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World’s smallest i.MX6 module has onboard WiFi, eMMC

Apr 24, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 4,653 views

Variscite unveiled a 50 x 20mm “DART-MX6” module that runs Linux or Android on the Freescale i.MX6, with up to 64GB eMMC flash and -40 to 85°C support.

Variscite’s claim that the 50 x 20mm DART-MX6 is the world’s smallest computer-on-module based on Freescale’s i.MX6 system-on-chip appears to be a valid one. It beats the smallest ones we’ve seen to date: TechNexion’s 40 x 36mm PICO-IMX6, and Solid-Run’s 47 x 30mm microSOM i4. It’s also just a hair larger than Variscite’s own 52 x 17mm DART-4460, which is based on a dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, and Gumstix’s slightly larger 58 x 17mm Overo modules, which use TI Sitara AM37xx SoCs.

Variscite’s tiny new DART-MX6
(click image to enlarge)

Amazingly, the DART-MX6 appears to have almost all the same features as Variscite’s recently released, i.MX6 based VAR-SOM-DUAL module, which has the same 68 x 33mm footprint as the earlier VAR-SOM-SOLO. The module lacks these previous modules’ 512MB NAND flash, and its 1GB of RAM is limited to LPDDR2 instead of DDR3, but it similarly offers 4GB to 64GB eMMC flash.

Otherwise, the only thing that appears to be missing compared to the DUAL is the SODIMM edge connector. Instead, the DART-MX6 connects to carrier boards, such as the available VAR-DT6CustomBoard (see farther below), via a pair of 80-pin connectors, as well as a 50-pin connector.

DART-MX6, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Like Variscite’s earlier, SODIMM-style VAR-SOM-MX6_V2, which arrived last September in between the VAR-SOM-SOLO and -DUAL, the DART-MX6 supports the full range of Freescale’s Cortex-A9 based i.MX6 SoCs, including the quad-core version. Yet, while these earlier modules clocked the i.MX6 to 1GHz — or 1.2GHz in the case of the VAR-SOM-MX6_V2 — the DART-MX6 is limited to 800MHz.

The DART-MX6, which is aimed at portable and battery operated embedded systems, offers the same TI WiLink8 module as the VAR-SOM-DUAL, providing dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n with optional MIMO, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. Other similar features include a gigabit Ethernet PHY, plus interfaces including HDMI, dual-channel LVDS, MIPI-DSI, and digital and parallel camera ports.

DART-MX6 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Additional I/O includes dual USB 2.0 ports, PCIe, CAN, and much more. The module is available in three temperature ranges, including -40 to 85°C. The DART-MX6 supports Yocto and Ubuntu Linux, Android 4.4, and WEC 7 & 2013.

Specifications listed for the DART-MX6 include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 (1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 cores @ 800MHz) Vivante GPU with 2D/3D graphics acceleration
  • Memory:
    • 512MB to 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
    • 4GB to 64GB eMMC flash
  • Display:
    • HDMI 1.4 (1920 x 1080)
    • 2x 24-bit LVDS (1920 x 1200)
    • 1x MIPI DSI (24-bit, 1920 x 1200)
    • Touchscreen support
  • Wireless — TI WiLink8 module with 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4/5GHz (with optional MIMO) and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet PHY
  • Other I/O (2x 80- and 1x 50-pin connectors):
    • SDIO/MMC
    • 2x USB 2.0 (1x host, 1x OTG)
    • Audio — line-in, line out, digital mic-in; S/PDIF
    • Camera — CSI; 2x CPI
    • 3x UART (up to 3.6Mbps)
    • 2x I2C
    • 2x SPI
    • 1x or 2x CAN
  • Expansion — PCIe Gen2 interface
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C, -20 to 70°C, or -40 to 85°C
  • Power — 3.7V DC supply voltage; 3.3V I/O voltage
  • Dimensions — 50 x 20 x 4mm
  • Operating system — Yocto and Ubuntu Linux; Android 4.4; WEC 7 & 2013

VAR-DVK-DT6 with VAR-DT6CustomBoard

The DART-MX6 can be purchased with a VAR-DVK-DT6 evaluation kit, which includes a VAR-DT6CustomBoard, along with a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. The kit also provides a power supply, cables, and documentation.

VAR-DT6CustomBoard (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The 11.7 x 8.7cm VAR-DT6CustomBoard is equipped with coastline HDMI 1.4, gigabit Ethernet, USB host, and USB OTG ports. Audio jacks are also available. If you use up the module’s onboard eMMC flash, you can expand with an SD slot.


The VAR-DT6CustomBoard features onboard LCDS and DSI display connections, as well as MIPI-CSI and parallel camera interfaces. Additional interfaces include CAN, PWM, and various serial interfaces, as well as micro-USB and JTAG debug. The 5V DC board includes an RTC with battery backup.

Further information

The DART-MX6 will start at $69 for OEM purchases of 1,000+ units, and the VAR-DVK-DT6 evaluation kit will be priced at $299 for a single unit. A shipping date was not listed. More information may be found at Variscite’s DART-MX6 product page.

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One response to “World’s smallest i.MX6 module has onboard WiFi, eMMC”

  1. Gergely Imreh says:

    Interestingly, in the datasheet they also describe connectivity in terms of “SO-DIMM 200 Pin Mux” (Section 3.2), but there’s practically nothing mentioned elsewhere in the documents on the page that I could find. Is there also another hardware variant with SO-DIMM, or what am I missing?

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