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Aaeon reveals Elkhart Lake Pico-ITX and ships Tiger Lake 3.5-inch SBCs

Nov 3, 2021 — by Eric Brown 191 views

[Updated: Nov. 4] — Aaeon has announced a previously teased, Intel Elkhart Lake based “PICO-EHL4” Pico-ITX board and has launched its 3.5-inch, Tiger Lake-U based GENE-TGU6 SBC with 2.5GbE and quad display support, starting at $717.

Yesterday, when we were reporting on Canonical’s release of Ubuntu images optimized for Intel’s Elkhart Lake and Tiger Lake processors, we saw several patch notices referring to the EHL. Aaeon then confirmed that the patches referred to its PICO-EHL4 SBC, which was revealed with no image and very few details a year ago after Elkhart Lake was announced. Aaeon has since posted specs, apparently in late September when it announced the board, on Aaeon’s newsletter. [Update: Aaeon announced the PICO-EHL4 on Nov. 4, a day after this post was originally published, but did not reveal any new information.]

We also cover Aaeon’s Tiger Lake-U based GENE-TGU6 3.5-inch SBC, which we detailed in May based on a preliminary product page and which Aaeon has now formally launched with some minor changes.



PICO-EHL4 (left) and GENE-TGU6
(click images to enlarge)

We were confused by Canonical’s mention of a bug fix for the PICO-EHL4 for the Intel I225-IT 2.5GbE Ethernet controller, since the PICO-EHL4 is listed only with dual 1GbE ports based on Realtek’s RTL8111H. Aaeon then informed us that an upcoming, UP-branded, community backed variant of the PICO-EHL4 will indeed supply the 2.5GbE I225-IT.

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PICO-EHL4

The PICO-EHL4 follows earlier Aaeon Pico-ITX boards such as its Apollo Lake based PICO-APL4. Other Elkhart Lake based Pico-ITX boards include Vecow’s EPCB-1000 and Congatec’s Conga-PA7.



PICO-EHL4, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The PICO-EHL4 runs Ubuntu or Win 10 on a choice of dual- or quad-core Atom X-6000 “E” and “RE” processors up to a quad-core, 1.8GHz/3.0GHz Atom x6212E. There are also several Pentium and Celeron SKUs, and a quad-core Atom x6427FE or headless, dual-core x6200FE are available by customer request. The RE models add Intel’s TCC and similar TSN synchronized networking features while the FE also adds Intel Safety Island functional safety (FuSa) features.

As with the Conga-PA7, you can load up to 16GB LPDDR4 at 3200MHz per the spec sheet and 4267MHz per another citation. (Vecow’s EPCB-1000 supports 32GB.) Storage features are a cut above the competition, with up to 64GB eMMC, SATA with power, and a mini-PCIe slot that defaults to mSATA.

The PICO-EHL4 supplies dual HDMI ports and either LVDS or eDP, depending on the SKU. The Celerons and the dual-core Atom x6211E get the LVDS while the others get eDP. For communications, you get the dual GbE ports and an M.2 E-key slot that supports WiFi/BT.



PICO-EHL4 block diagram and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

As with the Conga-PA7, there are 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 ports rather than the slower Gen1 with Vecow. In addition to offering USB 2.0, serial, DIO, and other headers, you get two standard CAN headers, which are optional with Congatec, and there is an optional CAN board.

The SBC does not offer the M.2 B-key slot available with its rivals, or Vecow’s SIM card slot. The board also lacks the standard (Vecow) or optional (Congatec) extended temperature support.

Specifications listed for the PICO-EHL4 SBC include:

  • Processor – Elkhart Lake Atom “E” and “RE” plus Pentium and Celeron with 2x or 4x 10nm Elkhart Lake cores @ up to 1.8GHz/3.0GHz (Atomx6425E); 6.5W to 12W TDPs; Intel UHD Graphics (Intel Gen11); built-in Cortex-M7
  • Memory/storage:
    • Up to 16GB LPDDR4x @ 3200MHz with IBECC
    • 32GB to 128GB eMMC
    • SATA III with SATA power connector
    • mSATA available via mini-PCIe
  • Networking — 2x GbE ports (Realtek RTL8111H) with WoL; WiFi/BT available via M.2 E-key
  • Media I/O:
    • 2x HDMI 2.0b at up to [email protected]
    • Single-channel, 18-24 bit LVDS with backlight or eDP 1.4 up to 4K, dependent on SKU
    • Triple independent display support
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 ports
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • 2x RS-232/422/485
    • 4-bit DIO
    • 2x CAN with optional CAN board and cable
    • SMBus or I2C/eSPI (HW BOM selection)
    • Front-panel, smart fan headers
  • Expansion:
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot (default to mSATA, otherwise USB 2.0/PCIe x1)
    • M.2 E-key 2230 slot (PCIe, USB 2.0) for WiFi/BT
  • Other features — Watchdog; TPM; optional heatsink, heatspreader, and cooler; optional cables
  • Power — 12VDC via terminal block input; CMOS battery; typ. consumption: [email protected] +12V (Pentium J6426 with 8GB) or [email protected] +12V (Atom x6425E with 16GB)
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C; 0-90% non-condensing relative humidity
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Weight — 0.25 Kg
  • Operating system — Ubuntu Linux; Win 10

 
GENE-TGU6

The 3.5-inch GENE-TGU6 SBC offers a choice of Tiger Lake-U “E” series chips, including dual-core Celeron or Core i3 plus quad-core i5 and i7 (1.8GHz/4.40GHz i7-1185G7E). No OS support was listed, but Linux and Windows are likely.



GENE-TGU6 block diagram and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The specs have remained the same since May with a few exceptions. Aaeon did not previously mention that the USB Type-C port supports DP 1.4, which along with the HDMI and dual standard DP ports enables support for up to 4x independent displays. Aaeon also added an RTC with battery along with other minor interfaces, which we have reflected in the updated spec list below.

Highlights include 2.5GbE and GbE ports, M.2 M-key, M.2 E-key, mini-PCIe, and SATA with power. You also get 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 ports.

Specifications listed for the GENE-TGU6 include:

  • Processor – Intel 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” UP3 “E” Core and Celeron
  • Memory — Up to 64GB of 3200MHz DDR4 with IBECC via 2x slots
  • Storage – SATA III with power connector; storage available via mini-PCIe (mSATA) and M.2 M-Key (see expansion)
  • Networking:
    • 1GbE port (i219-LM); 2.5GbE port (i225-LM) with WoL
    • WiFi/BT available via M.2 E-key
    • Cellular available via mini-PCIe with nano-SIM
  • Display/media:
    • 2x DisplayPort 1.4a ports
    • HDMI 2.0b port
    • DP available via USB Type-C
    • Quadruple display support
    • Dual-channel 18/24-bit LVDS or optional eDP
    • Optional 4/5/8-wire touch controller (standard on some SKUs)
    • HD Audio line-in, line-out, mic headers (Realtek ALC897/892)
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 host ports
    • USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port with power and DP support
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • 4x RS232/422/485 (1x with 5V/12V/RI)
    • 8-bit DIO; SMBus or I2C; smart fan; front panel
  • Expansion:
    • M.2 M-Key 2280 slot with PCIe x4 support
    • M.2 E-Key 2230 slot for WiFi/BT (PCIe, or USB 2.0)
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot (mSATA by default) with nano-SIM slot
  • Other features — Watchdog; TPM 2.0; RTC with battery; optional heatsink, heatspreader, and cooler; optional cables
  • Power — 9-36V DC input (optional 12V)
  • Operating temperatures — 0 to 60°C; 0-90% relative humidity (non-condensing)
  • Dimensions — 146 x 101.7mm (“3.5-inch form factor”)

Stated Alan Lan, Product Manager with Aaeon’s Embedded Computing Division: “By leveraging features including the Intel Iris Xe graphics controller and scalable expansion support, the GENE-TGU can easily deploy to power applications from brilliant digital signage and displays to Edge IoT gateways and AI processing.”

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the PICO-EHL4, which has not yet appeared on Aaeon’s eShop. More information may be found on a newly posted, English language product page, as well as the earlier Russian and Chinese pages. Aaeon’s newsletter announcement is here and today’s formal announcement is here.

The GENE-TGU6 is available (without RAM or storage) for $717 with the i3-1115G4E or $1,217 with the i7-1185G7E, both at Aaeon’s eShop. More information may be found in Aaeon’s announcement and product page.
 

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