The compute module contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM) as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC Flash device (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). This is all integrated on to a small 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector (the same type of connector as used for laptop memory*). The Flash memory is connected directly to the processor on the board, but the remaining processor interfaces are available to the user via the connector pins. You get the full flexibility of the BCM2835 SoC (which means that many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi), and designing the module into a custom system should be relatively straightforward as we’ve put all the tricky bits onto the module itself.
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I’m afraid I don’t quite understand. Where would this be used? Is it a drop in replacement for a pi or do you need it to be connected to a DIMM socket?
@C_Elegans, it’s how embedded designers have been producing modules for years, making it fairly easy to design a custom board that only contains the required peripherals for a project, with the hard work (getting the CPU and memory to play nice together) on a separate ‘module’.
In theory, this allows you to more easily design your own board. Look how sparsly populated the board on the left is: all I see is connectors and some power supply stuff on the lower right.
Still, harder for the hobbyist than hand soldering a custom Arduino shield, this will allow more companies to use the Raspberry Pi module in their own designs.
From the site:
So what you are seeing here is a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit on a SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you can customise for your own needs.
The Compute Module is primarily designed for those who are going to create their own PCB. However, we are also launching something called the Compute Module IO Board to help designers get started.
Consider this analogy. The DIMM form mactor module is to the breakout board above as the ATMEGA is to the arduino.
The DIMM module itself is the full computing hardware of the PI while the board pictured above is a breakout board for I/O. The idea being that instead of developing shields/capes you are instead developing breakout boards around the DIMM socket.
This also means when the heavy handed kids trash the ports you only have to replace half the PI!!
I assume theres an edicational advantage to the new design?
My first thought was this is going to spawn hundreds of "Shields" or "Breakout Boards." I think is is a step in the right direction, as long as future upgrades keep to the same form factor, to allow drop in replacements. I hope that they don’t lose their focus on education, that is the best part of their product.