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Mini-ITX and 3.5-inch SBCs pack COM Express CPUs

Jun 18, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 928 views

Advantech unveiled a pair of carrier boards that merge with COM Express modules to form sandwich-style SBCs.

Advantech’s 3.5-inch style SOM-AB5810 and Mini-ITX style SOM-AB5510 carrier boards are quite different in form-factors and specs. However, as their similar names suggest, they share a few traits: in particular, the ability to accept various COM Express computer-on-modules resulting in a sandwich-style SBC design. Other common features include compatibility with ATX power supplies and support for Mini-PCIe expansion, among other similarities.

SOM-AB5810 (left) and SOM-AB5510 carrier boards
(click images to enlarge)

SOM-AB5810 Mini-ITX carrier board

The SOM-AB5810 Mini-ITX carrier board is ideally suited for outdoor surveillance, industrial automation, digital signage, and kiosk applications, says Advantech. The press release touts its -40 to 85°C extended temperature support, but the datasheet mentions only 0 to 60°C. Presumably, two SKUs are available. Vibration resistance is rated at 3.5 Grms.

SOM-AB5810, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The board offers compatibility with COM Express Basic and Compact Type 6 COMs. Supported COM options are limited to three Linux-ready Advantech modules. The SOM-5892 is available with the board now, while the SOM-5894 will be ready in the third quarter, and the SOM-6894 in the fourth.

The SOM-5892 COM Express Basic module supports older 3rd Generation Intel Core processors with up to 16GB of DDR3L-1333 RAM. It supports triple displays, and offers numerous PCIe, SATA, and USB connections, among other I/O.

SOM-5894 COM and its block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The SOM-5894 COM Express Basic module was announced a year ago in conjunction with Intel’s 4th Generation “Haswell” Core release, and supports a range of 4th Gen Core i7/i5/i3 processors. The module supports three symmetrical independent displays using a mix of its VGA, LVDS, HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort interfaces. A dozen USB ports are available, including four USB 3.0 ports, and there are also four SATA 3 ports. The AB5894 offers PCIe x1 and PCIe x16 (Gen3) expansion, as well as dual COM Ports, LPC, SMBus, GPIO, and I2C buses.

The SOM-6894 is the only COM Express Compact module of the bunch. Like the SOM-5894, it runs 4th Gen Core processors. I/O is very similar as well.

SOM-6894 COM and its block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The SOM-AB5810 Mini-ITX board supports ATX power supply input, and can also run from a 19V DC input jack with power supplied by an optional external power supply module.

The SOM-AB5810 supports both standard and low profile I/O design types. The standard I/O interface fits with a standard Mini-ITX I/O shielding and chassis without alterations. The low profile I/O interface can meet both standard I/O shielding or customized interface within a low profile chassis design.

SOM-AB5810 with standard I/O configuration

The 6.7 x 6.7-inch board supplies numerous coastline ports including a VGA port and dual HDMI ports. There’s also an 18/24-bit LVDS interface onboard. Four USB 3.0 ports hug the coastline, while two more USB 2.0 interfaces are available via connectors. You also get a gigabit Ethernet port and audio I/O.

Internal I/O include up to four SATA interfaces using ATX or two using DC power, as well as an optional mSATA interface. Both RS-232 and RS-232/422/485 interfaces are also available.

SOM-AB5810 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The SOM-AB5810 features dual Mini-PCIe slots, along with a PCI-Express x16 slot on the ATX model and PCIe x1 on the DC SKU. There are also eight GPIOs, as well as LPC, SMBus, I2C, and SPI buses.

All the supported modules are preloaded with Advantech’s SUSIAccess remote device management software and iManager firmware self-management tool, which provides programmable APIs such as multi-level watchdog timer, hardware monitoring, and other tools. The iManager on-chip self-management agent “ensures the system operates normally even when the OS crashes,” says the company.

SOM-AB5510 3.5-inch carrier board

We did not see an announcement of the 3.5-inch SOM-AB5510, but a preliminary datasheet is available. The carrier board supports an 84 x 55mm COM Express Mini module of the Type 10 variety. Advantech offers five Linux-ready COM Express Mini COMs running various Intel Atom varieties, including a SOM-7567 module that runs the latest Atom E3800 SoCs.

(click image to enlarge)

Like the SOM-AB5810, the 46 x 102mm (5.75 x 4.0-inch) carrier board runs from a choice of 12VDC supplied by an ATX power supply, or from a wide 8.5 to 20V input range through a DC input jack. There’s also a “smart battery charger” design, compatible with SBS 1.1. The datasheet indicates a 0 to 60°C operating range for the board.

Coastline I/O includes a gigabit Ethernet port, and four USB host ports, with two 3.0 and two 2.0 ports. There’s also a USB client port. Other coastline interfaces include an HDMI port, a 2-wire COM port, which can optionally be configured for CAN, and audio I/O.

SOM-AB5510 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Onboard I/O connectors support 18/24-bit LVDS video, as well as SATA, mSATA, and microSD interfaces, all in single helpings. You get a pair of Mini-PCIe slots, as well as support for LPC, SMBus, I2C, and SIM Card connections.

Further information

The Advantech SOM-AB5810 Mini-ITX board is available now with the “Ivy Bridge” Core based Advantech SOM-5892 COM Express Basic module. Pairings with the two newer “Haswell” Core based modules — the SOM-5894 (Basic) and SOM-6894 (Compact) — will be available in Q3 and Q4 2014, respectively. More information may be found at the SOM-AB5810 product page.

No availability details were provided for the SOM-AB5510 3.5-inch board. More information may be found in the SOM-AB5510 datasheet (PDF).

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