MIPS Creator CI20

I'm a happy hacker right now. Just received a MIPS Creator CI20 board in the mailbox a couple of days ago, thanks to Imagination Technologies.

MIPS Creator CI20 boxed

Attention to detail: notice the many power plug adaptors for various countries.

This is a small sized development board powered by an Ingenic JZ4780 SoC with a dual core MIPS processor clocked at 1.2GHz. It comes with:

  • 1GB of RAM + 8GB of NAND preloaded with Debian 7 "Wheezy",
  • 1 x PowerVR SGX540 GPU,
  • 1 x SD Card port,
  • 2 x USB ports,
  • 1 x Infrared receiver,
  • Audio Jack I/O + HDMI output,
  • Ethernet + WiFi + Bluetooth connectivity,
  • Expansion headers with (lo and behold) UART + JTAG support!

Full specs can be found at http://www.elinux.org/CI20_Tech_Stuff.

MIPS Creator CI20 unboxed

MIPS architectures seem to have a lesser mindshare compared to other better known ones, even though MIPS processors are widespread in the embedded space. They are usually found in computer network appliances (e.g. routers and residential gateways), digital TV appliances (e.g. set-top boxes) and video game consoles, to name a few.

The MIPS Creator CI20 is a project from Imagination Technologies to foster development around their architecture and raise awareness of the products built upon it. The team behind the project released quite a lot of documentation and source code in order to reach that goal, making it hacker friendly.

Find more about it at http://www.elinux.org/MIPS_Creator_CI20.

Does the Ingenic JZ4780 SoC rings a bell ? If you've been following this blog, then it certainly does. It's the latest generation of the same family of SoCs that powers the Ben NanoNote and the GCW-Zero -- devices I have been writing about here.

Kudos to Graham Whaley and his whole team at ImgTec for building the CI20 ! Let's see what we can squeeze out of it ;-).