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Coffee Lake embedded PC has six USB 3.0 ports and GbE with BMC

Oct 15, 2019 — by Eric Brown 678 views

Trenton Systems is prepping a compact, Linux-friendly “Ion Mini PC” with 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake options and up to 32GB DDR4, SATA, DP, 6x USB 3.0, and 3x GbE, including one BMC-linked port for out-of-band, remote management.

Trenton Systems has released a photo and preliminary documentation for an Ion Mini PC due to begin sampling by the end of the month. Although this Mini-ITX-based, 178 x 173 x 36mm system is a bit larger than what we typically consider to be a mini-PC these days, it packs in a lot of features including 6x USB 3.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port linked to a Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) chip for remote, out-of-band management of networking connections.

Ion Mini PC render and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

Lawrenceville, Georgia-based Trenton Systems, formerly known as Trenton Technology, has been building x86-based systems for several decades. (Here’s a Xeon-based JXM7031 micro-ATX board covered on our old LinuxDevices site back in 2010.) One reason we have not covered Trenton in LinuxGizmos’ six-year history is that the company focuses primarily on rugged servers, which are generally beyond the scope of our coverage. Yet, not only is Trenton launching its first compact embedded system with the Ion Mini PC, but the website also promises a line of COM Express Type 7 modules “coming soon.”

The Ion Mini PC is Trenton’s first Intel Core i-Series system, and it jumps to the front of the line with the latest 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake processors accompanied with an Intel C246 chipset. The preliminary datasheet makes no mention of the OS, but Trenton informs us that all of its products are “Linux friendly.” Other embedded computers that support both flavors of Coffee Lake include Avalue’s EPS-CFS, Logic Supply’s Karbon 700, and Neousys’ Nuvo-8208GC.


The system’s Intel 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh (Coffee Lake-R) options include the octa-core Core i7-9700TE at up to 3.8GHz, the quad-core Core i3-9100TE at up to 3.2GHz, and two Xeon-E processors: the octa-core, 16-thread Xeon E-2278GEL and the hexa-core Xeon E-2226GL. The 8th Coffee Lake models include the 6x core/12x thread Core i7-8700T clocked at 2.4GHz/4GHz, the hexa-core i5-8500T, and quad-core i3-8100T35W TDP. They all offer 35W TDPs, but up to 65W TDP Coffee Lake models are said to be optional.

Ion Mini PC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Ion Mini PC supports up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400/2666, including ECC RAM. There’s an internal 2.5-inch SATA SSD drive and an M.2 slot (x4 PCIe) with NVMe storage support.

Other features include 6x USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort, and VGA and RS-2332 (DB9) ports. You also get include dual audio jacks, a power button and jack, and an LED.

The two standard Gigabit Ethernet ports use Intel i350 controllers while the BMC-linked GbE has an Intel i210. The port is monitored by an AST2500 Baseband Management Controller consisting of rKVM, system monitoring, out-of-band management, and a TPM 2.0 security chip. A customizable in-house BIOS is also available. The system supports 0 to 50°C temperatures with 5% – 90% non-condensing humidity tolerance.

Further information

The Ion Mini PC will begin sampling at the end of the month, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found on the Ion Mini PC product page and this blog post on rugged mini-PCs.

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