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Rugged Mini-ITX board runs quad-core AMD Kabini SoC

Jun 28, 2013 — by Eric Brown 9,685 views

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) announced a ruggedized Mini-ITX motherboard based on an AMD A6-5200 Kabini system-on-chip processor, which integrates four 2GHz Jaguar CPU cores plus a Radeon HD 8400 GPU. The KBN-I/5200 offers PCIe and mini-PCIe expansion, along with interfaces for dual SATA, HDMI, VGA, serial, gigabit Ethernet, six USB ports, and more.

Before you get too excited about the ECS KBN-I — which we did when we first saw this impressive looking Mini-ITX board — note that ECS targets it at Windows users, and there’s nary a mention of Linux. That said, the AMD Quad Core A6-5200 processor is a member of AMD’s new “Kabini” SoC family, which generally supports Linux.

ECS KBN-I/5200 Mini-ITX motherboard
(click image to enlarge)

Kabini SoCs


AMD’s Kabini and Temash system-on-chip processors, introduced in January, are related to the company’s Embedded G-Series SoCs, and offer the same 28nm Jaguar cores, as well as integrated GPUs and Fusion Controller Hubs. The AMD Quad Core A6-5200 and other Kabini SoCs feature the AMD Radeon HD 8400 GPU, with support for DirectX 11 and HD video playback.

AMD “Kabini” platform diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The A6-5200 operates at speeds of up to 2GHz and has a 25 Watt TDP. The SoC can be swapped out for a slower, lower-power model such as an AMD E1-2100 (1GHz, 9W TDP) or AMD A4-5000 (1.5GHz, 15W TDP) SoCs. In fact, the company offers a separate KBN-I/2100 SKU featuring the E1-2100, which appears to have identical I/O.

AMD recently announced it was working on Android support for its upcoming dual-core A4 and A6 “Temash” processors aimed at tablets and hybrid notebooks, but there are no Android plans for the similar Kabini SoCs at this point.

ECS KBN-I details

The 6.7 x 6.7-inch motherboard is designed as a PC replacement, but with its serial port and rugged design, it can also be used in embedded applications. The KBN-I is touted for its triple-density PCB, its ESD protection, and all solid capacitors, which are said to offer up to a 22 years lifespan. The fanless heat sink design is claimed to support operating temperatures between -10 to 50° C.

ECS KBN-I/5200 Mini-ITX motherboard
(click image to enlarge)

Users can load up to 32GB of DDR3 memory, and I/O expansion is handled via a PCI Express (PCIe) x16 slot and dual mini-PCIe slots. For storage, you get dual SATA 3.0 connectors and six USB ports, two of which support USB 3.0. All I/O faces toward the rear, but an extra USB 2.0 header is located on the front side of the board, and there’s another header onboard, for a total of eight potential USB ports.

HDMI and VGA ports are supplied, as well as an optional DVI-D port. In addition to real-world PS2, serial, and audio ports, there are a number of headers for interfaces like S/PDIF and LPT. It appears that ECS is willing to do some customization, as the spec sheet suggests you can have more than one HDMI and VGA ports, as well as additional USB ports and SATA connectors.

Specifications listed for the ECS KBN-I board include:

  • Processor — AMD A6-5200 Quad Core APU (Kabini) with 4x 28nm Jaguar cores @ 2GHz; 2MB L2; 25W TDP
  • Memory — up to 32GB dual-channel DDR3 via 2x 240-pin DDR3 sockets, supporting 1600 non-ECC SDRAM
  • Expansion — PCIe x16 Gen. 3.0; 2x mini-PCIe x1
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet; optional Fast Ethernet
  • Storage — 2x SATA 3.0 6Gbps connectors
  • Video:
    • HDMI
    • DVD-I (optional)
    • VGA
  • Audio:
    • Audio line-out, line-in, mic-in (6-ch. HD audio)
    • Front-panel audio header
    • S/PDIF out header
  • USB:
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 4x USB 2.0
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers (with 1x front facing)
  • Other I/O:
    • Serial
    • PS2 KB/Mouse
    • Parallel port header (LPT)
  • Other features — all-solid-capacitors for greater durability, 6x lifespan; ESD protection; Press 2 BIOS; ECS EZ BIOS
  • Operating temperature — -10 to 50° C
  • Dimension — 6.7 x 6.7 inches (Mini-ITX)
  • Software — free Windows-based Norton Internet Security, CyberLink PowerDVD, CyberLink PowerDirector 9, Muzee with trial version

No pricing or availability information was provided for the KBN-I/5200. More information may be found at the ECS KBN-I/5200 product page.

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One response to “Rugged Mini-ITX board runs quad-core AMD Kabini SoC”

  1. Oeno-Master says:

    Right now, I have the dual core 1.0 GHz version of this board and it works just fine. Yes, 24hrs/day non-stop. It does serve web pages nicely using Ubuntu 12.04.4 server 64 bit (of course), LAMP, and Drupal 7. The only Linux issue is the RealTec NIC. Once you clear that up, then it works like a champ/Boss (your preference). Once budget and availability get resolved, then I would like to use the reviewed board for a Xen server for a multi-Linux environment. Check with me in year and I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

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