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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tiny module includes 1.2GHz CPU, Wi-Fi - News - Linux for Devices

Tiny module includes 1.2GHz CPU, Wi-Fi
By Jonathan Angel

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Anders Electronics announced a diminutive COM (computer on module) featuring Marvell's 1.2GHz Armada 510 CPU. The Linux-ready CM-A510 offers functionality including 1GB of DDR3 memory, up to 512MB of flash storage, a camera interface, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and onboard Wi-Fi, the company says.

Anders' new CM-A510 includes the 1.2GHz Marvell Armada 510 processor, which began sampling about a year ago (and about which background is provided later in this story). The module can run most up-to-date Linux distros or their derivatives, according to the London-based company.

The Anders CM-A510
(Click to enlarge)

According to Anders, the CM-A510 measures 2.95 x 2.55 inches (75 x 65mm), and passes all its signals to and from the outside world via twin surface-mount connectors (shown above left). No further details on the device's form factor were provided, but the company says it will offer an SB-A510 carrier board -- again, not yet detailed -- that can turn the module into a single board computer.

On-module features are said to include up to 1MB of DDR3 memory, plus up to 512MB of flash storage. The CM-A510 also offers two gigabit Ethernet interfaces and, unlike many modules so small, also includes onboard Wi-Fi (Broadcom 4319 chipset) and an external antenna connector, says Anders.

Anders says the CM-A510 also includes: a graphics controller, capable of supporting parallel RGB and analog RGB interfaces with up to 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution; 2D/3D graphics acceleration; an SATA II interface; and four USB ports.

The CM-A510 is further said to have a PCI Express interface, an SDIO/MMC interface, a camera interface, I2C, GPIO, and three serial ports. The device additionally offers an audio subsystem that has speaker, microphone, and S/PDIF support, according to Anders.

Features and specifications listed by Anders for the CM-A510 include:

  • Processor -- Marvell Armada 510 clocked at 1.2GHz
  • Memory -- up to 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 512MB of flash storage
  • Expansion:
    • PCI Express
    • SDIO/MMC
  • Networking:
    • WLAN -- 802.11b/g/n
    • LAN -- 2 x gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0
    • camera interface
    • touchscreen controller
    • audio with support for speaker, microphone, and S/PDIF
    • 3 x serial
    • SATA II interface
    • I2C
    • GPIO
  • Power requirements -- 5VDC
  • Dimensions -- 2.95 x 2.55 inches (75 x 65mm)
Rhett Evans of Anders Electronics stated, "The CM-A510 packs more processing power and more in-demand features into a low power, low cost package with a small footprint. To our clients, this ultimately translates into greater portability and performance, without compromise on either size or ease of integration."

Background on the Marvell Armada 510

Because Marvell is not only an ARM processor licensee, but also an architecture licensee, it has the right to take ARM-designed cores and use it in SoCs of its own devising. This is precisely what the chipmaker did with the initial Armada products announced last year, creating its own, unique Sheeva designs.

The company's Sheeva PJ4 architecture -- used in the Armada 500 and 600 families -- is based on the ARMv7 instruction set, previously employed by processors including those using ARM's Cortex-A8 core. Instead of employing ARM's Neon SIMD (single instruction multiple data) instruction set, however, the Armada products incorporate Wireless MMX2 technology, inherited from Intel when Marvell acquired the latter's XScale-based SoCs in 2006.

The Armada 510 clocks its Sheeva PJ4 core at 1.2GHz. It additionally offers a 32KB L1 cache and a 512KB second-level cache, plus a 2D/3D graphics accelerator that is said to support WUXGA resolution.

A block diagram of Marvell's Armada 510
(Click to enlarge)

According to Marvell's block diagram (above), the Armada 510 supports either DDR2 or DDR3 memory (533MHz or 1066MHz), can decode 1080p video, and includes the TrustZone cryptographic engine and security accelerator. Among other features, the SoC also includes a SATA port, four serial ports, gigabit Ethernet, a camera interface, S/PDIF digital audio output, and PCI Express, Marvell says.

Further information

Anders Electronics did not cite pricing, but says the CM-A510 is available now. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

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