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Tiny rugged mini-PC runs Linux on dual-core 1.6GHz Atom

Aug 2, 2013 — by Eric Brown 7,939 views

Aaeon announced the availability of a rugged, Linux-compatible embedded controller computer that measures only 4.9 x 3.0 x 0.73 inches. The AEC-6401 Compact Embedded Controller runs on a dual-core, 1.6GHz Intel Atom N2600 processor, offers an SSD bay, provides gigabit Ethernet, USB, HDMI and serial connectivity, and supports -20 to 40°C fanless operation.

Aaeon calls its 22mm-thin AEC-6401 “one of the world’s slimmest fanless embedded computers.” The AEC-6401 is designed for space-constrained embedded controller applications in factory automation, environmental monitoring, digital signage, home automation, and “government/public safety in-vehicle computing applications,” says Aaeon. The device is offered with din-rail and standard VESA mounting options, and can “fit in almost any panel design available,” says the company.

Aaeon AEC-6401 mini embedded PC, front (upper) and back
(click images to enlarge)


The AEC-6401 runs on Intel’s dual-core N2600 Atom processor of the 32nm “Cedar Trail” generation. The N2600 features lower power consumption than the previous 45nm “Pineview” Atoms and offers improved graphics by way of a 400MHz PowerVR SGX 545 GPU from Imagination Technologies.


Customers can load the device with up to 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and populate an internal mSATA bay with either a solid state drive (SSD) or hard disk drive (HDD). Four USB 2.0 ports face forward, and two more are housed internally, supporting WiFi dongles or a touch interface. A gigabit Ethernet port and a mini-HDMI port are supplied, as well as three RJ-45 serial ports, two of which offer selectable RS-232/422/485 serial connectivity.

The solid-brushed aluminum enclosure is designed to resist shock and vibration. It can support temperatures up to -20 to 40°C, or up to 40°C if a fan is applied, says Aaeon. The 4.9 x 3.0 x 0.73 inch box is said to be light-weight, but no details were supplied. The AEC-6401 is also touted for its low power consumption, but power figures are cited only for an apparently optional model running an Atom N270 (1.05A @DC 19V).

Specifications listed for the AEC-6401 include:

  • Intel Atom N2600 SoC (3.5W TDP):
    • CPUs — 2x x86 cores @ 1.6GHz
    • GPU — integrated 400MHz PowerVR SGX 545
    • chipset — Intel NM10
  • Memory — up to 2GB DDR3 1066 SDRAM via 1x SODIMM
  • Storage — mSATA port/bay for SSD or HDD
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 (front-facing)
    • 2x internal USB for WiFi dongles or a touch interface
    • mini-HDMI (front-facing)
    • 1x RS-232 and 2x RS-232/422/485 serial ports (all on RJ-45 connectors)
  • Ruggedization:
    • anti-drop power/USB connector design
    • vibration — 3g (SSD) or 1g (HDD) rms; 5-500Hz
    • shock — 50G (SSD) or 20G (HDD) peak; 11 mS duration
    • operating temperature — -20 to 40°C without airflow; -20 to 50°C with airflow
  • Power — 12V DC
  • Dimensions — 4.9 x 3.0 x 0.73 in. (125 x 77 x 20mm); wall-mount, din-rail mounts
  • Operating system — Linux (Fedora); Windows XP; Windows 7, WES7E

The AEC-6401 is available now at an unstated price. More information may be found at the Aaeon AEC-6401 product page.

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