ProDigit
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:24 am

What is a compute module?

Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:58 am

Silly question perhaps,
But when I google it, the results show a Raspberry Pi in a module looking like a RAM stick.
Other sites show similar objects from other brands.
What does it do?
What can you do with it?

Is it meant to increase your PC's CPU power?
Increase RAM performance?
Run an OS without the internal CPU being used?

I mean, I have no clue what it is, what it's used for, and if there's even a use for regular home users today (like plugging it in a pc)?
I mean, it says 'SoDimm 2' or 'SoDimm 3' slot compatible, but aren't we using DDR3 or DDR4 RAM in our computers nowadays?

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rpdom
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Ankh-Morpork

Re: What is a compute module?

Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:41 am

It doesn't go in a PC.

It has nothing to do with RAM slots, it just uses a the same connector as old laptop SODIMMS, which is easily available and has the right number of connectors. Plugging it into an actual RAM slot in a PC will probably kill it and may damage the PC too.

There is documentation on what to to with a Compute Module.

It is really designed for use in custom devices where the capabilities of the Pi are desired, but the size and layout of the standard Pi is not wanted.

Basically you design your own carrier board with power supply and the connections you want (hdmi, camera, screen, USB, etc), and add your own bits to it. This is not worth doing in small quantities.

The main reason is that some people said "Can I buy just the Pi SoC chip to make my own computer?". The answer is "No" (except in huge quantities), so the CM was designed to make it easier to get your hands on the chip on a convenient carrier board with RAM and some (optional) storage.

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Imperf3kt
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Location: Australia

Re: What is a compute module?

Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:57 pm

Some "optional" storage that isn't even enough to hold the full OS and is thus only useful as storage or for the lite OS.
But I'm splitting hairs here.
User experiencing technical difficulties.

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rpdom
Posts: 12755
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Location: Ankh-Morpork

Re: What is a compute module?

Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:08 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:57 pm
Some "optional" storage that isn't even enough to hold the full OS and is thus only useful as storage or for the lite OS.
But I'm splitting hairs here.
Seeing as a large number of applications for the CM will be embedded systems, probably with a reduced or no GUI, I don't see much need for a huge amount of storage. For the few uses that do require more storage there is the CM3L with the option of external storage and the 16GB version that NEC produce.

W. H. Heydt
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: What is a compute module?

Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:08 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:57 pm
Some "optional" storage that isn't even enough to hold the full OS and is thus only useful as storage or for the lite OS.
But I'm splitting hairs here.
Yes and no. There is the CM3L which has no on-board eMMC flash allowing fixed storage or an SD slot to go on the carrier. The is also the 16GB NEC version of the CM3, which has plenty of space for a full, fat Raspbiam.

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