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Apollo Lake 3.5-inch SBC doubles down on security

Mar 20, 2017 — by Eric Brown 2,750 views

Kontron’s Linux-friendly, x86 3.5-inch form factor Apollo Lake-based SBC features triple display support, TPM 2.0, and optional security services.

Kontron’s 146 x 102mm “3.5”-SBC-APL” single board computer expands upon the 14nm “Apollo Lake” Atom E3900 series and Celeron N3350 system-on-chips with an SBC focused on security. Other 3.5-inch Apollo Lake SBCs include Portwell’s PEB-2773, Advantech’s MIO-5350 and PCM-9366, Litemax’s AECX-APL0, Aaeon’s GENE-APL5, and Avalue’s ECM-APL.

(click image to enlarge)

The 3.5″-SBC-APL is aimed at industrial production, medical, digital signage, point-of-sale, and point-of-information systems. Linux and Windows, including Windows 10 IoT, are supported. Kontron has previously released a Linux-ready mITX-APL Mini-ITX SBC based on Apollo Lake.

The 3.5″-SBC-APL supports up to 8GB of DDR3L, and offers eMMC storage. Kontron’s spec sheet doesn’t say how much, but the block diagram lists a slim 64MB capacity.


The 3.5″-SBC-APL has a relatively modest feature set compared to most of the boards listed above. For example, the SATA connection is 2.0 instead of the 3.0, and there are only two coastline USB 3.0 ports. A third USB 3.0 header is noted on the block diagram along with the dual USB 2.0 headers listed in the spec table.

3.5″-SBC-APL block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Triple display support is available via DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI ports, as well as a dual-channel LVDS interface, but no resolution is listed. There are also dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and an RS-232/422/485 port, along with serial, GPIO, and audio interfaces. Full- and half-size mini-PCIe slots are available, as well as a SIM card socket for wireless expansion.

The 12V, 0 to 60°C ready board is available with active and passive cooling solutions. The SBC is notable for offering a standard TPM 2.0 security chip, as well as support for Kontron’s Kontron Security Solution (“Approtect”) services.

Specifications listed for the 3.5″-SBC-APL include:

  • Processor — Intel Apollo Lake:
    • Atom x7-E3950 — 4x cores @ 1.6GHz/2.0GHz, 12W TDP
    • Atom x5-E3940 — 4x cores @ 1.6GHz/1.8GHz, 9W TDP
    • Atom x5-E3930 — 2x cores @ 1.3GHz/1.8GHz, 6.5W TDP
    • Celeron N3350 — 2x cores @ 2.3GHz, 6W TDP
  • Memory — Up to 8GB DDR3L-1867 via 1x SODIMM; 64MB eMMC
  • Storage — SATA 2.0
  • Display:
    • DisplayPort 1.2
    • HDMI port
    • LVDS (18/24-bit dual-ch.)
    • Triple-display support
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 ports
    • USB 3.0 header
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • RS-232/422/485 port
    • RS-232 interface
    • Audio line-in, line-out, speaker-out via header (Realtek ALC269Q)
    • GPIO
  • Expansion — 2x mini-PCIe slots (1x full-, 1x half-size)
  • Other features — TPM 2.0; Kontron Security Solution services
  • Power — 12VDC + 4-pin internal input
  • Operating temperatures — 0 to 60°C
  • Dimensions — 146 x 102mm (“3.5-inch form factor”)
  • Operating system — Linux, Windows 10. Windows 10 IoT


In the same press release that revealed the 3.5″-SBC-APL, Kontron announced a “cost-effective” “3.5″-SBC-E38” SBC that deploys a single-core Intel Atom E3815 “Bay Trail” CPU with 5W TDP. The board can drive up two independent displays and comes with three Ethernet ports, a SATA 2.0 port, and a half-size mini-PCIe slot.

The 3.5″-SBC-E38 is further equipped with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and audio I/O, and runs safely at 0 to 60°C. No photo, product page, price, or availability information were provided, and Kontron did not respond to our request for further details.

Further information

The 3.5″-SBC-APL appears to be available now, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found on Kontron’s 3.5″-SBC-APL and 3.5″-SBC-E38 announcement, as well as the 3.5″-SBC-APL product page.

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