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Automation computers run Linux

Jul 16, 2008 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Axiomtek has announced two aluminum-cased embedded computers targeting automation, kiosk, digital signage, and vehicle applications. The Linux-compatible eBOX832-831 and eBOX832-840 offer dual gigabit Ethernet ports, six USB ports, four COM ports, and two IEEE 1394a ports, according to the company.

(Click here for a larger view of Axiomtek's eBOX832-8xx)

The eBOX832-831 and eBOX832-840 are externally identical, sharing the same 11.81 x 8.27 x 4.11 inch aluminum case. Their front panel layout (above) and rear panel layout (below) is also the same, providing an identical complement of ports. Both accept Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and both provide room for 2.5-inch hard disk drives.


Axiomtek's eBOX832-8xx computers have dual gigabit Ethernet and IEEE 1394a ports

So what's the difference? By a slight margin, the eBOX832-840 is the higher-performance product. Designed to accept Socket P processors, it offers a 533MHz, 667MHz, or 800MHz FSB (frontside bus). The eBOX832-831, on the other hand, is designed to accept Socket M processors — not only Core 2 Duo, but also Core Duo or Core Solo. And, Socket M offers only 533MHz or 667MHz FSBs.

eBOX832-831

Both devices are based on Mini-ITX motherboards previously introduced by Axiomtek. For example, the eBOX832-831 employs the SBC86831 introduced last year.


Axiomtek's SBC86831 motherboard

Pictured above, the SBC86831 is based on Intel's 945GM+ICH7M chipset. Its pair of DIMM sockets supports up to 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM. The board's video subsystem shares up to 224MB of system RAM, supports resolutions of up to 2048 x 1536 on CRTs, and offers 1900 x 1200 resolution on LVDS LCDs.

For the SBC86831, Axiomtek cited expansion interfaces including both a PCI Express x 16 expansion slot, and a 32-bit/33MHz PCI slot that accepts two cards via a riser card arrangement. On its eBOX832-831 spec sheet, however, 32-bit PCI is not listed, suggesting that the computer's case prevents accessing this motherboard feature. Additionally, two of the SBC86831's eight USB 2.0 ports are provided via box headers, and accordingly not specified as being available on the eBOX832-831.

Other functionality on the SBC86831 is faithfully carried over to the eBOX832-831, however. This include dual gigabit Ethernet ports, four COM ports, two IEEE 1394a ports, plus audio and VGA connectors.

Features and specifications cited by Axiomtek for the eBOX832-831 include:

  • Processor — Intel Socket M (Core 2 Duo, Core Duo, or Core Solo) with 533MHz or 667MHz frontside bus
  • Memory — up to 4GB of DDR RAM via dual 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Storage — 2.5-inch hard disk drive in capacities from 20GB to 160GB
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet (RJ45 connectors)
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x 9-pin COM1 serial port (RS232/422/485)
    • 3 x 9-pin serial ports (COM2, COM3, COM 4, RS232 only)
    • 1 x SATA
    • 1 x IDE
    • 1 x VGA
    • 2 x IEEE 1394a ports
    • 2 x audio (mic in/line out)
    • 2 x PS/2

  • Expansion — 1 x PCIe x 16 slot
  • Dimensions — 11.81 x 8.27 x 4.11 inches
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 45 deg. C
  • Power requirements — 90 to 264 VAC, 250W power supply with fan

eBOX832-840

Axiomtek's eBOX831-840, though extremely similar to its sister model, uses a different Mini-ITX motherboard, the SB86840 pictured below. Accepting Socket P CPUs and offering the possibility of an 800MHz frontside bus, this board is based on Intel's GME965 and ICH8M/DH chipsets.


Axiomtek's SBC86840 motherboard

Again, dual DIMM sockets accept up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM. Graphics capabilities this time around include resolutions of up to 2048 x 1536 pixels on CRT displays, and up to 1900 x 1200 pixels on LVDS-interfaced LCDs.

For its SBC86840, Axiomtek cites a PCI Express x 16 expansion slot, and a PCI Express x 4 expansion slot that, via a riser card, can accept up to three PCI Express x 1 cards. As was the case for the eBOX832-831, however, only the PCI Express x 16 slot is listed as being accessible on the complete eBOX832-840 computer.

Features and specifications cited by Axiomtek for the eBOX832-840 include:

  • Processor — Intel Socket P (Core 2 Duo) with 533MHz, 667MHz, or 800MHz frontside bus
  • Memory — up to 4GB of DDR RAM via dual 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Storage — 2.5-inch hard disk drive in capacities from 20GB to 160GB
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet (RJ45 connectors)
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x 9-pin COM1 serial port (RS232/422/485)
    • 3 x 9-pin serial ports (COM2, COM3, COM 4, RS232 only)
    • 1 x SATA
    • 1 x IDE
    • 1 x VGA
    • 2 x IEEE 1394a ports
    • 2 x audio (mic in/line out)
    • 2 x PS/2

  • Expansion — 1 x PCIe x 16 slot
  • Dimensions — 11.81 x 8.27 x 4.11 inches
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 45 deg. C
  • Power requirements — 90 to 264 VAC, 250W power supply with fan

The eBOX832-831 and eBOX832-840 run Linux, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows CE. The RoHS-compliant devices will be available at the end of this month, according to Axiomtek, though pricing was not provided.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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