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Bay Trail-I Mini-ITX boards go big on expansion

Jan 31, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,410 views

DFI has launched two Intel Atom E3800 based Mini-ITX boards with multiple expansion options and a choice of ATX or 12V-only input power.

DFI tipped its BT160 and BT161 Mini-ITX motherboards back in October with the launch of the Intel Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I) system-on-chips. At the time, the company also promised seven other Atom E3800 based modules and SBCs, including three other Mini-ITX boards. These BT100, BT101, and BT103 Mini-ITX boards have yet to appear, and they lack the DFI ECX expansion interfaces found on the BT160 and BT161.

BT160 facing front, and at an angle
(click images to enlarge)

The only difference between the now shipping BT160 and BT161 is the power supply: a 24-pin ATX connector for the BT160 and a 12V-only DC input supply for the BT161, with optional 4-pin ATX. No operating system support was listed, but in the unlikely chance they don’t offer a Linux BSP, Linux could easily be loaded on the board. The boards are said to support gaming machine, medical equipment, industrial control automation, security and surveillance, smart grid, ATM, and POS applications.

The BT16x appears to support the full range of Bay Trail-I E3800 Atom and Celeron processors, from the single-core, 1.46GHz Atom E3815 (5 Watt TDP) to the quad-core, 1.91GHz Atom E3845 (10W TDP). Based on the 22nm, Tri-Gate 3D “Silvermont” architecture, the processors are claimed to offer three times the peak performance and five times the power efficiency of previous Atom chips.


The BT16x board can be loaded with up to 8GB DDR3L RAM, and features dual SATA 2.0 ports for storage. A coastline VGA port supports resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 pixels, while the onboard LVDS connector supports 1920 x 1200 pixels.

BT160 port detail
(click image to enlarge)

The board is equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and offers additional coastline ports including a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and an RS232 port. Onboard connectors include a dual USB 2.0 port connector, three additional serial connections, and 8-bit DIO.

The BT16x is notable for its extensive expansion options. These include a PCI-Express (PCIe) slot and a Mini-PCIe slot, and the aforementioned DFI ECX interface. This proprietary interface is said to support a variety of peripherals, including PCIe, USB, and serial devices (see spec list below).

The board also supports an optional, LPC-based DFI Proprietary Extension Bus for PCIe/PCI expansion. DFI sells a variety of riser cards for the optional bus, offering additional PCI and PCIe expansion. It also provides LPC expansion modules supplying various combinations of parallel and serial ports (see diagram below).

BT16x DFI Proprietary Extension Bus riser cards (left) and three LPC modules
(click images to enlarge)

BT16x specs

Specifications listed for the BT16x include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom E3800 or Celeron (Bay Trail-I) with Intel HD Graphics, in BGA 1170 package
  • Memory — up to 8GB DDR3L 1066/1333MHz RAM, via 2x 204-pin SODIMMs
  • Storage — 2x SATA 2.0 ports (3Gbps), with SATA DOM support, AHCI controller
  • Display — VGA port, at up to 2560 x 1600; LVDS LCD connector (up to 1920 x 1200) with LCD/inverter power connector
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel I210 PCIe)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB ports — 1x USB 3.0; 3x USB 2.0
    • Serial ports — 2x RS232; 1x RS422/485
    • 8x GPIOs
  • Expansion:
    • PCIe x1 slot
    • Mini-PCIe slot, supporting USB, PCIe, and mSATA (optional); supports full-size card
    • DFI EXC interface, supporting PCIe, DDI, 2x USB 2.0, USB 2.0 HSIC, HD audio, 2x serial, PS/2
    • DFI Proprietary Extension Bus for PCIe/PCI expansion (optional); optional risers and LPC modules:
      • H Series riser cards:
        • 3x PCI
        • PCIe x16 (x1signal)
        • PCIe x8 (x1signal)
      • T Series riser cards:
        • 3x PCI
        • PCIe x16 (x1signal)
      • LPC modules:
        • EXT-6C1PR (parallel, 6x COM)
        • EXT-4C1PR (parallel, 4x COM)
        • EXT-2C1PR (parallel, 2x COM)
  • Other features — TPM (optional); watchdog timer; 2x fan connectors; temp. and CPU monitoring
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C
  • Power:
    • 24-pin ATX (BT160)
    • 12V DC-in, optional 4-pin ATX (BT161)
    • ErP Lot6 power saving (optional)
    • ACPI compatible
    • System power management
    • Wake-on-LAN, -PS/2 (optional), -USB KB/mouse (optional)
    • RTC timer
    • AC power failure recovery
    • VCORE/12V/5V/DDR voltage monitoring with failure alarm
  • Dimensions – 170 x 170mm (Mini-ITX)

Power options for the BT161

Further information

The BT160 and BT161 motherboards appear to be available now. More information may be found at DFI’s BT160 and almost identical BT161 product pages, respectively.

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