Avnet Embedded Unveils a Low-Energy, Cost-Effective SMARC COM Built Atop Renesas' RZ/G2UL Chips

Designed for human-machine interface and vision workloads, this Arm-based SMARC module promises power efficiency and affordability.

Avnet Embedded has announced an extension to its work with Renesas to launch a new family of highly energy- and cost-efficient computers on modules (COMs) featuring Renesas' RZ/G2UL processors — and built to the Smart Mobility Architecture (SMARC) standard.

"The new SMARC module built on technology from Renesas demonstrates our commitment to giving our customers the best possible options for embedding computing in their products," says Dominik Ressing, PhD and vice president at Avnet Embedded, of the launch. "Renesas' RZ/G2UL processors are popular for designs focused on cost and energy efficiency, and this processor series in a modular platform will unlock huge new potential for engineers and product designers."

The Smart Mobility Architecture (SMARC) standard was first developed in 2012 as a successor to the ultra-low power computer (ULP-COM) form factor by the Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies (SGET). Designed to improve interoperability, the SMARC standard uses a 314-pin edge connector to connect compact computers-on-modules (COMs) to host systems — with optimizations specifically for low-power Arm systems-on-chips (SoCs).

Avnet Embedded's new MSC SM2S-G2UL module adopts the SMARC 2.1.1 standard, coming in at a compact 82×50mm footprint (around 3.23×1.97"), and can handle a broad temperature range from -40 to 85°C (-40 to 185°F). At the module's heart is a Renesas RZ/G2UL SoC, featuring a single Arm Cortex-A55 core running at up to 1GHz, a second 200MHz Cortex-M33 core for real-time workloads, and a dedicated image processing unit for human-machine interface (HMI) workloads — with Avnet claiming a "typical design power" of just 3-4W.

Elsewhere on the board is a DDR4 memory controller for up to 2GB of RAM within line ECC, the choice of up to 256GB of eMMC flash storage, and gigabit Ethernet, up to four USB 2.0 Host and one USB 2.0 Host/Device interface, dual CAN-FD bus, dual-channel LVDS, and MIPI Camera Serial Interface 2 (CSI-2) connectivity — plus the option of an on-board wireless module. As well as the bare COM itself, Avnet Embedded has announced a starter kit and development platform with a Linux board support package (BSP) as standard and an Android BSP available "on request."

"We are excited Avnet Embedded is using our RZ/G2UL for this first platform as it complements our module partnership," says Renesas' D. K. Singh of the new design. "Avnet’s new module will enable a broader customer base access to our solutions, leverage our MPU [Microprocessor Unit] and comprehensive Renesas portfolio, and reinforce and grow the strategic global engagement Avnet and Renesas have established."

Avnet Embedded has not yet released pricing information for the new board, but has technical details available on the official product page — with engineering samples available on request in 512MB RAM and 2GB RAM variants.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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