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Compact, fanless, Cortex-A5 embedded computer runs on 3W

Jul 25, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,877 views

Artila’s “Matrix-700” control computer runs Linux on a Cortex-A5 SoC, and offers 8GB eMMC, plus three USB, four RS-232/485, GbE, and Fast Ethernet ports.

The Matrix-700 is the first Cortex-A5 based model in Artila’s family of traditionally ARM9-driven Matrix industrial computers. The device is designed for non-stop operation in remote locations, such as device networking and remote monitoring.

Two views of the Matrix-700
(click images to enlarge)

Artila is sticking with Atmel as its processor vendor, but now advances to a ATSAMA5D35, which not only has a faster 536MHz clock rate but a more powerful Cortex-A5 architecture. Like other Matrix computers, the Matrix-700 is fanless, compact, and headless (no display ports), and is pre-installed with a full-featured Linux filesystem.

Atmel ATSAMA5D3x block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Compared to some Matrix industrial computers, such as the circa-2014 Matrix-513, this is a simpler, stripped down box without mini-PCIe expansion, wireless antennas, isolated digital inputs, or relays. However, the Matrix-700 offers a much faster processor, four times the RAM, with 512MB, and 24 times the flash storage, with 8GB eMMC. As before, a microSD slot is also available.

Matrix-700 top (left) and bottom panel details
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Matrix-513 and some other Matrix models, the Matrix-700 is equipped with four RS-232/485 ports, a pair of USB 2.0 host ports, and a micro-USB device port with power and debug console support. In place of the previous dual Fast Ethernet ports, you’ll find Gigabit and Fast Ethernet ports. A watchdog and RTC are also onboard.

The 108 x 78 x 24mm device offers the usual wide-range, 9 to 48VDC, power supply. The device is claimed to run at about 3 Watts, or half the power draw of the Matrix-513. When compared to other, more stripped-down Matrix devices such as the identically sized Matrix-505, draws around 3.6W, the difference is less dramatic, but still significant.


The Matrix-700’s Linux stack provides kernel 3.18.x with file system, plus software utilities such as a web server, PHP, Python, MySQL and SQLite. Users can download toolchain and package manager from the Artila web site and use apt-get to upgrade toolchain locally via Ethernet. A Webmin supports user account setup, Apache, DNS, file sharing and more. Linux kernel upgrades are also available.

Specifications listed for the Matrix-700 include:

  • Processor — Atmel ATSAMA5D35 (1x Cortex-A5 @ 535MHz)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
    • 8GB eMMC flash
    • 8MB data flash for system backup
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 and 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 high-speed host ports (480Mbps)
    • Micro-USB device port with power and console/debug support
    • 4x RS-232/422/485 ports
    • Internal serial console port
  • Other features – RTC; watchdog; buzzer
  • Power — 9-48VDC input; [email protected] consumption
  • Operating temp. — 0 to 70° C
  • Dimensions — 108 x 78 x 24mm
  • Operating system — Preinstalled Linux filesystem with Linux 3.18.34 etc.

Further information

No pricing or availability was provided for the Matrix-700 in the company’s announcement of the new device. More details may be found at Artilla’s Matrix product page.

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