Up to now there were basically two embedded board based on x86 architecture available to hobbyists: Gizmo Board (AMD T40E) and Minnowboard (Intel Atom). There’s now another solution with PC Engines system boards, namely APU.1C and APU.1C4, that comes with AMD G-Series T40E dual core APU, 2 to 4 GB RAM, 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports, an mSATA connector, and more. Contrary to the other two boards however, there’s no video output, and that makes these APU boards suitable for routers, firewalls, VOIP, dedicated servers, special purpose network plumbing, etc..
PC Engines APU boards specifications:
- APU – AMD G -Series T40E dual core APU @ 1 GHz with 64 bit support, 32K data + 32K instruction + 512KB L2 cache per core, with Radeon HD6250 GPU.
- System Memory
- APU.1C – 2 GB DDR3-1066 DRAM
- APU.1C4 – 4 GB DDR3-1066 DRAM
- Storage – SD card (connected through USB), m-SATA, and one SATA data + power connector.
- Connectivity – 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports (Realtek RTL8111E)
- Expansion – 2 miniPCI expressslots (one with SIM socket for 3G modem), LPC bus, GPIO header, I2C bus, COM2 (3.3V RXD/TXD).
- USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
- Console – 1 DB9 serial port.
- Power – 12V. About 6 to 12W power depending on CPU load.
- Dimensions – 6″x6″ (152.4 x 152.4 mm)
The board comes with CoreBoot open source system BIOS with support for iPXE and USB boot. The boards can also boot from the SD card, or the mSATA port, but possibly not from SATA according to their specs. The APU boards are not open source hardware, contrary to the Minnowboard and Gizmo board, but you can still download the schematics in PDF format. If you need an enclosure, the boards are compatible with the company’s case1d2u enclosures. Cooling can be achieved with a 3 mm aluminum heat spreader on the APU and chipset, if you use PC Engines’ casing.
Both APU.1C is available now, APU.1C4 will be available in April, and the boards will sell for respectively $145 and $165. The enclosure costs about $9. You can find a distributor for your country on PC Engines’ order page. You can also check out PC Engines’ APU page, but there’s not much to see for now.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.