This week’s EYE on NPI is ALL IN with a fully-integrated Linux-capable chip from Octavo Systems – the OSD32MP157C. Octavo is well known for their integration work. They like to take a main core processor, usually a nice powerful one like an Arm A7 or A8, wire it up to an SRAM chip, add power management and necessary filter capacitors, and package it up in a epoxy’d pick-and-place-able chip.
For example, they took the TI AM335x Sitara Cortex A8 chip used in the BeagleBone Black and bonded it to a thin PCB along with SRAM memory chip and power management IC along with a bunch of filter capacitors and other passives.
Then encapsulated that PCB and put BGA balls on the bottom so it can be easily integrated. The BeagleBone Pocket is the result, a miniaturized version of the BBB.
In fact, it’s SO INTEGRATED, Octavo did a little ‘stunt hack’ where they hand-soldered wires to the BGA pads and booted Linux successfully – only a few LEDs for indication, and resistors to set the boot mode, are required.
OK, so the upshot here is that Octavo has followed up on their earlier smashing success, with a new integration chip, the OSD32MP157C which combines just about everything you need to implement a microcomputer based on the ST STM32MP1, a dual Cortex A7 @ up to 800 MHz + Cortex M4 @ 200 MHz processor set with mainline Linux support. Like they did for the AM335x series, this chip contains the main chip, PMIC, EEPROM, crystal and up to a gig of DDR RAM.
If you want to see how minimal a connection-set you need, there’s a miniature dev board available too, the OSD32MP1-BRK which gives you breakouts for all pads, boot selection switches, USB connection and a microSD card for the Linux filesystem.
These chips are going to be more expensive than the individual parts, but you save a ton of time, and the PCB design and cost will be greatly reduced – you could probably get away with a 2-layer or 4-layer PCB with regular tented vias thanks to the generous 1 mm BGA pitch.
You can pick up the OSD32MP157C at Digi-Key today, they’re in stock – just search for “OSD32MP157C” or visit https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/octavo-systems-llc/OSD32MP157C-512M-BAA/1676-OSD32MP157C-512M-BAA-ND/11612013 and put ’em in your cart!