“The new SMARC 2.0 standard is an innovative and future-proof alternative for embedded modules in small form factors”, reckons Jens Plachetka, manager for embedded boards at MSC. Adding “We’re especially glad to see that all leading CoM producers support this new standard.” As a member of the SMARC 2.0 team within the Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies (SGeT), MSC played a major role in developing the new specification over the last twelve months. In the course of discussions centering on revision of the standard the pinning of the SMARC connector was optimized for the latest high-speed interfaces plus alternative use with RISC and x86 processors. Extra to which, a number of blank but reserved pins offer adequate leeway for later expansion of the standard.
The new 2.0 version is thus compatible with V1.1 pins and enables repurposing of existing pins with new interfaces. Any risk of damage when placing legacy modules in a V2.0 compatible carrier board – or vice versa – can be forgotten. The new interfaces include a dual-channel LVDS, a second Ethernet port, IEEE 1588 trigger signals, a fourth PCIe lane, extra USB ports, x86 power management signals, eSPI and DP++. Two 24-bit LVDS, eDP (4 channels) or MIPI DSI (4 channels) can be used for the primary display, for the second either HDMI or DP++, and DP++ for the third display. Some interfaces seldom used or thought to be superfluous are exempted from the specification: parallel camera, parallel display, PCI Express presence, clock request signals, alternative function blocks, S/PDIF, one I2S and eMMC.
Apparently these innovations are right in line with what module providers are looking for: MSC is already showing a first module based on the NXP i.MX6 SoC, and will ship first samples of the SMARC 2.0 module when the SGeT issues the final specification – expected for 2Q/2016. “We’ve already started to develop a further SMARC 2.0 module for next-generation Intel Atom processors”, adds Plachetka. Adlink too is looking at Intel Atom for its first-time SMARC 2.0, in particular Apollo Lake. Solectrix implements the Xilinx SoC Zynq Z-7045 for its SMARC 2.0 module, while Kontron plans to market two SMARC modules this year setting up on the new 2.0 specification. Further producers are working on SMARC 2.0 modules, ensuring users a variety of CPU architectures and providers – a successful launch for a new standard.
embedded world 2016:
MSC Technologies Hall 2, Booth 240
Adlink Technology Hall 1, Booth 540
Solectrix Hall 4A, Booth 126
Kontron Hall 1, Booth 478