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Compact Tiger Lake-U system features EdgeX IoT framework

Sep 20, 2021 — by Eric Brown 249 views

Advantech’s Linux-ready, $935-and-up “EI-52” edge PC runs on an 11th Gen Core CPU along with a 64GB SSD, 2x GbE, 6x USB, 2x COM, HDMI, DP, mini-PCIe, 5G-ready M.2, and the EdgeX Foundry IoT framework.

We missed Advantech Europe’s June announcement of the Tiger Lake ULP based EI-52 embedded computer. The system began shipping last week, according to this Embedded Computing story. A PR-style EEJournal announcement reports that it is available in the UK with pricing undisclosed at Impulse Embedded. It is also available direct from Advantech, starting at $935.

EI-52, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The EI-52 stands out with its support for the EdgeX Foundry IoT middleware framework project, which is part of the Linux Foundation’s LF Edge initiative. The extended temperature system is “designed for edge-to-cloud interconnection and 5G x AI solutions,” says Advantech.

The EI-52 runs Win 10 IoT or Ubuntu 20.04, which in the datasheet is defined as “BSP by project support.” The Win 10 stack pre-installs Advantech WISE-DeviceOn, a remote IoT management software stack that also supports Linux but offers some special features available only on Windows. The Windows stack also pre-installs EdgeX Foundry IoT software, which is similarly cross-platform, but typically runs under Ubuntu. Presumably Ubuntu users could optionally install either or both software platforms.


The EI-52 also supports Advantech’s FaceView facial recognition I.App. The software enables “contactless access control applications for home offices and smart buildings, as well as VIP management for self-service kiosks,” says Advantech.

The EdgeX Foundry organization certifies an ecosystem of interoperable, plug-and-play components to create the open source EdgeX edge computing stack. The middleware mediates between multiple sensor network messaging protocols as well as multiple cloud and analytics platforms.

EdgeX Foundry architecture
(click image to enlarge)

EdgeX Foundry “enables developers to avoid delving into different data formats and device APIs for connecting edge data to cloud services,” says Advantech. The EdgeX data acquisition API supports over 15 industrial IoT protocols including OPC-UA, Modbus, MQTT, REST and BACnetm. It also enables edge data pre-processing and analysis and with pre-configured tools for connecting to Ali/AWS/Azure cloud applications.

The 156 x 112 x 60mm EI-52 industrial mini-PC follows two other Tiger Lake-U products from Advantech: a DS-085 signage player and a Mini Type 10 SOM-7583 module. Other Tiger Lake industrial mini-PCs include SimplyNUC’s 190 x 102 x 76mm Tiger Canyon Porcoolpine.

The EI-52 is available with a quad-core, 1.2GHz/1.8GHz Core i5-1145G7E accompanied by 16GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200. There are also dual-core Core i3-1115G4E and Celeron 6305E options with 8GB RAM. A 64GB SATA Slim SSD is pre-installed.

EI-52 detail views
(click image to enlarge)

The system is equipped with 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and 2x RS232/422/485 ports. You also get dual display support with HDMI 2.0b and DP 1.4a ports at up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz. An audio jack is optional.

The EI-52 provides full-size mini-PCIe and M.2 M-key expansion slots, accompanied by 4x antenna mounts. The mini-PCIe slot supports Advantech’s optional EWM-W189 module with 802/11ac and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as its VEGA-330 AI acceleration module, which offers dual Movidius Myriad X NPUs.

The M.2 slot can be loaded with Advantech’s AIW-355 5G module. Presumably, the M-key slot could alternatively mount an SSD, although there is no mention of NVMe support.

The wall-mountable, 0.95-kg system has a 19VDC input with 90W adapter and a power button. Power consumption is listed as 16.5W (typical) to 34.3W (max).

There is a -10 to 50°C operating range with 0.7m/s air flow. A TPM 2.0 chip is standard and options include thermal solutions, antennas, and VESA and DIN-rail mounting.

Further information

The EI-52 is available at Impulse Embedded in the UK with pricing undisclosed. It also sells directly from Advantech for $935 (Celeron), $1,220 (i3), or $1,800 (i5). More information may be found in Advantech’s announcement and product page.

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