Mini-ITX and Others Lead Small-Sized Board Advances

Driven by the” magic” of semiconductor integration more and more functionality can be offered in very small board footprints. As a result, embedded board vendors continue to roll out products and product lines of non-standard products. This trend isn’t restricted to the military embedded market segment-industrial, automotive and communications segments are likewise expressing keen interest in this phenomenon. Military uses include portable military gear, unmanned ground vehicles, smart munitions and small UAVs (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Members of the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System (STUAS) test team transport the RQ-21A Blackjack across the flight deck of the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19).

The products in the small form factor board category include a mix of standard and non-standard solutions. These small-sized offerings tend seem to be targeting very different applications areas-areas where slot-card backplane or PC/104 stacks wouldn’t be practical. Some small embedded solutions are in form factors the size of credit cards or DIMM-sized modules or the like. Still others take some twist on existing standards-such as ATX or PC/104. Those designs create a “one off” implementation that takes some of the benefits a standard form factor-diverging slightly from it to enable added functionality or to reduce overall board size.

Often the size and space of the board takes precedence over the need for standards. Instead the priority is on squeezing as much functionality and compute density onto a single board solution. All that said, the majority of products in this year’s Small Form Factor Roundup” are in factor standard form factors including Thin Mini-ITX, SMARC and others. Among those, there are many vendors this year coming out with their first Thin Mini-ITX board offerings.

Thin Mini-ITX is version of Mini-ITX that is only 22 mm in height, a thinner port cluster and horizontally stacked SO-DIMM memory slots. Meanwhile the 3.5 inch style of board continues to be a popular size even though it’s not any official established standard.  Note the product in the roundup section on the next couple pages includes only boards released in the past 12 months, and it includes small standard form factor categories that we don’t cover as separate Roundup categories. PC/104 and COM Express for example we will cover as their own topics in later months this year.

One of the rapidly proliferating standard form factors including here is the SMARC (“Smart Mobility ARChitecture”) form factor. Managed by the Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies (SGET) group, SMARC is a versatile small form factor computer module definition targeting applications that require low power, low costs, and high performance. The module power envelope is typically under 6W. Two module sizes are defined: 82mm x 50mm and 82mm x 80mm. The module PCBs have 314 edge fingers that mate with a low profile 314 pin 0.5mm pitch right angle connector.

The Small Form Factor Boards Roundup and Links to the full data sheets for each product are posted on below.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Acrosser

Mini-ITX Board Features 4th Gen Haswell Core i7, 10 USB Ports
The AMB-HW46T1 from Acrosser Technology is an industrial Mini-ITX motherboard powered by a Intel 4th Generation Haswell Core i7-4650U, 1.70 GHz processor. Built with 10 USB ports/headers and several serial ports/headers, the card is equipped with a PCI-E x16 slot. The cost-effective Mini-ITX platform AMB-HW46T1 makes mini-computing more usable.

  • Mini-ITX Motherboard.
  • Intel 4th Generation Haswell Core i7-4650U, 1.70 GHz.
  • 2 x DDR3L-1333/1600MHz, SO-DIMM, up to 16 Gbytes.
  • Supports 1 x HDMI, 1 x DP, 1 x LVDS or VGA.
  • 2 x GbE LAN, 4 x COM.
  • 4 x USB 3.0, 6 x USB 2.0.
  • 2 x mini PCIe, 1 x PCIe x1.
  • 3 x SATA 3.0.

AMB-HW46T1 Data Sheet:  Click Here

Acrosser USA
Cypress, CA.
(714) 903-1760.

  Figure 2

Figure 2 ADL Embedded Solutions

3.5-Inch PCI Express SBC Uses SoC E3800 Atom
The ADLE3800HDC from ADL Embedded Solutions is based on Intel’s first System-on-Chip (SoC) E3800-series Atom processors. The board is a lower I/O, lower cost version of the ADLE3800HD offering M.2 (Type B) 2242 SATA storage and M.2 (Type B) 2280 PCIex1 expansion. Its high-performance graphics engine is capable of decoding 10 or more streams of 1080p video, has integrated hardware acceleration for video decode of H.264, MVC, VPG8, VC1/WMV9 and others standards.

  • Intel Atom E3800-3845 Quad, Intel Atom E3800-3827 dual.
  • Up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3L 1333MHz DRAM; 2x 204 SODIMM Sockets.
  • 3x Gbit LAN; Intel i210, 4x USB2.0, 1x USB 3.0 via I-PEX conn.
  • I-PEX shared connector for 1x USB3.0, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI or 1x DP.
  • 1x SATA (3 Gbit/s); 1x M.2 Key-B 2242 SATA; Up 64 Gbytes..
  • 1x M.2 Key-B 2280 with 1x PCIex1.
  • -20 to +70 degrees C Standard, Optional 40 to +85 degrees C.

ADLE3800HDC Data Sheet:  Click Here

ADL Embedded Solutions
San Diego, CA.
(858) 490-0597

  Figure 3

Figure 3 ADLINK Technology

Mini-ITX Embedded Board is Less Than 25 mm Thick

ADLINK Technology’s AmITX-BW-I is a thin Mini-ITX embedded board. It offers enhanced display features with Intel Gen 8 LP HD Graphics in a low profile and scalable design. Measuring 170 mm square and less than 25 mm thick, board also follows the Form, Fit, Function design principle to offer standardized pinout locations and is compatible with the Micro-ATX and regular ATX chassis.

  • Intel Atom X5 E8000, Pentium N3710 and Celeron N3160/N3060/N3710 Processors (codename: Braswell).
  • 1x HDMI, 2x DP, LVDS and eDP (optional).
  • Up to 8 Gbytes non-ECC dual channel DDRL3 DRAM at 1600/1333 MHz.
  • 3 independent high resolution graphic displays.
  • 2x Gbit Ethernet links, 4x USB 3.0 (Rear IO), 2x USB 2.0 (Header), 2x USB 2.0 (Front panel).
  • 1x PCIe x16, 1x Mini PCIe, 1x mSATA, 1x SPI header for external BIOS.

AmITX-BW-I Data Sheet:  Click Here

ADLINK Technology
San Jose, CA
(408) 360-0200

  Figure 4

Figure 4 Advantech

2.5-Inch Pico-ITX Board Marries Atom E3825 and Rich I/O Extension

  • Embedded Intel Atom E3825 and Celeron N2930 up to Quad-Core processor design, DDR3L 1333MHz DRAM support up to 8 Gbytes.
  • Intel Gen 7 DirectX 11.1 support, Dual Independent display: 18/24bit LVDS, VGA, DP/HDMI.
  • Intel GbE support, Rich I/O interface with 2 COM, 1 SATA, 4 USB 2.0, GPIO, SMBus, I2C, and MIOe expansion interface.
  • Supports SUSIAccess and Embedded Software APIs.

MIO-3260 Data Sheet:  Click Here

Irvine, CA.
(949) 789-7178.

  Figure 5

Figure 5 American Portwell

Mini-ITX SBC Serves up 6th Gene Core Processors, SATA III Support

The WADE-8017 from American Portwell is based on 6th generation Intel Core desktop processors (formerly Skylake) and Intel C236, Q170 or H110 chipset. The Portwell WADE-8017 Mini-ITX board supports DDR4 SDRAM, PCIe x16 (Gen3), and SATA III, and is an ideal building block for high performance and reliable system solutions.

  • 6th generation Intel Core processor family (formerly Skylake).
  • Intel C236/Q170/H110 chipset.
  • Two SODIMMs support DDR4 ECC/Non-ECC SDRAM up to 32 Gbytes.
  • Rear I/O, USB2.0/3.0, dual Gigabit Ethernet, COM ports and SATA III ports. Connectors to allow RAID 0/1/5 and 10 modes.
  • One PCIe x16 (Gen3), one M.2 type E socket, one Mini PCIe.
  • Triple Display: ports supporting up to three independent displays, including VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort.

WADE-8017 Data Sheet:  Click Here 

American Portwell Technology
Fremont, CA
(510) 403-3399

  Figure 6

Figure 6 Axiomtek

Wide-voltage Range, Fanless 3.5-inch SBC Features Expandability

The CAPA880 from Axiomtek is designed to support LGA1150 socket for 4th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 and Celeron processors (35W) with the Intel H81 chipset. The CAPA880 supports up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3 RAM, and offers SATA 3 interface, as well as an mSATA slot available on PCI Express Mini Card slot. The compact-size embedded board employs Intel integrated Gfx graphic engine and provides three display interfaces: HDMI, LVDS (18/24-bit single/dual channels) and VGA.

  • LGA1150 socket 4th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 and Celeron processor.
  • Intel H81 chipset.
  • 1 DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM max. up to 8 Gbytes.
  • 2 USB 3.0 and 4 USB 2.0 ports.
  • 1 COM and 2 Gigabit LAN ports.
  • Expansion: 1 x Full-size PCI Express Mini Card with mSATA; 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x PCIe x1, 1 x LPC, 1 x SMBus through a ZIO.

CAPA880 Data Sheet:  Click Here 

City of Industry, CA
(626) 581-3232

  Figure 7

Figure 7 Congatec

Thin Mini-ITX Boards Boast 6th Gen 3.4 GHz Core i7 Processors

The Conga-IC170 Thin Mini-ITX boards from Congatec provide high scalability, ranging from 2.0 GHz Intel Celeron processors up to 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 processors. The industrial-grade boards further offer a fully configurable thermal design power (TDP) from 7.5 to 15 watts and up to 32 Gbytes of DDR4 RAM as well as 4K multiscreen support. The boards feature a long-term availability of 7+ years and a rugged design to withstand harsh environments.

  • 6th Generation Intel Core Mobile SOC U-processors.
  • PCIe x4 slot (Gen 3), 1x mPCIe, M.2 connector that can be used for expansion or an SSD.
  • 4x USB 3.0 and 6x USB 2.0.
  • 2x Gigabit Ethernet and a SIM card socket.
  • Improved graphics performance with hd500 series.
  • Congatec embedded board controller featuring Multi Stage Watchdog, non-volatile User Data Storage, BIOS Setup and Data Backup.

Conga-IC170 Data Sheet:  Click Here

San Diego, CA
(858) 457-2600

  Figure 8

Figure 8 Kontron

Mini-ITX Motherboard with Atom N3xxx SoC Has 7 Year Availability

Kontron’s Mini-ITX (mITX)-BW motherboard with Intel Atom N3xxx System on Chip (SOC) provides up to seven years long-term availability. The board supports not only 2x Display Ports but also 24bit LVDS on the most performance Industrial Automation version. Its mPCIe slot supports mSATA or mPCIe extensions. The operating system and application code can be stored on the mITX-N3xxx on the optional on-board 16 Gbyte-sized bootable NAND Flash memory (eMMC).

  • Intel Atom N3xxx SoC (2 or 4 cores), TDP: 4-12 W.
  • SO-DIMM Socket DDR3L-1600 Memory (up to 8 Gbytes).
  • Intel Gen7 Graphics, OpenGL 4.2, OpenCL 1.2, DX12, H.265/264, MPEG2, MCV, VC-1, VP8.
  • LVDS 24-Bit dual channel and Display Port 1.1a; 10/100/1000MBit RJ45 Ethernet LAN, GPIO.
  • 2 SATA 3.0 (up to 6 Gbytes/s), 1 SATA multiplex with mSATA/mPCIe in mPCIe connector.

Mini-ITX (mITX)-BW Data Sheet:  Click Here 

Poway, CA.
(888) 294-4558.   Figure 9

Figure 9 MSC Technologies

SMARC 2.0 Board Provides 1.2 GHz Freescale i.MX6 Processor

The MSC SM2S-IMX6 module from MSC Technologies is based on NXP’s i.MX 6 processors offering quad-, dual- and single-core ARM Cortex-A9 compute performance at very low power consumption and excellent graphics performance combined with a high degree of functional integration. It incorporates the i.MX 6 (Solo, DualLite, Dual or Quad) or the i.MX 6DualPlus or 6QuadPlus processor with up to 1.2 GHz.. The module is compliant with the new SMARC 2.0 standard, allowing easy integration with SMARC baseboards.

  • NXP i.MX 6 ARM Cortex-A9 Solo, DualLite, Dual, Quad, DualPlus and QuadPlus processor.
  • MPEG-4 Video Encoding/Decoding 1080p; HDMI graphics 1920 x 1080 x 30fps.
  • Dual-channel LVDS 1920 x 1080 x 30fps.
  • Up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3L SDRAM; Up to 64 Gbytes of eMMC flash.
  • Gbit Ethernet Interface; 1x PCI Express x1; 1x SATA-II; 1x USB Device/Host + up to 5x USB 2.0; 1x MMC/SD/SDIO Interface.

MSC SM2S-IMX6 Data Sheet:  Click Here

MSC Technologies
San Bruno, CA.
(650) 616-4068.

  Figure A

Figure A TQ Systems

Compact Module Sports Quad-Core 1,400 MHz QorIQ Processor
TQ Systems’ TQMT1042 minimodule embodies the next generation of the well-known TQMP1020/2020 QorIQ product family. With four e5500 (64-bit) cores and a clock rate of up to 4x 1,400 MHz, the TQ modules using QorIQ processors provide the best ratio between processing speed and power loss. The 28 nm technology significantly reduces the power consumption compared to a QorIQ module of the former generation. This feature, together with the expanded temperature range and intelligent power management, enables the use in fan-free systems.

  • Quad core up to 1,400 MHz in 28 nm SOI for the best Performance/Watt ratio.
  • 5x Gbit Ethernet, 4x PCle and two USB 2.0 High Speed interfaces.
  • Dual SATA interfaces for data storage.
  • Easy function extensions via PCle, eSPI, I²C and IFC (Local Bus).
  • IEEE 1588 time synchronization in hardware.
  • Display Interface Unit.

TQMT1042 Data Sheet:  Click Here

Seefeld, Germany
+49 8153 9308-0

  Figure B

Figure B Versalogic

1.9 GHz Atom Bay Trail SBC is Credit Card Sized

Versalogic’s Hawk is an extremely small, rugged, embedded computer. Embedded Processing Unit (EPU) format combines processor, memory, video, and system I/O into an extremely compact full function embedded computer. The computer has a footprint the size of a credit card. Form factor designed to withstand extreme temperature, impact, and vibration.

  • Intel Atom “Bay Trail” Processor with up to 1.9 GHz clock rate. Quad, dual or single core options.
  • Fanless operation:
  • Integrated Intel Gen 7 graphics core supports DirectX 11, OpenGL 4, and H.264, MPEG-2 encoding/decoding. LVDS video output.
  • Gbit Ethernet (GbE) with remote boot support.
  • Up to 4 Gbytes of soldered-down DDR3L RAM; Up to 8 Gbytes of on-board eMMC flash storage.
  • -40° to +85°C operation for harsh environments.

Hawk Data Sheet:  Click Here

Tualatin, OR
(503) 747-2261

  Figure C

Figure C WIN Enterprises

Mini-ITX SBC Uses Intel Skylake-S 6th Core Processor with LGA Socket
The MB-64050 from WIN Enterprises is a Mini-ITX motherboard featuring the Intel processor formerly code named Intel Skylake-S. Skylake is a 6th generation Core processor. The “S” model is a socketed processor that uses a socket called the LGA 1151 (Land Grid Array). The LGA socket provides the OEM with the flexibility to choose between Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors, depending on the processing power required.

  • LGA socketed 6th Generation Intel Core Skylake-S embedded processor.
  • Intel Q170/H110 Express chipset.
  • DDR4 / 2133MHz up to 16 Gbytes.
  • HDMI 1.4b, DP++ and 24-bit LVDS.
  • 2 x Intel GbE LAN, 1 x Mini-PCIe.
  • 6 x COM, 8 x USB, LPC, SMBus.
  • 4 x SATA w/ RAID, HD Audio.
  • PCIe X16 and optional X1 PCIe slot.
  • DC 12V input.

MB-64050 Data Sheet:  Click Here

WIN Enterprises
North Andover, MA.
(978) 688-2000.