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3.5-inch Apollo Lake SBC is loaded with options

Jun 15, 2018 — by Eric Brown 2,431 views

DFI is prepping an Ubuntu friendly 3.5-inch “AL551” SBC with an Apollo Lake SoC, triple display support, up to 2x GbE and SATA III ports, and mini-PCIe, M.2, and optional “expansion I/O” connectors.

We discovered the AL551 while reporting on DFI’s Linux-ready, 15.6-inch KS-156AL panel PC, which was announced along with a Windows-only, 7-inch KS070-AL panel PC. As it turned out, the KS070-AL is built around the “coming soon” 3.5-inch AL551 SBC, which supports Ubuntu 16.04, as well as Windows.

AL551, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Like the DFI AL171 Mini-ITX board that powers the 15.6-inch KS-156AL, the AL551 supports all of Intel’s Apollo Lake SoCs. If you choose the top-of-the line Atom x7-E3950, you can order the board with extended or industrial temperature support.

AL551 block diagram and AL551-based KS070-AL panel PC
(click images to enlarge)

The 146 x 102mm SBC can load up to 8GB DDR3L and offers a SATA III interface with power, with the option for a second SATA device if you populate the available M.2 slot. There’s also a mini-PCIe slot and an optional “extension I/O” connector. You can order the AL551 with one or two GbE ports.

AL551 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Triple displays are supported via a VGA port, a 4K-ready DisplayPort++, and dual-channel LVDS with LCD panel and inverter support. The SBC is equipped with 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and two more USB 2.0 headers, and if you’re planning to run Ubuntu, you can optionally order a USB Type-C port. There’s also a pair of 2x RS232/422/485 headers, audio I/O, DIO, SMBus, a watchdog, and optional TPM.

Specifications for the AL551 include:


  • Processor — Intel “Apollo Lake” with Intel Gen9 (18 EU) graphics:
    • Atom x7-E3950 (4x cores @ 1.6/2.0GHz. 12W TDP)
    • Atom x5-E3940 (4x cores @ 1.6/1.8GHz. 9.5W TDP)
    • Atom x5-E3930 (2x cores @ 1.3/1.8GHz. 6.5W TDP)
    • Pentium N4200 (4x cores @ 1.1/2.5GHz, 6W TDP)
    • Celeron N3350 (2x cores @ 1.1/2.4GHz, 6W TDP)
  • Memory — Up to 8GB DDR3L-1866 via 1x SODIMM
  • Storage — SATA III (6Gbps); SATA power; 2nd SATA III optional via M.2 B-key 2242 slot;
  • Display:
    • DisplayPort++ at up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz
    • VGA port at up to 2048 x 1536 @ 50Hz
    • 2x 48-bit dual-channel LVDS at up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz
    • LVDS LCD panel connector and LCD/inverter power
    • Triple display support
  • Networking — 1x or 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports (I211AT standard and I210I optional)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • Optional USB Type-C OTG port (available on request for Linux only)
    • 2x RS232/422/485 headers
    • Realtek ALC262 audio I/O headers
    • Optional speaker out (for 2x 3W speakers) on request
    • 8-bit DIO, SMBus
  • Expansion:
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot (USB/PCIe)
    • M.2 B-key 2242 slot (PCIe/USB 2.0/SATA 3.0)
    • Optional “extension I/O” connector available on request
  • Other features — Watchdog; optional TPM 2.0 on request; heatsink; optional heatspreader; optional cables
  • Power — Right-angle 12V DC 4-pin (DC jack or vert. 4-pin on request); Lithium 3V 210mAh battery
  • Operating temperatures — 0 to 60°C (optional -20 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C for Atom x7-E3950)
  • Dimensions — 146 x 102 x 1.6mm (“3.5-inch form factor”)
  • Operating system — Ubuntu 16.04; Windows 10

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the “coming soon” AL551. More information may be found on DFI’s AL551 product page.

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