J721E DRA829/TDA4VM/AM752x – Texas Instruments Cortex-A72 based Monster SoC’s

Texas Instruments unveiled their first 64-bit processor in 2018 with TI AM654 “Keystone III” quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 + dual lockstep Cortex-R5F processor designed for general embedded and industrial applications.

The company is now working on a more powerful processor with J721E SoC with Cortex-A72 cores belonging to the K3 Multicore SoC architecture platform appearing in TI Linux git repository. Ti J721E is a monster of an SoC, not necessarily in terms of CPU processing power, but it has an amazing amount of features and peripherals.

J721E DRA829 TDA4VM AM752x Block Diagran
Click to Enlarge

I’m not going to list all specifications of this monster SoC, and we’ll do with J721E highlights instead:

  • CPU
    • Dual Cortex-A72 up to 2.0 GHz in a single cluster
    • Up to three clusters of lockstep capable dual Cortex-R5F MCUs @ 1.0 GHz
  • AI Accelerator / DSP
    • Deep-learning Matrix Multiply Accelerator (MMA) @ up to 1.0 GHz (8 TOPS for 8-bit inference)
    • C7x floating-point Vector DSP @ up to 1.0 GHz (80 GFLOPS)
    • Up to two TMS320C66x floating-point DSPs @ up to 1.35 GHz (40 GFLOPS)
  • Multimedia
    • GPU – Imagination PowerVR Rogue 8XE GE8430 GPU
    • Vision Processing Accelerator (VPAC) with image signal processor
    • Depth and Motion Processing Accelerator (DMPAC)
    • 1x dual-core multi-standard HD Video Decoder
    • 1x dual-core multi-standard HD Video Encoder
  • Memory I/F –
  • Storage I/F – 1x Octal SPI (OSPI), GPMC for 8-/16-bit parallel NOR or NAND flash, 3x MMC/SD controllers, 1x UFS interface
  • Two Navigator Subsystems (NAVSS) for data movement and control
  • System MMU (SMMU) Version 3.0 and advanced virtualization capabilities.
  • Peripherals
    • Display – 1x eDP/DP, 1x MIPI DSI, and up to 2x DPI interfaces.
    • Camera –  2x 4-lane MIPI CSI 2.0 Rx (camera receiver), 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI 2.0 Tx (camera transmitter)
    • Audio – 12x MCASP (Multichannel Audio Serial Port)  supporting up to 16 channels
    • Networking
      • Up to 2x Gigabit Industrial Communication Subsystems (ICSSG), each with dual PRUs and dual RTUs
      • Integrated Ethernet switch supporting up to a total of 8 external ports in addition to legacy Ethernet switch of up to 2 ports.
    • Up to 4 PCIe GEN3 controllers
    • 2x USB 3.0 Dual-role device subsystems
    • 16 MCANs, 12 McASP, eMMC and SD, UFS, OSPI/HyperBus memory controller, QSPI,
    • 3x I3C, 12x I2C, 11x master/slave MCSPI, 12x UART, 10x GPIO modules
  • Security
    • 2x hardware accelerator blocks containing AES/DES/SHA/MD5 called SA2UL management
    • Secure Boot Management
    • Public Key Accelerator (PKA) for large vector math operation
    • Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)
    • Secure storage support
    • On-the-fly encryption and authentication support for OSPI interface
  • Manufacturing Process – 16-nm FinFET technology
  • Package – 24 x 24 mm, 0.8-mm pitch, 827-pin FCBGA (ALF), enables IPC class 3 PCB routing

The device is partitioned into three functional domains, each containing specific processing cores and peripherals:

  • Wake-up (WKUP) domain
  • Microcontroller (MCU) domain with one of the dual Cortex-R5 cluster
  • MAIN domain
AM752x MAIN & MCU Domains
MAIN and MCU Domains Block Diagrams – Click to Enlarge

This domain fragmentation enables the device to achieve lower power dissipation profiles by allowing the power supplies to unused domains to be completely turned off and allows efficient addressing of safety requirements. Note the MCU and WKUP domains are combined into a common MCU/WKUP domain in J721E family of devices, but there are still separated in the documentation for compatibility with other K3 platform SoC’s.

If I understand correctly J721E will not be a processor per se, but it represents a family of processors that encompass the upcoming AM752x, DRA829, and TDA4VM SoCs. The AM752x SoC is targeted at the generic embedded systems market, industrial control, defense, and avionics while the DRA829 and TDA4VM SoCs are targeted at automotive applications with ASIL-B/C certification/requirements in mind.

DRA829V Block Diagram
DRA829V Block Diagram

There’s no specific product page for J721E right now, but you’ll get plenty of information in the 15,556-page long technical reference manual, and more details in DRA829V product page. Everything is still in “preview”, but pre-production samples of DRA829V are available for $129.01 (sample price) or $97.00 for 1k orders, as well as DRA829Vx evaluation module with a choice of common, infotainment, and gateway baseboards. The devkits appear to be available now for $1,900 and up.

DRA829Vx evaluation module
DRA829Vx evaluation module


DRA829Vx evaluation module common board
DRA829Vx evaluation module common board

Thanks to Nobe for the tip.

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itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
4 years ago

Cool, nice to see some of the traditional semiconductor companies are still in business, also in this challenging field.

Maybe the smaller version makes it into a beagle bone?

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
4 years ago

Another case of dislexia
I read they issued AM654 along the new monster SOC, that’s how I connected it with the bone.

Of course they all found their own niche, unfortunately once STE left mainstream, ADI sold their modems to MTK and Infineon sold the modems to intel none of the traditional semiconductor guys is involved in the mobile market anymore. Basically all the big shots in the ARM SOC field are fabless.

Tuff Professional
Tuff Professional
4 years ago

find its way into a ~$500 BeagleBoard.

Really? Damn, i always saw people really liking the BeagleBone and stopped using because it was getting really weak compared to your standard Raspberry Pi. It would be nice to see a BeagleBone 2

4 years ago

RPi and BB play in different fields. If you want a media oriented SBC, RPi is much better. If you want a robotics or industrial SBC, BB is much better (e.g. try running something like MachineKit on a RPi).
The BB 2 is called the BeagleBone AI, with a AM5728 CPU IIRC and $120 price tag. It’s not a benchmark champ, but has lots of interesting peripherals (e.g. PRUs, EVEs, DSPs).

Jack Cha
Jack Cha
3 years ago

It will be appeared on Beaglebone series soon.

4 years ago

That’s a mind boggling amount peripherals for a single SoC, looks ideal for robotics.

4 years ago

ADAS driver assist systems and industrial control, yes. The only comparable MCU’s I can think of are from Renesas.

Khadas VIM4 SBC