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Rugged, fanless box-PC runs Linux on Haswell

Dec 9, 2014 — by Eric Brown 6,299 views

Aaeon’s “AEC-6638” rugged box-PC offers 4th Gen Intel Core i5 or i3 CPUs, and features three display outputs, dual GbE, and fanless -10 to 60°C operation.

Aaeon’s AEC-6638 fanless embedded PC is a Boxer series variation of its AEC industrial computers, which include this year’s Atom N2600 based AEC-6523. The AEC-6638 is a simpler, and presumably more affordable, affair than some other box PCs that run Intel’s fourth “Haswell” generation of Core processors, such as Adlink’s Matrix MXE-5400. There’s no quad-core option here, only the dual-core i5-4400E or i3-4100E, both of which offer 37W TDPs, 3MB cache, Intel HD Graphics 4600, and 2.7GHz or 2.4GHz clock rates, respectively.

The AEC-6638 is designed for applications including industrial automation, banking and transport, digital signage, surveillance, fleet management, and marine exploration, says Aaeon. Ruggedization features include -10 to 60°C temperature support, as well as shock and vibration resistance.

Aaeon AEC-6638 front (left) and rear views
(click to enlarge)

The fanless box computer provides up to 8GB of DDR3L RAM, as well as a 2.5-inch SATA 3 bay. It appears that you get a choice of CFast and Mini-PCIe expansion, or else CFast and mSATA.


The one stand-out here is the inclusion of three different real-world display ports. However, there’s no mention of dual- or triple-display capability with the VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI connections.

Aaeon AEC-6638 front (left) and rear details
(click to enlarge)

Other features include two gigabit Ethernet ports, dual USB 3.0 ports, and dual USB 2.0 ports. You also get three serial ports, one of which is a RS232/422/485 connection. An audio line-out jack is also available.

Specifications listed for the AEC-6638 include:

  • Processor — Intel Core i5-4400E or Core i3-4100E (2x Haswell cores @ 2.7GHz or 2.4GHz, respectively); Intel QM87 chipset; GT2-level Intel HD Graphics 4600 graphics; 3MB cache; 37W TDP
  • Memory – up to 8GB DDR3L 1333/1600MHz via 1x SODIMM
  • Storage:
    • SATA-III with 2.5-inch bay
    • CFast or mSATA (jumper selectable)
  • Display:
    • DVI-D at 1920 x 1200 pixels
    • VGA up to 2048 x 1536
    • HDMI up to 3840 x 2160
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet (1x Intel I210/I211, 1x I217/I218)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 2x RS232
    • 1x RS232/422/485 (supports auto flow on RS-485)
    • Audio line-out
  • Expansion — mini-PCIe socket (not available if mSATA selected)
  • Other features – 2x antennas; TPM; LEDs; wall mounting
  • Power — 9-30 V DC with with 3-pin terminal block; optional 120W AC-DC adapter
  • Ruggedization:
    • Operating temperature — -10 to 45°C (with CFast and without AirFlow) or -10 to 50°C (with HDD and without AirFlow)
    • Vibration resistance — 5Grms, 5-500Hz with CFast; 1Grms, 5-500Hz with HDD
    • Shock resistance — 50G (11ms) with CF; 20G (11ms) with HDD
  • Operating system — Fedora (Linux kernel 2.6.x and above) or Ubuntu 10.10

Further information

The AEC-6638 appears to be available now, at an unstated price. More information may be found at the AEC-6638 product page.

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