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Latest UP board combines Whiskey Lake with AI Core X modules

Mar 19, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 2858 views

Aaeon has posted specs for a Linux-ready “UP Xtreme” SBC with a 15W, 8th Gen Whiskey Lake-U CPU, up to 16GB DDR4 and 128GB eMMC, 2x GbE, 6x USB, SATA, and optional AI Core X modules via M.2 and mini-PCIe.

Aaeon’s community-backed UP project, which most recently brought us the Intel Apollo Lake based Up Squared and UP Core Plus SBCs, has announced an UP Xtreme hacker board built around Intel’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake U-series Core processors. This is likely the fastest open-spec, community-backed SBC around, depending on your definition.



UP Xtreme and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Despite lacking full schematics, the UP boards barely qualify for our catalog of open-spec Linux hacker boards. However, DFRobot’s maker-oriented LattePanda boards, including the Kaby Lake based LattePanda Alpha, do not. In any case the 1.6GHz/2.6GHz, dual quad-thread Core m3-7Y30 on the LattePanda Alpha would not match the performance of the quad-core UP Xtreme model. Other boards that come close include Hardkernel’s more fully open-spec, quad-core Gemini Lake based Odroid-H2.

The only SBCs we’ve seen announced with the 14nm fabricated Whiskey Lake are Congatec’s 3.5-inch Conga-JC370 and thin Mini-ITX Conga-IC370. The Whiskey Lake U-series chips are notable for providing quad-core configurations with the same 15W TDPs of Intel’s earlier dual-core U-series chips. The quad-core models offer a performance increase of up to 40 percent compared to previous U-Series processors.

Aaeon appears to support all five Core i7/i5/i3 models, all but one of which are dual-threaded. The models range from the 1.8GHz (4.6GHz Turbo), quad-core Core i7-8565U to the 1.8GHz (3.9GHz Turbo), dual-core Core i3-8145U. Congatec clocks the latter’s base speed at up to 2.1GHz, but Aaeon lists only 1.8GHz base frequency for all the models.

The Whiskey Lake processors integrate Intel Gen9 UHD Graphics 620 with 24 EUs. They’re also notable for supporting USB 3.1 Gen2 with up to a 10Gbps transfer rate. Sadly, however, the UP Xtreme does not include a USB 3.1 port, perhaps to reduce costs.

Even still, the board is not likely to make our under-$200 cut-off for the hacker board catalog. As noted in the CNXSoft post that first revealed the SBC, the lowest cost i3-8145 Whiskey Lake model sells for $281, suggesting the lowest Xtreme price might be about $350 to $400.

At 120 x 120mm, this is the largest UP board yet. The SBC supports up to 16GB DDR4 and up to 128GB eMMC. In addition to offering a powered SATA interface, there’s a SATA option on the M.2 “B/M” key slot, and mSATA is available via the similarly multi-purpose mini-PCIe slot, which is accompanied by a SIM slot. An M.2 Key E slot is also onboard.



UP Xtreme detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The stacked HDMI and DisplayPorts will no doubt give you 4K video, and you can probably get triple 4K displays if you use the onboard 3DP header with backlighting. Audio headers are also available.

The UP Xtreme is further equipped with 2x GbE and 4x USB 3.0 ports, plus additional USB and RS232/422/485 headers. There’s also a pair of STM32 I/O headers, which may offer GPIO related to the STM32 MCU. Like other UP boards, further expansion is available via a 40-pin “HAT” GPIO connector, which suggests it can run some Raspberry Pi HATs.

 
AI Core X support

There’s no explanation for the 100-pin docking connector, which appears to offer four different options for I/O daughtercards (see spec list below). The UP Core Plus offers dual 100-pin connectors for various AI-enhanced add-ons such as the Cyclone 10GX-based AI Plus and the Myriad 2 based Vision Plus. However, the brief marketing copy on the UP Xtreme teaser page suggests that the UP Xtreme’s touted AI capabilities are instead launched via the M.2 and mini-PCIe slots.



AI Core X models
(click image to enlarge)

Aaeon notes the ability to add AI Core X Neural Compute Engine modules with 1TOPs neural acceleration performance. Equipped with Intel’s new Movidius Myriad X VPU, which also drives Intel’s new Intel Neural Compute Stick 2, the AI Core X modules are available in a variety of M.2 and mini-PCIe models.


AI Core X specs
(click image to enlarge)

The Myriad X VPU based AI Core X modules are also available now for the UP Core Plus. The Myriad X VPU provides a dedicated hardware neural network inference accelerator to deliver up to 10X higher performance than the Myriad 2 “for applications requiring multiple neural networks running simultaneously.”

Specifications listed for the UP Xtreme include:

  • Processor — Intel 8th Gen “Whiskey Lake” U-series — 2x or 4x Whiskey Lake @ 1.8GHz (up to 3.9GHz or 4.6GHz Turbo) with Intel Gen9 UHD Graphics 620 (24 EU) at 300MHz base and 1GHz max dynamic; Intel 300 series chipset
  • Memory — up to 16GB of DDR4 via dual sockets
  • Storage:
    • 16GB to 128GB eMMC 5.1
    • SATA with SATA power
    • M.2 Key B/M with support for 2x SATA, and mini-PCIe with support for mSATA (see expansion below)
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel i210/i211 and 1219LM)
  • Media I/O:
    • DisplayPort
    • HDMI port
    • eDP with backlight header
    • I2S audio and audio out/mic in with ALC887 codec
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.0 host ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • 2x RS232/422/485 (10-pin Fintech F81801 connectors)
    • HSUART
    • 2x STM32 I/O headers
  • Expansion:
    • 40-pin “HAT” header — By MAX5: 28x GPIO, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, ADC, I2S, 2x PWM, UART, 3V3, 5V, GND
    • 100-pin docking connector for 1) 12V, GND; 2) 3x PCIe x1; 3) 2x PCIe x1 or USB 3.0; 5) 2x USB 2.0
    • M.2 Key B/M (2242/2280) with 2x PCIe/2x SATA
    • M.2 Key E (2230) with PCIe/USB 2.0)
    • Mini-PCIe slot for mSATA/USB 2.0 with SIM slot
  • Other features — RTC with battery; heatsink; humidity resistance; optional AI Core X modules via M.2 or mini-PCIe
  • Power — Lockable 12-65V DC input; power button
  • Operating temperatures — 0 to 60°C
  • Dimensions — 120 x 120mm
  • Operating system – Linux (Ubuntu, Yocto); Android; Windows 10

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the UP Xtreme. More information may be found at Aaeon’s UP community UP Xtreme product page.
 

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