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Adlink bakes Apollo Lake into four modules and a Mini-ITX board

Nov 1, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,736 views

Adlink announced four modules, in SMARC 2.0, Qseven, and COM Express Compact format, plus a Mini-ITX board — all based on Intel’s 14nm “Apollo Lake” SoCs.

Adlink has rolled out the most comprehensive range of products yet supporting Intel’s 14nm-fabricated Atom E3900 “Apollo Lake” SoCs. Like rival Congatec’s Apollo Lake roll-out, the Adlink announcement includes one of the first modules supporting the new SMARC 2.0 COM form factor, as well as a COM Express Compact Type 6 module. There’s also a COM Express Mini Type 10 module, a Qseven COM, and a thin Mini-ITX SBC.

LEC-AL — Adlink’s first SMARC 2.0 COM
(click image to enlarge)

The Adlink Apollo Lake lineup includes:

  • LEC-AL — SMARC 2.0 short; 82 x 50mm
  • cExpress-AL — COM Express Compact Type 6; 95 x 95mm
  • nanoX-AL — COM Express Mini Type 10; 84 x 55mm
  • Q7-AL — Qseven 2.1; 70 x 70mm
  • AmITX-AL-I — Mini-ITX; 170 x 170mm

All five products support the same five Apollo Lake options provided by Congatec, and by Seco for its Q7-B03 Qseven COM. (Congatec also announced a Qseven-based Conga-QA5.) These include the three Atom E3900 parts formally announced by Intel and the dual-core Celeron N3350 and quad-core Pentium N4200.


The Celeron N3350 and Pentium N4200 are the only options listed on the barebones Q7-AL page, which lacks a datasheet. The only other information we have is that the Q7-AL will support triple displays, USB 3.0, and dual SATA 3.0 ports. The other Adlink products are similarly listed as preliminary, but this one seems to be even more so. These Celeron and Pentium models are also the only ones supported on Aaeon Europe’s Kickstartered, community backed Up Squared SBC.

Atom E3900

The five options offered on the Adlink Apollo Lake products modules include:

  • Intel Atom x7-E3950 — 4x cores @ 1.6GHz/2.0GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 12W TDP
  • Intel Atom x5-E3940 — 4x cores @ 1.6GHz/1.8GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 9W TDP
  • Intel Atom x5-E3930 — 2x cores @ 1.3GHz/1.8GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 6.5W TDP
  • Intel Celeron N3350 — 2x cores @ 1.1GHz/2.4GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 6W TDP
  • Intel Pentium N4200 — 4x cores @ 1.1GHz/2.5GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 6W TDP

Intel’s 14nm-fabricated Apollo Lake SoCs promise “more than 1.7 times more computing power than the previous generation,” says Intel. The new SoCs’ Intel Gen9 graphics, based on 6th Gen “Skylake Core” graphics, are claimed to improve 3D graphics performance by 2.9 times over the previous generation and support triple 4K displays. Other SoC features include a time syncing feature for peripherals and improved security.

Adlink makes note of the “added virtualization capabilities” in Apollo Lake chips, with full support for Intel VT-x/VT-d. The company also calls out the up to 8GB 1867MHz DDR3L or LPDDR4 RAM, depending on the model, as well as eMMC 5.0 flash support and H.265 compression for Internet streaming. DDR4 is available only the Qseven based Q7-AL, reinforcing the impression that it will be the last of the five products to ship. The only other DDR4-supported products we’ve seen to date are the Congatec Conga-SA5 SMARC 2.0 COM and the Up Squared SBC, which won’t ship until April.

All five new products target industrial automation, as well as medical and infotainment applications that require compact, rugged form factors for harsh, space constrained environments, says Adlink. All the products offer 0 to 60°C and -40 to 85°C models, although only the LEC-AL supplies it as a standard, rather than build option.

They all support shock and vibration resistance listed as IEC 60068-2-64 and IEC-60068-2-27, MIL-STD-202 F, Method 213B, Table 213-I, Condition A, and Method 214A, Table 214-I, Condition D. The exception is the Q7-AL, which likely has the same ruggedization features, but is not yet documented.

They all support variants of Linux and Windows, which vary slightly depending on the model. All five products offer the company’s Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA) device management solution for tracking temperature, voltage, power consumption, and other information. SEMA can also connect to the optional SEMA Cloud remote monitoring, data collection, and analysis service.


The LEC-AL is heir to Adlink’s earlier SMARC form factor COMs such as the Atom E3800 “Bay Trail” based LEC-BT. It not only rocks the new Apollo Lake chips, but also the recently released SMARC 2.0 form factor.

LEC-AL and its block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The SMARC 2.0 update keeps the same footprint options, but improves x86 support on the originally ARM-focused form factor, which has nevertheless been adopted equally on both sides. New features include support for DisplayPort++, a second LVDS interface, a second GbE port, a fourth PCIe lane, and up to 6x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0 ports, among other additions. (For more on SMARC 2.0, see our Conga-SA5 coverage.)

The LEC-AL uses the short SMARC footprint of 82 x 50mm rather than the standard 82 x 80mm size of the Conga-SA5. Adlink’s module offers standard BSPs for Yocto Linux and Windows 10 Enterprise and IoT Core, and supports Android and VxWorks on request.

Adlink’s first SMARC 2.0 module offers up to 8GB DDR3L-1867 and 4GB to 8GB eMMC 5.0. The LEC-AL is further equipped with a GbE controller with IEEE 1588 triggering, and support for SATA 3.0, SDIO, and 4x PCIe x1 Gen2. The module supports USB 3.0 host and OTG ports as well as a USB 2.0 OTG port and 5x USB 2.0 host ports.

Display I/O includes DP++ at up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz and either HDMI or DP++ at up to 3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz. There’s also dual-channel 18/24-bit LVDS to round out the triple display support. Other media interfaces include I2S and HD audio, and dual 2-lane/4-lane MIPI-CSI for cameras.

Additional I/O includes 12x interrupt capable GPIO, 4x I2C, and 4x UART, plus SPI, eSPI, SMBus, LPC, and DB40. The module runs on 3.0 to 5.25 VDC power.


The cExpress-AL COM Express Compact Type 6 is the largest COM here at 95 x 95mm, and is the only one that supports up to 8GB of RAM, in this case DDR3L at 1867/1600MHz. It also offers up to 32GB eMMC 5.0, but as with its TPM support, this is listed only as a build option. OS support includes 64-bit Linux, Windows 10, and Windows 7, with extended support for 64-bit WES7, VxWorks, and a second-undescribed 64-bit Linux distro.

cExpress-AL and its block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The module provides a GbE controller, and support for 5x reconfigurable PCIe lanes with an optional PCIe-bridge to extend from four devices to eight. Triple displays are supported via either dual-channel LVDS or eDP x4 interfaces, as well as 2x DDI interfaces supporting DP, HDMI, or DVI. One DDI can be swapped out for VGA in a build option.

The cExpress-AL is further equipped with 2x 6Gbps SATA 3.0, 2x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, 2x UART, I2C, and Super I/O support on the carrier. You also get 8x GPIO muxed with SD, as well as 40-pin DB-40 and 60-pin XDP/ICE debug headers. There are standard 5V/12V or wide-range 4.75 to 20V ATX power supplies with ACPI 5.0 power management and smart battery support.


Adlink’s smaller, 84 x 55mm COM Express Mini Type 10 module supports up to 8GB DDR3L at 1867/1600MHz, and offers up to 32GB eMMC 5.0 and TPM build options. Standard BSPs are offered for 64-bit Linux and Windows 10, and there’s extended support for VxWorks and a second-undescribed 64-bit Linux distro.

nanoX-AL and its block diagram

The nanoX-AL feature set is otherwise almost identical to that of the cExpress-AL described above with the following key exceptions: There’s only one DDI port instead of two (and therefore no VGA option), and only 4x PCIe instead of 5x. Power details are also identical.


Adlink offered a datasheet for its AmITX-AL-I thin Mini-ITX board, but no image, block diagram, or detail view. Like the cExpress-AL, the AmITX-AL-I offers up to 8GB DDR3L-1867 RAM, but no optional eMMC. Storage features include dual SATA 3.0, mSATA, and an optional microSD slot. The OS support is identical to that of the nanoX-AL.

Coastline ports include dual GbE ports, audio line out and mic-in jacks, and three USB 3.0 ports. Triple displays are supported via a HDMI port and dual DisplayPorts, also on the rear I/O panel, Onboard interfaces include four more USB 2.0, including one available over the single half-size mini-PCIe expansion slot. There’s also a full-size PCIe slot and an optional SIM card build option.

Other onboard interfaces include either LVDS or eDP, plus 4x RS-232, 2x RS-232/422/485, 10x GPIO, PS/2, and S/PDIF. You also get a 40-pin debug header and optional TPM. 12V input is supported via a DC jack or a power connector.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for Adlink’s first five Apollo Lake boards, which currently all show “preliminary” status. More information may be found at the following Adlink product pages:


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