AAEON UP 4000 is a compact Apollo Lake single board computer that’s about the size of a business card or a Raspberry Pi designed for automation, robotics, digital signage, and other space-constrained applications that may benefit from an x86 processor.
The company already published some Phoronix benchmarks comparing the UP 4000 SBC against Raspberry Pi 4, NVIDIA Jetson Nano, and the original UP board, but since nothing beats third-party evaluation, AAEON sent a review sample to CNX Software for additional testing.
There are several variants of the board, and I received the UP-APL03X7F-A10-0464 SKU with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC flash, and an Intel Atom x7-E3950 quad-core processor.
The package includes the board together with a multilingual safety manual that explains you should not immerse the board underwater and should avoid walking on it :). A 12V/5A power supply was also included separately. The power cord was not included, but the power adapter just requires a standard 3-prong power cord, and I could borrow the one from my projector.
The top of the board comes with the eMMC flash, RAM chips, and a chip marked LCMXO2-640HC that happens to be a Lattice MachXO2 FPGA used for the I/Os on the board.
We also find all the standard ports and most of the headers there including three USB 3.2 ports, an HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack, a USB 3.2 Type-C port, and the 12V DC jack, plus a 40-pin GPIO header, a UART wafer and an audio PFC connector on the top left.
The bottom of the board is fitted with a thick heatsink that covers almost the entirety of the board and reminds me of the AMD Ryzen-based DFI GHF51 SBC I reviewed a few years back. A tiny power button can be found on that side of the board too just above the power jack.
There’s also a 2-pin fan header (12V), a 10-pin wafer with 2x USB 2.0 and HSUART interfaces (that can be used for WiFi , Bluetooth, or add two USB Type-A ports) on the left side of the photo above, as well as a 4-pin wafer for an optional power button (right).
The CMOS battery is attached to the USB 3.2+HDMI combo connector through a dual-sided tape.
I took a photo of the UP 4000 together with Khadas Edge2 and Raspberry Pi 4 together with the larger Rock 5B pico-ITX SBC for size comparison. That’s great to have an x86 single board computer with the same size as other business card-sized boards based on Arm processors…
…but the heatsink required to make it fanless negates some of the advantages due to the extra thickness and weight, although to be fair the Rockchip RK3588(s) boards from Khadas and Radxa use a fan for cooling. But they should not require a 3cm thick heatsink for fanless operation even under load. Whether it matters or not all depends on the use case.
I connected the board to a USB keyboard, a USB mouse, Ethernet, and an HDMI display, before connecting the power supply to check the board can boot properly, and I was curious to find out which operating system was installed…
It turns out none, as I was greeted with an EFI shell. So I just grabbed a USB flash drive I have around with the Ubuntu 22.04 ISO, which I used to install the Linux operating system without issue while spending time writing this article.
I’ll check the UP 4000 board in more detail with Ubuntu 22.04 in the second part of the review. Since the processor has been around for a while, we’ve already reviewed Chuwi GBOX Pro mini PC with the Intel Atom x7-E3950 using both Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04 around 3 years ago.
I’d like to thank AAEON for sending the UP 4000 SBC for review. The model reviewed here is available for pre-order for $225.99 with the 12V/5A power supply on the UP shop.
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.