Feeds

Intel's DIY MinnowBoard goes Max: More oomph for half the price

Raspberry Pi's ARM not enough for your hacking needs? How about 64-bit x86?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Updated Intel has announced a new version of its pricey Raspberry Pi challenger, the MinnowBoard, which upgrades its Atom processor, shrinks its footprint, and slashes the price in half for one of two new models.

MinnowBoard Max

This is a prerelease card – don't worry, the production units will include a CPU heat sink (click to enlarge)

The new single-board computer – named MinnowBoard Max in a stunningly inventive bit of nomenclature – is powered by a 64-bit Atom processor, a step up from the 32-bit Atom E640 in the original $199 MinnowBoard released last July.

Two models will be available when the MinnowBoard Max ships, estimated to be this June: a version with a single-core 1.46GHz Atom E3815 with 1GB of DDR3 RAM will run $99, and a dual-core 1.33GHz Atom E3825 version with 2GB will cost you $129 (other configurations may also be made available). Both are 22nm parts formerly code-named "Bay Trail", and both have Intel HD graphics on the die, with the E3815's clocked at 400MHz and the E3825's at 533MHz.

Just by way of comparison, you can pick up a Raspberry Pi Model B with 512MB of RAM for around forty or fifty bucks, give or take. The Pi's system-on-chip, on the other hand, contains an aging 32-bit 700MHz ARM1176JZFS (ARMv6) core and a Videocore 4 GPU, so you pays yer money and you takes yer choice.

Not that the Pi's SoC isn't powerful enough for many of the inventive DIY roles that Pi fanciers have tasked it with, but the 64-bit x86 Atoms in the new MinnowBoard Max models will certainly provide it with enough grunt to take on tasks that would leave the Pi panting in exhaustion.

In addition to being more powerful and less expensive, at 3.9-by-2.9 inches the MinnowBoard Max is smaller than its 4.2-inch-square predecessor. The Max also ups the board's operating system capabilities, now supporting – according to MinnowBoard.org – Debian GNU/Linux compatible with Yocto Project code, as well as Android 4.4. The earlier MinnowBoard was limited to Angstrom Linux, also based on Yocto Project code.

As before, the MinnowBoard Max has two USB ports plus microSD and 10/100/1000 Ethernet, but now upgrades one of those USB ports from 2.0 to 3.0. A 3Gb/sec SATA connector is included, and digital video and audio is available over a microHDMI connector – the earlier board's analog audio is gone.

A single lane of PCIe 2.0 and other I/O niceties – including another USB 2.0 and 3Gb/sec SATA connection – can be accessed from the board's high-speed 60-pin connector located on the bottom of the board, and a 26-pin lower-speed I/O connector sits on top.

More information on the MinnowBoard Max can be found at LinuxGizmos.com and MinnowBoard.org's FAQ. As with the original MinnowBoard, the Max will be manufactured by CircuitCo, also makers of the ARM-based BeagleBoard, so you might want to keep an eye on their website, as well. ®

Update

An Intel spokeswoman contacted your Reg reporter to offer a clarification. "In your article," she wrote, "you allude that Intel released Minnowboard, however, MinnowBoard.org is actually a non-profit organization that Intel is involved with to provide recommendations on Intel architecture." Noted and corrected.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.