NXP unveils i.MX 8ULP Cortex-A35/M33 secure processors with optional Azure Sphere certification

NXP may have just unveiled plans for i.MX 9 processor family with Arm Ethos U65 microNPU, and advanced security using the company’s EdgeLock enclave, but NXP also introduced new members to its popular i.MX 8 series with i.MX 8ULP and i.MX 8ULP-CS (Cloud Secured) processors.

Both processors come with a mix of Cortex-A35 application processor(s) and Cortex-M33 real-time core, as well as Energy Flex low-power architecture and EdgeLock secure enclave, but i.MX 8ULP-CS includes Microsoft Pluton for secure cloud connectivity and lacks 2D/3D graphics and the HiFi 4 audio DSP.

NXP i.mx 8ulp
NXP i.MX 8ULP Block Diagram

NXP i.MX 8ULP and 8ULP-CS key features and specifications:

  • CPU
    • i.MX 8ULP – Up to two Arm Cortex-A35 @ 1.0 GHz and Arm Cortex-M33 @ 216 MHz,
    • i.MX 8ULP-CS – One Arm Cortex-A35 @ 1.0 GHz and Arm Cortex-M33 @ 216 MHz
  • GPU (i.MX 8ULP only) – 2D GPU, and 3D GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCLTM, Vulkan (both likely Vivante IP blocks, but not specified)
  •  DSP
    • Fusion DSP @ 200 MHz for low-power voice and sensor hub processing
    • i.MX 8ULP only – Cadence® Tensillica® Hifi 4 DSP @ 600 MHz for advanced audio, voice and ML processing
  • Memory – Up to 896 KB on-chip SRAM, LPDDR3/LPDDR4/LPDDR4X external memory support
  • Storage – SPI-NOR, SPI-NAND flash
  • Display I/F
    • 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI with PHY up to 24-bit RGB (DBI/DPI)
    • Color EPD Display
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI with PHY
  • Networking – 10/100M Ethernet
  • Peripherals – FlexCAN, UART, I2C, FlexSPI, USB OTG, SPDIF/DiGMIC, etc…
  • Security
    • i.MX 8ULP – EdgeLock secure enclave
    • i.MX 8ULP-CS – Microsoft Pluton enabled on EdgeLock secure enclave
  • Power Management – RISC-V powered Power Management Subsystem (µpower)
  • Packages – FCBGA 9.4 X 9.4 mm2; MAPBGA 15 x 15 mm2
  • Temperature Range – -40°C – 105°C
NXP i.MX 8ULP-CS (cloud secured)
NXP i.MX 8ULP-CS Block Diagram

NXP will offer support for Linux and Android on the Arm Cortex-A35 core(s), and real-time operating systems on the Cortex-M33 core with FreeRTOS the most commonly used option on other i.MX 8 heterogeneous processors.

Just like in i.MX 9, NXP’s Energy Flex architecture implementation combines heterogeneous domain computing, design techniques, and optimized process technology, 28nm FD-SOI in this case, in order to offer lower power consumption. There’s also a RISC-V power management subsystem that offers more than 20 power modes.

EdgeLock secure enclave aims to simplify complex security implementations, and in i.MX 8ULP-CS specifically contains a Microsoft Pluton to bring Azure Sphere certification and enable ultra-low-power, secure edge to cloud security.

Azure Sphere i.MX 8ULP- CSNXP did not provide availability information for the new processor. You may find additional information in the announcement and preliminary product pages.

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3 Replies to “NXP unveils i.MX 8ULP Cortex-A35/M33 secure processors with optional Azure Sphere certification”

  1. >i.MX 8ULP-CS – One Arm Cortex-A35 @ 1.0 GHz and Arm Cortex-M33 @ 216 MHz

    I really hope someone makes some cheap-ish solder down modules with this.
    If other Cortex A35 chips are anything to go by this should be very good on juice.

    1. I’m sure i.MX 7ULP will come out eventually. It often takes years before this type of chip becomes broadly available.

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