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Rugged, Ubuntu-ready computers are on a mission from Intel

May 3, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,083 views

Diamond has launched three rugged, Linux-friendly “SabreCom” mission computers with MIL-spec connectors and IP67 protection, based on its Aries (Bay Trail), Venus (Skylake), and Zeta (Apollo Lake) boards with mini-PCIe and PC/104 expansion.

Diamond’s new SabreCom series of rugged, industrial temperature “mission computers” is part of its Sabre line of devices, which also includes its rugged SabreNet Ethernet switches. The SabreCom computers, which are designed for a variety of in-vehicle and hard environment applications, are based on Diamond boards that we have previously covered on LinuxGizmos: the Aries, the Venus, and the Zeta. All the SabreCom systems run Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Windows 7 and/or 10.

SabreCom ZTA (left) and either the SabreCom ARS or similarly sized SabreCom VNS
(click image to enlarge)

The SabreCom systems, listed with underlying boards, processors, and expansion technologies, are as follows:

  • SabreCom ARS — Aries — Intel Atom E3845 (4x Bay Trail cores @ 1.91GHz) — PC/104 and mini-PCIe
  • SabreCom VNS — Venus — Intel Core i7-6600U (2x Skylake cores @ 2.6GHz) — OneBank-Plus (PC/104, PCIe/104, 2x mini-PCIe)
  • SabreCom ZTA — Zeta — Intel Atom E3840 and Pentium N4200 (4x Apollo Lake cores @ 1.6GHz/1.8GHz or 1.1GHz/2.5GHz, respectively; Intel Atom E3815 (1x Bay Trail cores @ 1.46GHz — 1x or 2x mini-PCIe

Diamond’s SabreCom feature comparison chart
(click image to enlarge)

The SabreCom ARS’s Aries board and the SabreCom VNS’ Venus are both 3.5-inch SBCs while the SabreCom ZTA’s Zeta is a COM Express Type 10 Mini module. The Skylake based Venus has already appeared in a Diamond mission computer called the Raptor.

All three SabreCom systems share some identical features. They all offer 32GB to 256GB SSDs, 2x GbE ports, and 4x RS-232/422/485 ports. These and other interfaces are expressed via MIL-DTL-38999 connectors with stainless steel finish (type 20K).


All the systems offer IP67 ingress protection, -40 to 85°C support, and MIL-STD-810 compliant shock and vibration resistance. The systems deliver conduction cooling via top-mounted heatsinks.

Aries with heat spreader (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

No power details were listed, but the Aries SBC (ARS) has a 5V input, the Venus (VNS) has a 9-18VDC input, and the Zeta has an optional 9-36V input. The SabreCOM ARS and VNS measure 7.8 x 6.9 x 2.6 inches while the SabreCom ZTA measures 6.4 x 5.4 x 2.6 inches.

Venus detail view (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The feature table does not list media ports, but all three systems are said to provide “VGA and/or LCD and/or HDMI” interfaces. (The Aries SBC supports LVDS and VGA with optional HDMI, the Venus has LVDS, VGA, and HDMI, and the Zeta provides LVDS and VGA.)

Zeta (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The SabreCom ARS and VNS both offer 4GB RAM, and the VNS can expand that to up to 20GB. The Zeta goes from 2GB to 8GB. The ARS provides a USB 3.0 port and a pair of USB 2.0 ports while the VNS features four each of USB 3.0 and 2.0, and the ZTA has 4x USB 2.0 ports.

The ARS and ZTA each provide 24x GPIO lanes while the VNS is limited to 16x GPIO. The VNS lacks the data acquisition (DAQ) capabilities of the other two systems, which offer the same complement of 16x 16-bit A/D and 4x 16-bit D/A.

The ARS gives you PC/104 expansion with ISA and PCI support, as well as a mini-PCIe slot. The VNS provides OneBank-Plus expansion with PCI-104 and PCIe/104, as well as dual mini-PCIe, and the ZTA has one or two mini-PCIe slots, with the second provided by a daughterboard. This optional mini-PCIe slot appears to be the only one on all these systems that is not delivered via USB. Diamond provides optional mini-PCIe cards for CAN, DAQ, GbE, serial, opto-isolated serial, and GPIO/serial.

Customization options include connector type and pinout, paint type and color, and removable flash storage. Special orders can add compliance for MIL-STD-461, MIL-STD-704, and/or MIL-STD-1275 standards.

Further information

The SabreCom ARS, SabreCom VNS, and SabreCom ZTA appear to be available now, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found at Diamond Systems’ SabreCom product page.

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