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96Boards SBCs host Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules

Sep 30, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,562 views

[Updated: Nov. 7] — Gumstix announced two SBCs based on Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules, and built to 96Boards CE and IE form-factor specifications, respectively.

At Linaro Connect Las Vegas 2016, where earlier this week Linaro’s 96Boards.org announced a new 96Boards IoT Edition (IE) spec, Gumstix announced support for 96Boards.org’s open SBC standards with two new single-board computers. Both SBCs will be available for purchase in October.

The “Nodana 96BCE” is the first x86-based 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) board to use quad-core Atom T5700 or T5500 SoCs from Intel’s new Broxton line of Atoms via the Intel Joule computer-on-module. The 48 x 24 x 3.5mm Intel Joule module ships with an IoT-oriented Ostro Linux distribution, and integrates WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as support for Intel RealSense 3D cameras. (Further details are below.)



Gumstix’s new 96Boards SBCs: Nodana 96BCE (left) and Radium 96BIE

The “Radium 96BIE” board is also based on an Intel COM, but not one that runs Linux. Instead, the board incorporates an Intel Curie module based on Intel’s MCU-like Quark SE processor. The Radium 96BIE complies with the new 96Boards IE spec, which is also used by a new Cortex-M4-based SeeedStudio BLE Carbon SBC. Like the Carbon, the Radium 96BIE offers Bluetooth LE, in this case enabled by the Curie module. (Further details are below.)


Intel Joule (left) and Curie modules
(click images to enlarge)

The announcements represent a strengthening of the new pact between Intel and Gumstix, which has previously focused on ARM boards, including its Overo and DuoVero modules and related carrier boards. More recently Gumstix has announced a number of Geppetto-customizable carrier board spins of popular ARM platforms ranging from the Raspberry Pi Compute Module to Arrow’s Qualcomm-backed, 96Boards-compatible DragonBoard 410c.

Last month, in conjunction with Intel’s Joule unveiling, Gumstix announced six Geppetto-customizable carrier boards for the Joule. These include a special Joule version of the AeroCore 2 UAV controller board, which had also been adapted for the DragonBoard 410c offering. There are also Joule Workstation, IoT Sensor, Multi-flasher, Interposer, and HTPC boards.

The mezzanine connector for the 96Boards CE specification is already supported in Geppetto D2O, and support for the IoT Edition’s 30-pin low speed expansion connector is in development. As a result, developers can now use Geppetto to “rapidly customize, design and manufacture small form-factor mezzanine boards for the Nodana and Radium, and all 96Boards-compliant products,” says Gumstix. This support extends to development of mezzanine boards for the growing number of ARM-based 96Boards SBCs

 
Nodana 96BCE

The Nodana 96BCE appears to be the first x86-based 96Boards SBC, and the first Joule-based 96Boards sandwich-style SBC. The $89 price for the Nodana 96BCE board does not include the cost of a Joule module, which is expected to be around $160 and $210 for the Joule 550x and 570x, respectively, bringing the total to around $250 or $300 depending on Joule model.



Nodana 96BCE, viewed from both sides
(click images to enlarge)

In comparison, the Snapdragon 410-based DragonBoard 410c is still the cheapest 96Boards CE SBC at $75. Others are slightly higher than that, and some are much higher. For example, MediaTek’s CE-compliant, 10-core Helio X20-based MediaTek X20 Development Board unveiled in June went on sale this week for $199, and LeMaker’s AMD Cortex-A57 A1100-based Lemaker Cello costs $299.


Nodana 96BCE detail (left) and 96Boards CE spec mechanical details
(click images to enlarge)

Although Gumstix does not mention which versions of the Joule are supported by the Nodana 96BCE carrier board, it appears likely that all Joule versions will work. The Joule 550x uses the Atom T5500, with 1.6GHz base clock speed, and offers 3GB LPDDR4 RAM and 8GB eMMC flash. The 570x uses the similarly quad-core Atom T5700 with 1.7GHz base and 2.4GHz bursis expected to be available t speed, and offers 4GB RAM and 16GB flash. Other Joule features are the same, including Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display, 802.11ac WiFi with optional MIMO, and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE.

Gumstix is supporting the Nodana 96BCE with Windows IoT, Ostro Linux and Yocto Linux OSes, according to an email from the company. The Joule module itself is not open source, but its carrier boards are, including the Gumstix options.

The Nodana 96BCE is further equipped with 2x USB 3.0 host ports, a USB 3.0 Type-C port, a microSD slot, and an HDMI port. There’s also an I2S audio interface and the standard 96Boards CE 40-pin low speed connector and 60-pin high speed connector. The 40-pin connector offers interfaces including I2C, SPI, and UART, while the 60-pin connector offers MIPI DSI and USB 2.0.

 
Radium 96BIE

The Radium 96BIE conforms to the 60 x 30mm 96Boards IE form-factor specification, and is built around the Intel Curie module, which in turn integrates an Intel Quark SE CPU. The Quark SE offers a full Intel x86 instruction set architecture, as well as the Pentium support found on earlier Quarks.



Radium 96BIE front (left) and back views
(click images to enlarge)

The RTOS-ready Curie is further equipped with 80KB of SRAM, 384KB of flash, Bluetooth Low Energy, and a 6-axis IMU. Although Gumstix does not mention OS specifics, the Curie typically runs the Linux Foundation’s open source, IoT-oriented Zephyr RTOS, which also runs on SeeedStudio’s 96Boards IE-compliant BLE Carbon board.


Radium 96BIE detail (left) and 96Boards IE spec mechanical details
(click images to enlarge)

The Radium 96BIE is further equipped with the 30-pin IE expansion connector, as well as a USB Type-C port, a micro-USB port for console access, and an FTDI FT232RQ USB/UART interface. There’s also a U.FL connector for the BLE radio. The board’s DC power is supplied through the USB Type-C port.


Intel Curie module features
(click image to enlarge)

 
Further information

The $89 Nodana 96BCE (Joule module not included) and $75 Radium 96BIE (includes soldered-on Curie module) will be available for purchase in October, presumably with shipments beginning shortly thereafter. The Joule 550x and 570x modules are expected to be priced around $160 and $210, in single units. More details may be found at Gumstix’s Nodana 96BCE and Radium 96BIE product pages.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

2 responses to “96Boards SBCs host Intel Joule and Curie IoT modules”

  1. Chris Tyler says:

    The LeMaker Cello board is based on an AMD part that uses the ARM architecture (quad core cortex-a57) not x86_64. Therefore these are the first x86 boards compatible with the Linaro-backed 96boards spec.. They are expensive and don’t benefit from Linaro’s ARM-centric software ecosystem, so it will be interesting to see if they can gain traction.

    • HackerBoards says:

      Good catch! One easily forgets that AMD is an ARM supplier these days 😉
      (of course, it’s also easy to forget that Microsoft now offers an embedded “bash” — aka ubuntu — as a special feature of Windows 10.1 anniv. rev.)

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