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Fanless computer offers choice of expansion cards

Apr 16, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Aaeon announced a fanless embedded controller intended for building automation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and environmental monitoring. The AEC-6841 includes two Ethernet ports, a VGA output, four serial ports, CompactFlash or hard disk storage, and Mini PCI or PCI Mini Card support, the company says.

Aaeon's AEC-6841 is an obvious follow-on to the AEC-6831 the company released last year. It again features fanless operation, a heatsink-equipped case with brackets for wall mounting, plus Intel's Atom N270 processor and up to 2GB of RAM.

And, once more, the system offers a choice of CompactFlash storage (this time, hidden internally) or, via an optional mounting kit, a SATA/IDE hard disk of unspecified size. Aaeon says that when only CompactFlash is employed, the device can withstand shocks of up to 50G (11ms duration), and vibration up to 5Grms (5 to 500MHz).

The front panel of Aaeon's AEC-6841
(Click to enlarge)

While the fundamentals might be the same, the AEC-6841's interfaces differ somewhat from those on the AEC-6831. For example, where the latter has both VGA and DVI-I video outputs, the AEC-6841 has only VGA; on the other hand, its front panel has added features such as digital I/O (further details not specified). The AEC-6841 also doubles up on serial ports, having two on its front panel and two on the rear.

The rear panel of Aaeon's AEC-6841
(Click to enlarge)

Four USB 2.0 ports and audio I/O are again featured, and the AEC-6841 also adds a PS/2 port, according to Aaeon. As before, there are two Ethernet ports, though on the newer device, only one is gigabit-capable, according to the company.

Finally, the AEC-6831 had no expansion slots except for CompactFlash, but the AEC-6841 has another slot that can be either Mini PCIO or PCI Mini Card, depending on whether an "A" or "B" model of the device is purchased. Presumably, this slot would be useful for adding features such as wireless local area networking or a GPS receiver.

According to Aaeon, the AEC-6841 is yet again designed to run Linux, Windows XP Embedded, Windows CE, or Windows XP Professional, and this time adds Windows 7 support, as well.

Features and specifications listed by Aaeon for the AEC-6841 include the following:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Chipset — 945GSE northbridge and ICH7M southbridge
  • Memory — Up to 2GB of RAM via single SODIMM slot
  • Storage — CompactFlash slot or, with optional kit, SATA/IDE hard disk drive
  • Expansion — 1 x Mini PCI or 1 x PCI Mini Card
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet; 1 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 (two front, two rear)
    • 4 x serial (two front, two rear); 1 x RS232 and 3 x RS232/422/485
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x PS/2
    • Digital I/O (details not specified)
    • Audio — mic in, line in, line out via special extension cable
  • Power supply — 9 to 30VDC input; optional AC adapter
  • Dimensions — 8.35 x 4.21 x 2.52 inches (212 x 107 x 64mm)
  • Weight — 4.75 pounds (2.16kg)


Aaeon did not cite pricing or availability for the AEC-6841, though it appears to be on sale now. More information may be found on the Aaeon website, here.

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