QNAP QBoat Sunny Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Closer Look, and Initial Setup

We spotted the QBoat Sunny at QNAP’s booth back at CES in January and much has changed since then. Not only did QNAP change from an Intel based solution to an ARM based one, but the product seems to have shifted from being a development board to a strange kind of IoT server. The QBoat Sunny sample that QNAP provided for us to look at is based on the Annapurna Labs AL-314 quad core ARM Cortex-A15 SoC which is clocked at 1.7GHz. This has been paired with 2GB of DDR3L RAM (non-expandable) and 512MB of NAND flash that isn’t user accessible, much as on their NAS products. This simply contains the core parts of the QTS Lite OS. As such, you need to install an M.2 SATA SSD to be able to get started with the QBoat Sunny. QNAP provides a list of compatible SSDs on its website, although some are not “consumer” models and might not be available for …

Seco brings Snapdragon to the NUC form factor

At Computex last week, Seco was showing off its SBC-B47-eNUC board that’s based on Intel’s NUC (Next Unit of Computing) form factor. NUC type of devices have proven to be fairly popular with companies like Gigabyte, MSI, Asus and ASRock among others having jumped on the trend. However, Seco’s solution is quite different as it’s using a Snapdragon 410E SoC rather than an Intel based processor. Spec wise you’re looking at: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz with Adreno 306 GPU @ 400MHz System Memory – up to 2GB LP-DDR3 Storage – micro SD slot, Optional eMMC Video Output & Display I/F – mini DP, LVDS Audio – 3.5mm combo mic/speaker jack, internal pin-header for speakers, mic and headphones, I2S pin-header Connectivity – 10/100Mbps Ethernet, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth LE 4.0 USB – 1x micro USB client port port, 2x USB host port (one front, one rear), 1x USB host pin-header Expansion Headers 2x I2C, 2x …

LyCOM shows off a range of Raspberry Pi Hats at Computex 2017

Taiwanese LyCOM, a maker of various I/O accessories showed off a range of Raspberry Pi compatible expansion boards at Computex. Some of them are rather unusual, such as the Pi-112 which adds M.2 drive support. LyCOM also offers modules that adds SATA and mSATA support. Common among all three modules is that they use a USB to SATA bridge chip, although unfortunately I wasn’t able to determine who the manufacturer of the bridge chip was, as all the hats were in a glass display case. All three hats have a micro USB connector that needs to be connected to one of the USB ports on the Raspberry Pi board, but they can also be connected via a pin-header. The M.2 adapter also has a second micro USB port for power and it’s of course only compatible with SATA based M.2 drives. LyCOM was also showing off a full-size SD card adapter and a couple of serial port adapters. Judging by …

ACT Power unveils its Project-X A1 production ready development board at Computex 2017

These days developer boards are a dime a dozen, but Taiwanese ACT Power has taken a different approach from most companies out there by making their addition production ready. The Project-X A1 is the first in what is expected to be a series of boards that will utilize the same mezzanine board connectors, to make it easy to change hardware platforms over time. The board on display at Computex is still an early prototype and some things will change before the final product launches. Specification wise we’re looking at: SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 600 MHz System Memory – 1 GB DDR3 Storage 8GB eMMC flash, SD card slot Video Output – 1x HDMI 1.4a up to 4K @ 30 Hz Audio Output – HDMI, I2S via pin-header Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet with optional PoE support USB – Two full size USB ports, 1x micro USB OTG port Expansion …

QNAP gets into dev board market with the QBoat Sunny at CES

One surprise at CES was QNAP’s entry into the developer board market with the introduction of the QBoat Sunny developer board. It’s a rather odd beast to say the least and Qnap is even offering a cut-down version of its QTS OS for, simply named QTS Lite. The only thing we know about QTS Lite at this time is that it’ll support “basic server functions” as well as apps from the QNAP app center, such as the Container Station which will allow you to run the QIoT Suite which will apparently help you to build IoT solutions quicker. But let’s go back to the board itself. The specs are as follows. Processor – Intel AnyWAN GRX750 @ 2GHz (6W Dual Core Atom based) Memory – 2GB DDR3L Storage – 4GB eMMC, two M.2 2260/2280 SATA only slots for SSDs (RAID-1 support) Network connectivity – 3x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x WAN 2x LAN USB – 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 OTG …

Innodisk shows off M2DOM’s at Computex 2016

DOM’s or Disks on Module are quite popular with embedded system makers, but they’ve traditionally used slow interfaces like PATA or USB 2.0, with some more recent models using SATA or USB 3.0. At Computex, Innodisk was showing off an entirely new entry which should hopefully become the new standards for motherboard DOM’s. By using a horizontally mounted M.2 connector (B keyed) with a screw hole on each side, Innodisk has created a compact connector for DOM’s that build on industry standards. The great news here is that the same connector can be used for USB 3.0, SATA and even PCI Express based DOM’s. Innodisk does of course offer a full range of compatible products, starting with the M2DOM U30 featuring a USB 3.0 interface. This is the “slowest” product in the range with speeds of up to 100MB/s and available in capacities from 8-64GB. Next up is the M2DOM S20 and S30, both featuring SATA interface. The S20 is …

Biostar launches the Racing P1 mini PC Powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Processor at Computex

Biostar is a long time maker of mini-ITX boards for industrial and embedded applications, but at Computex this year they revealed a new mini PC for consumers, which they claim is the world’s smallest. At 129 x 82 x 29.6mm the Racing P1 is small, but we’re not sure it’s the world’s smallest. Spec wise you’re looking at: SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (up to 1.92GHz) System Memory –  4GB onboard DDR3 Storage –64GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card slot Video Output – HDMI Audio –HDMI and 3.5mm combo jack Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 USB – 1x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0 ports Power Supply – 5V/4A The Racing P1 also has an RGB LED hiding behind the logo on the top of the unit and apparently this has some kind of user control via software. It might not be the most exciting mini PC out there, but it’s one of the first available with …

ECS previews Intel Apollo Lake based Liva-Z mini PC at Computex 2016

If anything is clear from having walked around this year’s Computex, then it is that the mini PC is here to stay. Beyond plenty of socketed boards using Intel’s new STX form factor from just about every vendor, there are also plenty of other mini PC’s on display. One that caught our eye at the show was ECS’ new Liva, tentatively named the Z. The following specifications were revealed by ECS: SoC – Intel Apollo Lake System Memory –  2x DDR3L SO-DIMM’s Storage – 32GB/64GB eMMC flash + 1x M.2 2280 for SSD (unclear if it supports PCIe drives) Video Output – Mini DisplayPort, HDMI (no revisions mentioned) Audio – DisplayPort, HDMI and 3.5mm headphone jack Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 USB – 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 3x USB 3.0 ports Power Supply – 19V/2.1A It’s so far the only Intel Apollo Lake system we’ve spotted at the show and it looks like we’ll get …