Vortex86DX3 is a New x86 SoC for Embedded Systems

Intel is already making embedded version of their processor with example with Bay Trail-I or Quark SoCs, but Taiwan based DMP Electronics has also been making x86 SoC such as Vortex86EX that can be found in $39 86duino Zero board, which must be one the cheapest, if not the cheapest, x86 board on the market. Of course, this is not designed to run Windows and Office, but rather some embedded (IoT) applications. The company has recently launched Vortex86DX3, a more powerful x86 dual core processor, suited to embedded systems and communication products such as thin clients, NAT routers, gateways, etc…

Vortex86DX3_Block_DiagramDMP Vortex86DX3 specifications:

  • Dual Core x86 Processor @ 1GHz with 6 stage pipeline, x86 instruction set
  • Floating point – Implements ANSI/IEEE standard 754-1985 for binary Floating-Point Architecture
  • Cache – 8-way 32K I-Cache, 8-way 32K D-Cache,  4-way 512KB L2 Cache with write through or write back policy
  • System DDR3 Control Interface – 32-bit data bus; DDR3 size support up to 2GB (Block diagram says 4GB?)
  • Embedded 2MB Flash For BIOS storage
  • External Storage
    • IDE Controller
    • PATA 100(2x HDD) or 2x SD at Primary Channel
    • SATA 1.5Gb/s (1 Port) at Secondary Channel
  • GPU Control Unit
    • UMA architecture, VGA controller, 2D Graphics engine support
    • Max display resolution 1920×1440@60Hz with 234MHz video clock
    • Dual Display support:, only one display can be 1920×1200, 1 DVO (24bits) & 1 D-SUB or 2 DVO (12bit x 2)
    • Support H.264 1080p video decode
  • 1x MAC Controller (Fast Ethernet)
  • 2x PCIe Control Interface – 3.3V I / O
  • USB 2.0 Host Support – 4 ports; supports HS, FS and LS
  • HDA Controller
  • ISA Bus Interface – AT clock programmable; 8/16 Bit ISA device with Zero-Wait-State
  • DMA & 8259 Interrupt Controller
  • JTAG Interface supported for software debugging
  • Counter / Timers – 2 sets of 8254 timer controller; Timer output is 5V tolerance I/O on 2nd Timer
  • Real Time Clock – Less than 2.5uA (3.0V) power consumption in Internal RTC Mode while chip is power-off.
  • 9x FIFO UART Port;  1x Parallel Port
  • General Programmable I/O, 2x  I2C bus; 2x SPI bug, 8x ADC interface
  • Misc – MTBF Counter; General Shift Interface Support, Temperature sensor
  • Clocks –  Input:  25 MHz , 14.318MHz;  output: DDR3 clock
  • Operating Voltage Range – Core voltage: 0.9V± 5%; I / O voltage: 1.2V ± 5%, 1.5V ± 5%, 1.8V ± 5%, 3.3 V ± 10 %
  • Operating Temperature – -25 ~ 70
  • Package Type – 31x31mm, 720 Ball PBGA

It’s interesting to see some legacy interfaces like IDE, PATA and ISA bus on this processor, which may not be available on other recent processors. A German distributor also mentions the processor should support DOS, Windows, Linux, QNX, VxWorks and other popular 32-bit operating systems. I could not find another board or hardware based on the new processor, but DMP should probably soon release a VDX3 motherboard for evaluation, as they did for their other processors.

Evaluation Board (EVB) for Vortex86DX2 Processor
Evaluation Board (EVB) for Vortex86DX2 Processor

Most of the information above was taken from DMP Electronics Vortex86DX3 product page.

Thanks to José for the tip.

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5 Replies to “Vortex86DX3 is a New x86 SoC for Embedded Systems”

  1. @cnxsoft
    Only the versions that don’t require SSE, MMX, or Pentium/later-arch instructions. This is IIRC 486-like core, isn’t it? A such it won’T boot or install Windows XP, not to mention later ones.

  2. Well next time someone says to you there are no motherboards with ISA and PCI-E slots at the same time, you can prove them wrong with this picture…

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