7.22. NXP i.MX 8ULP

i.MX 8ULP is part of the ULP family with emphasis on extreme low-power techniques using the 28 nm fully depleted silicon on insulator process. Like i.MX 7ULP, i.MX 8ULP continues to be based on asymmetric architecture.

The i.MX 8ULP family of processors features NXP’s advanced implementation of the dual Arm Cortex-A35 cores alongside an Arm Cortex-M33. This combined architecture enables the device to run a rich operating system (such as Linux) on the Cortex-A35 core and an RTOS (such as FreeRTOS) on the Cortex-M33 core. It also includes a Cadence Tensilica Fusion DSP for low-power audio and a HiFi4 DSP for advanced audio and machine learning applications.

The design enables clean separation between two processing domains, where each has separate power, clocking and peripheral islands, but the bus fabric of each domain is tightly integrated for efficient communication. The part is streamlined to minimize pin count, enabling small packages and simple system integration. This microprocessor is intended for applications where efficiency and simple system integration is important. i.MX8ULP Applications Processors.

7.22.1. Boot Sequence

BootROM –> SPL –> BL31 –> BL33(u-boot) –> Linux kernel

7.22.2. How to build Build Procedure

  • Prepare AARCH64 toolchain.

  • Get the ELE FW image from NXP linux SDK package

  • Build SPL and u-boot firstly, and get binary images: u-boot-spl.bin, u-boot.bin and dtb

  • Build TF-A

    Build bl31:

    CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu- make PLAT=<Target_SoC> bl31

    Target_SoC should be “imx8ulp” for i.MX8ULP SoC. Deploy TF-A Images

TF-A binary(bl31.bin), u-boot-spl.bin u-boot.bin, ELE FW image are combined together to generate a binary file called flash.bin, the imx-mkimage tool is used to generate flash.bin, and flash.bin needs to be flashed into SD card with certain offset for BOOT ROM. Reference Documentation

Details on how to prepare, generate & deploy the boot image be found in following documents:

  • i.MX Linux User’s Guide link

  • i.MX Linux Reference Manual link