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Open-spec SBC and AIO mini-PC have mini-PCIe, mSATA and 7x USB ports

May 26, 2017 — by Eric Brown 3,095 views

CubieTech’s “CubieAIO-A20” SBC and mini-PC run on a WiFi/BT-ready, Allwinner A20 “Einstein-A20” COM, and offer mSATA, GbE, mini-PCIe, and 7x USB ports.

CubieTech and its community site have begun selling a CubieAIO-A20 Board sandwich-style SBC which drives an all-in-one (AIO) mini-PC of the same name with a built-in 7-inch, 1024 x 600 touchscreen. The 172 x 106mm board is based on Cubietech’s Einstein-A20 computer-on-module, which offers the guts of a Cubieboard 2 or 3, including a dual Cortex-A7, 1GHz Allwinner A20 SoC. The CubieAIO-A20 board, AIO system, and the Einstein-A20 COM all feature -20 to 70℃ support.

CubieAIO-A20 development board with embedded Einstein-A20 COM (left) and CubieAIO-A20 all-in-one mini-PC
(click images to enlarge)

The SBC model is available on Amazon for $122 with 8GB eMMC. The AIO mini-PC version goes for $144 at Amazon and $127.80 at AliExpress (see end of story for links).

Like other Cubieboards, the CubieAIO-A20 baseboard is fully open source and backed up by the community with open source Linux and Android images available. Cubietech says the Einstein-A20 module has “closed production materials,” but “available reference documents.” Indeed, extensive schematics and other materials are available.



The Einstein-A20 module measures 75 x 50mm, although one citation says 70 x 50mm. The COM is equipped with 1GB RAM, compared to up to 2GB for the $100, currently out of stock Cubieboard 3 (Cubietruck). It offers the ubiquitous, 1GHz Allwinner A20 with Mali-400 MP2 GPU, as well as 4GB to 32GB of eMMC or more secure and stable TSD (TSOP packaged microSD card) storage. The module also features an 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 module with an Ipex connector.

Einstein-A20 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Einstein-A20 module has a micro-USB port that can be powered by a wall adapter or an optional 5300mAh 3.7V LiPo battery. Other features include an RTC with battery, a UART debug port, a 200-pin expansion interface, and power, reset, and U-boot keys. The module supports the same images provided for the Cubieboard 2 and 3, including Android 4.2, Debian, and Linaro Ubuntu.

CubieAIO-A20 (SBC and AIO mini-PC)

Specs for the CubieAIO-A20 and CubieAIO-A20-based AIO mini-PC are much the same except for the size and the addition of the AIO’s integrated, 7-inch, capacitive touchscreen with 1024 x 600-pixel resolution. In addition to the 8GB or more of onboard flash, you get a microSD slot and a SATA 2.0 mSATA interface via one of the two mini-PCIe slots.

CubieAIO-A20 board top view (left) and side views
(click images to enlarge)

The other mini-PCIe slot, as well as a SIM card slot, supports optional 3G or 4G modules. The Einstein-A20‘s onboard WiFi and Bluetooth are assisted by external antenna mounts and a pair of optional telescopic antennas. A GbE port is also available.

CubieAIO-A20 board detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The CubieAIO-A20 is notable for offering 6x USB 2.0 host ports, the most of any hacker board we’ve seen. There’s also a USB device port and dual round DIN-style serial ports. This supports up to six serial ports, apparently via an optional extension interface.

CubieAIO-A20 mini-PC angle view (left) and side views
(click images to enlarge)

The CubieAIO-A20 is further equipped with an HDMI 1.4, LCD and LVDS interfaces, an audio jack, a mic, and some speakers which are variably referred to as 1W or 2W. You get an IR receiver, a second UART, and a 54-pin expansion interface. Several switches, buttons, buzzers, and LEDs are also available.

CubieAIO-A20 mini-PC detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the CubieAIO-A20 SBC and AIO mini-PC include:

  • Processor (via Einstein-A20 COM) — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.08GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory (via Einstein-A20 COM) — 1GB DDR3 480MHz; 8GB eMMC (optional 8GB TSD); flash expandable to 32GB for eMMC or 64GB for TSD
  • Storage — MicroSD slot; SATA 2.0 mSATA interface (via mini-PCIe)
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 (via Ampak AP6210 module and Einstein-A20 COM)
    • SIM card slot
    • Optional 3G or 4G wireless module via mini-PCIe
    • Ext. antenna mount for optional telescopic antenna
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4 port with audio for up to 1080p
    • LCD/RGB interface
    • LVDS interface
    • 7-inch, 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen (AIO model)
    • 3.5mm headphone/mic jack
    • Onboard mic
    • 2W speaker
  • Other I/O:
    • 6x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB Device Type-B port
    • 2x UART DIN sockets with optional extension interface (supports 6x serial ports)
    • UART header with optional AMIDIjack terminal interface
    • 54-pin GPIO header — UART, LineIN, MicIn, PWM, low-res ADC, SPI, I2C, LCD, GPIO, CCIR656, MIPI_CSI, I2S…
  • Expansion — 2x mini-PCIe slots (1x for mSATA; 1x for optional 3G or 4G module)
  • Other features — IR receiver; power, Uboot, and reset keys; 2x LEDs; buzzer; fan switch; case (AIO model); RTC (via Einstein-A20 COM)
  • Power — 5V input; optional 3.7V battery; optional [email protected] adapter
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 70℃; optional environmental protection packaging (on AIO)
  • Dimensions — SBC version 172 x 106 x 20mm; AIO version 175 x 108 x 30mm
  • Operating system — Supports Cubieboard 2/3 builds: Android 4.2, Debian, Linaro Ubunto etc.

Further information

The CubieAIO-A20 Board is available at Amazon for $122 with 8GB eMMC. There’s also an Alibaba page, which at publication time listed an improbable price of 20 cents. The all-in-one mini-PC version goes for $144 at Amazon and $127.80 at AliExpress. The Einstein-A20 appears to be available from CubieTech at an undisclosed price. More information may be found at CubieTech’s Einstein-A20 and CubieAIO-A20 product pages. More information should eventually appear on the community site.

(advertise here)

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One response to “Open-spec SBC and AIO mini-PC have mini-PCIe, mSATA and 7x USB ports”

  1. twodogs says:

    I was really hopeful, given the inclusion of miniPCIe and msata. Then they stopped at 1gb RAM? Man.

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