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

Function Pin Number Pin Number Function
PCIe1_CLK_REQ 1 2 PCIe2_CLK_REQ
PWROK 3 4 HDA_CLK
GND 5 6 HDA_RST_N
PCIe_REFCLK_N 7 8 HDA_SYNC
PCIe_REFCLK_P 9 10 HDA_SDO
GND 11 12 HDA_SDI1
PCIe1_RX_N 13 14 GND
PCIe1_RX_P 15 16 PCIe2_RX_N
GND 17 18 PCIe2_RX_P
PCIe1_TX_N 19 20 GND
PCIe1_TX_P 21 22 PCIe2_TX_N
GND 23 24 PCIe2_TX_P
SMB_CLK 25 26 GND
SMB_DAT 27 28 CAN_TX
GND 29 30 CAN_RX
SATA1_RX_N 31 32 GND
SATA1_RX_P 33 34 LVDS_DATA_N_0
GND 35 36 LVDS_DATA_P_0
SATA1_TX_N 37 38 GND
SATA1_TX_P 39 40 LVDS_DATA_N_1
GND 41 42 LVDS_DATA_P_1
USB_HOST_DM4 43 44 GND
USB_HOST_DP4 45 46 LVDS_DATA_N_2
VBUS4 47 48 LVDS_DATA_P_2
GND 49 50 GND
WAKE_EXP_N 51 52 LVDS_CLK_N
UART1_TX 53 54 LVDS_CLK_P
UART1_RX 55 56 GND
UART2_TX 57 58 LVDS_DATA_N_3
UART2_RX 59 60 LVDS_DATA_P_3
I2C0_SCL 61 62 GND
I2C0_SDA 63 64 E6XX_GPIO_SUS0
GND 65 66 E6XX_GPIO_SUS1
EG20T_SPI_CLK 67 68 E6XX_GPIO_SUS3
EG20T_SPI_nCS 69 70 E6XX_GPIO_SUS4
EG20T_SPI_MOSI 71 72 E6XX_GPIO_SUS2
EG20T_SPI_MISO 73 74 LVDS_DETECT
GPIO0 75 76 SDIO1_CD_N
GPIO1 77 78 SDIO1_WP
GPIO2 79 80 SDIO1_CLK_R
GPIO3 81 82 SDIO1_CMD_R
GPIO4 83 84 SDIO1_DATA0_R
GPIO5 85 86 SDIO1_DATA1_R
GPIO6 87 88 SDIO1_DATA2_R
GPIO7 89 90 SDIO1_DATA3_R
GPIO_PROG_VOLTAGE 91 92 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V 93 94 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V 95 96 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V 97 98 DC_IN_5V
DC_IN_5V 99 100 DC_IN_5V

 

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