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Comet Lake-S computers support Ubuntu

Jul 21, 2020 — by Eric Brown 837 views

OnLogic’s fanless, $768-and-up “Helix 500” and larger, PCIe x16 enabled, $859-and-up “Helix 600” run Ubuntu or Windows on Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake-S with triple display support, 2x M.2, 2x GbE, and 6x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports.

OnLogic has launched two Helix Series embedded computers that support Ubuntu. The fanless, Linux-ready Helix 500 (HX500) and Helix 600 (HX600) share the same choice of 10th Gen Comet Lake-S processors and a base feature set. The Helix 600 adds a PCIe x16 slot and 2x expansion I/O slots for custom modules.

Helix 500 (left) and Helix 600
(click images to enlarge)

The Helix Series follows Linux-ready embedded systems from OnLogic (formerly Logic Supply) including its Intel Apollo Lake based ML350G-10, Coffee Lake based Karbon 700, and AMD Ryzen Embedded powered ML100G-40. The Helix 500 and 600 join other Intel Comet Lake driven systems including Vecow’s ECX-2000 Series and Sintrones’ transport-focused ABOX-5210G.

The 210 x 154 x 50.8mm Helix 500 and 303 x 210 x 65mm Helix 600 are designed for smart cities, factories, machine vision, edge AI, and advanced industrial or manufacturing control, says OnLogic. The systems run Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or Win 10, and OnLogic plans to add imaging options for software partners including ThinManager, EdgeIQ, AWS Greengrass, and Ignition by Inductive Automation.

Helix 500 and 600

The systems provide a choice of Comet Lake-S systems ranging from the dual-core, up to 3.2GHz G5900T to the 10-core, up to 4.5GHz Core i7-10900T. The processors integrate Intel UHD Graphics 630 and are accompanied by an Intel Q470 chipset. There is support for Intel technologies including Intel vPro with AMT, Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d), and Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel RST).


Despite the 10th Gen title, Comet Lake should probably be named Coffee Lake Refresh Part Two, as it continues to use a 14nm process and Skylake microarchitecture. Yet, there are incremental improvements to power efficiency, thermal packaging, cache, and performance, as well as lower prices.

Helix 500, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Helix 500 and 600 ship with up to 64GB DDR4 via dual slots and default to a 64GB SSD loaded onto an M.2 M-key 2280 socket with PCIe x4, SATA III, and NVMe support. The product page lists 2x M.2 M-key slots and nothing else, but the datasheet indicates that both models offer a single M-key plus an M.2 B-key 2280/50/3042 with PCIe x2, USB 3.0, and SATA, enabling dual SSDs.

Although not mentioned on the product pages, the datasheet lists an M.2 E-key 2230 socket with PCIe, USB 2.0, and CNVi, and a mini-PCIe slot with PCIe and USB 2.0. A 3FF-Sim slot supports the B-key or mini-PCIe, and there are 6x antenna holes. Wireless options include either a WiFi-ac/BT 4.2 card or Extrovert 4G LTE Modem.

Helix 600, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Standard features on both Helix computers include 2x GbE, 3x DisplayPorts for triple independent display support, and 6x 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen2 ports. You also get 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 ports and a 3.5mm audio I/O jack.

Onboard headers include 2x USB 2.0, 2x serial, and fan, CEC, battery, and power headers. The press release also mentions optional DIO. Other features include a watchdog, RTC, a TPM header, optional port blocks, and wall, VESA, and DIN-rail mounts.

Both systems integrate dual SATA III headers, which on the Helix 600 connect to an optional 2.5-in HDD hot swap bay that will be released in Q3 2020. The HX600 also provides a PCIe x16 slot with support for an optional, $175 Nvidia Quadro P400 graphics card or a 1x ($459) or 2x port ($479) Intel 10GbE adapter. The Helix 600 also provides 2x “I/O expansion slots,” which aren’t explained but may be the same as the “ModBays” found on the Karbon 700.

The Helix Series computers run on 12-24V DC power via a Mini-DIN connector or optional terminal block. There is also a power button and a 220W power supply.

The systems support a 0 to 50°C range, which might be reduced depending on expansion options. Like the Helix 500, the Helix 600 runs fanless for the main computer, but offers a separate fan dedicated to cooling the PCIe x16 slot so you can switch it off and save power if it’s not loaded with a high-powered graphics card.

Further information

The Helix 500 and Helix 600 is available now starting at $768 and $859, respectively, with a Celeron G5900T, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, and no OS (Ubuntu costs $10). More information may be found in OnLogic’s announcement and the Helix 500 and Helix 600 product and shopping pages. OnLogic will host an Aug. 4 when OnLogic is hosting an online launch event for the Helix Series.


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