ARM-Based Scalable SMARC Modules By Congatec

  • Also optimised for direct connection of MIPI cameras
  • Supports artificial intelligence and neural networks

Congatec, a manufacturer of standardised and customised embedded computer boards, has now introduced a new carrier board that comes with a socket for Arm-based SMARC modules. Its I/Os can be used in conjunction with congatec’s NXP i.MX8 module portfolio and comes in 12 different processor configurations.

The new conga-SMC1 3.5-inch board not only features a SMARC socket for scalable processor performance, but is also optimised for direct connection of MIPI cameras. With the help of two MIPI-CSI 2.0 connectors, it is even possible to develop systems that provide a 3D view and can be effectively used in autonomous vehicles for situational awareness. The processor supports artificial intelligence and neural networks, which offers everything developers need for smart vision systems.

Wide variety of connections

The board is scalable in 12 performance steps: from the most powerful i.MX 8QuadMax processors to the i.MX 8M Mini processors in 14 nm technology and the low-power i.MX 8X processors. The conga‑SMC1 offers dual GbE, 5x USB and USB hub support, as well as, SATA 3 for external hard drives or SSDs.


For specific expansions, the board offers a miniPCIe slot as well as an M.2 Type E E2230 slot with I2S, PCIe and USB, and an M.2 Type B B2242/2280 with 2x PCIe and 1x USB. An integrated MicroSim slot for IoT connection is also provided, next to specific embedded interfaces such as 4x UART, 2x CAN, 8x GPIO, I2C and SPI. Displays can be connected via HDMI, LVDS/eDP/DP and MIPI-DSI.

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The board further offers two MIPI-CSI inputs for camera connection. I2S sound can be implemented via audio jack. As they come with SMARC sockets, the new 3.5-inch conga-SMC1 can be equipped extremely flexibly with any of the 12 new NXP i.MX 8-based modules.

In terms of software, congatec offers pre-compiled binaries with a suitably configured bootloader, appropriately compiled Linux, Yocto and Android images, as well as, all required drivers.

“Our new modular 3.5-inch carrier board makes Arm designs also increasingly attractive for small industrial lot sizes, which until now have been dominated by x86 technology due to a lack of suitable ARM products. And since customer-specific designs can be implemented faster and more cost-effectively with modular boards, this Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) platform is also an ideal basis for custom designs of NXP i.MX8-based systems,” said Martin Danzer, Director of Product Management at congatec.

This 3.5-inch (approximately 9 cm) board offers quick time to market, which OEMs can take advantage of by implementing them in their system solutions without any hardware development effort. Another benefit is rapid customisation of I/Os in order to suit any small or medium-sized project.



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