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Latest iMX8 power at your fingertips

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Nov 28, 2019

The brand new NXP iMX8 System on Module family delivers true diversity in multicore processing and is ready too kick-start your next project.

With each new generation, the leading Arm®-based application processors deliver increased performance on a power budget that appeals to designers facing tough constraints such as battery life, size, and energy rating.

The latest i.MX 8 processors build on the principles of the preceding i.MX 6 series, taking the latest-generation Cortex®-A cores and combining them with the current state-of-the-art memory and communication interfaces. Single, dual, and quad configurations cover a broad performance/power spectrum, and the i.MX 8 series now integrates a Cortex-M4(F) microcontroller core for low-end and real-time workloads. It’s true heterogeneous multicore processing, delivering big-little system advantages.

At Anders, our close connections with the top embedded-board providers now give us privileged early access to the powerful new i.MX 8 Single-Board Computer (SBC)s and Computer-on-Module (CoM)s from CompuLab. Three new boards unleash the power of three key processors in the series: the i.MX 8X, i.MX 8M and i.MX 8M Mini. Generous LPDDR4 RAM, state-of-the-art display interfaces, 4K video, 1Gb Ethernet, Bluetooth® 4.2, Wi-Fi, and up to PCIe Gen 3 and USB3.0, give developers flexible options to target specific application opportunities.

What i.MX8 System on Module Should I Choose for Best GPU and DSP Performance?

The CL-SOM-iMX8X system-on-module features the i.MX 8X processor with four Cortex-A35 cores at 1.2GHz and a 266MHz Cortex-M4F. Also containing the Vivante GC7000Lite GPU, and as the first i.MX processor to feature the Tensilica® HiFi 4 DSP, it can deliver amazing user-interface sophistication and speed.

The HiFi 4 block is a breakthrough feature for this class of SOM. With two-times the performance of the preceding HiFi 3, it enables DSP-intensive applications like digital assistant front-end processing on embedded systems for IoT and smart-city use cases. It can also handle neural-network-based automatic speech recognition (ASR), for embedded AI and machine-learning applications, and multi-channel object-based audio that optimises sound effects in real-time according to the surrounding acoustics. In the past, this has required multiple DSP chips but can now be done on the CL-SOM-iMX8X.

In addition, CL-SOM-iMX8X users get the choice of PCIe Gen 3 or IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi, while the optional DDR-RAM Error-Correcting Code (ECC) support makes this the first SIL-3 safety-certifiable i.MX device creating a solid platform for safety-critical industrial automation and equipment such as robots and drones.

Which i.MX 8 Boards can Handle 4K Video?

The CL-SOM-iMX8 comes with the i.MX 8M processor, which contains a high-performance Video Processing Unit (VPU) alongside dual 1.5GHz Cortex-A53s and the Cortex-M4 and Vivante GC7000Lite. Perfect for applications such as digital signage and high-speed industrial vision inspection, as well as consumer media-streaming devices, the VPU provides up to 4Kp60 Ultra-HD video playback (HEVC/H.265) and multimedia support including MPEG4, and DIVX. The outstanding media-handling capabilities continue with two high-speed USB3.0 dual-role ports, or one USB3.0 and if Bluetooth 4.2 is included.

What are the Best Use Cases for the i.MX 8M Mini?

Where power constraints and performance demands are especially tough, and where space is at a premium too, the UCM-IMX8M Mini System On Module leverages NXP’s i.MX 8M Mini processor: the first i.MX 8 device to feature advanced 14nm FinFET technology. Efficient in every respect, the board measures just 28mm x 38mm x 4mm and consumes from as little as 0.5W to just 3W depending on configuration.

The UCM-IMX8M Mini delivers all this without compromising important features: up to 400MHz Cortex-M4, 1080p60 H.264 video, a GC NanoUltra GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0 and Open VG 1.1, MIPI display and camera interfaces, and two USB2.0 ports. With integrated security features including a true random-number generator (TRNG), secure RAM, secure key storage, crypto accelerators and Arm TrustZone technology, this board is ideal for embedded industrial and IoT applications.

What Support is Available for i.MX 8 Development?

The boards come with Linux and Android support, and FreeRTOS for the Cortex-M4F will follow.

At Anders we have extensive experience of i.MX processors and Arm-based development in general. While we continue to maximise the potential of the i.MX 6 generation, with its assured longevity for industrial applications. i.MX 8 now takes everything up to the next level. We already have the inside track including access to the leading embedded boards and software releases. If you’re ready to raise the bar with your next embedded project, give us a call to discuss the options.

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