Embedded systems companies tend to use processors from established firms like NXP Semiconductors or Texas Instruments, we’ve seen few systems-on-module based on processors from Amlogic, Rockchip, or Allwinner which are popular on this blog due to their value proposition.
One of the reasons was/is software support, but this has improved over the years, and the other is the lack of wide temperature range parts plus potential concerns about long term supplies. I’m not aware of any industrial/extended temperature range part from Amlogic, but Allwinner provides A40i/A60i industrial temperature range processors, and Rockchip RK3399K supports an extended commercial temperature range between -20 to +85°C.
Kontron selected the latter for their first-ever Rockchip powered system-on-module: the SMARC-fA3399 SMARC 2.1 module.
SMARC-fA3399 SoM specifications:
- SoC – Rockchip RK3399K hexa-core processor with two Cortex A72 cores @ 1.8/2.0 GHz (wide temp vs commercial temp), four Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.4/1.6 GHz, Arm Mali-T860MP4 GPU
- System Memory – Up to 8GB LPDDR4 memory down
- Storage – Up to 128GB eMMC 5.1 flash
- Other on-module chips
- Networking – Optional Intel i210 GbE transceiver chip
- Optional PCIe switch
- Optional USB hub
- Optional eDP to dual LVDS convertor
- 314-pin MXM 3.0 edge connector with:
- Display I/F – LVDS or eDP (option), HDMI, and DisplayPort
- Networking – Up to 2x Gigabit Ethernet (via internal PHY and on-module i210)
- USB – 2x USB 3.0 + 4x USB 2.0
- Serial – 4x serial interfaces (2x RX/TX only)
- PCI Express – Up to 3x PCIe
- Other I/Os – I2S, 2x I2C, 2x SPI, SDIO, 12x GPIO
- Power Supply – 5V supply voltage, CPLD/PMIC for power management
- Dimensions – 82 x 80 mm
- Temperature Range – Extended commercial: -20°C – 85°C or commercial (on request): 0°C – 60°C
- Humidity – 93 % relative humidity at 40°C, non-condensing (according to IEC 60068-2-78)
- Compliance – SMARC 2.1
The company provides U-boot and Linux support for the module, and explains the board is “suitable for high-performance applications and is leading regarding price/performance ratio” for applications such as retail POS, digital signage, or kiosk, while also mentioning that a “dedicated software community continuously pushes the application spectrum”. So this module may have only happened because of the work of the community on low-cost RK3399 SBC‘s.
While Kontron did not mention any carrier board for SMARC-fa3399 SoM, the module should be compatible with the company’s standard SMARC 2.0 carrier board pictured above.
Samples will become available in Q1 2021, and the company is also planning for a 3.5-inch board with Rockchip RK3399K SoC. Additional information may be found on the product page and the announcement.
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.