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 Intel Edison Alternative
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


CPU NameIntel® Atom™ Silvermont CPU and Intel® Quark™ microcontrollerNXP i.MX6 UltraLite / i.MX 6ULL (Cortex™-A7)
CPU Cores21
CPU Clock500 MHzUp to 900 MHz
RAM1 GB LPDDR3128 – 512 MB DDR3L

128 – 512 MB
eMMC4 GB eMMC4 – 32 GB
2D Graphics Acceleration

2D pixel acceleration engine (PxP)
Camera Interfaces

1x 24bit CPI
Parallel RGB

1366 x 768 24-bit

2x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
Wi-FiBroadcom* 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)

BluetoothBluetooth 4.04.1 / BLE
Headphone driver


Digital audio serial interface

Line In/Out

SD / MMCx1x1
USB Host / DeviceUSB 2.0: 1x OTGUSB 2.0: 1x Host, 1x OTG
UARTx2x8, up to 3.6 Mbps
SPI1 controller with 2 chip selectsx4
OS Support
LinuxYoctoYocto, Debian
Mechanical Specifications
Dimensions35.5 × 25.0 × 3.9 mm25 mm x 50 mm x 4.0 mm (SoM)
Electronic Specifications
Supply voltage3.3 to 4.5 V3.3 V
Environmental Specifications
Operating temperature0 to 40°CCommercial 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.

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