The first single-board computers supporting Intel's upcoming Tiger Lake CPUs will launch soon
Single-board computers (SBCs) are a relatively new breed of mini PCs that were originally designed for industrial applications. However, due to the rising interest for home IoT or HTPC devices, SBCs are now starting to become more readily available for mainstream consumers. We have not heard much about any Tiger Lake mini PCs apart from Intel’s own NUCs, but it looks like some SBC makers including Aaeon, Kontron and Advantech are ready to launch boards that support the new 10 nm Tiger Lake Celeron 6000-series and Core SKUs up to the i7 models with 15 - 28 W TDPs expected to become available this September.
The models in question are the Aaeon GENE-TGU6, Kontron 3.5”-SBC-TGL (both with a 3.5-inch form factor), plus the smaller 2.5-inch Advantech MIO-2375. Even though these boards are quite small, they still offer plenty of features and connectors, but capacities may differ. For example, as far as RAM in concerned, the Aaeon board can accommodate up to 64 GB of DDR4 via 2x SO-DIMM slots, while the Kontron only offers support for up to 32 GB, and the Advantech board is limited to 32 GB of LPDDR4x-4266 due to the reduced size.
When it comes to storage, the Kontron board offers a SATA III interface and three different M.2 slots. Advantech only includes M.2 2280 Key-M and Key-E slots, whereas Aaeon offers the complete package with SATA III connector, full-size mSATA/mPCIe and two M.2 Key slots.
Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs will be the first to feature the new iGPUs with the Xe architecture. These chips are rumored to be on par, if not a bit faster than the Vega 8 iGPUs in AMD’s Renoir laptop APUs, so they can easily handle 4x 4K connections. Again, due to its smaller size, the Advantech board only offers two video outputs: one DisplayPort connector and an embedded DisplayPort / MIPI-DSI interface. Kontron goes all in with three Display Port outputs, an eDP plus an LVDS connector, while the Aaeon board is the only one to offer two HDMI 2.0 outputs combined with two DisplayPort 1,4 connectors and an LVDS/eDP port.
Last but not least, all three boards come with dual GbE jacks and offer a decent array of USB connectors. The Kontron board comes with 2x USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0 ports, plus enough headers for 4x additional USB 2.0 connectors and two RS-232/422/485 ports. The Aaeon board is the most advanced of the three, integrating 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports and four RS ports, while the Advantech is presumably limited to fewer USB 3.1 Gen 2 and RS ports.
No word on pricing for now, and also note that these models will only be available in the SEA region at launch.