A20-SOM EUR 35 Dual Core Cortex-A7 at 1Ghz prototypes complete


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A20-SOM is low cost SOM module which allow rapid product development. It targets customers who want to do custom solutions based on A20 Dual Core SoC but without having to deal with multi layer PCBs with controlled impedance and BGA assembly.

A20-SOM is with these features:

  • A20 Cortex-A7 Dual Core 1Ghz, NEON, Mali-400 GPU, VPU with H.264 encoding and decoding
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • AXP209 power manegment IC
  • micro SD card connector
  • 32Khz crystal for RTC
  • power LED
  • status LED
  • reset, power and recovery buttons
  • optional NAND flash
  • console UART connector
  • 240 pin connectors 0.05″

The price of A20-SOM will be EUR 35 / 1000 pcs the A20-SOM-4GB with 4GB NAND Flash on it will be EUR 39 / 1000 pcs.

A20 have complete Linux support with 3.4 Kernel made by Linux-Sunxi community.

Mali-400 open source drivers are complete and perform faster than original ARM binary blobs.

Recent announcement for CedarX VPU open source drivers success based on reverse engineering was also done.

This means it’s matter of time A20 to have complete free open source drivers for both GPU and VPU making it most open source friendly Dual Core SOC on the market, none of other ARM devices have open source drivers (without binary blobs) for the VPU and GPUs.

As announced here A20 will be available for minimum 5 years, which makes it good option for products with long life.

A20-SOM-EVB is evaluation board based on A20-SOM module and is routed on 2 layers only.

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A20-SOM-EVB is done to explore all features of A20 but the files are available and customers can tailor it to their needs.

  • connectors to accomodate A20-SOM
  • Gigabit Ethernet connector and PHY
  • SATA connector and power supply connector
  • USB hosts x2
  • USB-OTG
  • LCD connector to connect to A13-LCD4.3TS (480×272), A13-LCD7TS (800×480), A13-LCD10TS (1024×600) and the new A20-LCD15.6 (1366х768)
  • HDMI connector
  • VGA connector
  • 2 Mpix 30 fps camera module
  • LiPo battery connector, the board can work with LiPo battery as if it have UPS
  • Audio In
  • Audio Out
  • SD-MMC card connector
  • 7 buttons for Android apps
  • two UEXT connectors
  • power supply 6-16V input with DC/DC converter
  • All A20 GPIOs available on 0.1″ prototyping friendly step boxed connectors to connect with ICD ribbon cable to your other hardware

A20-SOM-EVB (including A20-SOM) will cost EUR 80 and A20-SOM-4GB-EVB (including A20-SOM-4GB) will cost EUR 85.

A20-SOM / A20-SOM-EVB now are extensively tested, the mass production will follow in October-November.

45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SencillamenteIvan
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 13:04:50

    It’s great.
    We’re waiting for something like this to use it in a new product that will reach the market in October, or November. (Now we are using olinuxino A10s)
    When could we buy a development board?
    Do you have more information? I’m interested in pinout, board dimensions and EVB

    Thanks!

    Reply

  2. TradieTrev
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 16:37:58

    “Making it most open source friendly Dual Core SOC on the market”

    Made my day! I have seen many small linux ARM distros fail because of the “re-thinking” I would called it of the system architecture. This means good things.

    Reply

  3. Kristijan
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 16:49:21

    When will be A20-SOM-EVB schematic available? To prepare custom development for the A20-SOM.

    Reply

  4. Drago
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 17:10:21

    @Olimex, Opensource GPU driver is plain false. Yes, it has something like experimental work, but it works with precompiled shaders produced by the binary driver. It is also not integrated yet in Mesa3D, so it is far from production readiness (GLES support). Don’t mislead your potential customers.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 04, 2013 @ 17:16:08

      what I mean is http://limadriver.org/ MALI open source driver, A20 is with MALI-400 which is supported by lima project

      Reply

    • libv
      Sep 05, 2013 @ 13:14:38

      Drago, you are right, Olimex does overstate things in this entry. The current status of lima is explained in my latest blog entry: http://libv.livejournal.com/24870.html

      Lima is moving fast again though, and while _i_ still use the binary compiler to bring up the first part of the mesa driver, with all the shader ISA work done, and with a full assembler/half a compiler existing already in open-gpu-tools, it should be relatively straightforward to turn the IR that the mesa glsl compiler will spit out into proper shaders for mali.

      So yes, Olimex overstates the situation with lima, but we are not too far off for the first usable fully-free versions of an actual lima driver.

      Reply

    • libv
      Sep 05, 2013 @ 13:29:24

      About the “precompiled shaders produced by the binary driver”, this is not true. We either use the binary driver’s compiler directly, and compile shaders as needed, _or_ we use the shaders which were precompiled by Connor Abbotts open-gpu-tools. The knowledge of the hardware and driver infrastructure is quite well advanced, we just have not hooked it up to mesa yet.

      But the mesa work is now rolling well, i already have es2gears working, and should have textures working in the next few days (as described in my blog entry).

      So yes, we are not a driver yet, but we are not far off either.

      Reply

  5. Drago
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 17:29:41

    Have you tested at your site the Lima driver? Have you actually made an GLES application run with it? Is that you call “Mali-400 open source drivers are complete and perform faster than original ARM binary blobs.” !?
    If so, please make a step by step howto, to install an run the Lima driver, for one of the Mali-400 boards of yours, compiling and running one of the GLES demos.

    Reply

  6. Myname
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 18:42:58

    Great little thing that I’ll certainly buy. Looks like the nicest thing to date.

    Some questions though: What are the dimensions of SOM and EVB? Can the three displays be used at the same time? Is the camera attached with a fixed cable or is there a connector and is there documentation for it to get raw camera data?

    Also, some nitpicking: Having camera cable connector and battery connector directly on the SOM would have made sense for certain standalone hobbyist projects without a base board. Also, it looks like the microSD slot on the SOM when mounted to the EVB is where the VGA connector is, so you have to remove the SOM to change the microSD card. The slot would have been better placed where the SATA connector is, or even better on top of the board instead of the bottom side, so that it could be used without removing the SOM each time. Regarding thermal aspects, I also wonder whether having the SoC on top would be useful, since a heatsink could be placed there.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 04, 2013 @ 19:51:42

      I’m not sure for the 3 displays at same time, but HDMI and LCD work together without problem and even with different video settings
      having everything on the SOM may be good for one and bad for other this is why we put just the bare minimum, if you want camera – just make small snap-on board and snap it to the SOM😉
      good point for the SD card – we didn’t think one would remove it as it carry the OS, and EVB is just example anyone can make his own version with different placement of the components
      A20 do not need heatsink to operate

      Reply

  7. name
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 19:40:05

    I complain A20 SoC, it is 55nm geometry, too much! It becames too much hot, no good for embedded use. I wait the version with a SoC made in 28nm.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 04, 2013 @ 19:48:57

      can you define “too much hot” in technical terms? at what clock, what power consumption with what PMU chip and what temperature you measure on A20? as our observations are quite otherwise😉 Cortex-A7 are less power hungry than Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 so A20 runs quite cool at least on our boards

      Reply

      • Random
        Sep 04, 2013 @ 20:28:32

        Since you’re currently busy testing the boards, please make some power consumption measurements while you’re at it and publish the figures here. I can’t wait to get one.🙂 Will it allow to built a multi-monitor system using HDMI and VGA simultaneously? You only mentioned LCD and HDMI simultaneous setup; VGA and HDMI would be most useful to build a nice computer from this, though. Then, some people would probably also like to have an enclosure for it and you should consider offering one as you did for Duinomite-Mega (just quickly checked your online shop for it but couldn’t find the box, so I’m not sure if you actually ever sold one, I only know that another shop had it).

      • name
        Sep 05, 2013 @ 01:22:40

        for “OLIMEX Ltd” and “Bobby”.
        To me, one nice side of ARM soc is absence of fan cooler and passive dissipator, i was earler buyer of cuboieboard months ago. As far i know both A10 and A20 (http://www.kilwatablet.com/tabletnews/item/129-comparison-of-dual-core-tablet-soc-rk3168-from-rockchip-vs-allwinner-a20), are 55nm. I have Cubieboard (A10) clocked at 1.1Ghz and I use it with Linux as desktop application (mail, internet, word processing). I am not a technitian but a simple end user. I can touch A10 with finger: it is warm but I can stay with finger on without problem. If i do the same “finger test” on Cubieboard2 (with A20) at 912Mhz, i cannot rexist with finger on. Ok, it is not techical test, but it is a result that make me to say: “I complain A20, 55nm for 2+ cores are simply too much big geometry size”. So, i delete from my “future buy” list all boards based on A20 (at least till it will be 55nm) and I will take in consideration boards with SoC with better (more little) nm geometry.

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Sep 05, 2013 @ 08:36:13

        @name A10 is Cortex-A8 while A20 is Cortex-A7 so more power efficient, sure BGA chips do not cool properly like A13 which have large metal tab on the back which when grounded properly will not allow the chip to heat more than 1-2 degrees above ambient temperature
        if the process is made on 55nm, 40nm or 28 is not so relevant for the processor overheating, as the smaller is the process the higher frequencies they run the SoC, RK3188 which is on 28 nm runs on 1.6Ghz and all designs I saw are with aluminum heatsink😉

      • name
        Sep 09, 2013 @ 00:18:02

        “if the process is made on 55nm, 40nm or 28 is not so relevant for the processor overheating, as the smaller is the process the higher frequencies they run the SoC, RK3188 which is on 28 nm runs on 1.6Ghz and all designs I saw are with aluminum heatsink”

        Process geometry *IS* relevant. A20@40/32nm could allow to have not hearsink, so it means it can be used in more large number of application. To go up with clock is not urgent, have double cpu at same clock, same dissipation, same electrical consume is a good goal. Try to place a 2core at 55nm and at 40nm into a embedded thin hardware (i.e. palmtop, smartphone, etc), you will see difference by yourself.

      • Michal
        Sep 30, 2013 @ 18:20:29

        This sounds nice.

        Yes, I was also concerned about cooling at the first glance. The A7 may be more power efficient than A8 but there are two cores of it and in practice some people report that it indeed gets hot.

        Still when using the EVB for testing you can use a room fan mounted near the board to make the board usable even in tropical weather and when making a custom application which is supposed to work in a case you can make a hole in the baseboard to make room for the heatsink.

        Sure, it would be more elegant if the board had the SoC on the top but then again the baseboard mating connectors are not going to be zero height so you get a more compact solution with the heatsink on the bottom.

    • Bobby
      Sep 04, 2013 @ 20:45:39

      Do you have a source for your claims that AllWinner A20 is based on 55 nm process technology? I’ve seen that A10/A13/A10S are 55nm but A20/A31/A31S are all 40 nm. Freescale i.MX6 is 40 nm too. The only Chinese ARM SoC @ 28 nm is Rockchip RK3188 AFAIK.

      Reply

  8. Fabry
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 22:47:26

    AMLogic AML8276-M8 is at 28nm also, and it seems to be more powerful than RK3188.
    QuadCore A9 at 2GHz, Mali450 GPU (two times faster than RK3188), 128bit ram bus

    Reply

  9. iso9660
    Sep 06, 2013 @ 13:25:54

    These are amazing news!
    I expect the camera and the SATA interface to work in Linux, not only in Android.

    Reply

  10. jonsmirl
    Sep 06, 2013 @ 19:47:36

    Is there a way to do a lower cost version of this SOM – say A10 and 256 or 512MB RAM like the A13 module? Get the price nearer to EUR 20.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 06, 2013 @ 21:19:38

      A10 and A20 prices are same, so no cost saving by change of the processor
      as you see A20-SOM have 240 signals and can’t be shrink to A13-SOM size

      Reply

  11. Mailname
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 00:21:49

    I’ve read about different electrical SD cards interfaces (3.3V, 1.8V). UHS-II cards even have additional pins and 0.4V signals. What sort of SD cards are supported at their highest speed modes (i.e., not switching to any lower speed compatibility mode) in this board?

    Reply

  12. Fabry
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 04:17:27

    AllWinner A23 launched (same as A20 but at 1.5GHz) and in volume production for October

    Possible upgrades for this and other A20 Product ?

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 08, 2013 @ 08:30:33

      your information is wrong, A23 is in TQFP package and not A20 replacement
      “launched” is hard to say as it’s not even on Allwinnertech’s web site

      Reply

  13. Olivierc67
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 00:28:10

    Yeeeees : Gigabit Ethernet
    Thanks a lot.

    Reply

  14. Nupe
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 00:09:18

    I think, the Wandboard guys had the nice idea to add through-hole power connectors to their modules to allow their usage without a base board. Some people might find this interesting for your modules, too. If there is still some unused space left, you might consider adding such a connection, since my guess would be that this would not add any cost to manufacturing but could allow thinner designs. Might also be used to connect a battery.

    Reply

  15. Nupe
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 00:11:12

    I forgot to provide a link that shows the through-hole connector: http://wandboard.org/images/blog/20130905-wb-unplugged.png

    Reply

  16. KorayD
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 21:35:04

    How about uarts, may we use uarts directly (ttyS*) ? Did u make a solution?

    Reply

  17. RS
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 05:58:59

    Will you be publishing the schematics for the SOM board or just the motherboard? If yes, any idea for a date?
    Thanks

    Reply

  18. balaji
    Sep 22, 2013 @ 12:52:33

    Will it be possible to have also 2GB RAM SOM?

    Reply

  19. Armadn ten Doesschate
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 21:40:54

    It looks like that the 0.05 inch 40 pins connectors are placed such that the spacing between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd connector (in-a-row) are exactly the same just like as in the opposite site.
    So if this is true then the SOM might be placed 180 degrees in the wrong way. Better would be if the 1st and 2nd 40 pins connectors have more spacing in between than the 2dn and 3rd.

    Reply

  20. Trackback: A20-SOM Update | olimex
  21. Angel G
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 16:51:37

    This board looks great, I just get happy to know it exists. But I remember that Olimex was going to dump AllWinner CPUs due to bad/lacking/incorrect documentation in favor of TI ARM processors. What happened ? Did the AllWinner provide correct documentation or their products just happened to stick to the ARM Inc documentation ?

    Reply

  22. PrzemekC
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 17:53:42

    There is a geat potential in this board, but why would you palce the connectors at the same side as A20? A20 will be facing the dockinng board, no with no room to add radiator.

    Reply

  23. kbro
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 23:08:26

    Any update on a release date for this? There’s lots of interest, if the forums are anything to go by!

    Reply

  24. ekolo
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 04:26:08

    Hi Olimex, I ask the same question as Angel G.

    Where is Olimex going with future SoCs? We are trying to settle on a processor/board for our system and need to be very careful.

    Reply

  25. Tony G
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 16:21:02

    @ekolo Olimex didn’t respond, but the news are that allwinner at least hired a linux engineer (in China). I suspect that either they released more docs to make Olimex happy or Olimex got/reverse engineered a reference design for the next allwinners (A20).

    Reply

  26. thomas
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 15:13:28

    Hi, will the SOM be providing also Port H at one of the extension headers?
    And finally annoying question again, any update on a release date?🙂
    Thx

    Reply

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