New NXP i.MX 9 Chips

Looks like NXP released some new chips, including a couple low power versions of the i.MX 8, and a new series called the i.MX 9:


I await your educated and comprehensive assessment :slight_smile:


Sadly, NXP didn’t release enough information for us to know if i.MX 9 is going to be an adequate chip for making phones/tablets/PCs or not. However, from the little info that NXP is willing to give us, I’m guessing that the i.MX 9 won’t be competitive with the Rockchip RK3566 and RK3588. There was no mention of any Cortex-A7x cores, the amount of RAM supported, the GPU or the VPU. No mention of supporting new standards like DDR5, DisplayPort 2.0, USB 4 or PCIe 4.0.

It is clear that NXP is chasing specialty industrial markets where performance simply isn’t a top priority, which frustrates me, because it is looking like Rockchip is going to be the only real option in the future for building Linux mobile devices with hardware kill switches, and we have no idea at this point whether the RK3566 and RK3588 will be able to run on 100% free software. If Linux phones are ever going to reach the mainstream, they have to provide decent CPU and GPU performance, and it doesn’t look to me like NXP is interested in providing anything competitive with Qualcomm, MediaTek or Samsung in the mobile space.

The only real detail we got is that the i.MX 9 is going to be 16 and 12 nm FinFET, which tells us that TSCM is going to be the foundry for the i.MX 9, because Samsung and GlobalFoundries don’t offer a 16nm FinFET node. This surprises because NXP recently switched from TSMC to Samsung with the i.MX 8, so I would have expected NXP to stay with Samsung. The i.MX 8M Quad is now being made by Samsung. I’m guessing that either TSMC offered NXP some special incentive to switch back or Samsung has been bungling the i.MX 8M Plus. The Plus still hasn’t been released, but I think it is more likely that that is NXP’s fault, rather than Samsung’s. Still, everyone says that TSMC does foundry services better than any other company. TSMC should have enough capacity at those larger node sizes, unlike with it leading-edge nodes, where everyone is forced to wait in line.


What about a SiFive U74 RISC-V Dual core with 2MB L2 cache @ 1.5GHz with 8GB LPDDR4 and a Video Decoder/Encoder(H264/H265) up to 1 channel 4K@60FPS as used on the new BeagleV ?

Unlike most other ISA designs, the RISC-V ISA is provided under open source licenses that do not require fees to use. A number of companies are offering or have announced RISC-V hardware, open source operating systems with RISC-V support are available and the instruction set is supported in several popular software toolchains.

Seems like a perfect fit for a Librem 5 6

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or a librem 5 #FIRBATCH .

Does it have a GPU?

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According to CNX:

One obvious item missing from the specifications is a GPU, and I was told while the first batch scheduled in March will be GPU less, but the next batch – slated to be manufactured in September – will come with an Imagination Technologies GPU.

What that means is that it will require a proprietary driver for the GPU. I assume that Starfive is using the design by SiFive, which is why it will be paired with an Imagination GPU.

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The SiFive U74 cores are roughly equivalent to Cortex-A55 cores, but the StarFive JH7100 only has two of them, whereas the i.MX 8M Quad has four Cortex-A53 cores, so it is going to have better CPU performance. The proprietary drivers for the JH7100’s Imagination GPU (when it comes in September) and Imagination neural processor are a major problem for Purism. Another is issue is that Linux support for RISC-V is still not complete, and a lot of software hasn’t been compiled for RISC-V.

I was disappointed that SiFive didn’t use a Vivante GPU, which has a FOSS driver and doesn’t need any proprietary firmware AFAIK.

It probably should be called the Librem 6, since the screen at 5.7" is closer to 6 inches than 5 inches, but I assume the next version will be called Librem 5 v2, since Evergreen is labeled as Librem 5 v1.


CPU: 32-bit RV32IMAC RISC-V “Bumblebee Core” @ 108 MHz

review >

official >

not long now …

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That was my impression. Mostly marketing fluff with not enough solid information that would allow a potential customer to understand how the new line of chips could fit in to their product.

I was triggered by the seemingly open source nature of RISC-V. That should come with an open source gpu to match, yes :slight_smile: From the various small implementation issues regarding for example power consumption, it looks like NXP is not entirely open about their i.mx8 :thinking:

With that open source nature of RISC-V and the upcomming availability of fairly affordable RISC-V boards, RISC-V compiled software should not be much of an issue by the time Purism is about to compose a new phone.

I do not care much for raw cpu performance on my phone. I would like (much) more memory as I forsee 3GB will not be enough to keep all applications in memory with cache to spare for filesystem io.

Thank you for your input.

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I like your path/approach and think (somehow) that you were referring here to some variant of Mali™-400 MP2 open source driver, like the one from Igalia. And, for example, I think that SECO SM-B71 (XAZU2EG, XAZU3EG and XAZU4EV, XAZU5EV), as some kind of reference board here, might qualify that your RISC-V expectations are fine to be considered as (who knows, I don’t) what future development (perhaps further downsizing of Zynq® UltraScale+™ MPSoC, from 19.0×19.0/23.0×23.0) might bring with it.

The i.MX 8M Quad only supports a maximum of 4GB RAM, whereas the i.MX 8M Plus will support 8GB RAM, but the i.MX 8M Plus has a weaker GPU and VPU than the i.MX 8M Quad and doesn’t support DisplayPort, so you have to pick your poison.

I personally think that Purism should dump NXP, and use the RK3568 (which supports up to 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and a triple display) or the RK3588 (which supports up to 32GB DDR5 RAM) in the Librem 5 v2. Rockchip hasn’t yet published info about these chips at, so it is hard to know whether they can boot with 100% free software, but the Mali-G52 EE GPU in the RK3568 should be able to run with the free PanFrost Gallium3D driver in Mesa. Unfortunately, it will probably be years before the Mali “Odin” GPU in the RK3588 is supported by a free driver.

Once PINE64 releases the PinePhone 2 with the RK3566, it is going to be hard to justify buying a Librem 5 v2 with the i.MX 8M Plus. At this point, I think it is likely that the PinePhone 2 will be released before the Librem 5 v2, because PINE64 is already prototyping the Quartz64, an SBC based on the RK3566.


Yes, StarFive JH7110 does have an integrated GPU Subsystem.


On paper this looks a good open source replacement for i.MX 8M Quad. It says: LOW POWER Consumption. Could not find the REAL POWER consumption. (is it more/les than i.MX 8M Quad?).

I.m.h.o. RISC V is the future …

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I don’t know that, but other related documentation might be out soon. Here is link to the another available one:, telling us that at least 5V/3A (as minimum) power supply will be required for the entire StarFive JH7110 SoC (available as VisionFive 2 on Kickstarter).

Is the 5 v2 still i thing? I moved my batch preference to v2 ages ago. Id written it off at this point :thinking::smile:

Nov. 2020 was the last time that a Purism employee confirmed that Fir was still planned. You might want to email Purism support and ask again. If you don’t want the pain of being an early adapter, you will have a long wait for Fir. You might want to consider switching your order from Fir to Evergreen.

If you want a Linux laptop, Purism is offering $799 discount on the Librem 14 for people who switch their Librem 5 orders to the Librem 14.

Given some of the things that the i.MX 8M Plus lacks (like support for DisplayPort and a weaker GPU), I have long wondered if Purism will use one of the future i.MX 9 chips, Rockchip 3566 or simply keep using the i.MX 8M Quad in Fir, but add 1GB more RAM and a lot more eMMC storage.

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Id written my pre order money off at this time haha.

Maybe I’ll contact them again and I’ll ask if they have any plans to use the ixn 9 chip in that email. I’ll post if I get an answer on that

I would expect that Fir will be announced (or rather available to buy) some time after shipping parity. It doesn’t make sense earlier.
Also Purism hinted they will not announce new products before they are available to avoid the problems of the past.
And I really hope it will have the i.MX 9 :slight_smile: