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Pico-ITX Snapdragon 600 SBC upgrade adds features

Jun 15, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,736 views

[Updated: 6PM] — Inforce upgraded its Inforce 6410 SBC to a “6410Plus” model, with the same Snapdragon 600 SoC, but with new GPS, MIPI-CSI, and MIPI-DSI features, and more.

Inforce Computing has announced a major upgrade to its 100 x 70mm, Linux- and Android-friendly, Pico-ITX form factor IFC6410 single board computer, which it introduced in 2013 to showcase Qualcomm’s quad-core, 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 APQ8064 system-on-chip (formerly known as the S4 Pro). The Snapdragon SoC stays put on the new Inforce 6410Plus SBC, along with the previous 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB of eMMC flash, and $143 price. However you get new MIPI interfaces, a beefier 12V power supply, a new GPS radio, and a shorter 16mm profile, and a new expansion connector aimed at robotics and IoT applications.

Inforce 6410

The IFC6410, now called the Inforce 6410, topped our list of boards that readers suggested we should have included in our recent open spec SBC survey. The 6410’s popularity among Linux and Android hackers can be attributed to its small, Pico-ITX form factor, solid price/performance ratio, and extensive support ecosystem Qualcomm has built up. The long list of SDKs available from Qualcomm and third parties that can be integrated with the Snapdragon 600 include Qualcomm’s open source AllJoyn IoT framework, Dronecode for UAVs, ROS for robots, FastCV computer vision, MARE for parallel computing, Trepn Eclipse plugins, Vuforia Augmented Reality, and more.

On the sidelines of the DARPA Robotics Challenge held earlier this week, where the Linux-based DRC-Hubo from Korea’s Team KAIST won the $2 million first prize award, the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) showed off an Inforce 6410-based Turtlebot robot. The Turtlebot demonstrated the Qualcomm and OSRF port of the Robot Operating System (ROS) to the Snapdragon 600, using the Inforce 6410 as the target platform.

Introducing the Inforce 6410Plus

Like the previous model, which will now only be available to OEMs, the new Inforce 6410Plus has a powerful ARM SoC under the hood. The four, 28nm-fabricated 1.7GHz “Krait” cores are considered to be on par with Cortex-A15 cores. You get Adreno 320 graphics and a 500MHz “Hexagon” QDSP6V4 DSP, enabling 24-bit QXGA (2048 x 1536 pixels) graphics resolution, along with 1080p/60fps video running simultaneously on a second display.

Inforce 6410Plus top and bottom views
(click images to enlarge)

Inforce has replaced the LVDS interface on the 6410Plus with dual MIPI-DSI interfaces that join the pre-existing micro-HDMI port. The 51-pin connector can feed simultaneous displays, with QWXGA on one display and QHD (960 × 540) on the other, and you can even drive the HDMI connection at 1080p at the same time. Meanwhile, the upgraded design now offers a dual MIPI-CSI interface, supporting two cameras up to 21-megapixels in total, on a second 51-pin connector.

Block diagrams: Inforce 6410Plus and Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
(click images to enlarge)

Other new features include GPS, a fast-boot switch for Android, and a new, integrated combo jack for headphone and mic-in connections. Inforce didn’t mention the new microSD slot, so maybe we simply missed it last time around. As before, you get a SATA interface, WiFi, Bluetooth, a GbE port, and three USB ports, one of them OTG

Another view of the Inforce 6410Plus SBC
(click image to enlarge)

Structurally, the lower 16mm height helps the board more easily fit into robots and other constrained spaces, and the beefier 12V power supply also appears to be designed with robots in mind. There’s also an improved thermal design with better heat dissipation, says Inforce.

Inforce has replaced its earlier serial and GPIO expansion connectors with a new, apparently homegrown Peripheral Abstraction Core (PAC) interface. The 34-pin PAC connector provides access to several I/O signals, including I2C, SPI, UIM, UART, serial console, and GPIO. It’s also supported with an optional PAC mezzanine adapter shield designed for robotics and IoT applications. Connectors on the PAC card “help connect” to Arduino boards as well as to Grove sensors and actuators, says Inforce.

Specifications listed for the Inforce 6410Plus SBC include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064 (4x “Krait” cores clocked at 1.7GHz); 2MB L2 cache; Adreno 320 GPU; QDSP6V4 DSP
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB PCDDR3 RAM (up to 533MHz)
    • 4GB eMMC flash, expandable to 64GB
    • MicroSD slot
    • SATA interface
  • A/V interfaces:
    • micro-HDMI port
    • dual MIPI-CSI (4/2-lanes) on 51-pin header; can connect two cameras up a total of 21-megapixel @ 15fps
    • dual MIPI-DSI (4 lanes each) on 51-pin header:
      • Primary via dual-link MIPI-DSI, 1Gbps per lane, up to QXGA (2048×1536)
      • Secondary via 4-lane MIPI-DSI, 1Gbps per lane, up to QHD (960×540)
    • HD audio in/out
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS/GLONASS
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O :
    • 2x USB 2.0 host
    • USB 2.0 OTG
    • 34-pin PAC expansion header (I2C, SPI, UIM, UART, serial console, 12x GPIO) with optional PAC shield
  • Power — 12V (5V optional) DC input; 1.5A typical; PMIC
  • Operating temp. — 0 to 70° C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 70 x 16mm (Pico-ITX)
  • Operating system — Linux 3.4-based BSPs for Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4.2 (Android 5.0 coming soon)

Further information

The Inforce 6410Plus appears to be available now for $143. More information may be found at the Inforce 6410Plus product page.

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