The Minnow Board – A New Small Form Factor


We attended an “Internet of Things” meeting here this week, and Scott Garman introduced us to a new small form factor, the MinnowBoard. The MinnowBoard is very high performance single board computer (SBC) using a 1Ghz Intel Atom processor, but unlike most SBC’s it has the General Purpose I/O (GPIO) expansion connections needed to expand the system using low cost peripherals. More akin to SBC’s like the Raspberry Pi, it runs the Angstrom Linux Distribution and is compatible with the Yocto project. This looks to be a very nice high-end SBC for embedded work that requires the power of an Intel CPU

The Minnow Board - A New Small Form Factor schemetic

What is on a MinnowBoard?

  • 4.2″ by 4.2″ Form Factor
  • Intel Atom E640 (1GHz, 32bit)
  • EG20T Intel Platform Controller Hub
  • Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator GMA600
  • 1 GB DDR2 RAM
  • 4 MB SPI Flash
  • (2) USB Host I/F
  • (1) USB Device I/F
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • SATA2 3Gb/sec
  • PCI Express
  • (1) SDIO
  • (4) Switches
  • (2) LEDs
  • (8) GPIO
  • (2) UART
  • (1) I2C
  • (1) SMB
  • (1) SPI
  • (1) CAN-Bus
  • “Lure” Expansion Connector
  • UEFI Boot Loader

The MinnowBoard uses a high-speed interface connector (as it handles PCI Express signals) for it’s expansion boards, which are known as Lures.

This is a very high performance interface, and I could see doing a lot with this kind of bandwidth. The MinnowBoard just calls out for a nice FPGA “Lure” expansion board, to offload those “hard-real-time” tasks.

A New Small Form Factor

FunctionPin NumberPin NumberFunction
PCIe1_CLK_REQ12PCIe2_CLK_REQ
PWROK34 HDA_CLK
GND56 HDA_RST_N
PCIe_REFCLK_N78 HDA_SYNC
PCIe_REFCLK_P910 HDA_SDO
GND1112 HDA_SDI1
PCIe1_RX_N1314 GND
PCIe1_RX_P1516 PCIe2_RX_N
GND1718 PCIe2_RX_P
PCIe1_TX_N1920 GND
PCIe1_TX_P2122 PCIe2_TX_N
GND2324 PCIe2_TX_P
SMB_CLK2526 GND
SMB_DAT2728 CAN_TX
GND2930 CAN_RX
SATA1_RX_N3132 GND
SATA1_RX_P3334 LVDS_DATA_N_0
GND3536 LVDS_DATA_P_0
SATA1_TX_N3738 GND
SATA1_TX_P3940 LVDS_DATA_N_1
GND4142 LVDS_DATA_P_1
USB_HOST_DM44344 GND
USB_HOST_DP44546 LVDS_DATA_N_2
VBUS44748 LVDS_DATA_P_2
GND4950 GND
WAKE_EXP_N5152 LVDS_CLK_N
UART1_TX5354 LVDS_CLK_P
UART1_RX5556 GND
UART2_TX5758 LVDS_DATA_N_3
UART2_RX5960 LVDS_DATA_P_3
I2C0_SCL6162 GND
I2C0_SDA6364 E6XX_GPIO_SUS0
GND6566 E6XX_GPIO_SUS1
EG20T_SPI_CLK6768 E6XX_GPIO_SUS3
EG20T_SPI_nCS6970 E6XX_GPIO_SUS4
EG20T_SPI_MOSI7172 E6XX_GPIO_SUS2
EG20T_SPI_MISO 7374 LVDS_DETECT
GPIO07576 SDIO1_CD_N
GPIO17778 SDIO1_WP
GPIO27980 SDIO1_CLK_R
GPIO38182 SDIO1_CMD_R
GPIO48384 SDIO1_DATA0_R
GPIO58586 SDIO1_DATA1_R
GPIO68788 SDIO1_DATA2_R
GPIO78990 SDIO1_DATA3_R
GPIO_PROG_VOLTAGE9192 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V9394 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V9596 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V9798 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V99100 DC_IN_5V

 

For more detail: The Minnow Board – A New Small Form Factor




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