NXP i.MX 8

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The NXP i.MX 8 are embedded multi-core processors consisting of two Cortex-M4, four Cortex-A53 and two Cortex-A72.

External Boot Devices

Programming of external boot media(eMMC, SDHC, QSPI/NAND Flash) is supported natively through USB Serial interface.

Watchdog Handling

System controller firmware handles watchdog during boot and programming of boot devices.

Multi-Core Support

Before proceeding with this article, please check out the generic article regarding Multi-Core debugging here.
The i.MX 8 family comes with a variety of multi-core options listed in the following table:

Core J-Link Support
2 x Cortex-A72 NO.png
4 x Cortex-A53 NO.png
2 x Cortex-M4F YES.png
1 x HIFI4 DSP NO.png

The i.MX 8 family processors have additional cores:

  • System Controller Unit (SCU) Cortex-M4 - responsible for system initialization and boot, power and resource management, pad configuration.
  • Security Controller (SECO) Cortex-M0 - implements various security and cryptography functions.

In below, the debug related multi-core behavior of the J-Link is described for each core:

Cortex-M4F core(s)


The core(s) are enabled by SCU after boot.


Core reset is performed by SCU.


Attach is supported.

Device Specific Handling


Debugging of Cortex-M4 cores is enabled after primary boot stage. A boot image should contain System Controller Unit (SCU) and Security Controller (SECO) firmware images. After the boot stage J-Link can be attached to a running target.


J-Link does not support reset of particular cores, as it is controlled by SCU.

Evaluation Boards

Example Application