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VIA’s first ARM COM runs Linux on a 1GHz dual-core i.MX6

Sep 23, 2015 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 879 views

VIA revealed its first ARM based computer-on-module: the “QSM-8Q60,” which is also its first COM of any kind to adopt the 70 x 70mm Qseven 2.0 form-factor.

VIA Technologies has a long history as developer of CPUs and chipset silicon, as the creator of several popular single-board computer standards including Mini-ITX, Pico-ITX, and Nano-ITX, and as a manufacturer of SBCs conforming to those formats. Despite its limited success in competing with Intel and AMD in the x86 processor market, VIA continues to fabricate and embed its own, somewhat obscure processors such as the 64-bit x86 architecture-based Isaiah II, and ARM Cortex A9-based processors including the Elite E1000 and WonderMedia WM8950.

VIA’s new QSM-8Q60 computer-on-module is the latest expression of the company’s multi-architectural inclinations, with regard to both processors and board form-factors. The module is at once the company’s first ARM-based COM, and its first COM to adopt the industrially-oriented Qseven standard.

QSM-8Q60 front (left) and back
(click images to enlarge)

Like so many other COMs we’ve covered on LinuxGizmos, VIA’s QSM-8Q60 module is designed around Freescale’s enormously popular i.MX6 system-on-chip — in this case the dual-core, 1GHz DualLite. To this core, the module adds 2GB of DDR3-1066 SDRAM, 4GB of eMMC flash, a microSD slot, and a JTAG debug port.

QSM-8Q60 details and block diagram

On the QSM-8Q60’s 230-finger Qseven edgecard connector you’ll find signals supporting a fairly standard Qseven 2.0 set of functions. These include a gigabit Ethernet interface, one USB OTG and four USB 2.0 Host ports, HDMI and dual-channel 18/24-bit LVDS display interfaces, three COM ports, two CAN bus interfaces, and a single PCIe x1 channel.

On the software side, VIA supports the QSM-8Q60 with a Linux 3.10.53-based BSP and bootloader source code, along with a tool chain that’s said to simplify “adjustments to the kernel.” The BSP and tools also support functions implemented by the module’s “QSM-DB2” development baseboard (see farther below).

VIA says its QSM-8Q60 COM is “designed for optimum flexibility in the harshest environments and supports a “wide operating temperature of -20 to 70°C.” Targeted applications are said to include “industrial automation, transportation, medical, and infotainment.”

Specifications listed for the QSM-8Q60 COM include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 DualLite SoC (3-5W TDP; clockable up to 1.0GHz; 2D and 3D graphics and video acceleration)
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3-1066 SDRAM
  • Storage:
    • microSD socket
    • 4GB eMMC
    • 1x SATA II (optional; via 230-pin Qseven MXM connector)
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet (via 230-pin Qseven MXM connector)
  • Display (via 230-pin Qseven MXM connector):
    • HDMI v1.4 interface
    • LVDS — dual-channel 18/24-bit interface
  • Other I/O (via 230-pin Qseven MXM connector):
    • USB — 4x USB 2.0 Host ports; 1x OTG port
    • 2x COM ports (TX/RX)
    • 1x SDIO
    • 1x I2C
    • I2S audio
    • 2x CAN bus
    • SPI
    • 1x GPIO
    • 1x PCIe 2.0 x1 channel
  • Other features (via on-board I/O connectors):
    • RS232 serial debug port (in addition to the 2x COM ports on the Qseven bus)
    • MIPI CSI-2 camera port
    • Android buttons interface
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 70°C
  • Power — 5V; 3-5W typ. consumption
  • Dimensions — 70 x 70mm; Qseven 2.0
  • Operating system — Linux kernel 3.10.53

QSM-DB2 development baseboard

For evaluation and development purposes, VIA recommends using its QSM-DB2 baseboard, which has the footprint and real-world I/O format of a typical 3.5-inch SBC and provides coastline or internal connectors for access to most of the QSM-8Q60 COM’s I/O functions.

QSM-DB2 baseboard top and bottom details (left), and a photo of it with the QSM-8Q60 COM installed
(click images to enlarge)

Additionally, the baseboard supplies a Freescale SGTL5000 stereo codec, includes a reset button and LEDs for power and WiFi status, and operates from 15 to 24V DC power.

Specifications listed for the QSM-DB2 baseboard include:

  • Audio codec — Freescale SGTL5000
  • Front panel connectors and controls:
    • 2x USB 2.0 ports
    • HDMI port
    • 1x serial debug port (TX/RX)
    • 1x gigabit Ethernet port
    • 1x 10/100Mbps Ethernet port
    • Power and WiFi activity LEDs
    • Reset button
  • Internal I/O connectors:
    • LVDS
    • Audio — line-in, line-out, mic-in (on pin header)
    • 6x COM ports on pin headers (4x RS-232/422/485; 2x TX/RX only)
    • GPIO — 16x inputs and 16 outputs (on pin headers
    • I2C (on pin header)
    • 1x mini-PCIe socket
    • 1x SIM card slot
  • Power — 15 to 24V DC
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 70°C
  • Dimensions — 146 x 102mm; 3.5-inch SBC form-factor

Further information

The QSM-8Q60 COM and its QSM-DB2 baseboard are available now in sample quantities, although the boards do not currently show up at VIA Embedded’s online store. Further details may be found at VIA’s QSM-8Q60 COM product page.

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One response to “VIA’s first ARM COM runs Linux on a 1GHz dual-core i.MX6”

  1. Brohan says:

    Isaiah II is as good as cancelled last I checked.

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