 3.5mm/1.35mm power barrel
  • Dimensions –  85 x 56 mm

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The board will support various operating system including Android 7.1, Debian, Yocto Linux, and more. Some of the source code and software development tools are already available in github.

The board will be launched on the first of July, but price has not been announced yet due to the recent DRAM price hike. For reference, RK3328 TV boxes with 1GB RAM now sell for around $35 and the ones with 2GB RAM for around $45. Those prices include shipping and all accessories, and considering Pine64’s usually aggressive pricing, ROCK64 board may be sold for around $25 (1GB RAM), $35 (2GB RAM) and $45 to 50 (4GB RAM) excluding shipping. You’ll find a few more details, including PDF schematics and pinout diagrams, in the product page.

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Update: I’ve just received my board, and updated the pictures above. I also came with a FORESEE eMMC module (see first picture), and a 5V/3A power supply.

Compulab’s Miniature “Bend & Fold” UCM-iMX7 System-on-Module Could Fit into a Watch

June 2nd, 2017 2 comments

Many companies are still releasing NXP – soon to be Qualcomm – i.MX 6/7 system-on-modules, but I don’t cover all of them, since we have already many to choose from. But Compulab’s latest UCM-iMX7 SoM differentiates itself by it size, using the company’s “Ultra-compact Multilevel Module” (UCMM) technology, to pack NXP i.MX7 processor, 2GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC flash, and a wireless module into a 30 x 27 x 8 mm volume that could potentially fit into something as small as a watch.

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The picture above clearly shows how UCMM technology works with the module comprised of two rigid PCBs and one flexible layer routing signals between the two allowing to bend and fold the rigid parts together to form a vertical stack. The principle could be extended to more PCBs and flexible layers, sof for example you could have four PCBs with three flexible layers in future / custom designs.

The rest of the specifications of UCM-iMX7 module are pretty standard:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX7 Dual or Solo with ARM Cortex-A7 core(s) @ up to 1GHz, ARM Cortex-M4 co-processor @ 200MHz
  • System Memory – Up to 2GB DDR3L-1066
  • Storage – Up to 64GB eMMC flash or up to 1GB SLC NAND flash, SPI flash for bootloader, EEPROM
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet PHY, WiFi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.1 BLE via BCM4343W module
  • Audio – WM8731L audio codec
  • Other On-module ICs – SPI resistive touch controller, USB 2.0 hub, PF3000 PMIC
  • 2x 100-pin board-to-board connector with the following signals

    Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

    • Display
      • Parallel 24-bit display interface up to 1920 x 1080
      • MIPI-DSI up to 1400 x 1050
      • Touchscreen 4-wire resistive touch-screen support
    • Camera
      • Parallel camera interface up to 24-bit
      • MIPI-CSI with 2 data lanes
      • Audio Audio codec with stereo line-out, line-in, mic
    • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet
    • PCI Express – PCIe x1 Gen. 2.1
    • USB – 1x USB2.0 OTG + 4x USB2.0 host ports
    • Up to 7x UART ports, up to 3x I2C, 3x SPI, 2x CAN, 6x Timer, 112x GPIO
    • Up to 4x general-purpose ADC inputs
    • Up to 2x MMC/SD/SDIO interface
  • Power Supply – 3.2V to 4.5V / Li-Ion battery
  • Dimensions – 30 x 27 x 8 mm
  • Temperature Range – -40 to 85°C

The specifications above are about the same as the ones for Compulab’s CL-SOM-iMX7 SO-DIMM module, but in a much smaller form factor, at the costs of a thicker design.

UCM-iMX7 module currently supports Linux kernel 4.1.15, Yocto Project file system, and U-Boot bootloader, with the company working on mainline Linux and upstream Yocto Project. The company expects the module to be used for autonomous drones, smart glasses, healthcare monitors / medical devices, industrial handhelds, and smart IoT cameras.

While the module is not directly aimed at the smartwatch market, the company demonstrated their module with a tiny smartwatch like gadget equipped with UCM-i>MX7, a lithium battery, a 1.5″ LCD display, and an interconnect board.

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UCM-iMX7 will be available later this month through Compulab and their distributors with prices starting at $39 for volume orders. EVAL-UCM-iMX7 evaluation kit will be offered at $475 with SB-UCM carrier board,WiFi antenna and cable, a serial port cable, HDMI to DVI cable, a USB cable and adapter, an LCD panel, adapters & cables for generic LCD panel interface, and a 12V power supply. You’ll find more details about the module and pricing options on UCM-iMX7 product page.

Categories: Hardware, Linux, NXP i.MX Tags: bsp, compulab, Linux, som, uboot, yocto

UP Core Intel Board Has Launched for 69 Euros and Up on Kickstarter

June 1st, 2017 2 comments

During spring, we discovered UP Core, a tiny board powered by Intel x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor  that promised to sell for as low as 69 Euros. But at the time, it was not available yet for purchase, and the good news is that UP has just launched a one month crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for mass production, and promote the board.

UP Core specifications have not changed since the first announcement:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1, 2 or 4 GB DDR3L-1600
  • Storage – 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi  @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
    • 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
  • Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C
  • Certifications – CE/FCC Class A, RoHS compliant, REACH

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board supports Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux via Ubilinux, Ubuntu, and the Yocto Project, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The block diagram shown in March also included an extension HAT connected to the 100-pin docking port, but we did not have many details. With the launch on Kickstarter two stackable expansion boards are available:

  • Expansion board A [BRKH01] carrying high-speed signals: 1c2 channel PCI Express switch, Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8111G-CG / RJ45), HSIC/USB ports, uSIM card reader, SD card, etc…
  • Expansion board B [BRKL01] based on MAX10 CPLD exposing low-speed signals such as RS-232/422/484, I2C, I2S, and GPIOs, as well as 12 to 24V power input

The documentation to make your own UP Core expansion board will be made available, so more are likely coming, and up to three expansion boards can be stacked under UP Core board. The company will also pay royalties to makers of expansion boards that are selected (by UP community) to be sold on their store.

A chassis for UP Core and its carrier boards is also available in your prefer to keep the boards in an enclosure.

The company goal is to raise at least 10,000 Euros, but they should reach a much higher level once the campaign is completed. Some of the most interesting rewards are:

  • 69 Euros (early bird) then 75 Euros for UP Core with 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC
  • 85 Euros (early bird) then 95 Euros for UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC
  • 119 Euros (early bird) then 129 Euros for UP core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • 125 Euros starter pack with UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, aluminum chassis, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna
  • 189 Euros dev.pack with UP Core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, A & B expansion boards, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna

They also have variations up to the 225 Euros super pack with comes with the 4GB/64GB board, the two expansion boards, three aluminum chassis, and accessories. Shipping adds 16 to 27 Euros depending on the destination country, and delivery is scheduled for August to October 2017 depending on the selected reward.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

Top Programming Languages & Operating Systems for the Internet of Things

May 19th, 2017 3 comments

The Eclipse foundation has recently done its IoT Developer Survey answered by 713 developers, where they asked  IoT programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT operating systems, messaging protocols (MQTT, HTTP), IoT hardware architectures and more.  The results have now been published. So let’s have a look at some of the slides, especially with regards to programming languages and operating systems bearing in mind that IoT is a general terms that may apply to sensors, gateways and the cloud, so the survey correctly separated languages for different segments of the IoT ecosystem.

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C and C++ are still the preferred languages for constrained devices, and developers are normally using more than one language as the total is well over 100%.

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IoT gateways are more powerful and resourceful (memory/storage) hardware, so it’s no surprise higher level languages like Java and Python join C and C++, with Java being the most used language with 40.8% of respondents.

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When it comes to the cloud with virtually unlimited resources, and no need to interface with hardware in most cases, higher level languages like Java, JavaScript, Node.js, and Python take the lead.

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When it comes to operating systems in constrained IoT devices, Linux takes the lead with 44.1%, in front of bare metal (27.6%) and FreeRTOS (15.0 %). Windows is also there in fourth place probably with a mix of Windows IoT core, Windows Embedded, and WinCE.

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Linux is the king of IoT gateways with 66.9% of respondent using it far ahead of Windows in second place with 20.5%. They have no chart for the cloud, probably because users just don’t run their own Cloud servers, but relies on providers. They did ask specifically about the Linux distributions used for IoT projects, and the results are a bit surprising with Raspbian taking the lead with 45.5%, with Ubuntu Core following closely at 44.4%.

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Maybe Raspbian has been used during the prototyping phase or for evaluation, as most developers (84%) have been using cheap development boards like Arduino, BeagleBone or Raspberry Pi. 20% also claim to have deployed such boards in IoT solutions.

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That’s only a few slides of the survey results, and you’ll find more details about Intel/ARM hardware share, messaging & industrial protocols, cloud solutions, wireless connectivity, and more in the slides below.

Via Ubuntu Insights

SavageBoard Open Source Hardware Board Powered by NXP i.MX 6 Processor Offers Multiple Display Options

May 1st, 2017 2 comments

While it’s hard to keep track of all NXP i.MX6 boards and modules on the market, few can claim to be open source hardware, with the exception of OpenRex, and now SavageBoard, which I just found in Linux 4.11 release log. The board comes in three variants with Solo, Dual, and Quad versions, is equipped with 4 to 8GB flash, 512MB to 1GB RAM, HDMI, TFT LCD, MIPI DSI, and LVDS ports, Ethernet, SATA (Quad only), lots of I/O headers, and more.

SavageBoard Solo/Dual/Quad specifications:

  • SoC
    • Solo – NXP i.MX 6Solo Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Vivante GC880 3D GPU
    • Dual – NXP i.MX 6Dual dual core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Vivante GC880 3D GPU
    • Quad – NXP i.MX 6Quad quad core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Vivante GC2000 3D GPU
  • System Memory
    • Solo – 512 MB 32-bit DDR3 @ 400 MHz
    • Dual & Quad – 1GB 64-bit DDR3 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage
    • Solo – 4GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
    • Dual – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
    • Quad – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot + SATA
  • Video Output / Display I/F – 1x HDMI port, dual channel LVDS, MIPI DSI, TFT RGB LCD interface
  • Audio – HDMI output, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, Wolfson audio codec
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI connector
  • Connectivity – 1x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x USB 2.0 port via PCIe connector
  • Debugging – 1x RS232 DB9 connector, 1x PIN header
  • Expansion
    • 1x mini PCIe slot
    • Headers for I2C, SPI, UART, GPIOs, SDIO…
  • Misc – Boot configuration header
  • Power Supply – 12V/1A DC via power barrel
  • Dimensions – 125 x 95 mm (ETX form factor)

The company provides source code (SDK) and binary images for Android 6.0, the Yocto Project, and Arch Linux (ARM). You’ll also find the EAGLE and PDF schematics and PCB layout, as well as the gerber files, and mechanical files on SavageBoard website.

The Solo, Dual and Quad versions of the board are said to be for sale for $59, $79, and $99 respectively, and the company also sells a Tianma 9.7” LCD Display with LED backlight, 1024×768 resolution ($70),  a WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO + BT 4.0 module ($35), a 12V/1A power adapter ($15), and a 5MP camera module ($25). However, I could not find a way to purchase easily online, so you may have to contact Postlab Technology (Taiwan) which seems to be the board’s designer and manufacturer.

SolidRun MACCHIATOBin Mini-ITX Networking Board is Now Available for $349 and Up

April 24th, 2017 31 comments

SolidRun MACCHIATOBin is a mini-ITX board powered by Marvell ARMADA 8040 quad core Cortex A72 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz and designed for networking and storage applications thanks to 10 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps, and 1 Gbps Ethernet interfaces, as well as three SATA port. The company is now taking order for the board (FCC waiver required) with price starting at $349 with 4GB RAM.

MACCHIATOBin board specifications:

  • SoC – ARMADA 8040 (88F8040) quad core Cortex A72 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz with accelerators (packet processor, security engine, DMA engines, XOR engines for RAID 5/6)
  • System Memory – 1x DDR4 DIMM with optional ECC and single/dual chip select support; up to 16GB RAM
  • Storage – 3x SATA 3.0 port, micro SD slot, SPI flash, eMMC flash
  • Connectivity – 2x 10Gbps Ethernet via copper or SFP, 2.5Gbps via SFP,  1x Gigabit Ethernet via copper
  • Expansion – 1x PCIe-x4 3.0 slot, Marvell TDM module header
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 headers (internal),  1x USB-C port for Marvell Modular Chip (MoChi) interfaces (MCI)
  • Debugging – 20-pin connector for CPU JTAG debugger, 1x micro USB port for serial console, 2x UART headers
  • Misc – Battery for RTC, reset header, reset button, boot and frequency selection, fan header
  • Power Supply – 12V DC via power jack or ATX power supply
  • Dimensions – Mini-ITX form factor (170 mm x 170 mm)

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The board ships with either 4GB or 16GB DDR4 memory, a micro USB cable for debugging, 3 heatsinks, an optional 12V DC/110 or 220V AC power adapter, and an optional 8GB micro SD card. The company also offers a standard mini-ITX case for the board. The board supports mainline Linux or Linux 4.4.x, mainline U-Boot or U-Boot 2015.11, UEFI (Linaro UEFI tree), Yocto 2.1, SUSE Linux, netmap, DPDK, OpenDataPlane (ODP) and OpenFastPath. You’ll find software and hardware documentation in the Wiki.

The Wiki actually shows the board for $299 without any memory, but if you go to the order page, you can only order a version with 4GB RAM for $349, or one with 16GB RAM for $498 with the optional micro SD card and power adapter bringing the price up to $518.