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Elkhart Lake powers SBC with 4x M.2 slots and an Ubuntu-driven UP kit

Mar 2, 2022 — by Eric Brown 470 views

Aaeon announced a 3.5-inch “GENE-EHL5” SBC with Intel’s Atom x6000 that features 4x M.2 slots. The company also launched a $599 “UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit” with the same Atom SoC, 3x GbE, 2.5GbE, and 3x M.2 slots.

Last November, Aaeon introduced a PICO-EHL4 Pico-ITX board with Intel’s Atom x6000. The company has now followed through with a 3.5-inch GENE-EHL5 SBC with the same Elkhart Lake processor.

Also this week, the Taiwanese company’s Netherlands-based “UP! Bridge the Gap” unit announced an embedded system built around its Elkhart Lake-based UP Squared 6000 SBC. The UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit is a more advanced version of the UP Squared 6000 Edge computer that was announced with the SBC. The $599 kit ships with a pre-loaded edge AI stack with Ubuntu, OpenVINO, and more, and adds two more GbE ports, a second 40-pin GPIO header and a micro-USB port dedicated to debugging Elkhart Lake’s Cortex-M7 based Programmable Services Engine (see farther below).

GENE-EHL5, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Aaeon did not list OS support for the GENE-EHL5, but its PICO-EHL4 supports Ubuntu Linux and Windows. The SBC is available with the dual-core Atom x6211E and the quad-core Atom-6425E, both at up to 3.00GHz. There are also some Celeron and Pentium options and the quad-core, 1.9GHz Atom x6425RE. Some other models, including some “FE” SKUs are available by customer request. The RE and FE models add TSN and Intel’s similar TCC synchronized networking features while the FE also adds Intel Safety Island functional safety (FuSa) features.


Compared to the only other 3.5-inch Elkhart Lake SBC we’ve covered — Ibase’s IB836 — the GENE-EHL5 has one less GbE port with two and one less SATA interface with one. It also lacks Ibase’s -40 to 85°C support. However, Aaeon’s entry features 4x M.2 slots, compared to single M.2 and mini-PCIe. We cannot recall another SBC of this size or smaller with so many M.2 slots. Aaeon refers to this feature as “revolutionary.”

The GENE-EHL5 follows Aaeon’s Apollo Lake powered GENE-APL6 3.5-inch SBC. The company claims the SBC is 40 percent faster than the GENE-APL6.

You can load up to 32GB DDR4, with IBECC error-correcting RAM available on some SKUS. The SBC ships with 32GB eMMC, and there is a powered SATA slot. Optional SATA is available on one of the 3x M.2 B-key slots, with the other two supporting cellular or NVMe, and one of those supporting up to 5G. There is also a Nano-SIM slot and an M.2 E-key for WiFi/BT.

GENE-EHL5 block diagram and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Triple displays are enabled via HDMI, DP, and either eDP or LVDS, and audio I/O includes a 2W speaker. Internally, there are serial, USB 2.0, DIO, and dual CANBus interfaces. There is a wide-range, 9-36V input plus TPM 2.0, RTC, and a watchdog. A heatsink enables the SBC to handle 0 to 60°C temperatures.

Specifications listed for the GENE-EHL5 include:

  • Processor — Intel Elkhart Lake Atom x6000E, Celeron, and Pentium (2x or 4x 10nm Elkhart Lake cores @ up to 1.8GHz/3.0GHz) or quad-core, 1.9GHz Atom x6425RE; Intel UHD Graphics (Intel Gen11) up to 32EU; built-in Cortex-M7; 4.5-12W TDP
  • Memory/storage:
    • Up to 32GB DDR4-3200 via 1x slot (IBECC RAM on selected SKUs)
    • 32GB eMMC 5.1
    • SATA 3.0 with power
    • Optional SATA and NVMe available on M.2 B-key slots (see expansion)
  • Networking:
    • 2x GbE ports (Intel I210) with WoL
    • WiFi/BT and up to 5G available via M.2 slots
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0b port
    • DisplayPort 1.4 or optional VGA port
    • eDP 1.3 or 24-bit, dual-channel LVDS
    • Optional 4/5/8-wire touch controller
    • Triple display support
    • Audio I/O headers (Realtek ALC269); 2W speaker
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 ports
    • 4x USB 2.0 headers
    • 4x RS-232/422/485 headers
    • 8-in/8-out DIO
    • 2x CANBus (or TX/RX on Celeron models)
    • SMBus (or I2C), smart fan, eSPI debug, and front panel headers
  • Expansion:
    • M.2 E-key 2230 slot (PCIe, USB 2.0)
    • M.2 B-key 2242 slot (PCIe x2 or opt. x1, USB 2.0; optional SATA)
    • M.2 B-key 2280 slot (PCIe x1 or opt. x2, USB 2.0); suppots NVMe
    • M.2 B-key 3052 slot (USB 3.2 Gen2) for up to 5G
    • Nano-SIM slot
  • Other features — Watchdog; HW monitoring; TPM 2.0; RTC with Li-Ion battery; heatsink; optional cables
  • Power — 9-36V input (or optional 12V); 3.26A@ (typical) or 3.26A@ (max) consumption at 12V with x6425E and 32GB RAM
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C with 0-90% non-condensing relative humidity tolerance
  • Dimensions — 146 x 101.7mm (“3.5-inch form factor”)

UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit

Aaeon announced plans to launch the UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit back in December when it launched the UP Squared 6000 SBC and UP Squared 6000 Edge system based on it. The new Computing Kit, which is now available for $599 pre-order with shipments due in April, is a modified, expanded version of the Edge system.

UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit is equipped with the quad-core Atom x6425RE and offers TCC/TSN and IBECC RAM. You also get 8GB RAM and 64GB eMMC. The kit ships with an “Intel Edge Insights for Vision” stack based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Linux 5.13. The SDK includes Intel OpenVINO, Intel Media SDK, and Intel Python.

The kit is 1cm taller than the Edge system and ships with a carrier board add-on, which is an accessory on the Edge. The carrier board provides two more GbE ports (via Marvell Alaska), a RS232/422/485 port, and an additional 40-pin GPIO header. It also provides built-in support for Elkhart Lake’s Cortex-M7 based Programmable Services Engine (PSE). A new micro-USB port is dedicated to the PSE-enabled Out-of-Band (OOB) functionality, “which allows IT personnel to remotely manage manufacturing assets even when the operating system is unresponsive, or the device is powered off.”

The datasheet on the product/shopping page includes some of these features, but not the 2x additional GbE ports and second 40-pin GPIO header, which are clearly evident on the images. There is no mention of other features announced for the carrier back in December, including a second SATA interface with power, a USB 2.0-driven mini-PCIe slot, and CANBus and UART interfaces.

Like the Edge, there are also GbE and 2.5GbE ports so the total is 3x GbE and 1x 2.5GbE. You also get 2x USB 3.2 Gen2, HDMI, and DP ports and internal eDP. Expansion features include M.2 M-, B-, and E-key slots with microSIM, among other features detailed in our earlier report.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the GENE-EHL5 SBC.
More information may be found in announcement and product page.

The UP Squared 6000 Edge Computing Kit is available for pre-order at $599 plus $4 for an optional UK power cord, with shipments due in April. More information may be found in Aaeon’s announcement and shopping page.

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