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MinnowBoard MAX launched, BayTrail SoC on a 99x74mm board

by Mark Tyson on 1 April 2014, 14:30

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaccp5

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Intel hardware partner MinnowBoard.org has launched the MinnowBoard MAX which is, conversely, a smaller size MinnowBoard circuit board based computer platform. The new board is "smaller in size than its predecessor, but is big on compute power and customization," writes Intel on its Chip Shot blog. We looked at the 4.2-inch square MinnowBoard with Intel Atom E640 @ 1GHz (32bit) in summer last year.

The MinnowBoard MAX is, like its older brother, marketed as a powerful development board for both professionals and makers. It features an open hardware design so it can be customised for the purpose in the developer's mind. Many of these computers will find their way into such applications as digital signage and point of sales systems. It's not designed as a competitor to the likes of an Intel NUC or Gigabyte BRIX but of course it's up to the buyer what they do with these mini x86 machines. The MinnowBoard MAX can be used with OSes including Debian GNU/Linux and Yocto Project Compatible Android 4.4 System.

MinnowBoard MAX specifications:

  • SoC: 64-bit Intel Atom E3815 (single-core, 1.46 GHz) or E3825 (dual-core, 1.33 GHz) with Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory: DDR3 RAM, 1GB or 2GB
  • Firmware: 8MB SMPI flash. UEFI boot firmware
  • Audio: Digital via HDMI or analogue with breakout board
  • I/O: One each of; MicroSD, SATA2, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, Serial (via optional cable)
  • Dev features: 8 – Buffered GPIO pins, I2C & SPI bus, System Firmware Flash Programming Header
  • Dimensions: 99 x 74mm (2.9 x 3.9in)
  • Power: 5V DC input

Both a low speed and high speed expansion port is available with the following features:

  • Low speed expansion port: Available signals: SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2x UARTs (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (2x supporting PWM), +5V, GND
  • Low speed expansion port: Available signals: 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 Lane, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, GND

The first batch of production MinnowBoard MAX units should to be in stock at distributor sites by the end of June this year. Pricing for the single core 1GB Ram version will be $99, the dual-core 2GB version will cost $129. Open Hardware Design files will be made available under Creative Commons licensing within weeks of production boards being available at the distributors.



HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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These would make great home servers, plug a USB2/3 hub and a load of external drives and you've got a nice high performance NAS too.
Think I'd rather have a cheap Atom based M-Itx board with regular sata ports myself, but each to their own…
Frankly, you could boot it off SD and run a big SATA drive off the onboard port, so why mess with USB hubs and the like? You won't get reliable RAID or fault-tolerance off USB drives, so just have a big SATA drive for main storage and a big USB drive for backup :)

That said, a 1.33Ghz dual core with 2GB is plenty of oomph for a useable desktop system (given Bay Trail's overall IPC improvement), let alone a dev board. Stick a big microSD card in it and you could carry around an entire system the size of a portable hard drive. Wonder what the overall power draw's like on these … in an office environment where you need hundreds of low-performance systems (e.g. call centres?), you might be able to get a significant return on investment kitting the place out with tiny devices like these…
Everyone knows the next step in this drill: the price comes down.
The Raspberry Pi Organization has, hopefully, been planning for just such a scenario, and an anwer–to keep their very admirable goals on track–will be for