NXP i.MX 8M Plus AI Systems-on-Modules and Devkits Launched by Variscite

NXP i.MX 8M Plus processor was unveiled at the very beginning of the year as the first i.MX processor with AI hardware acceleration provided by a 2.3 TOPS Neural Processing Unit (NPU) embedded in the chip.

Apart from the upcoming Wandboard 8MPLUS SBC, we had not seen hardware powered by the new processor, but Variscite has now announced two NXP i.MX 8M Plus systems-on-modules – VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS and DART-MX8M-PLUS – and corresponding development kits.

VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS CPU Module & Development Kit

Specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Plus single, dual or quad-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at up to 1.6 (Industrial/Extended) or 1.8GHz (Commercial), Cortex-M7 real-time core @ 800 MHz, 1080p H265/H264 encode/decode, AI/ML acceleration up to 2.3 TOPS, GC7000UL 3D GPU, GC520L 2D GPU
  • System Memory – 1 to 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 8 to 64GB eMMC flash
  • Networking – 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.2/BLE module
  • SO-DIMM Edge Connector
    • Storage I/F – 1x SD / MMC, 1x QSPI
    • Video Output
      • HDMI 2.0a up to 4Kp30
      • 24-bit MIPI-DSI up to 1920×1080
      • Dual-channel 24-bit LVDS up to 1920×1080
      • Touch controller – Resistive and Capacitive supported
    • Camera Interfaces – 2x MIPI CSI2
    • Audio – 6x I2S(SAI), S/PDIF RX/TX, 8CH PDM, Line In/Out
    • Networking – 2x Gigabit Ethernet including one with TSN support
    • USB – 2x USB3.0 OTG
    • PCIe Gen 3.0
    • 4x UART, 5x I2C, 3x SPI, 2x CAN/CAN-FD (Flexible Data-Rate)
    • Debugging – 1x JTAG
    • Misc – RTC on carrier
  • Supply Voltage – 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 67.8 x 33mm
  • Temperature range
    • Commercial – 0 to 70°C
    • Extended – -25 to 85°C
    • Industrial – -40 to 85°C
  • Product Longevity – 2035

The company provides support for Linux via the Yocto Project and Debian, as well as Android.

Evaluation Kit

Two development kits are offered for the SO-DIMM module a starter kit with the baseboard only, and an evaluation kit adding a 7-inch WVGA capacitive touch display, and accessories like an Ethernet cable and a 12V power supply.

Notable interfaces and peripherals on the carrier board include dual GbE, HDMI 2.0a, LVDS, Line Out and headphone audio connectors, built-in digital microphone, mini PCIe socket, CAN Bus, and more.

DART-MX8M-PLUS System-on-Module & Evaluation Kit

The module basically of the same features as the VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS system-on-module but in a more compact form factor, and using board-to-board connectors instead of a SO-DIMM edge connector

DART-MX8M-PLUS specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Plus as described above
  • System Memory – 1 to 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 8 to 64GB eMMC flash
  • Networking – 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.2/BLE module
  • 3x board-to-board connectors
    • Storage I/F – 1x SD / MMC, 1x QSPI
    • Video Output
      • HDMI 2.0a up to 4Kp30
      • 24-bit MIPI-DSI up to 1920×1080
      • Dual-channel 24-bit LVDS up to 1920×1080
      • Touch controller – Resistive and Capacitive supported
    • Camera Interfaces – 2x MIPI CSI2
    • Audio – 6x I2S(SAI), S/PDIF RX/TX, 8CH PDM, Line In/Out
    • Networking – 2x Gigabit Ethernet including one with TSN support
    • USB – 2x USB3.0 OTG
    • PCIe Gen 3.0
    • 4x UART, 5x I2C, 3x SPI, 2x CAN/CAN-FD (Flexible Data-Rate)
    • Debugging – 1x JTAG
    • Misc – RTC on carrier
  • Supply Voltage – 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 55 x 30mm
  • Temperature range
    • Commercial – 0 to 70°C
    • Extended – -25 to 85°C
    • Industrial – -40 to 85°C
  • Product Longevity – 2035

Software support is identical with Linux (Yocto, Debian) and Android operating systems supported.

Again, there’s a starter kit and an evaluation with the same features, but the baseboard has a different ports arrangement.

The DART-MX8M-PLUS module is compatible with other “DART Pin2Pin “compatible SoMs, while VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS following “VAR-SOM Pin2Pin” specs. So customers may choose one over the other depending on their existing custom carrier board design(s), or based on their mechanical footprint requirements.

Availability and More Info

Both evaluation kits and modules are now available for orders. Both VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS and DART-MX8M-PLUS are part of Variscite’s long-term longevity plan and provide an expected availability of 15 years until 2035. More details may be found on the respective product pages here and there.

Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.

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