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Aaeon releases HW monitoring stack for Linux-on-Intel systems

May 28, 2019 — by Eric Brown 941 views

Aaeon’s BIOS-driven “HERO SDK” hardware monitoring stack supports Linux-driven Aaeon systems that use Intel’s Gemini, Whiskey, and Coffee Lake CPUs. The company has also posted specs for a Coffee Lake based “COM-CFHB6” COM Express.

Aaeon announced a HERO SDK to “help developers with monitoring and controlling hardware on Aaeon platforms.” Available for modern Intel-based systems that run Linux, the HERO SDK integrates a hardware monitoring API within the BIOS rather than the kernel, thereby “eliminating the need for drivers which require configuration or limit your choice in OS.” Aaeon also posted a preliminary product page for a Coffee Lake-based COM Express Type 6 module called the COM-CFHB6 (see farther below).



The High Efficiency, Reliable and Optimal (HERO) SDK “provides developers with unparalleled freedom and flexibility in utilizing their preferred Linux OS, and eliminates the guesswork in downloading and installing drivers,” says Aaeon. The SDK provides a “user-friendly” GUI for system monitoring, smart fan control, digital I/O functions, and watchdog timer settings.

HERO SDK screens
(click images to enlarge)

Additional HERO SDK features include functions for initialization, GPIO, and I2C bus, as well as settings and configuration for storage and backlighting. You also get demo applications, guides, and tech support.

The free “Basic” version of the HERO SDK is available for free download. Aaeon will soon launch a more advanced “Standard” kit with undisclosed pricing that adds a web-based hardware monitoring and device management environment.

The HERO SDK supports any Linux distribution that runs on an Aaeon system equipped with the following processors:

  • Coffee Lake — 9th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, Celeron, and Xeon
  • Whiskey Lake — 8th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron
  • Gemini Lake — Intel Pentium Silver and Celeron

Android is available on request, as are special configurations that run on other processors. The latter are supported only with Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, openSUSE, and Fedora.

UP Xtreme

Although Aaeon manufactures scores of compute modules, SBCs, and systems equipped with Intel CPUs, we did not see any based on the latest models listed above except for the upcoming, Whiskey Lake-based UP Xtreme SBC offered by its UP community. We did, however, notice a new COM Express based COM-CFHB6 module with the earlier 8th Gen version of Intel’s Coffee Lake. Since Aaeon only lists the new 9th Gen Coffee Lake chips, it’s unclear if the new module will be able to run the HERO SDK.


The COM-CFHB6 is a COM Express Type 6 Basic module with Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake processors. It follows other Aaeon Type 6 Basic modules such as its Intel Xeon E3 powered COM-KBHB6 and it joins other 8th Gen Coffee Lake based Type 6 modules, including the Adlink Express CF/CFE and Congatec Conga-TS370, among others. As usual, Aaeon lists no OS support, but the module almost certainly runs Linux, and perhaps even the new HERO SDK.

COM-CFHB6 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The 125 x 95mm module supports four 45W TDP CPUs from the first 8th Generation batch of Coffee Lake chips. On the high end there’s the hexa-core, 12-thread Core i7-8850H (2.6GHz/4.2GHz) or Xeon E-2176M (2.7GHz/4.4GHz). You can also choose the quad-core, octa-threaded Core i5-8400H with 2.5GHz/4.2GHz clock or the new quad-core, quad-threaded, 3GHz Core i3-8100H. The Xeon uses the CM246 chipset while the others tap the QM370.

The COM-CFHB6 supports up to 32GB DDR4 and has an Intel I219 GbE controller with WoL. The module supports 4x SATA interfaces plus PCIe x8 and PCIe x16 PEG expansion. You also get 4x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 2x UART, 8-bit GPIO, and I2C, LPC, and SMBus. Media features include 2x DDI, VGA, dual-channel, 18/24-bit LVDS, and HD audio.

The 12V module has a 0 to 60°C range with humidity resistance. There’s a watchdog onboard along with an optional heatspreader and CPU cooler. There’s also an option for an ECB-920-A10-0001 carrier board.

Further information

The HERO SDK Basic version is available now for free download, and the Standard version is coming soon at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in Aaeon’s HERO SDK announcement and product page.

No pricing or availability information was supplied for the “preliminary” COM-CFHB6. More information may be found on the COM-CFHB6 product page.

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