Compulab CL-SOM-iMX8 SoM Features NXP i.MX 8M Processor for $68 and Up

Orange Pi Development Boards

I just covered one of the i.MX 8M systems-on-module last Friday with Variscite DART-MX8M SoM, but Variscite is not the only company about to launch such modules, and today I’ll have a look at Compulab CL-SOM-iMX8 system-on-module based on the same NXP i.MX 8M dual or quad core Cortex A53 processor.

Compulab’s SoM comes with up to 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC flash, an optional WiFi & Bluetooth module, as well as optional support for Ethernet, LVDS, analog audio, and more. Contrary to most competitors, the company has also made an habit of releasing detailed pricing the basic configuration and per option.

Click to Enlarge

But first, let’s go through the specifications:

  • SoC (one of the other)
    • NXP i.MX8M Quad quad core Arm Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5GHz with Arm Corex-M4 real-time core, Vivante GC7000Lite GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1, Open CL 1.2 and Vulkan
    • NXP i.MX8M Dual dual core Arm Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5GHz with Arm Corex-M4 real-time core, Vivante GC7000Lite GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1, Open CL 1.2 and Vulkan
  • System Memory – 1 to 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 4GB to 64GB eMMC flash
  • Connectivity
    • Optional WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.1 BLE (Broadcom BCM4356 chipset)
    • Optional Gigabit Ethernet Atheros AR8033 PHY
  • Audio – Optional Wolfson WM8731L audio codec
  • 204-pinedge connector exposing the following interfaces:
    • Display
      • HDMI 2.0a up-to 4096 x 2160 @60Hz
      • LVDS up-to 1920 x 1080 @60Hz via on-module DSI to LVDS convertor
      • 4-lane MIPI-DSI up to 1920 x 1080 @60Hz
      • 24-bit Parallel RGB up to 1600 x 1200
      • Touchscreen Capacitive touch-screen support through SPI and I2C interfaces
    • Camera – 4-lane MIPI-CSI interface
    • Networking – 1x 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
    • Audio
      • Analog stereo output, stereo input and microphone support
      • Up to 4x I2S / SAI, S/PDIF input/output
    • PCIe – PCIe x1 Gen. 2.1, optional extra PCIe x1 Gen. 2.1
    • USB – 2x USB3.0 dual-role ports
    • Serial – Up to 4x UART
    • Up to 1x MMC/SD/SDIO
    • Up to 2x SPI, Up to 3x I2C, Up to 4x general purpose PWM signals
    • Up to 90x GPIO (multifunctional signals shared with other functions)
  • Debugging – JTAG debug interface
  • Misc – RTC Real time clock, powered by external battery;
  • Supply Voltage –  3.35V to 4.2V
  • Digital I/O – voltage 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 68 x 42 x 5 mm
  • Weight – 14 grams
  • Temperature Range
    • Operating – Commercial: 0° to 70° C; Extended: -20° to 70° C; Industrial: -40° to 85° C
    • Storage – -40° to 85° C
  • Relative humidity – 10% to 90% (operation); 05% to 95% (storage)
  • Reliability – MTTF – > 200,000 hours; Shock 50G / 20 ms; Vibration 20G / 0 – 600 Hz
CL-SOM-iMX8 Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The company provides support for the Yocto Project with Linux mainline, and Android support is coming soon. SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit can be used to kickstart development with SOM-iMX8-C1500Q-D2-N16-E-A-WB-H module (quad core version with 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash, Ethernet, Audio, Wireless module, and heat dissipation plate), SB-iMX8 carrier board, a WiFi antenna and cable, a serial port cable, a USB cable and adapter, as well as a 12V power supply. The company also provides 12-month technical support for the kit.

SB-iMX8 Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The SoM and devkit have not been formally launched (early product announcement), and I could not find a photo of the carrier board, nor the specifications in readable form, but the company has already released the schematics – from which I extracted the block diagram above -, PCB layout, and Gerber files for it, and it seems to pretty much expose all features from the SoM, as it should. [Update: photo of the kit included below

Click to Enlarge

It’s unclear whether the SoMs are available now, but they should be soon, with 10-year longevity. As mentioned in the introduction the company also released pricing with the most basic model SOM-iMX8-C1500D-D1-N4 (dual core, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, no other option) will sell/sells for $68 for 1k-unit price, and option pricing are shown below.

Click to Enlarge

Price also fluctuates based on order quantity, and for example, the price for one sample is 2.5 times more expensive, while for 10K order, unit price is reduced by 5%. Visit the SoM and SBC product pages for more details, including initial hardware and software documentations, and further pricing info. The development kit is sold for $415.

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bantoto masabo sigola
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bantoto masabo sigola

just give me a normal friggen board 😛

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My problem is more with the iMX8 vs the Allwinner H6. The chips are almost identical except for the MIPI camera/display. But the iMX8 is $40 and the H6 is $5.

On the plus side the iMX8 software is way, way, way better than Allwinners and it actually works. NXP is a heavy open source participant and it shows in their software quality.

bantoto masabo sigola
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bantoto masabo sigola

@Jon Smirl THE IMX6 when it first came out also had very good software but it wasnt 40$+ . I hope it will come down in price

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The iMX CPUs never go down much in price. What is more likely is another version with some features removed and a lower price point.

If Allwinner could get their software act together and sign up some US distributors they’d make huge inroads in the US. But that never seems to happen. I don’t know why they can’t take the very simple first step of keeping their code on public git servers. Last I heard about that was a claim that their license with Google prevented that. I think they are misunderstanding their license from Google; only non-released versions of Android need to be kept private. Once they are released it is ok to publish. After release, Google themselves puts the code up on the public AOSP servers. All Allwinner needs to do is publish their changes to the AOSP code.