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

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.

  1. July 25th, 2017 at 05:38 | #1

    And the all-important missing bit:- “Starting from $24”

  2. Arthur Frayn
    July 25th, 2017 at 09:32 | #2

    “Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Variscite.”

    The article first appeared on Tux Machines on Sunday 16th of July 2017 01:14:38 PM.

    Even though the article fails to credit the original author and appears to be attributed to CNXsoft, the style of the language makes it obvious that CNXsoft did not write the article and it is a cut’n’paste job.

  3. July 25th, 2017 at 09:39 | #3

    @Arthur Frayn
    That article was written by Variscite. I copied and pasted the content from their word file + some minor editing.

    It’s possible they contacted several sites to publish that content.

  4. Sfinx
    August 2nd, 2017 at 13:25 | #4

    I’ve tried to use this board and can say that it has nearly no support especially in security area. Seems like this is usual tendency for the NXP company and partly for Variscite. All you would get – are the muddy responses at the NXP forums and silence from Variscite. It is pity that such good Freescale CPU became unusable because of this. If you are brave enough – there are exists much more suitable choices like Phytec.

  5. Vertical Spin
    August 31st, 2017 at 23:23 | #5

    It’s incorrect to compare 64-bit SoC vs. 32-bit one. BT is BLE as well there.

    Moreover, Edison runs vanilla kernel, so, any distro can be set up there.

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