UP Core is an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 SBC that was introduced in 2017 with 1 to 4GB RAM, 16GB to 64GB eMMC flash storage, and just two ports, namely for HDMI and USB 3.0. The main advantage of the board is its small size (66×56.5 mm).
The board is now on backorder for $129 in 2GB/32GB configuration on the official UP Shop, but somehow an Aliexpres store is currently selling 999 pieces of a “Mini Z8350 2G Add 32G Atom Motherboard” that looks exactly like the UP Core board, for $63.99 including shipping (and a heatsink). Note the seller is relatively new, having registered in May 2021 with only 7 followers, so there may be risks involved.
Mini Z8350 motherboard specifications (taken from UP Core specs):
- SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad-core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
- System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L-1600
- Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
- Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
- Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
- Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
- 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
- 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
- Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
- Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
- Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
- Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C
- Certifications – CE/FCC Class A, RoHS compliant, REACH
I didn’t have to guess to find out it was a UP Core board, as the seller uploaded a blurry photo of the package on the Aliexpress page. That also means the board can run Windows 10, Linux, Android operating systems, and support for expansion board. You’ll find resources to get started on up-board.org.
OK. But what about the $50 price tag in the title? That’s because the same seller offers another, even cheaper Atom x5-Z8350 SBC for just $49.99 including shipping.
Finding product names is hard, so the seller went with “Z8350 2G Add 32G WIN10 Motherboard” instead. At least we know it’s based on an Atom x5-Z8350 processor coupled with 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash. We can also see the HDMI port, USB 3.0, and DC jack from the photos, plus a wireless module.
But There’s little other information on the Aliexpress page, and this does not look like a typical single board computer, and instead, more like a board for a product like a tablet or a laptop. We can find out by checking the provided Windows 10 screenshot that reads LeapBook A100. That’s a 14-inch laptop that was sold several years ago.
The wireless module offers 802.11b/g/n WiFI 4 and Bluetooth 4.0, and apparently, there’s no USB 3.0 port, but two USB 2.0 interfaces instead, I’d assume one of those through an expansion board. Running anything other than Windows 10 on that board may be challenging, and somebody tried to install Lubuntu with limited success.
Those two boards are not quite as good a deal as the $35 Atomic Pi single board computer from a few years ago, but for 2021, that’s not too bad.
Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip.
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.