SMARC Hardware Specification

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  • Last update: 19 October 2016
  • Version: 1.1
  • Author: SGET
  • License: Copyright 2013, SGeT Standardization Group for Embedded Technology e.V.

General Introduction

The SMARC (“Smart Mobility ARChitecture”) is a versatile small form factor computer Module definition targeting applications that require low power, low costs, and high performance. The Modules will typically use ARM SOCs similar or the same as those used in many familiar devices such as tablet computers and smart phones. Alternative low power SOCs and CPUs, such as tablet oriented X86 devices and other RISC CPUs may be used as well. The Module power envelope is typically under 6W although designs up to about 15W are possible.

Two Module sizes are defined: 82mm x 50mm and 82mm x 80mm. The Module PCBs have 314 edge fingers that mate with a low profile 314 pin 0.5mm pitch right angle connector (the connector is sometimes identified as a 321 pin connector, but 7 pins are lost to the key).

The Modules are used as building blocks for portable and stationary embedded systems. The core CPU and support circuits, including DRAM, boot flash, power sequencing, CPU power supplies, GBE and a single channel LVDS display transmitter are concentrated on the Module. The Modules are used with application specific Carrier Boards that implement other features such as audio CODECs, touch controllers, wireless devices, etc. The modular approach allows scalability, fast time to market and upgradability while still maintaining low costs, low power and small physical size.

Applications include:

  • Mobile systems
  • Industrial tablets
  • HMI systems
  •  Instrumentation
  • Gaming and Infotainment
  • Medical devices
  • Portable, application specific tools


SMARC vs. COM Express

COM Express ® is a very successful Computer Module standard that is optimized for PC Architecture embedded systems. The COM Express feature set exploits contemporary PC chipsets very well. There is support for lots of USB, lots of PCI Express lanes, PCI Express Graphics, the LPC bus and the PCI bus. There are power pins supporting over 100W.

The SMARC targets lower power, small form factor systems. The SMARC pin out is optimized for the features common to ARM CPUs and not common to the PC world. Some of these features include parallel LCD display interfaces; serial and parallel camera input provisions; multiple I2C, I2S and serial port options; USB client / host mode (OTG) operation; SD and eMMC card operation.

The SMARC does include some of the features found in COM express, such as a limited number of PCIe, SATA and USB ports - but the mix is different, allowing many features of interest that COM Express does not support to be brought out on the SMARC.

Purpose of This Document

This document defines the Module mechanical, electrical, signal and thermal parameters at a level of detail sufficient to provide a framework for SMARC Module and Carrier Board designs. 


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