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MinnowBoard Turbot jumps to quad-core Atom E3845

Sep 7, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 928 views

ADI has opened pre-orders on a $190, open-spec “MinnowBoard Turbo Quad” SBC that advances to a 1.91GHz, 10W TDP quad-core Atom E3845.

In late June, ADI Engineering, which built the latest MinnowBoard Turbot version of the MinnowBoard single-board computer for the community, announced an unpriced MinnowBoard Turbot Dual-E SBC. The Dual-E, which was scheduled to ship later this month, offers a quad-core Atom E3845 option in addition to the standard dual-core E3826.

Now, ADI has now opened $190 pre-orders on a simpler, quad-core E3845 only board called the MinnowBoard Turbot Quad, with shipments due in December.

MinnowBoard Turbot Quad (left) compared to the original, renamed MinnowBoard Turbot Dual
(click images to enlarge)

The Quad is almost identical to the original Turbot — now called the Turbo Dual — which is available at Netgate for $136. The major change here is the quad-core Atom E3845, which ADI claims is 2.6 times faster than the dual-core E3826 on the Dual. The Turbot Quad has the same 99 x 74mm footprint and an almost identical layout. By comparison, the upcoming Dual-E, which has yet to be priced, measures 103 x 99mm in order to add an M.2 slot and a second GbE port.

To keep the hotter quad-core Atom happy, the Turbot Quad adds a heatsink and fan. ADI is also claiming improved Gigabit Ethernet performance by moving from a Realtek GbE controller to an Intel I210.

The MinnowBoard Turbot Quad ships with 2GB DDR3L-1067 RAM, and offers microSD and SATA storage. There are USB 3.0 and 2.0 host ports, as well as a micro-HDMI port and an optional case.

MinnowBoard Turbot case, front (left) and rear views
(click images to enlarge)

Like other MinnowBoards, the 5V board offers 26-pin low-speed and 60-in high speed expansion connectors compatible with previous “Lure” expansion boards. ADI makes no mention of the previously available RTC and reset button.

The Turbot Quad is designed for digital signage, thin clients, industrial automation endpoints, or even as a device acting as an open source Kubernetes controller for managing container applications, says ADI. The company links to this slide deck [PDF] showing three standard MinnowBoard Turbots in a Kubernetes controller demo cluster using Tin Can Tools’s Silverjaw Lures. One of ten Lures now supported by the open source community, the Silverjaw integrates both an mPCIe and mSATA slot via the MinnowBoard high speed connector.

MinnowBoard Kubernetes demo cluster (left) and the Silverjaw Lure
(click images to enlarge)

Intel-backed has expanded its software support for its fully open source MinnowBoards since last year’s arrival of the Turbo Dual. The Turbo Quad now supports Google’s Android-based Brillo and Windows 8.1 in addition to its earlier Ubuntu, Yocto, Android, and Windows 10 support.

Other Atom-powered hacker boards include Jaguar Electronic HK’s $79 JaguarBoard and Aaeon’s soon-to-ship $89 (and up) UP board, which were both successfully funded by means of Kickstarter campaigns. Both boards are built around quad-core Atom processors: the 1.33GHz (1.83GHz burst) “Bay Trail” Atom Z3735G on the JaguarBoard, and the 1.44GHz (1.84GHz burst) “Cherry Trail” Atom x5-Z8300 on the UP board.

Specifications for the MinnowBoard Turbot Quad include:

  • Processor — Atom E3845 (Bay Trail-I) with 4x cores @ 1.91GHz; Intel HD Graphics; 10W TDP
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L-1067; 8MB SPI boot flash for TianoCore UEFI, Coreboot, SeaBIOS
  • Storage/wireless:
    • MicroSD slot
    • SATA II (3Gbps)
  • Display – micro-HDMI port
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port (Intel I210)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Serial console via FTDI cable
  • Expansion connectors (Lure compatible):
    • 26-pin low-speed connector (LSE) — SPI, I2C, I2S audio, 2x UART (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (2x supporting PWM), +5V, GND
    • 60-pin high-speed connector (HSE) — 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 lane, 1x SATA 3Gbps, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, GND
  • Operating temperature — TBD
  • Power — 5VDC input via coaxial jack (threaded locking connector); 5VDC output via 2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 99 x 74mm (3.9 x 2.9 in.)
  • Operating system – Debian GNU/Linux; Ubuntu; Yocto Project; Android 4.4; Brillo; Windows 8.1/10

Further information

The MinnowBoard Turbot Quad is available for pre-order for $190 at Netgate, with shipments due in December. More information should eventually appear on’s MinnowBoard Turbot product page.

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