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Rugged, graphics-oriented PC/104 SBC runs at 10W

Aug 27, 2013 — by Eric Brown 3,479 views

Aaeon announced the availability of a Linux-friendly PC/104-Plus single board computer based on the AMD 615MHz G-Series T16R processor. The PFM-HDS supports up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, offers dual-display support at up to HD resolutions, provides interfaces including gigabit Ethernet, USB, serial, SATA, and CFast, and runs on 10 Watts, says the company.

The PFM-HDS single-board computer (SBC) is designed for budget-sensitive applications that require HD video support, low power consumption, ruggedization, and expandability, says Aaeon. These are said to include industrial control, transportation, security, and government applications, including in-vehicle systems and portable devices.

Aaeon’s PFM-HDS SBC top and bottom
(click image to enlarge)


Aaeon uses the term “ruggedized” on several occasions, referring to the sturdy, stackable PC/104-Plus form-factor, and also perhaps to the touted 0 to 60°C operating temperature. However, there are no claims for vibration and shock resistance. The board measures 103 x 96mm (4.1 x 3.8 inches), taking advantage of the connector “wings” option used by many PC/104-style modules, and its PC/104-Plus expansion bus implements legacy PCI and ISA expansion.


The PFM-HDS ships with AMD’s G-Series T16R APU (accelerated processing unit), which showed up in a recent Advantech PCM-3356 PC/104 SBC. The T16R is clocked at 615MHz and has a 4.5W TDP, according to AMD. It also integrates a Radeon HD6250 GPU on the same chip, and is accompanied by an AMD A55E I/O hub.

It appears there’s some flexibility in the choice of AMD APUs (though they’re surface-mounted to the board at the factory), as the PFM-HDS’s datasheet notes the ability to support up to 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM when using a dual-core, 1.6GHz T56N APU with 18W TDP. When fitted with the default 615MHz T16R, the SBC supports up to 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM, and runs at about 10 Watts.

The PFM-HDS is further equipped with 18-bit LVDS and VGA connectivity with full HD support, as well as HD audio ports. A CFast slot and SATA 3 port are available for storage, and further connectivity is provided via a gigabit Ethernet port and four USB ports. We assume the datasheet is correct in dubbing them USB 2.0 ports as opposed the Aaeon announcement’s mention of USB 3.0. Four serial ports are provided, including an RS-232/422/485 port with auto flow, and there’s also 8-bit digital I/O and PS/2 connectivity.

The PFM-HDS ships with Aaeon’s Hi-Safe SDK/Utility and enables user programming of specific applications, including setting up components such as the watchdog timer and hardware monitor.

Aaeon says the module was validated for Linux compatibility during its development process using Fedora Linux. Given its use of standard chipsets, it can be expected to work with most any current Linux distribution.

Specifications listed for the PFM-HDS include:

  • Processor — AMD G-Series T16R (1x x86 core @615MHz) with integrated Radeon HD6250 graphics; AMD A55E I/O hub; possible swap out for T56N APU and other AMD APUs
  • Memory — up to 4GB DDR3 1066 RAM
  • Storage — CFast slot; SATA 3Gbps port
  • Display:
    • 18-bit single-channel LVDS interface, up to 1366 x 768 pixels
    • VGA interface, up to 1920 x 1200
    • Dual-display (CRT/LCD)
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet with wake-on-LAN
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0
    • 3x RS-232
    • RS-232/422/485 (auto flow)
    • PS/2 keyboard/mouse
    • Audio line-in, line-out, mic (2-channel HD codec)
    • 8-bit DIO (4x in, 4x out)
  • Other features — Watchdog; H/W monitor; Aaeon Hi-Safe SDK/Utility
  • Power — +5V or AT/ATX; Lithium battery; typical 10W consumption
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C
  • Weight — 0.16 kg
  • Dimensions — 96 x 103mm (3.8 x 4.1 inches); PC/104-Plus form-factor
  • Operating system support — Fedora Linux and various forms of Windows

The PFM-HDS is available now at an unstated price. More information may be found on the PFM-HDS product page of Aaeon’s website.

(advertise here)

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