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Type 6 COM and 3.5-inch SBC harness new Braswell SoCs

Jun 5, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,195 views
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[Updated: June 9] — Nexcom launched a 3.5-inch SBC and COM Express Type 6 module featuring Intel’s 4K-ready, 14nm “Braswell” SoCs, and offering extended temperature operation.

Nexcom’s 3.5-inch EBC 356 SBC and ICES 621 COM Express Type 6 computer-on-module are part of a new wave of embedded devices running Intel’s Braswell SoCs, including the Congatec Conga-QA4 Qseven COM we covered earlier this week.



EBC 356
(click image to enlarge)

In March, Intel announced four Pentium and Celeron branded processors under the Braswell umbrella, and they have now reached market. The Braswell SoCs are to the 14nm “Cherry Trail” Atoms, such as the Atom x5 and Atom x7, what the “Bay Trail-D” Celerons such as the Celeron N2920 are to the “Bay Trail-I” E3800 Atoms. They offer similar CPUs and GPUs to the Cherry Trail Atoms, but add desktop-like features such as SATA support. Like the Cherry Trail SoCs, the Braswell SoCs move up to Intel Gen8 graphics, providing 4K (3840 x 2160 pixel) resolution.

Both the EBC 356 and ICES 621 offer a choice of the quad-core Intel Pentium N3700 clocked to 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) with a 6W TDP, or else a quad-core Celeron N3150 clocked to 1.6GHz (2.08GHz burst), also with a 6W TDP.

Both new boards also provide “fast I/O interfaces including USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0, making them ideal for interactive kiosks at museums, airports, and shopping malls,” says Nexcom. Other applications are said to include projectors and handheld medical devices. No OS support was listed, but the Braswell-based Conga-QA4 supports Linux, as well as Windows, and we are confident the same applies here.

 
EBC 356

The EBC 356 updates the Atom E3800 based EBC 355, which similarly adopted the 3.5-inch form factor and targeted kiosk and signage applications. The 146 x 102mm EBC 356 is available with one of the two very similar quad-core, 1.6GHz Braswell chips, supported with up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM.



EBC 356, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

In either case, you move up to Intel Gen8 Graphics, which supports 4K instead of HD (1920 x 1200 pixel) video resolution. The EBC 356 is notable for having three coastline HDMI ports for easy triple display support. Two of them support up to 4K (3840×2160 @ 30Hz), while the third can handle 2K (2560×1440 @ 60Hz).

The EBC 356 is equipped with a mini-PCIe slot supporting the M.2 SATA standard with optional modules for either a solid state drive or a 3G/4G wireless module. There are also two more standard SATA 3.0 interfaces.

We’ve lately seen increased embedded adoption of M.2, especially in Intel NUC mini-PCs. Introduced with SATA 3.2 in 2013, the storage form factor enables thin, 80 x 22mm SSDs suitable for tablets and thin notebooks.



EBC 356 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The EBC 356 is equipped with a gigabit Ethernet port, naturally, as well as four USB 3.0 ports. Onboard I/O includes dual serial ports, GPIO, and headers for HD audio, as well as PS/2, SMBus, and other functions. A watchdog timer and real-time clock with external battery are also part of the package. The 12V DC board supports a somewhat extended -20 to 60°C temperature range, and appears to run on about 10 Watts, judging from the block diagram.

Specifications listed for the EBC 356 include:

  • Processor — Intel “Braswell” Pentium and Celeron N3000 family with Intel HD Graphics Gen 8:
    • Pentium N3700 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
    • Celeron N3150 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.08GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • RAM — up to 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM via 2x SODIMMs
  • Storage — M.2 slot for optional SSD via mini-PCIe; 2x SATA 3.0 ports
  • Display — 3x HDMI ports (2x with 4K/2K 3840×2160 @ 30Hz/2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz; 1x with 2K 2560×1440 @ 60Hz; supports 3x independent displays
  • Wireless — SIM card interface and mini-PCIe for optional 3G or 4G M.2 module in place of M.2 SSD
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port (Intel I210) with PXE Boot, Wake-on-LAN
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2x RS232 interfaces
    • Realtek ALC886 audio interface with mic-in, line-in, line-out headers
    • 8x GPIO
    • SMBus
    • Headers for PS/2, fan, AT/ATX mode, LEDs, buzzer, reset, on/off
  • Other features — watchdog; RTC with battery backup; hardware monitoring
  • Power — 12V DC input
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 60°C
  • Dimensions — 146 x 102mm; 3.5-inch form factor

 
ICES 621

Like Nexcom’s 4th Gen Core based ICES 670, the ICES 621 adopts the COM Express Type 6 computer-on-module form factor. The 95 x 95mm COM similarly supports the two quad-core Braswell options: the Pentium N3700 or Celeron N3150. Both chips are clocked at 1.6GHz, but the N3700 has a higher 2.4GHz burst mode. Up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM is supported.



ICES 621, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Like the ECB 356 board, the ICES 621 COM is designed for kiosks and signage systems, leveraging Braswell’s Intel Gen 8 Graphics to deliver triple displays, and up to 4K x 2K resolution over HDMI. DisplayPort and VGA interfaces are also supported.


ICES 621 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The ICES 621 provides for four USB 3 and eight USB 2.0 ports, as well as a gigabit Ethernet port and dual SATA 3.0 connections. You also get four PCIe x 1 interfaces, plus LPC and SMBus expansion.

The module runs on +12V, +5VSB, or +3.3V RTC power with both AT and ATX modes, and there’s a fan connector. The temperature range is wider than that of the EBC 356, rated at -40 to 65°C.

Specifications listed for the ICES 621 include:

  • Processor — Intel “Braswell” Pentium and Celeron N3000 family with Intel HD Graphics Gen 8:
    • Pentium N3700 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
    • Celeron N3150 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.08GHz burst) with 2MB L2 cache and 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • RAM — up to 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM via 2x SODIMMs
  • Storage — 2x SATA 3.0
  • Interfaces available via COM Express connectors:
    • Display — 1x VGA; 2x DisplayPort (supports HDMI and DVI, up to 4K x 2K resolution); supports 3x independent displays
    • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet
    • USB — 8x USB 2.0; 4x USB 3.0
    • Other I/O — HDA, LPC, 4x GPIO, SMBus (I2C), SPI
    • PCI Express — 4x PCIe x1 lanes
  • Power — 12V, 5VSB, 3.3V RTC power; supports AT and ATX modes
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 65°C
  • Dimensions — 95 x 95mm; COM Express Type 6 Compact

 
Further information

The EBC 356 and ICES 621 appear to be available now, at undisclosed prices. More information may be found at Nexcom’s EBC 356 and ICES 621 product pages, respectively.
 

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