About two years after releasing a single-board computer with a low-power Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core Apollo Lake processor, Gigabyte is adding a new model to the lineup.
The new Gigabyte SBCAP3940 is still a small computer board that measures just 5.7″ a 4″ and which features an Apollo Lake CPU. But the new model has a higher-power 9.5 watt Intel Atom x5-E3940 quad-core processor.
I’m calling this a single-board computer because it’s basically a motherboard with an integrated processor. But unlike a Raspberry Pi or some other single-board PCs, this model doesn’t have any RAM soldered to the board. Instead there’s a single SODIMM slot which you can use to add up to 8GB of DDR3L-1866 memory.
There are also two mini PCIe slots that you can use to add solid state drives and/or a WiFi card, and two SATA III connectors as well as two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, an audio jack, and HDMI and VGA ports.
There’s an integrated heat spreader on one side of the board, and Gigabyte says the SBCAP3940 board is compatible with a fanless chassis like the 24EC5-1SB10A-01R.
I haven’t seen any pricing or availability details for Gigabyte’s new SBC yet.
via Fanless Tech
This is NOT an SBC because it does not have built-in RAM. If it has an expandable RAM alot then it is a motherboard. An SBC means that it can be fired up with an OS without having to add any additional core components to boot. You can’t boot this board without memory.
By that definition a Raspberry Pi didn’t count because it requires an SD card for storage. I’m not saying your wrong, so much as I think we’ve gotten used to stretching the definition a little bit.
I think the definition of SBC these days means more than just “everything is contained on a single board”. It more has to do with the size and purpose. I think if your board is smaller than a Mini ITX, and it has a GPIO header, it can be called an SBC without much argument.
I’m not holding out hope that this one will be any different from the last – essentially unavailable to individual buyers. I contacted Gigabyte regarding the availability of their previous SBC, I forget the model name at this point, and was told that it’s not available outside OEM system builders with something like a 1000 minimum order quantity.
It’s a shame, because these would be so perfect for so many uses. I’d love to replace my aging NAS with one of these, running a pair of 12TB mirrored spinning drives and a small SSD system drive in one of the PCIE slots.
Why not build into an ITX form factor system? The only reason to get one of these SBC systems is for their specific size. These are actually pretty bad for the NAS role. Lack of onboard SATA power leads and DC power brick will limit what peripherals you hang off it.
“The only reason to get one of these SBC systems is for their specific size”
Exactly… for the specific size. I don’t want an ITX form factor system. As for SATA power, there’s a connector on board (to the right of the SATA data connectors in the photo) and the solder pads for a second connector to the left. It’s a shame they didn’t populate it with a connector, but it wouldn’t be difficult to do yourself.
Regardless, my point is that it’s a shame a company goes through the time and cost of developing a product like this, but then refuses to sell it outside large OEMs especially at a time when DIY and general hardware hacking is making a resurgence. Capabilities like this in a form factor like this is ideal for a wide range of uses… and Gigabyte is missing out on that because they simply can’t be bothered releasing this board to the same retail channels as their other boards. Just very short sighted.
I’m willing to bet that these are for OEM builders only because of the fact that the CPU is mounted on the bottom of the PCB. That means there are no “out of the box” cooling solutions available. You will need to engineer a case with an integrated cooler, and a mounting surface to interface the CPU with thermal paste.
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