Geniatech has unveiled its SOM-3568-SMARC board, a modest Arm chipset that complies with the SMARC 2.1 standard for compact, low-powered systems. Brought to our attention by CNX Software (opens in new tab), the SoM looks a little like a RAM module with a 314-pin MXM edge connector.
This is an industrial core board designed for use in applications such as digital signage or IoT devices, but as there's still a shortage of Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (opens in new tab)s we can envisage it being useful for projects that would have used them. The DIMM form factor is reminiscent of the previous Raspberry Pi compute modules, and allows the I/Os from the chipset to be exposed in a convenient, easy to connect to way.
The SoC is a Rockchip RK3568, which matches four Cortex-A55 cores with 8GB of RAM, a Mali GPU, and a modest NPU. There's up to 128GB of flash storage on-board, and a wireless module with Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.1. It can be connected up to a variety of ports on a carrier board via the edge connector, including two gigabit Ethernet sockets, HDMI, MIPI and LVDS available for displays, an SDIO slot, two lanes of PCIe 3 and one of PCIe 2.1, plus UART, I2C, and a four-lane MIPI camera interface.
There's also USB — 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 host, and 1x USB 3.0 OTG available to builders, and a 4G/5G cellular data module is available.
The board conforms to the smaller of the form factors specified by SMARC, measuring just 82 x 50 mm (3.2 x 1.9 inches). This makes it larger than the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, which measures 55 x 40mm (2.1 x 1.5in), and in the same ballpark as the Compute Module 3, which measures 67.6mm x 31mm (1.6 x 1.2in).
The product page (opens in new tab) makes much of the board’s video decoding abilities — which hit a peak of 4K at 60FPS, while it can record and encode video at 1080p 60FPS. As an industrial board it can put up with harsh conditions, including temperatures of -4°F all the way up to 185°F.
Software comes in the form of Android and the usual Linux suspects such as Debian and Ubuntu, as well as Buildroot for embedded applications. There's no sign of the board yet on the Geniatech store, but a larger board equipped with the same RK3568 chipset sells for around $125.