Gone are the days when box-level embedded computers, also known as Embedded PCs, were strictly custom-built offerings. Today, several vendors offer extensive product lines of embedded PCs of all sizes and configurations, and for diverse applications including industrial system monitoring, energy system control and more.
For many years, the mid- to high-end of embedded computing revolved around single-board computers (SBCs). But a decade or so ago, a new class of computing solution emerged—the notion of an enclosed, integrated computing system to which system integrators could link their interfaces. Many such systems used to be common as custom-built units, but vendors shifted to offering them as off-the-shelf products. These systems are called a number of names including industrial PCs, rugged stand-alone box systems and embedded PCs. These systems are attractive to system developers that want a high-level of integration to start with—so that don’t have to deal with making different SBCs and I/O boards work together, for example.
Attempting to keep this Datasheet roundup focused was a challenge because box-level embedded computing has grown into a broad category of products. With that in mind, the representative products included in this article’s product gallery is restricted to embedded PCs in the literal sense of systems with PC-architecture computing (Intel or AMD processing) and Windows OS support. The gallery also excludes box-level systems that are marketed as application-specific systems—aimed at vehicles, digital signage, railway systems, vision system and so forth. It gets murky because many of the systems in this article can and are used in transportation, for example, so there is that kind of overlap.
An example of an embedded PC application is a system developed by Fleximaus that allows bats and wind turbines to coexist (Figure 1). The Fleximaus solution is based on intelligent software that is able to evaluate the environmental conditions detected by rain and temperature sensors and use this data to effectively control the wind farms in order to drastically reduce the dangers for hunting bats. An essential technical component of the solution is an industrial PC with integrated soft PLC. For the embedded PC, Fleximaus chose the KBox A-150-APL from Kontron. According to Fleximaus, the KBox A-150-APL was selected because of its fanless, rugged design, which guarantees an extended service life and high system availability. Other factors in the selection included KBox’s compact design, its wide range of interfaces and its expansion options. The KBox A-150-APL embeds an Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 processor.
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • OCTOBER 2020 #363 – Get a PDF of the issue
Fanless System Embeds 8th
Gen Coffee Lake
The BOXER-6641 from Aaeon offers a range of processors from the 8th Generation Intel Core and Xeon processor family (formerly Coffee Lake), from Celeron G4900T and Pentium G5400T up to Xeon E-2124G (up to 71W). The system provides up to 32GB of ECC or non-ECC DDR4 2666MHz RAM and support for two hard drives.
• i3/i5/i7/i9 processor for A1 model (max. TDP up to 65W)
• … or i3/i5/i7/i9/Xeon processor for A2 model (max. TDP up to 71W)
• DDR4 ECC or Non-ECC SODIMM, Up to 64GB
• Intel GbE LAN x 4 (i211 x3 + i219 x1)
• Intel AMT (A2model)
• HDMI x 2 dual display
• USB 3.2 gen 1 x 8 (A2 model)
• BIOS selectable RS-232/422/485 x6
• Wide range DC 10V to 35V input
System Blends CPU and GPU Computing
ADLINK Technology's Matrix series MVP-5100-MXM is an integrated fanless embedded computer featuring Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors and embedded GPU for industrial AI applications. The system includes a comprehensive I/O set to collect sensor measurements and allow data-driven actions to be taken in a timely manner.
• 9th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3 LGA processor
• Dual SODIMMs sockets for up to 32GB DDR4
• Up to 4x additional DP 1.4 from MXM, 2x DP++, DVI, VGA, 3x GbE,
3x COM, TPM2.0
• 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 3x USB 2.0
• 2x 2.5" SATA, M.2 2280
• Front accessible I/O and adaptive Function Module 2.0 options
• Slots for Mini PCIe, M.2 3042,
• Embedded GP/GPU computing options built-in
Embedded Computer Features 1U Height
EPC-T4286 from Advantech is an embedded computer designed for self-service applications. As the newest member of Advantech’s EPC-T series, this embedded computer features a highly-functional small 1U-high form-factor design. Powered by a 9th Gen. Intel CPU platform, EPC-T4286 combines high computing performance with diverse I/O ports, making it well suited for applications in self-service kiosk terminals.
• Intel Core i CPU
• Thin compact design with 44.2mm in height
• Thin barebones system with multi-IO ports
• Suited for environments with DC-in design
• Easy and installation for additional peripherals
• 6x COM ports, 6x USB ports,
3x LAN ports,
• 1x 2.5" shock-resistant drive bay
• Wall/VESA/Rack mounting kits
Apollo Lake Fanless Box Targets Industrial IoT
LYNX-6110 from American Portwell Technology is a compact, fanless and cable-less PC adapting a low power Intel Apollo Lake processor. Developed to meet heavy industrial standards, the rugged design enables it to work in harsh environment. Providing basic I/O interfaces in a palm-sized box, the system is suitable for industrial automation, smart factory, edge computing and IIoT gateway applications.
• Intel Celeron N3350, 2 cores, 1.1GHz/2.4GHz, 6W TDP
• 4GB onboard LPDDR4, 2400 MT/s, non-ECC; up to 8GB (optional)
• 32GB onboard eMMC 5.0 flash;
up to 256GB (optional)
• Expansion 1x M.2 Key E 2230 for wireless module
• Display 1x DP v1.4 4096 × 2160 at 60Hz
• USB 2x USB 3.0
• Ethernet 2x 10/100/1000 GbE
• Power input 12-30VDC (+/- 20%)
• Operation temperature 0°C to 50°C
Coffee Lake System Offers
Flexible I/O Design
Axiomtek's eBOX640-521-FL is powered by the 9th/8th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 and Celeron processor with the Intel H310 chipset (Coffee Lake). This embedded system features a wide choice of front-accessible I/O interfaces for easy cabling and maintenance. It also has a flexible I/O window for ease of customization for versatile applications and customer requests.
• LGA1151 socket 9th/8th gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3
• … and Celeron processor (Coffee Lake)
• Supports 2x COM, 6x USB and 8 channels of digital I/O
• Two 2.5" SATA drive bay
• M.2 Key E 2230 for Wi-Fi
• Front I/O connectivity design
• 12/19 to 24 VDC power input via DC-Jack
• Flexible I/O window supported
Fanless Box Sports AMD Ryzen V1000/R1000s
The ASB200-918 series from Ibase Technology is based on the IB918 3.5" form factor SBC supporting AMD Ryzen SoCs (V1605B/V1202B/R1606G/R1505G). The fanless ASB200-918 runs two simultaneous HDMI 2.0a displays at Ultra HD 4K resolution (3840 × 2160) with a frame rate of 60 fps. Measuring 240mm × 162mm × 42mm, it is equipped with rugged components.
• AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000 on board
• 2x DDR4 SO-DIMM, Max. 32GB, supports ECC
• Supports 2x M.2 sockets (E-Key/ M-Key, NVMe)
• 2x HDMI (2.0a), 2x Intel Gbit LAN
• 4x COM ports, external GPIO
• 4x USB3.1, 1x USB2.0
• 12V (-10%) to 24V (+10%) DC-in
• Operating temperature 0°C to 45°C
Embedded PC Serves Up
9th Gen Core Processors
Kontron's KBox B-202-CFL offers high performance with maximum expandability and low noise level (maximum 34 dB(A)). The embedded Box-PC with Intel Core 9th generation processors, with up to eight processor cores, provides a performance boost with constant power dissipation. This enables the KBox B-202-CFL to handled computationally complex processes and large amounts of data.
• Up to 9th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3
• Raid functionality with up to 4 storage devices
• 2x PCIe expansion slots for graphics or network cards
• Low noise design
• Removable 2.5" SSD
• EN55032 Class B certified
• Operating temperature 0°C to 45°C
• Size: 190mm × 120mm × 190 mm
Apollo Lake Industrial PC is LTE Certified
Lanner's LEC-7242 is an industrial environment gateway IPC driven by Intel Apollo Lake CPU, is CE, FCC and PTCRB certified for LTE or Wi-Fi. It is designed for IoT/IIoT edge, wireless security and multi-site management solution deployment in commercial, enterprise and public sector applications. Power consumption ranges between 5.4W to 13.5W.
• Intel Apollo Lake CPU
• FCC/CE/PTCRB certification for LTE or Wi-Fi
• 2x GbE RJ45, 1x RS232/422/485 COM port
• 2x USB 3.0, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
• 1x M.2 3042 B+M Key socket with dual SIM
• 1x Mini-PCIe socket with dual SIM
• Onboard LPDDR4, max 8GB and onboard 64GB eMMC
• TPM support
Comet Lake System Targets
The Helix 500 from OnLogic brings desktop processing performance into a fanless, silent mini-PC. Powered by Intel Comet Lake Core processing, Helix 500 can accommodate up to 64GB of RAM, has room for dual SSDs (including NVMe options) and features available VPU accelerators, including Intel Movidius and Google Coral.
• Intel Comet Lake Core i3/i5/i7/i9 processors
• Intel Q470 chipset; Intel UHD Graphics 630
• Up to 64GB DDR4 SO-DIMM (non-ECC)
• 6x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports,
2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
• 2x Gbit LAN ports, 3x DisplayPorts
• 1x 12V to 24V, 4-pin DC jack
• 2x M.2 2280 slots (NVME PCIe x1/SATA)
• Operating temperature: 0 to 50°C
• Size: 154mm x 50.8mm x 210 mm
Helix 500 datasheet
Fanless Computers Blend GPU and Intel Gen 10 CPU
Sintrones' ABOX-5210G Edge AI GPU Computing is powered by Intel Gen 10th 10 Cores Xeon, i9 CPU with 10x GbE with Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU. It can provide high computing performance on graphic processing by harnessing the power of its GPU. The fanless box computers feature dual hot swappable SATA storage RAID 0,1,5.
• Intel Gen 10 Cores Xeon W-1290TE/ i9-10900TE
• Nvidia GeForce up to GTX 1660 GPU
• Supports 1408 CUDA Cores
• 8x GPI, 4x GPO and 3x RS-232/422/485
• 1x M.2 B key, 1x M.2 A-E key
• 2x Mini PCIe expansion slots
• Dual hot swappable SATA storage RAID 0,1,5
• Operating temperature.: -40°C to 70°C
• 10x Gbit Ethernet RJ45
Industrial PC Boasts
Six Gbit Ethernet LANs
The PL-50030 from WIN Enterprises is a fanless, high-performance networking system based on the Intel 7th Gen Core Processor. With six Gbit Ethernet LANs and 4x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports, it is well suited for small call centers that demand quiet, but high performance. Network expansion is through PCIe interface modules, M.2 and Mini PCIe technology.
• Intel 7th gen Core processor
• DDR4 SODIMM up to 32GB
• Support for three independent displays
• Rugged and fanless embedded system
• 4x PoE + 2x LAN, 5x COM, 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x M.2x NVMe slots, 16-bit DIO
• 1x PCIe X16 or 1x PCI, 2x Mini PCIe
• Quiet fanless operation
• Wi-Fi antenna
Embedded Box PC Offers
Wide Temp Range
WINSYSTEMS’ SYS-ITX-N-3900 is an industrial embedded computer based on the Intel Atom E3900 Apollo Lake processor family. It uses less than 12W for fanless applications and performs reliably in industrial operating temperatures ranging from -20º to +60ºC. It includes a SODIMM socket supporting up to 8GB of DDR3 system memory and internal mounting support for one 2.5" SATA HDD/SSD.
• Intel Apollo Lake E3950/E3940 processor
• 2x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports
• DisplayPort and VGA outputs for dual displays
• Up to 8GB DDR3-LV RAM
• 2x USB 3.0, 1x serial port, audio output
• 1x MiniPCIe Socket with mSATA support
• 1x M.2 Socket, with E key, type 2230
• 1x SATA 3.0 ports and 1x Micro SD for storage
• Operating temperature: -20°C to +60°C
Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.