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Atom boards feature fanless DC operation

May 21, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 13 views

Portwell has announced two fanless, battery-operable Mini-ITX motherboards using Intel Atom N270 processors. The WADE-8071 and WADE-8170 work off DC power, include CompactFlash slots, have PCI Express x1 expansion slots, support dual displays, and have gigabit Ethernet, says Portwell.

(Click here for a larger view of Portwell's WADE-8071)

Portwell's new WADE-8071 (pictured above) and WADE-8170 (below), using the 6.7 x 6.7 inch Mini-ITX format, are two distinct designs, but have many common elements. For example, both include the ubiquitous Intel Atom N270 processor, clocked at 1.6GHz and paired with the usual 945GSE northbridge and ICH7-M southbridge. The boards accept up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM apiece via single SODIMM slots, and Portwell says both have CompactFlash slots, for onboard storage.

Portwell's WADE-8170
(Click to enlarge)

According to Portwell, the boards operate fanlessly, and include dual SATA ports, 40-pin IDE connectors, four real-world USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet ports, and PCI Express x1 expansion slots. The company says the WADE-8071 and WADE-8170 both also feature multiple serial ports, audio I/O, onboard programmable 8-bit GPIO, and support both VGA and LVDS displays.

From there, the WADE-8071 and WADE-8170 diverge somewhat. For starters, the WADE-8071, which operates only from a 12VDC power input, has been designed especially with low-profile applications in mind, and it has a maximum height of just 20mm, Portwell says.

The ports on Portwell's WADE-8071
(Click to enlarge)

As the above photo shows, this means that the WADE-8071's real-world connectors are limited to, from left to right, the DC power input, an RS232 port, a VGA port, an RJ45 port for gigabit Ethernet, four USB ports, a microphone input, and a line output. The LVDS display connector is apparently available via a connector on top of the board. So, too, are at least two additional USB ports, though the WADE-8071's data sheet cannot make up its mind whether the device has a total of six USB ports or a total of eight.

The ports on Portwell's WADE-8170
(Click to enlarge)

The WADE-8170 appears to have a height of at least 40mm, which allows it to sport more real-world connectors, as shown above. The board's edge offers dual PS/2 connectors for a keyboard and mouse, VGA and DVI-D video outputs, two serial ports (one RS232, one RS232/422/485), four USB 2.0 ports, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, plus mic in, line in, and line out ports.

The more ambitious WADE-8170 additionally offers not only a PCI Express x1 expansion slot, but also, via a riser card arrangement, a PCI expansion slot. Headers on top of the board are said to provide S-Video output and to add four USB ports. In addition, says Portwell, the WDE-8170 may be operated from DC input power ranging from 12 to 24 Volts, making it more easily applicable to operation in a vehicle, for example.

Features and specifications listed by Portwell for the WADE-8071 and WADE-8170 include the following:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Memory — Up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM via single SODIMM slot
  • Networking:
    • WADE-8071 — 1 x gigabit Ethernet
    • WADE-8170 — 2 x gigabit Ethernet

  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x SATA
    • 1 x IDE
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI (WADE-8170 only)
    • 1 x S-Video (WADE-8170 only)
    • 1 x LVDS
    • USB 2.0:
      • WADE-8071 — 4 x Type A connectors; 2 or 4 additional ports via pin headers
      • WADE-8170 — 4 x Type A connectors; 4 x pin headers

    • Serial:
      • WADE-8071 — 1 x RS232
      • WADE-8170 — 1 x RS232 and 1 x RS232/422/485

    • Audio:
      • WADE-8071 — Mic in and line out
      • WADE-8170 — Mic in, line in, line out

  • Expansion:
    • CompactFlash slot
    • 1 x PCI Express x 1 expansion slot
    • 1 x PCI slot (WADE-8170 only)

  • Power requirements:
    • WADE-8071 — 12VDC
    • WADE-8170 — 12VDC to 24VDC

  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60 deg. C (32 to 140 deg. F)
  • Dimensions — 6.7 x 6.7 inches (170 x 170mm)


According to Portwell, the WADE-8071 and WADE-8170 support Linux, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows CE operating systems. Availability and pricing were not cited, but the boards appear to be on sale now.

For more information on the WADE-8071 and WADE-8170, see Portwell's website, here and here, respectively.

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