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Nano-ITX SBC runs Linux on quad-core Atom, has dual GbE

Sep 10, 2015 — by Rick Lehrbaum 4,824 views

Axiomtek tipped a 120x120mm motherboard with up to a quad-core 1.9GHz Atom SoC, three display outputs, dual GbE, dual mini-PCIe, and -40 to 85°C operation.

Intel’s two-year-old “Baytrail-I” Atom and Celeron SoCs keep popping up on new products aimed at embedded, industrial, and IoT applications, as evidenced by Axiomtek’s new Nano-ITX form factor “NANO840” and “NANO842” motherboards. The NANO840 and NANO842 appear to be based on a single design, with minimal — if any — differences other than their choice of Intel processors, ranging from a 1.5GHz dual-core Celeron to a 1.91GHz quad-core Atom. A SODIMM socket located on the bottom of the board can be populated with up to 8GB of DDR3L memory.

NANO840 top (left) and bottom view
(click images to enlarge)

We don’t often see embedded SBCs minted in the tiny 120mm-square Nano-ITX format, as compared with the larger and vastly more popular 170mm-square Mini-ITX format, or even the smaller, COM-like, 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX format. Examples of the latter include Axiomtek’s PICO840 and PICO880 SBCs, which tapped Intel’s Baytrail-I Atom and 4th Gen. Core processors, respectively.

Comparison of Mini-ITX, Pico-ITX, and Nano-ITX embedded motherboard formats
(click image to enlarge; source: VIA Technologies)

Both the NANO840 and NANO842 support extended temperature operation, although the 840 has a slightly wider range. Specifically, the Atom-powered NANO840 can be used from -40 to 80°C, while the Celeron-based NANO842 is limited to -40 to 70°C. This range can be met without the use of fans, according to the boards’ user manual, which shows “passive” as the “thermal” solution. However, operation at temperatures in the range of 70 to 80°C typically require well designed heat-sinks or heat-spreaders to pipe heat away from the CPU.

NANO840 connector locations
(click images to enlarge)

I/O bragging points of the NAN0840 and NANO842 include three video outputs, for interfacing with VGA, HDMI, and LVDS displays, which support dual simultaneous operation, plus a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports on RJ45 coastline connectors. Storage interfaces include a standard SATA-300 coastline port, as well as mSATA support on the full-size mini-PCIe socket. Other interfaces include six USB ports, two serial ports, analog audio in/out, and eight GPIO lines.

NANO840 angled view
(click image to enlarge)

Summary of NANO840 and NANO842 specs


The following specifications are listed by Axiomtek for the NANO840 and NANO842:

  • Processor — Intel Baytrail-I system-on-chip:
    • NANO840 — Atom quad-core E3845 (10W TDP) @ 1.91GHz
    • NANO840 — Atom dual-core E3827 (8W TDP) @ 1.75GHz
    • NANO842 — Celeron quad-core J1900 (10W TDP) @ 2.0 GHz
    • NANO842 — Celeron dual-core N2807 (4.3W TDP) @ 1.58GHz
  • Memory — 1x 204-pin SODIMM for up to 8GB DDR3L-1066/1333
  • Storage — 1x SATA-300; mSATA via full-size mini-PCIe socket
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Display:
    • 1x VGA
    • 1x HDMI
    • 1x 8/24-bit sing/dual-channel LVDS (up to 1920×1200 in 24-bit channels)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB — 5x USB 2.0 plus 1x USB 3.0
    • Serial — 1x RS-232/422/485; 1x RS-232
    • 8-bit GPIO
    • Analog audio in/out
  • Expansion:
    • 1x full-size mini-PCIe (with mSATA support)
    • 1x half-size mini-PCIe
  • Other features — hardware monitoring, watchdog timer
  • Power — 12VDC @ 0.9A max. with 1.91GHz Atom E3845 or 0.8A max with 1.75GHz E3827 (both with 8GB DDR3L RAM)
  • Operating temperature:
    • NANO840 — -40 to 80 C
    • NANO842 — -40 to 70 C
  • Dimensions — 120 x 120mm; Nano-ITX form-factor
  • Operating system support — generic Linux kernel, as well as current Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat, and Debian distributions

Further information

The Axiomtek NANO840 and NANO842 embedded motherboards appear to be available now, at unstated prices. More information may be found at Axiomtek’s NANO840 and NANO842 product pages.

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One response to “Nano-ITX SBC runs Linux on quad-core Atom, has dual GbE”

  1. Yann says:

    Price tag? Nobody?

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