Arm/Intel Windows systems-on-module come with modular eMMC or/and RAM modules

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about a Windows CE (WinCE) compatible module,  but apparently, those are still being developed with China-based UNERON offering eSOM335x Windows CE system-on-module based on Texas Instruments AM335x Arm Cortex-A8 processor, and eSOM3735z Windows 10 module equipped with an Intel Atom Z3735G processor.

What’s even more intriguing is that the company relies on replaceable & upgradable eMMC flash and RAM modules for the Arm SoM, and while the 1GB RAM is soldered on the Intel module, it’s still possible to upgrade the eMMC flash that way. We’ve seen eMMC modules on several single board computers in the past including ODROID-C4  or Renegade SBC, but I think it’s the first time I see this option on a system-on-module.

UNERON eSOM335x AM335x system-on-module

am335x system-on-module replaceable emmc & ram

Specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instrumentx Sitara AM3358BZCZA100 Arm Cortex-A8 up to 1GHz with PowerVR SGX530 3D GPU (optional AM3359, AM3354, or AM3352)
  • System Memory – 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, or 1024MB DDR3L 16-bit RAM via replaceable module
  • Storage – 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB eMMC 4.3 flash via replaceable
  • 204-pin SO-DIMM connector
    • Storage – SD card
    • Display – 24-bit Parallel Data Output up to 2048×2048 (Tested with 1024 x 768 display)
    • Audio
      • Headphone (stereo), MIC (Mono)
      • Stereo LineOut but not implemented on OS
      • Stero LineIn but not implemented on OS
    • Networking – Up to 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • USB – 2x USB host port (optional dual OTG function)
    • Other peripherals
      • 5x UART (Rx,Tx)
      • Up to 2x SPI,  up to 3x SPI
      • Up to 2x CAN bus
      • 8x 12-bit Analog Inputs
      • 17x GPIO by default, up to 77 with a different processor (AM3359)
  • Supply Voltage – 5V DC up to 700mA (Max)
  • Dimensions – 67.6 x 44.0 x 5.6 mm
  • Temperature Range – 20 to +80°C

UNERON eSOM335xThe company supports WinCE by default, but can also provide Debian on request. By WinCE, the company actually means the more recent Windows Embedded Compact 7, as we can find in a Google Drive folder with additional resources including drivers, code samples, documentation, PCB files for the carrier board shown below as part of a development kit.

WinCE development kit

UNERON eSOM3735z SoM

The Intel system-on-module has the same form factor, but only the eMMC flash module is replaceable.

Intel Atom System-on-ModuleeSOM3735z SoM specifications:

  • SOC – Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor @ 1.33 to 1.83 GHz with 2MB cache, Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L RAM soldered on the module
  • Storage – 8, 16, 32GB or 64GB eMMC 4.5 flash via replaceable module
  • 204-pin SO-DIMM connector with
    • Storage – SD card
    • Display – MIPI DSI and HDMI 1.4 up to 1920×1080 resolution
    • Camera – Optional dual MIPI-CSI for up to 8MP rear camera,  0.3MP front-facing camera
    • Audio – Headset, MIC (Mono), and LineOut(Stereo)
    • Networking – 10/100M Ethenret
    • USB – 4x USB host interfaces over USB hub
    • Other I/Os – 3x UART, up to 4x I2C, up to 25x GPIOs
  • Supply Voltage – 3.7 to 4.2V DC up to 1.5A
  • Dimensions – 67.6 x 44.0 x 5.6 mm
  • Temperature Range – 20 to +80°C

UNERON eSOM3735z Atom SoM

The module runs Windows 10 32-bit by default, but the company also mentions custom support for “EFI Installer OS”, which probably just means any operating system that can install through UEFI. Note that we’ve seen in the past getting all features (e.g. HDMI audio) to work with Linux on Intel Atom Z-series “Bay Trail” hardware could be challenging, although I believe most issues may have been fixed, or at least workarounds are known. Again hardware, drivers, and software resources can be found on a Google Drive folder.

Just like for the Arm module, there’s a development kit with carrier board, power supply, optional display.

Intel Atom Z3735G development kit

Availability and pricing

UNERON Arm/Intel Windows modules and development kits are available for pre-order now. eSOM335x can be found for $62 with a 512MB RAM module and 8GB eMMC flash module, while eSOM3735z system-on-module goes for $77 with a 32GB eMMC flash module. There are options to select either RAM or eMMC flash modules with different capacity, but it’s not working for me at this time. You’ll also find the eSOM335x devkit and various displays, as well as eSOM3735z development kit and the $150 ” development package” with an 8-inch display on the company’s website.

Intel Atom 8-inch display development package

 

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13 Comments
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willy
willy
3 months ago

I think it’s an excellent idea. It must be very hard to manage stocks with varying configurations, especially these days where prices can change dramatically and users’ focus can change from one model to another. For example I had to by an Odroid-N2+ with 2GB because that was the only model left in stock at one vendor. With replaceable modules it would be easier for them to flush all their stock. And such tiny connectors are great, they don’t significantly increase the required area, and might actually even help work in 3D and reuse the available space for routing. Being… Read more »

Arnd Bergmann
Arnd Bergmann
3 months ago

On the other hand two pairs of high-speed connectors to wire up a single DDR3 chip seems wasteful as well — isn’t that more expensive than the 4Gbit (512MB) chip?

willy
willy
3 months ago

For a single chip, possibly. But there is always a balance point, otherwise the same could be said about DIMM connectors then.

Sander
Sander
3 months ago

Windows CE?! Does that still exist? Let me look that up https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Embedded_Compact ah: WinCE 8.0 released in 2013, Supported until October 10, 2023.

OK … so hardware with an OS that in the last two years of being supported?

… “Interesting” …

setsunakawa
setsunakawa
3 months ago

Z3735G is not EOL ? very old cpu o_O

Sander
Sander
3 months ago

brrrrrrrrrrrr. So it’s like you buy some old stock.

Marcin Dąbrowski
3 months ago

I wonder if these memory/storage modules could be bought separately. Maybe making a “standard” around these modules could be done?

willy
willy
3 months ago

That would be great. We’ve partially seen this already with eMMC, I’m not sure which ones work the same, I believe it’s odroid c2 and firefly boards which are compatible.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 months ago

Personally tested/interchanged eMMC modules between ODROIDs, Pine64 boards and Radxa (RockPi and ‘Ficus’, the discontinued server board called ROCK960 Enterprise Edition). RockPi added a separate row of pins just for rigidity not carrying electrical signals.

But there’s limited compatibility also between boards of the same vendor (caused by 4-bit- vs. 8-bit access for example) and I would recommend reading Hardkernel’s eMMC compatibility page in their wiki.

willy
willy
3 months ago

Great, thanks for sharing. With a bit more efforts from various vendors, all of them could benefit from such practices. The extra connectors cost could be totally offset by the single board, and they could rely on some flash vendors to provide their modules in the suitable format (usually it’s rather something for JEDEC to standarize around such connectors, but it’s probably not needed to make things *that* official). Having intercheangeable DRAM modules could also help getting the crappy DDR training SPL code out of their blobs and really have to adapt to whatever chip is connected (within a small… Read more »

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