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High-end boards run Linux on 64-bit ARM QorIQ SoCs

Jun 7, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,146 views

X-ES launched an XMC/PrPMC mezzanine module, and will soon ship a VPX SBC using quad- and octa-core 64-bit ARM QorIQ SoCs.

Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) announced two Linux ready, XPedite branded boards for high-end embedded computing and networking applications. Unlike the most recent XPedite boards we’ve covered — the Intel Atom-based XPedite8150 and Xpedite8152 — the now shipping XPedite6401 XMC/PrPMC mezzanine module and upcoming XPedite6370 3U VPX-REDI Single Board Computer (SBC) use NXP’s 64-bit ARM QorIQ SoCs.

The XPedite6401 taps the quad-core, 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 QorIQ LS1043A that we saw last Fall in a Freescale (now NXP) QorIQ LS1043A residential gateway reference design. The XPedite6370 will use a newer NXP QorIQ LS2088A SoC with eight, more powerful, 2GHz Cortex-A72 cores.

XPedite6401 (left) and XPedite6370
(click images to enlarge)

Just like the old PowerPC architecture QoriQ SoCs, the new 64-bit ARM-based QorIQs from NXP are primarily aimed at networking duty, offering a variety of acceleration and network security engines. Both the XPedite6401 and XPedite6370 ship with BSPs for Linux, Wind River VxWorks, and Green Hills Integrity. Both boards are available with various ruggedization levels up to X-ES Level 5, which gives you -40 to 85°C support and greater shock and vibration resistance.


Like the circa-2009 XPedite5102 board based on a Freescale MPC 8640D PowerPC processor, the XPedite6401 uses the uses the XMC form factor maintained by VMEbus originator Vita. XMC is designed for the PMC (PCI mezzanine card) expansion card format. Like the circa-2010 XPedite5470, which was built around Freescale’s octa-core, PowerPC, QorIQ P4080 SoC, the XPedite6401 also provides a PrPMC interface.

(click image to enlarge)

The XPedite6401 ships with a quad-core LS1043A, but other options include a quad-core LS1048A, which boosts the clock rate from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz, as well as a dual Cortex-A53 LS1023A SoC. On the high end you can opt for the octa-core Cortex-A53 QorIQ LS1088A. With this option, the board supports up to 16GB of DDR4-2100 ECC SDRAM versus up to 8 GB of DDR4-1600 ECC SDRAM for the other configurations. You also get up to 256MB NOR flash and up to 16GB NAND flash.

The 149 x 74mm, conduction cooled board provides a 66/33 MHz PrPMC 32-bit bus with a PCIe interface. This is PCIe Gen2 x1, except for on the octa-core LS1088A model, which offers Gen 3 x4.

XPedite6401 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

An XMC P15 site provides dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual RS-232/422/485 ports, and dual USB 2.0 ports, as well as 3.3V GPIO. A separate XMC P16 I/O site provides for two more RS-232/422/485 ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a 6Gbps SATA port, as well as two more Base-T Gigabit Ethernet ports. Options on the P16 site include a pair of 1000BASE-X Ethernet ports and a pair of 10GBASE-KR Ethernet ports.


The XPedite6370, which is an SBC rather than a mezzanine module, uses a more powerful QorIQ LS2088A SoC with eight Cortex-A72 cores clocked to up to 2.0GHz. The SoC integrates a 128-bit NEON-based SIMD engine for each core, thereby supporting DSP-level floating point performance and an extensive inventory of software libraries, says X-ES.

(click image to enlarge)

Like the aforementioned XPedite5470, the board uses the VPX REDI format governed by The OpenVPX standard, the latest in a line of mil/aero-focused VPX specifications maintained by Vita. The XPedite6370 is a 3U VPX (VITA 46) board, and is said to be compatible with multiple VITA 65 OpenVPX slot profiles.

The SBC supports up to 16GB of DDR4-2100 ECC SDRAM, with up to 256MB NOR and up to 32GB NAND flash. A VPX (VITA 46) P1 site provides for a 10GbE XAUI Fat Pipe interface or four 10GBASE-KR Ethernet ports. It also houses dual SerDes Gigabit Ethernet ports (or a 10/100/1000BASE-T port), plus a PCIe x4 or 4x SGMII interfaces. Also listed is “X12d XMC P16 I/O.”

XPedite6370 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

A separate VPX (VITA 46) P2 site adds a 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet port, up to four RS-232/422/485 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, plus I2C and GPIO. You also get dual 6Gbps SATA ports and optional PMC P14 I/O.

There is also a XMC/PrPMC site that gives you a 32-bit, 66MHz PCI bus (PMC interface) and dual PCIe slots (XMC interface). It also offers X12d P16 I/O support and optional P14 I/O. The 160 x 100mm board can be conduction- or air-cooled.

Further information

The XPedite6401 is available now and the XPedite6370 is coming soon. No pricing was available. More information may be found at the X-ES XPedite6401 and XPedite6370 product pages.

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