Intel Minnowboard


6 posts
by RTD1 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:21 pm
Just saw this:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/31 ... source_pc/

It's probably more of a direct competitor to the Beaglebone Black than the Raspberry Pi, but $199? For a 3 year old Atom processor in a relatively large 4"X4" package? The Gigabit Ethernet and 4GB of onboard flash memory is nice, but not so sure of the need for PCI-E and SATA. If you need a small form factor x86 box, it seems a NUC for $70 more makes infinitely more sense.

This is why I remain so skeptical of Intel's ability to compete in the mobile market with ARM. Even if they eventually get power consumption, TDP, and overall package size figured out eventually, they seem unwilling to price things in a competitive manner.
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by texan » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:52 pm
I assume the power consumption is higher than Raspi for applications where the board is running 24/7 at home.
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by W. H. Heydt » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:49 pm
Because both have a SATA connector, it's probably more in competition with the Cubieboard.

It's *probably* faster than Allwinner A10 boards, being CISC and dual core at the same clock speed.

But given that it's comparatively large (a negative), almost certainly uses more power (another negative), has a PCIE connector (for what?), gigabit Ethernet (positive), UEFI (neutral or negative), costs a *lot* more than other SBCs (strong negative), it's hard to see whether this board has more than a trivial market.

On the power issue, in a video of the board that I've seen, you can see a heatsink on the processor. If the chip has to dissipate enough heat to require a heatsink, there's a lot more power being used than on any of the ARM SBCs. There is another unaswered question...how good is the on-board graphics? How does it compare to VideoCore IV or Mali 400? Or is that what the PCIE connector is for?

The strong markets for SBCs appear to be in the sub-$50 range. Were the minnowboard more like $50 to $60 I could see it as something that might do moderately well. But at $200... Not really. As someone in the comments on The Register put it...for that price he could buy a Chromebook and have a better machine, with case and monitor.

One wonders what Intel really hopes to accomplish with this board.
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by plugwash » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:50 pm
On the power issue, in a video of the board that I've seen, you can see a heatsink on the processor. If the chip has to dissipate enough heat to require a heatsink, there's a lot more power being used than on any of the ARM SBCs.

Some of the higher end arm SBCs also either come with heatsinks or have thermal issues if you don't fit them with heatsinks.

But given that it's comparatively large (a negative), almost certainly uses more power (another negative), has a PCIE connector (for what?)

Presumablly whatever high speed expansion you want. Maybe a second gigabit ethernet controller.

gigabit Ethernet (positive)

Especially if it can actually do gigabit throughput (unlike the iMX6 which apparently tops out at about half that due to internal bus limitations)

UEFI (neutral or negative),

I'd say compared to the arm bootloader and kernel mess on arms an intel processor with UEFI is a massive positive.

costs a *lot* more than other SBCs (strong negative)

According to farnell it's £132.21 (excluding VAT but including everything else). The 2GB nitrogen6x I have cost me way more than that.

Don't read too much into nominal prices given in these kinds of articles. The relationship between nominal price and real price excluding VAT but including everything else seems to vary from almost the same to nearly a factor of two. This one appears to be in the former category.

The biggest problems I see with this thing are it's only single core and it only has 1GB of ram. An atom core may be able to beat one arm core but can it beat four of them like you find on the wandboard quad and if you want to go Intel you can get ITX boards with much better interfacing and much faster processors for comparable money.
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by Heater » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:24 pm
plugwash,
Some of the higher end arm SBCs also either come with heatsinks


Out of curiosity can you post a link to such a board as I have never come across one.
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by plugwash » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:40 pm
Ones I know of that include heatsinks are the Odroid X2 and U2, the wandboard quad (note: the pictures on distributors websites don't show a heatsink but it's confirmed it comes with one) and the Udoo quad. The openbrix zero was also supposed to come with a heatsink but never made it to market.

Ones where a heatsink is not supplied but fitting one is commonly regarded as a good idea include any IMX6 quad board that didn't come with a heatsink (e.g. the sabre lite and the nitrogen6x) and the arndaleboard.

You can see my wandboard quad and nitrogen6x in the picture below (the nitrogen6x I fitted the heatsink myself).

Image
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