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Fanless, thin Mini-ITX board taps quad-core Apollo Lake Celeron

Dec 11, 2016 — by Eric Brown 2,724 views

Aaeon’s Linux-ready “EMB-APL1” is a fanless, thin Mini-ITX SBC with Intel Celeron N3350 and N3450 SoCs, plus dual M.2 slots, SATA, PCIe, and more.

Like Aaeon’s 3.5-inch GENE-APL5 single board computer, its new EMB-APL1 mini-ITX board expands upon Intel’s latest “Apollo Lake” Atom, Pentium, and Celeron system-on-chips. Other similarly “thin mini-ITX” boards based on Apollo Lake include Advantech’s AIMB-217, Adlink’s AmITX-AL-I, and Congatec’s Conga-IA5.

EMB-APL1, front and back.
(click images to enlarge)

Aaeon’s EMB-APL1, which supports Fedora Linux and Windows, is the first board we’ve seen to support the quad-core, 1.1/2.2GHz Celeron N3450. The part joins the dual-core Celeron N3350 as the only processor choices for the EMB-APL1.

The N3450, which has a 6W TDP, was revealed in August along with several other Apollo Lake models that were announced in September, but have only recently launched and have yet to appear in any embedded board announcements. Intel now posts product pages for them, however, and lists them as launched.


In addition to the Celeron N3450, the newly available Apollo Lake SoCs include the dual-core, 2.0/2.5GHz Celeron J3355 with 10W TDP, the quad-core Celeron J3455 (1.5/2.3GHz) with 10W TDP, and the quad-core, Pentium J4205 (1.5/2.6GHz) with 10W TDP. All four new models have 2MB cache.

Inside the EMB-APL1

Aaeon’s EMB-APL1 supports up to 8GB of DDR3L 1333/1600/1867MHz RAM. The thin Mini-ITX form-factor (170 x 170 x 22mm, including heatsink) board features two M.2 slots, one M-key for SATA devices, and one E-key for PCIe signals. There’s also a separate SATA III slot and a separate, full-size PCIe slot.

EMB-APL1 detail view and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Triple displays are available with an HDMI port with up to 3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz resolution, and a VGA port and dual-channel 18/24-bit LVDS interface with backlight control, both with up to 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz. The LVDS can be swapped out for an eDP interface with up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz.

EMB-APL1 angled view
(click image to enlarge)

The EMB-APL1’s dual rear-panel GbE ports offer WoL and PXE. Other coastline ports include audio jacks and a pair each of USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. There are also three more USB 2.0 headers, adding up to seven USB interfaces overall.

EMB-APL1 side view
(click image to enlarge)

Additional interfaces include one RS-232/422/485 and 5x RS-232 interfaces, as well as PS/2, 8-bit DIO, and fan. A watchdog and hardware monitoring are standard, and a TPM 2.0 security chip is optional.

The EMB-APL1 features both a wide-range 12 to 24V DC input and a 4-pin, 12V ATX power connector. A lithium battery is also onboard. The 0.5 k board supports 0 to 60°C temperatures, and ships with a heatsink. Without it, the board would have been called “thin,” like the Conga-IA5, with no ports stacked higher than two.

Further information

Aaeon’s EMB-APL1 is listed as “coming soon.” More information may be found on the Aaeon EMB-APL1 product page.

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