BeagleBone Black Features 1GHz Texas Instruments Sitara SoC, HDMI, and More Memory

We’ve already known that a new, faster and cheaper BeagleBone is on the way for a little while, but very few details were provided at the time. There are now better pictures, the specifications are available, and it looks like the new BeagleBone will be called BeagleBone Black.

Beaglebone Black (Click to Enlarge)
Beaglebone Black (Click to Enlarge)

BeagleBone Black Specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM3359AZCZ100 Cortex A8 @ 1 GHz + PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3L @ 400 MHz
  • Storage – 2GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • USB – USB0 (client mode) via mini USB, USB1 (host) type A socket
  • Serial Port – UART0 via 3.3V TTL header
  • Ethernet – 10/100, RJ45
  • Video Output – micro HDMI with EDID support, up to 1280×1024 resolution.
  • Audio Output – Via HDMI
  • Expansion Connectors – Power, McASP0, SPI1, I2C, 65x GPIOs, LCD, GPMC, MMC1/2, 7x AIN (1.8V MAX), 4x timers, 3x serial ports, CAN0, EHRPWM0/2, XDMA interrupt, power button, expansion board ID (Up to 4 can be stacked).
  • Debug Ports – Optional onboard 20-pin CTI JTAG + Serial Header
  • Indicators – 1 for Power, 2 for Ethernet, and 4 user’s LEDs
  • Input – Reset, boot, and power buttons
  • PMIC – TPS65217C PMIC regulator and one additional LDO
  • Power – mini USB, DC Jack, or 5VDC via expansion header
  • Power Consumption – 210 to 460mA @ 5V.
  • PCB – 6 layers. Dimensions: ~8.64 x ~5.34 cm
  • Weight – 39.68 grams

I did try to find more information about AM3359AZCZ100 processor, but I can’t find any references, and I can’t even find any 1GHz Sitara AM3359 processor anywhere, so that could be a new one then…

BeagleBone vs BeagleBone Black

We’ve also got a table that shows the key differences between the White (Old) BeagleBone and be Black (New) BeagleBone.

Beaglebone Black BeagleBone
Processor AM3359AZCZ100 @ 1GHz AM3359ZC272 @ 720 MHz
Video Out HDMI N/A
Flash 2GB eMMC, microSD microSD
Onboard JTAG Optional Yes, over USB
Serial Header Via USB
Power 210-460 mA@5V 300-500 mA@5V

Everything looks like an improvement, expect maybe for those who want to use JTAG. Most BeagleBone capes, the name given to expansions boards, will work, but not all due to some modifications on BeagleBone Black:

  • The onboard HDMI driver uses the LCD pins, and even they are still connected to the expansion header, in some cases, they could cause an LCD cape to have some noise issues.
  • The onboard eMMC uses the MMC1 signals. In order to use these signals on the header, the eMMC device on the BeagleBone Black will need to be disabled.
  • In order to use the NAND or NOR capes, the eMMC on the board will need to be disabled.
  • The 10 pin power expansion header has been removed.

The BeagleBone Black and, I assume, the new Sitara processor will officially be announced at Design West on the 23rd of April. Once the board is announced, all hardware design files (reference manual, schematics, BoM, gerber…) for the production board (Revision A5A) will be available here. The only thing that remains a mystery is the price, but I’ve read that it should cost about half of the price of the original BeagleBone, which means we might be able to get the BeagleBone Black for $49. We’ll know for sure in 5 days. [Update: Even better than that: it will just cost $45]

If you want to reserve one of the BeagleBone Black, head over to the teaser page, and select one of the resellers.

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19 Replies to “BeagleBone Black Features 1GHz Texas Instruments Sitara SoC, HDMI, and More Memory”

  1. I hope that new SOC will have dsp for video encoding decoding.
    I don’t expect that TI remove dsp from sitara(beaglebone white) as all OMAP have it

    I don’t understand why they simply can’t make all ports on one side
    we have some on front(micro hdmi, usb) a some on back (power , ethernet)
    All on one side will be nice. If I want to use board in some real divice
    it looks unprofessional. It is still more playboard.

    I found soc datasheet

    And I don’t understand output resolution.
    No FullHD ?
    there is 2048×2048 in datasheet

    and no DSP how video/audio decoding/encoding ?
    why why why?

  2. @cray
    Sorry, I found the issue in the middle of the post, and corrected it.

    AM3359 has been around for a while, but I can’t find AM3559A anywhere. It should be similar anyway.

    2048×2048 is for the LCD resolution. I don’t know why HDMI is limited to 1280×1024, but I guess it’s not an error in the specs because the HDMI Cape is limited to 720p.

    I can’t find a DSP or VPU in this SoC either, so it may not be the board to use if you need HD video playback.

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