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“Thin Mini-ITX” Skylake board has 20mm profile

Aug 24, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 2,255 views

Advantech’s Linux-ready “AIMB-285” Mini-ITX board offers 6th Gen Core CPUs, a 20mm profile, mini-PCIe and PCIe, plus an optional enclosure.

Advantech calls the 20mm-high AIMB-285 the first “thin Mini-ITX” board to run 6th Generation Intel Core “Skylake” processors. Intel released a “Thin Mini-ITX” spec back in 2011, with 25mm specified as the maximum board thickness including the “I/O Shield” area. Since then, we’ve only seen two other Mini-ITX boards claim a thinner, 20mm maximum thickness: Congatec’s similarly Skylake-based Conga-IC170 and Adlink’s Braswell-based AmITX-BW-I.

Advantech says its board can fit into a 1U chassis. To prove its point, the SBC is available in an optional “EPC-T2000” enclosure with a 44.2mm height (see farther below).

AIMB-285, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The AIMB-285 is “the perfect choice for integration in panel PCs and digital signage systems,” says Advantech. Despite the signage focus, however, only dual simultaneous independent displays are supported compared to the triple displays provided by many Skylake Mini-ITX boards. As with most other Skylake boards, however, it supports 4K2K video.

AIMB-285 rear-panel I/O
(click image to enlarge)

The AIMB-285 follows an earlier, full-height Advantech Skylake Mini-ITX board: the AIMB-275, announced last October. The boards are considerably different, however. The AIMB-285 has an Intel H110 PCH chipset instead of the Q170. It supports a wider variety of quad- and dual-core Skylake-S processors, as well as related, dual-core Pentium and Celeron models. The options range from an up to 4GHz, quad-core Core i7-6700 with 65W TDP down to an 2.4GHz-max Pentium G4400TE with 35W TDP.

Using most of these processors, you can load up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4-2133MHz RAM on the AIMB-285. There are slightly fewer interfaces than on the AIMB-275. You get three SATA 3.0 slots, for example, but no M.2 port. There are also two fewer USB 3.0 ports — you get four 3.0 ports on the coastline and four 2.0 ports inside.

Other rear-panel ports include dual GbE ports, audio I/O, and DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 ports. Onboard you will also find VGA and LVDS interfaces, as well as RS-232, RS-232/422/485, and 8-bit GPIO.

AIMB-285 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

For expansion, you get full- and half-sized mini-PCIe slots with mSATA and SIM card support, respectively. There’s also a PCIe x4 Gen 3 slot. The 170 x 170 x 20mm system is further equipped with a 12V DC input, a watchdog, optional TPM, and standard 0 to 60°C temperature support. The board is claimed to idle at 8.52W consumption with the top-of-the-line Core i7-6700 clocked at 3.4GHz with 32GB DDR4 RAM.

OS support on the AIMB-285 includes Linux, WES7, and QNX. The board is compatible with Advantech’s SusiAccess monitoring software, and is bundled with Advantech’s cloud-based WISE-PaaS/RMM IoT remote monitoring platform. The AIMB-285 is said to be compliant with ESD Level 4 protection, “which is perfect for medical application requirements and electrical signal measurement devices.”

EPC-T2000 Chassis

The AIMB-285 is also available in a 1U-height EPC-T2000 “thin barebone system” measuring 250 x 225 x 44.2mm (9.84 x 8.85 x 1.74-inch) and weighing 3.68 k. The industrial enclosure is available with one of two AIMB-285 models: an AIMB-285G2-00A1E with a quad-core, up to 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-6500TE with 35W TDP and an AIMB-285G2-00A1E with a dual-core, up to 2.8GHz Celeron G3900 with a 51W TDP. The latter supports only half the RAM, at 16GB, but has a wider temperature range of 0 to 50°C instead of 0 to 40°C. It is unclear if you can order the chassis with other AIMB-285 Skylake options.

EPC-T2000 front (left) and rear-panel I/O
(click images to enlarge)

All of the AIMB-285’s rear-panel coastline ports are exposed, and the device expresses other onboard I/O on the front side. This includes four USB 2.0 ports, two more audio jacks, and dual antenna mounts. There are also three RS-232/422/485 ports, one with 5V/12V operation.

The EPC-T2000 features a fan, a locking DC power jack, and a shock-resistant, 2.5-inch SATA drive bay. The system offers vibration resistance of 1 Grms (with HDD) or 3Grms (SSD). Other features include LEDs, power and reset buttons, and optional mounting kits.

Further information

The AIMB-285 is available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found at Advantech’s AIMB-285 product page. The EPC-T2000 also appears to be available. More information may be found at the EPC-T2000 page.

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