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3.5-inch SBC features Intel Skylake CPUs, dual GbE, dual mini-PCIe

Sep 2, 2016 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 1,151 views

Aaeon’s 3.5-inch form-factor “GENE-SKU6” SBC taps Intel’s 6th Gen Skylake-U SoCs, and offers Intel HD Graphics, dual GbE ports, and dual mini-PCIe sockets.

Aaeon has added a Skylake-powered board to its growing line of 3.5-inch style single board computers: the GENE-SKU6, built around the 6th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3 “Skylake-U” processors, clocked at up to 2.4GHz (3.0GHz Turbo) and featuring 15W TDPs. Aaeon’s 3.5-inch SBC family now spans more than a dozen boards, ranging from the GENE-5315 based on the geriatric AMD Geode LX, to models based on multiple generations of Intel processors ranging from Cedarview-based GENE-CV05 to the Braswell-based GENE-BSW5 released in mid-2015.

Two views of the Aaeon GENE-SKU6 3.5-inch SBC
(click images to enlarge)

Although the GENE-SKU6’s datasheet shows just one board version — equipped with an Intel Core i5-6300U as its processor — the product page and block diagram both indicate that the full range of 6th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3 Skylake-U processors can be supported. The SBC can accommodate up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM in its single SODIMM slot.

GENE-SKU6 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Interfaces available on the board’s coastline include a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 3.0 ports, and a DVI port. Other I/O available on internal connectors includes a SATA 3.0 storage interface, an 18/24-bit dual-channel LVDS interface, a resistive touch interface, and four serial ports.

GENE-SKU6 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The GENE-SKU6 offers three expansion options. A full-sized mini-PCIe socket implements both PCIe and USB signals for use with a wide range of mini-PCIe cards, and a half-sized socket with PCIe, USB, and SATA signals supports either mini-PCIe or mSATA plug-in cards. Additionally, the board has a header for piggybacking Aaeon’s unique “BIO” I/O expansion boards on top of the SBC, as illustrated below.

GENE-SKU6’s expansion via BIO options (left) and heat dissipation

To aid in heat dissipation, Aaeon has positioned the GENE-SKU6’s Intel processor on the solder side of the SBC, and offers a large heat-spreader for thermally transferring heat to the system enclosure or other heat-dissipation components. The board runs from a wide, 9 to 36-Volts DC input power source.

Other 3.5-inch SBCs based on Intel’s Skylake processors that we’ve covered include Commell’s LE-37G and Avalue’s ECM-SKLH.

The following specifications are listed by Aaeon for the GENE-SKU6:

  • Processor — Intel Core i7/i5/i3 “Skylake-U” SoCs (15W TDP); dual-core, quad-thread Core i5-6300U (2.4GHz/3.0GHz turbo) is the default configuration
  • Memory — 1x SODIMM socket, for up to 16GB DDR4 1866/2133
  • Storage:
    • 1x SATA 3.0 interface
    • 1x mSATA (via half-size mini-PCIe socket)
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports with EtherCAT and PoE support
  • Display:
    • DVI-I
    • 18/24-bit dual-channel LVDS
    • DP or VGA (default is DP)
  • Audio I/O — Intel HD Audio
  • Other I/O:
    • USB — 4x USB 3.0; 2x USB 2.0
    • Serial — 1x RS-232; 3x RS-232/422/485
    • 8x digital I/O
    • Resistive touchscreen controller
  • 2x mini-PCIe sockets:
    • 1x full-size (PCIe/USB)
    • 1x half-size (PCIe/USB/SATA); supports mSATA
  • Aaeon BIO add-on module interface — 2x PCIe, 1x USB 3.0, SMbus, LPC, audio line out
  • Other features — watchdog; SIM support; TPM (optional); LCD backlight supply
  • Power — 9 to 36V DC input; supports AT/ATX supplies
  • Dimensions — 146 x 102mm (3.5-inch form factor)
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C

Although Aaeon does not list operating system support for the GENE-SKU6, the company generally supports its board-level products with both Linux and Windows — for example, Yocto Project-based Linux, Windows 7/8.1/10, and VxWorks on the GENE-BSW5. Given the chipsets on the GENE-SKU6, it’s reasonable to assume that current distributions of these OSes will be supported.

Further information

The GENE-SKU6 appears to be shipping now, at an unlisted price. Additional details are available at Aaeon’s GENE-SKU6 product page.

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One response to “3.5-inch SBC features Intel Skylake CPUs, dual GbE, dual mini-PCIe”

  1. PD says:

    Seems odd to not offer HDMI.

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