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Mini SBCs sport PCI Express, run Linux

Sep 26, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Ampro unveiled a pair of PCI Express-powered single-board computers (SBCs) at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in Boston on Sept. 26. The MightyBoard 821 and ReadyBoard 820, in mini-ITX and EPIC Express form-factors, respectively, are based on Celeron and Pentium processors and support Linux,… according to the company.

MightyBoard 821 mini-ITX mobo

MightyBoard 821
(Click image to enlarge)

The RoHS-compliant MightyBoard 821 offers a choice of 2.0 GHz Pentium M 760 or 1.5 GHz Celeron M 370 processor, along with an Intel 915GM chipset and up to 2 GB of DDR2 533 RAM in two DIMM slots. The board's display controller supports CRTs at up to 2048 x 1536 pixels, and dual 24-bit LVDS at up to 1920 x 1200. An x16 PCI Express expansion slot can be used to support high-end extended graphics.

I/O includes:

  • 2 x PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x serial, 2 RS232/422/485
  • enhanced ultra DMA 33/66/100 synchronous IDE; supports two drives
  • serial ATA; supports two devices
  • PS/2 keyboard and mouse
  • EPP/ECP bi-directional port
  • AC97 audio — stereo in/out; mic in
  • GPIO — 4 in; 4 out

The MightyBoard 821 fits in standard mini-ITX and ATX enclosures, and is well-suited for gaming, medical imaging, video surveillance, and other graphics-intensive applications, Ampro says.

ReadyBoard 820 EPIC Express SBC

ReadyBoard 820
(Click image to enlarge)

Ampro claims the EPIC Express-compliant ReadyBoard 820 to be the “world's smallest PCI Express motherboard.” It's offered with processors ranging from a 1 GHz ULV Celeron M 373 to a 1.8 GHz Pentium M 745, and is equipped with an Intel 915GM chipset and up to 1 GB DDR2 400 SODIMM RAM. The board's onboard display controller can support both CRT and LVDS video formats (resolution not specified), and three lanes of x1 PCI Express are available for high-speed I/O expansion.

I/O includes:

  • 1 Gigabit PCIe Ethernet, 1 10/100 Ethernet
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x serial; 2 are usable as RS232/422/485
  • enhanced ultra DMA 33/66/100 synchronous IDE supports up to two hard drives
  • CompactFlash on primary IDE
  • serial ATA supports up to two devices
  • PS/2 keyboard and mouse
  • parallel — EPP/ECP bi-directional port
  • AC97 audio — stereo line in/out; mic in
  • GPIO — 4 in, 4 out


MightyBoard 821 samples will be available during Q4, while ReadyBoard 820 samples will not be available until Q1 of next year, according to the company. Prices start in the “low $500's” in production quantities, including an Ampro-installed CPU.

Ampro says it offers a “full Linux 2.6 distribution” with the boards. It also offers drivers and BSPs for Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows CE.

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