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Compact embedded PC runs Linux on Bay Trail

Apr 28, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,641 views

Aaeon’s ruggedized, 158 x 95 x 20mm “Boxer-6403” PC offers Celeron or Atom SoCs, plus four USB ports and double helpings of GbE, serial, and mini-PCIe I/O.

Aaeon managed to create its smallest Boxer computer yet, and “one of the most compact embedded box PCs on the market,” at just 158 x 95 x 20mm, by replacing the traditional heatsink in favor of a full aluminum die-cast enclosure for cooling, says the company. The fanless, Linux-ready Boxer-6403 is “ideal for applications in confined spaces, such as on production lines or at the back of digital signage monitors or video walls,” says Aaeon.

Boxer-6403, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

According to Aaeon, the Boxer-6403 won a 23rd Taiwan Excellence Award. We don’t see it on the awards website or Aaeon’s own press release on the awards. However, both sources show that Aaeon did win six awards in the industrial computing category, including one for an AEC-6403 computer that appears to be a similar, but stripped down version of the Boxer-6403.


Aaeon often releases similar, or even identical embedded computers under both the Boxer and AEC labels, such as the Boxer-6614, which is identical to an AEC-6613 model. The AEC-6403, which appears to furnish half the external ports of the Boxer-6403, updates the earlier, Intel Atom N2600 based AEC-6401. This similarly styled computer is even smaller, at 125 x 77 x 20mm, so while the Boxer-6403 may be the smallest Boxer yet, it’s possible the AEC-6403 is not the smallest AEC model to date. We await more details from Aaeon.

Like the larger, more feature rich Boxer-6614, the Boxer-6403 offers extended temperature support (-20 to 40°C without airflow). It also similarly provides ruggedization features, although at a lower level (see details below).

Also like the Boxer-6614, the Boxer-6403 is designed to run Linux or Windows on Intel Celeron processors of the 22nm Bay Trail generation. In addition to two quad-core Celerons that are available with up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, you can choose one dual-core Celeron or one dual-core Intel Atom E3825, each with up to 4GB of RAM.

Aaeon touts the Boxer-6403 for offering two features that are uncommon on tiny embedded PCs: dual RS232/422/485 ports, as well as six DIO connections. The computer also features dual gigabit Ethernet ports, an HDMI port, and internal single-channel LVDS.

Boxer-6403 detail views, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Four external USB ports are available, including one USB 3.0 port. A half-size mini-PCIe slot offers another storage option by providing mSATA support, and a full-size mini-PCIe slot supports a SIM slot for wireless options.

Specifications listed for the Boxer-6403 include:

  • Processor — Intel Celeron or Atom (Bay Trail) with Intel HD Graphics:
    • Celeron J1900 (4x cores @ 2.42GHz), 10W TDP
    • Celeron N2930 (4x cores @ 2.00GHz), 7.5W TDP
    • Celeron N2807 (2x cores @ 1.58GHz, 5W TDP
    • Atom E3825 (2x cores @ 1.33GHz), 6W TDP
  • Memory — up to 4GB (with N2807 or E3825) or 8GB (J1900 or N2930) DDR3L 1333MHz via 1x SODIMM
  • Storage — mSATA (via mini-PCIe)
  • Display — HDMI port; LVDS interface (18/24-bit single-channel)
  • Wireless — Optional wireless module via mini-PCIe; 2x antenna holes; SIM card slot (via mini-PCIe)
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB 2.0 ports
    • USB 3.0 port
    • USB 2.0 header
    • 2x RS232/422/485 ports
    • 6x DIO (4x in, 2x out) supporting dry or wet contact
    • LPC interface
  • Expansion — Full-size mini-PCIe slot with SIM card support; half-size mini-PCIe slot with mSATA support
  • Other features — VESA wall and DIN-rail mounting; power button; 5-year availability; optional anti-heat kit
  • Power — 12V DC input with lockable jack; ATX mode
  • Ruggedization:
    • Operating temperature — -20 to 55°C or -20 to 40°C (without airflow)
    • Vibration resistance — 3Grms, 5-500Hz
    • Shock resistance — 20G (11ms)
  • Weight — 2 k (4.4 lb)
  • Dimensions — 158 x 95 x 20mm (6.22 x 3.75 x 0.79 in.)
  • Operating system — Linux (Fedora with Linux 2.63); Windows 7/8.1; WES7/8.1

Further information

The Boxer-6403 appears to be available now, at an unstated price. More information may be found at the Boxer-6403 product page.

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