SMARC and OSM: the best standards for System-on-Module SOM

Published : 06/18/2024 10:00:00

SMARC and OSM represent two of the standards designers and engineers use to create Computer-On-Module (COM).

The SMARC standard, an acronym for Smart Mobility ARChitecture, is generally based on processors with ARM architecture with high energy efficiency, but can also be equipped with other SoC architectures such as x86. The OSM standard, on the other hand, an acronym for Open Standard Modules, was developed to integrate PC modules of extremely compact and versatile dimensions.

So what are the characteristics and peculiarities of the SMARC and OSM standards? What are the strengths and weaknesses, and for which projects are they suitable?

Standard SMARC e OSM per lo sviluppo di moduli pc industriali

SMARC: low-power, high-performance PC modules

SMARC, an acronym for "Smart Mobility ARChitecture", is a standard developed in 2012 and designed for applications that require very low energy consumption, cost content and high performance. This standard offers a versatile and adaptable solution, perfect for a wide range of applications, from mobile devices to embedded systems.

SMARC modules are generally based on ARM SOCs, such as those used in common devices such as tablets and smartphones, but also support low-power alternatives, including RISC-oriented X86 SOCs and CPUs. The main feature that has led this standard to spread on a global scale is the high energy efficiency, with truly negligible consumption.

SMARC offers two module size options: 82mm x 50mm for more compact designs and 82mm x 80mm for higher-performance, larger-sized SoCs. Both sizes feature 314 pins with a 0.5mm pitch. This low-profile connector ensures easy and secure integration into devices, allowing for flexibility and scalability.

Both options of these modules are designed to be used as main components within embedded systems, housing the main CPU and essential circuitry. Thanks to their modular design, they can be integrated with specific carrier boards for possible applications, adding features such as audio CODECs, touch controllers and wireless devices.

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OSM: compact and innovative PC modules

OSM, an acronym for "Open Standard Module", is among the most recent standards in terms of integrated circuit design with which ultra-compact PC modules are developed. OSM modules are significantly smaller than traditional modules. The largest module, with dimensions of 45x45 mm, is 51% smaller than the most compact SMARC standard (82x50 mm). Thanks to the BGA design, OSM modules offer a greater density of interfaces and functionality, while maintaining a small form factor.

The recent Open Standard Module is available in 4 different sizes: the most compact 15x30 mm (188 LGA), the second 30x30 mm (332 LGA), the third 45x30 mm (476 LGA), and the largest 45x45 mm (662 LGA).

The profile is also thin, thanks to the fully automatic SMT (Surface Mount Technology) assembly capable of giving a High resistance to vibrations, impacts, and mechanical stress.


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What are the differences between SMARC and OSM?

SMARC and OSM are two different standards used for embedded module development.

SMARC was designed to be used within embedded systems, edge computing and smart mobility. It offers a flexible platform, scalable performance, and low power consumption with highly efficient modules.

OSM, on the other hand, is a very young project dedicated to the creation of future-proof PC boards, where the concepts of miniaturization and modularity are taken to the extreme.

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