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Pico-ITX SBC offers TPM and a pair each of M.2 and MIPI-CSI

Dec 21, 2017 — by Eric Brown 2,137 views

Aaeon’s “PICO-APL3” has an Apollo Lake SoC with up to 64GB eMMC, and provides 4x USB, 2x serial, 2x M.2, 2x MIPI-CSI, SATA, GbE, HDMI, eDP, and TPM.

Aaeon’s PICO-APL3 has the same choice of Apollo Lake processors, coastline ports, and 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX form factor, as last December’s PICO-APL1. However, it’s otherwise redesigned and significantly enhanced. Other Apollo Lake Pico-ITX form factor SBCs include Avalue’s EPX-APLP and Axiomtek’s PICO313.

PICO-APL3, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The PICO-APL3 is claimed to be the first Pico-ITX board on the market with a standard TPM security chip, and it’s an up-to-date version 2.0. Another feature you rarely see on x86-based Pico-ITX boards is a pair of optional MIPI-CSI camera interfaces.

Compared to the PICO-APL1, the SBC also adds onboard eMMC and Aaeon’s homegrown BIO expansion interface, and swaps out dual mini-PCIe slots for dual M.2 slots. The PICO-APL3 adds a second USB 2.0 header, a mic interface and speaker amp, and an optional eDP interface with higher resolution than the HDMI port. On the other hand, RAM is reduced to a maximum of 4GB instead of 8GB.

PICO-APL3 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The PICO-APL3 gives you the same choice of dual-core, 1.1GHz Celeron N3550 or quad-core, 1.1GHz Pentium N4200 SoCs from Intel’s Apollo Lake generation. The Celeron gives you a choice of 2GB or 4GB DDR3L while the Pentium ships with 4GB. As usual with Asus-owned Aaeon, there’s no mention of OS support, but a Linux LAN driver is listed along with several other Windows drivers.

PICO-APL3 coastline detail
(click image to enlarge)

The PICO-APL3 ships with 16GB eMMC, expandable to 32GB or 64GB. There’s also a SATA III interface with 5V/12V power, and an M.2 2280 (B Key) for adding mSATA storage. An M.2 2230 E-Key interface is available for wireless and I/O expansion, and there’s an optional slot for Aaeon’s BIO I/O expansion boards, which include various combinations of interfaces such as GbE/USB and mini-PCIe/USB/SIM.

PICO-APL3 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The BIO can also be used to add an optional DDI interface, which joins the HDMI 1.4b port (3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz) and optional 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz eDP. The earlier PICO-APL1 offered optional triple display support, but there’s no mention of it here.


The two MIPI-CSI connectors include one for 2-megapixel cameras and the other for 8-megapixel. You also get Realtek ALC269 based line-in, line-out, mic interface plus an amp for a 2W speaker.

The PICO-APL3 is further equipped with a GbE port (Realtek 8111G) with WoL, as well as dual USB 3.0 ports and dual USB 2.0 interfaces, one of which is occupied by default by the fan connector. Other features include dual RS-232 connections, 4-bit DIO, I2S, a watchdog, hardware monitoring, and either I2C or SMBus.


The 12V power supply is AT/ATX with “lockable and Phoenix terminal co-lay,” and power consumption with the Pentium is 1.1A @ 12V. The SBC supports commercial, 0 to 60°C temperatures, and a heatspreader and heatsink are optional. Another option that Aaeon says is available for all its Pico-ITX boards is a PICO-SEMI chassis, which “comprises a pair of nearly identical parts that easily slot together and are held in place with just six screws.”

Further information

The PICO-APL3 is “coming soon” at an unstated price. More information may be found on Aaeon’s PICO-APL3 product page.

(advertise here)

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