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3.5-inch Whiskey Lake SBC has mini-PCIe and dual M.2

Apr 7, 2020 — by Eric Brown 4,786 views

Aaeon’s 3.5-inch “GENE-WHU6” SBC runs on an 8th Gen Whiskey Lake CPU with up to 32GB RAM, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, 2x GbE, and 2x M.2 slots, starting at under $1K.

Over the last few days, Aaeon’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake based PICO-WHU4 Pico-ITX board, which we covered in February, has received a lot of attention from the tech press, with the inevitable comparisons to the Raspberry Pi 4. Although a commercial Intel-based board is a world away from an Arm-based maker board like the Pi in terms of community support and price on the one hand and CPU power on the other, the 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX form factor is as close as the x86 world comes to the compact, 87 x 56mm Raspberry Pi footprint.

Now, Aaeon has followed up with a larger 3.5-inch GENE-WHU6 SBC with Intel’s Whiskey Lake, which follows earlier 3.5-inch Aaeon SBCs such as the 6th Gen Skylake-U based GENE-SKU6. While the PICO-WHU4 is only the second Whiskey Lake Pico-ITX we’ve seen, there are several more 3.5-inch Whiskey Lake SBCs (see farther below.)

GENE-WHU6 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The GENE-WHU6 fills up the extra space on the 146 x 101.7mm board with up to twice the RAM as the PICO-WHU4. There’s also a second M.2 slot, two more 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a wide-range power input, an LVDS interface, and HDMI 2.0 instead of 1.4.


As with the PICO-WHU6, no OS support was listed, but Linux and Windows should be easy fits. The board supports Intel’s quad-core, 8-thread, 1.7GHz/4.4GHz Core i7-8665UE and i5-8365UE (1.6GHz/4.1GHz), as well as the dual-core, quad-thread 2.2GHz/3.9GHz Core i3-8145UE and 2.0GHz, dual-core, dual-thread Celeron 4305UE. They all offer Intel UHD Graphics 620 or 610 and 15W TDPs.

GENE-WHU6 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The GENE-WHU6 can load up to 32GB DDR4 and offers 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2x GbE, 2x RS-232/422/485 connectors, and SATA with power. No resolution claims were made for the HDMI 2.0, VGA, and LVDS displays, nor are there claims for multiple simultaneous displays.

The mini-PCIe slot defaults to mSATA, while the dual M.2 slots support a mix of wireless, storage, and peripherals cards. These include Aaeon’s optional, low-power Kneron KL520 NPU modules, as well as the more powerful AI Core X AI cards with Intel Movidius Myriad X.

Specifications listed for the GENE-WHU6 include:

  • Processor — Intel 8th Gen “Whiskey Lake” UE-series Core and Celeron (2x or 4x core @ up to 2.0GHz); Intel UHD Graphics 620 (Core) or 610 (Celeron); 15W TDP (configurable TDP of 12.5W to 25W)
  • Memory — Up to 32GB DDR4 via 2x sockets at 2400MHz
  • Storage — SATA III with 5V power connector; mSATA is default on mini-PCIe and optional on M.2 B-key (see expansion below)
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel I219 and I210/1211) with WoL
  • Display/media:
    • HDMI 2.0 port
    • VGA port
    • LVDS or optional eDP
    • Touchscreen and backlight support
    • HD audio codec
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 host ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • 2x RS232/422/485 headers
    • 8-bit DIO, PWM fan interface
  • Expansion:
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot with default to mSATA with nano-SIM slot
    • M.2 E-Key 2230 slot for WiFi/BT, PCIe x1, USB 2.0
    • M.2 B-Key 2280 with default to PCIe x1 (SATA by BIOS)
  • Other features — Watchdog; HW monitoring; heatspreader optional cables
  • Power — 9-36V DC input (optional 12V); AT/ATX supply; 2.8A@ +12V consumption with i7-8665UE and 16GB RAM
  • Operating temperatures — 0 to 60°C; 0-95% relative humidity tolerance (non-condensing)
  • Dimensions — 146 x 101.7mm (“3.5-inch form factor”)

Other 3.5-inch Whiskey Lake SBCs include Kontron’s recent 3.5″-SBC-WLU, Ibase’s IB919, Commell’s LE-37N, Congatec’s Conga-JC370, and ASRock’s SBC-350.

Further information

Aaeon lists only one GENE-WHU6 model in limited quantity on its eShop site, featuring the high-end Core i7-8665UE. It’s unclear how much RAM you get for the $1,022 price. Presumably, you will be able to buy the board with an i5 or i3 processor for under $1,000. More information may be found in announcement and product page.


(advertise here)

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