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Elkhart Lake arrives on thin Mini-ITX

Feb 22, 2021 — by Eric Brown 1,428 views

Advantech’s Linux-friendly “AIMB-218” thin Mini-ITX board ships with Elkhart Lake SoCs including a new 2GHz/3GHz Pentium J6426 plus 32GB DDR4, 2x GbE, 3x USB 3.2 Gen2, DP and HDMI, 2x M.2, SATA, and PCIe x1 Gen3.

Advantech announced the AIMB-218, the first thin Mini-ITX board we have seen equipped with Intel’s next-gen Atom platform, Elkhart Lake processors. Yet, we now see that DFI has posted a preliminary product page for EHL171 and EHL173 thin Mini-ITX boards with dual 2.5GbE ports, but with scant details and no listed OS support.

MiTac, meanwhile, has posted a more detailed product page on a PD10EHI thin Mini-ITX board that runs Windows, with Linux available on request. Unlike Advantech’s entry, neither board has been formally announced. We may report on these later.



AIMB-218 (left) and Intel’s Elkhart Lake lineup
(click images to enlarge)

Compared to Advantech’s Apollo Lake based AIMB-217, the AIMB-218 offers twice the maximum RAM at 32GB. It also adds a PCie Gen3 slot and offers faster USB 3.2 Gen2 cores, among other improvements. OS support includes Yocto, Ubuntu, Android, and Wind River VxWorks 7. Advantech’s WISE-DeviceOn software ships with the product, which also supports Advantech’s SUSI and Edge AI Suite software and Intel’s OpenVino.

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The AIMB-218 is designed for industrial edge computing applications that require high-resolution graphics and low power consumption. These are said to include retail displays, smart kiosks, digital signage, smart manufacturing, medical devices, and smart city traffic and parking systems.

The AIMB-218 supports a new quad-core, up to 2.0GHz (3.0GHz burst) Pentium J6426, based on the earlier 1.8GHz Pentium J6425, which appears to be the fastest Elkhart Lake part yet. Other options include the quad-core, 1.5GHz Atom x6413E, the quad-core, 1.8GHz Celeron J6413, and the dual-core, 1.2GHz Celeron N6211. The Atom x6413E is the only model with the Intel Programmable Services Engine (Intel PSE), which is built around a real-time Arm Cortex-M7 core.

All the SKUs are available with 0 to 60°C support except for the Atom-based model, which goes to -20 to 60°C. They can all operate fanlessly at these temperatures at 0.7m/s air flow.

Dual slots support up to 32GB DDR4-3200, and the Atom SKU supports IBECC error-correcting RAM. Storage is enabled via a SATA III interface with a power connector plus an M.2 B-key slot for storage or LTE, accompanied by a SIM card slot. There is also an M.2 E-key slot for WiFi/Bluetooth. A PCIe x1 interface supports Gen3 signals.



AIMB-218 detail view and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Coastline ports include 3x USB 3.2 Gen2 for up to 10Gbps plus a USB 2.0 port and dual GbE ports. For media there is an HDMI 1.4B port, a DP 1.2 port, and a choice of optional internal eDP or LVDS (with inverter) interfaces. With the eDP option, the board provides “4K resolution progressive scan at 60 fps on 3x displays,” says Advantech. An audio I/O jack and optional amp connector are also available.

Internal I/O includes 4x USB 2.0, single RS-232/422/485 and RS-232 (5V/12V selectable) plus on some SKUs 4x additional BOM optional RS-232 interfaces. You also get 8-bit GPIO, PS/2, a watchdog, and optional TPM 2.0.

The 170 x 170 x 21mm board has a 12V DC jack with optional adapters. The AIMB-218 ships with various cables and offers an optional chassis.

 
Further information

The AIMB-218 is available at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in Advantech’s announcement on Electronics Weekly and the product page.
 

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