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Fanless, Linux-ready mini-PCs build on Up Squared and Up Core SBCs

Sep 26, 2017 — by Eric Brown 3,860 views

Aaeon unveiled two fanless mini-PCs based on its Up Squared (Apollo Lake) and Up Core (Cherry Trail) SBCs, featuring up to 64GB eMMC.

Following up on last December’s UP-GWS01 gateway mini-PC, which was based on Aaeon Europe’s original community-backed Up Board, Aaeon announced a similar “UPS-GWS01” model based on its Intel Apollo Lake-driven UP Squared (Up2) SBC. There’s also an unnamed model based on the compact, Intel Cherry Trail based Up Core SBC.

Features of the original UP-GWS01 gateway compared to the new Up2 based UPS-GWS01 and unnamed Up Core gateways
(click image to enlarge)

The Up Squared based UPS-GWS01 measures 95 x 95 x 50mm, which is slightly larger than the 95 × 91 x 37mm UP-GWS01. This is smaller than similar looking Intel NUC systems, which have ranged between 115 x 111 x 51mm and 117 x 112 x 52mm.

No dimensions were supplied for the Up Core mini-PC, which has yet to be fully spec’d. The Up Core gateway appears to have roughly the same cubic dimensions as the UP-GWS01, being narrower in one dimension, but as tall as the new UPS-GWS01.

Up Squared (left) and Up Core
(click images to enlarge)

Unlike the original, the new Up gateways are touted for their “optimized fanless cooling design solution, which facilitates thermal management.” The mini-PC-like gateways are designed for robotics, drones, machine vision, smart homes, e-education, digital signage, intelligent vehicles, and Internet of Things applications, says Aaeon.



The UPS-GWS01 is more (and less) than just an enclosure for Aaeon Europe’s high-end UP Squared, which shipped in May. Some features have been added while others have apparently been disabled.

UPS-GWS01 from two angles
(click images to enlarge)

The gateway is available with the same two Apollo Lake options that were initially provided for the SBC, which starts at 89 Euros ($105): the Intel Celeron N3350 (2x @ 1.1GHz/2.4GHz) or Pentium N4200 (4x @ 1.1GHz/2.5GHz). Both offer 6W TDPs and Intel Gen9 HD 500/505 graphics. Since our coverage, Aaeon has added a quad-core x5-E3940 Apollo Lake option to the Up Squared lineup, but that does not appear to be available here.

The UPS-GWS01 supports 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM on the Celeron model and 4GB or 8GB with the Pentium. The Celeron model ships with 16GB or 32GB eMMC 5.0 storage while the Pentium model also offers a 64GB option.

The UPS-GWS01 provides dual Realtek 8111G GbE ports, as well as a mini-PCIe slot with SIM slot and two optional WiFi antennas. However, the SBC’s SATA and M.2 slots are not available.

The system offers more display interfaces than the SBC. In addition to the dual HDMI and single eDP ports, you get a DisplayPort. The most commonly repeated USB specs include 3x USB 3.0 host and 1x USB 3.0 OTG ports, although one mention instead says 2x host and 2x OTG. (The SBC offers 3x USB 3.0 host and 1x micro-USB 3.0 OTG ports.)

Like the Up Squared, the UPS-GWS01 inherits the 40-pin GP-bus (28x user GPIOs) from the first generation Up, although this time it’s controlled by an Intel/Altera MAX 10 FPGA, which is more powerful than the previous Up’s MAX V CPLD. If you’re not quite ready for FPGAs, the UPS-GWS01 also borrows the Up Squared’s 60-pin GPIO board-to-board EXHAT expansion connector.

The system is further equipped with 4x LEDs, 4x screw holes for VESA mounting, and a 5V power supply. Like the UP-GWS01, you’re limited to a 0 to 40°C operating range. The Up Squared supports Linux, Android, and Windows 10.

Upcoming Up Core gateway

Fewer details were offered on the unnamed gateway based on the $89 Up Core, a smaller, 66 x 56.5mm version of the original Up board that swaps out the GbE port for WiFi and Bluetooth. Among other more minor differences between the two SBCs, the coastline ports on the Up Core are limited to single HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.

Up Core gateway

Aaeon’s gateway based on the Up Core supports the same Intel Cherry Trail x5-z8350 part, a quad-core SoC that runs at 1.44GHz (1.84GHz burst), and offers Intel HD 400 Graphics. The system features 2GB or 4GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, as well as 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB eMMC.

In addition to the USB and HDMI ports, the gateway exposes a LAN port, which is not available on the Up Core. There’s also a new COM port, which appears to use a terminal pin connector. Like the UP-GWS01, but not the new UPS-GWS01, Linux support is further detailed with UbiLinux, Ubuntu, and Yocto options.

Further information

The Up Squared based UPS-GWS01 gateway is due in October (a slight delay from the September deadline noted in the chart farther above). The unnamed Up Core based system is also due in October. Pricing was not included, as was the case when the UP-GWS01 was announced. That original gateway is now available for $179, so you can expect the UPS-GWS01 to sell for more, and the Up Core device to sell for the same or less. More information may be found in the UPS-GWS01 product page.

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One response to “Fanless, Linux-ready mini-PCs build on Up Squared and Up Core SBCs”

  1. fmyhr says:

    Would be MUCH more attractive if it used Intel ethernet.

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