FAQ – MinnowBoard MAX

Frequently Asked Questions about MinnowBoard MAX

Note: This page refers to MinnowBoard MAX (based on the E38xx ‘Bay Trail’) SoC family. There is a separate FAQ for the original MinnowBoard (based on the E640 ‘Tunnel Creek’).

This web site is in the process of being updated to reflect information about both MinnowBoard and MinnowBoard MAX. If you see the word MinnowBoard without “MAX”, then assume the information applies only to the original version of the board. Thanks for your patience while we update our content accordingly!

Q: What is MinnowBoard MAX?
A: MinnowBoard MAX is an open hardware embedded board designed with the Intel® Atom™ E38xx series SOC (known as Bay Trail). The board targets the small and low cost embedded market and was designed to appeal to both embedded developers and the maker community. MinnowBoard MAX offers great performance, flexibility, openness and standards for the price.

Q: When will MinnowBoard MAX be available for purchase?
A: The first batch of production MinnowBoard MAX units are being targeted to be in stock at our distributor sites by the end of June 2014. This date is subject to change, but we’re going to make every effort to keep from changing it!

Q: Where can MinnowBoard MAX be purchased from?
A: Once production boards are available, please refer to our Distributors page for details on where MinnowBoard MAX can be purchased from.

Q: Who owns MinnowBoard and MinnowBoard MAX?
A: minnowboard.org: non-profit organization status has been applied for as of July 2013.

Q: Who designs, manufactures and sells MinnowBoard MAX?
A: CircuitCo, a custom manufacturing company based in Richardson, Texas, designed and manufactured the board with feature, design and component recommendations from Intel Corporation. CircuitCo’s services are available to create modified versions of MinnowBoard and MinnowBoard MAX for industrial and other custom applications.

Q: Is MinnowBoard MAX a PC?
A: No, MinnowBoard MAX is an open hardware embedded platform. MinnowBoard MAX is for embedded applications or product development where interfacing with custom hardware (whether I2C sensors, custom FPGAs through PCIe, etc.) is needed.

Q: Is MinnowBoard MAX Windows 8.1 Compatible?
A: MinnowBoard MAX has official Windows 8.1 support at http://msdn.microsoft.com/hardwaredevboard. Additional information, including drivers and such, should be available by the end of September 2014, those details will be available on minnowboard.org. Note:

  • The scripts mentioned above require Windows 8.1 to work.
  • Some versions of Windows have issues installing without the system clock’s date/time being correct. It is recommended you set the system clock correctly in the firmware before installing Windows

Q: What is the Yocto Project?
A: The Yocto Project provides open source, high-quality infrastructure and tools to help developers create their own custom Linux distributions for any hardware architecture. The Yocto Project is intended to provide a helpful starting point for embedded Linux developers. Learn more at yoctoproject.org

Q: Is MinnowBoard MAX Yocto Project Compatible?
A: MinnowBoard MAX is in the process of applying for Yocto Project Compatible status as of April 2014.

Q: When will the hardware design files for MinnowBoard MAX be made available?
A: Design files are available under Creative Commons licensing. They can be found at http://www.elinux.org/Minnowboard:MinnowMax#Design_Files

Q: What is the power consumption of MinnowBoard MAX?
A: This is not a simple question to answer because it depends on many factors, for example how many peripherals are in use, such as USB, ethernet, expansion boards, etc. The Max TDP of the E38xx series SoCs can be found on ark.intel.com. It lists the single-core E3815 at 5W and the dual-core E3825 at 6W. You can use these numbers as a starting point for evaluating potential power consumption, but they still don’t tell the full picture. We recommend the use of a 5V, 2.5A power supply with MinnowBoard MAX.

Q: Does MinnowBoard MAX have an LVDS interface?
A: The Bay Trail-I series SoCs do not include LVDS support. However, if sufficient demand exists in the community for LVDS capability, a small conversion board could be developed to translate the micro-HDMI video signals from MinnowBoard MAX to LVDS. Please sound off in our community if this is an important add-on board you’d like to see.

Q: What is the product lifecycle of the E38xx series SoCs?
A: Seven years, beginning from the launch date of Q4 2013.

Q: Does the MinnowBoard MAX support SATA Port Multipliers?
A: Sadly, no. This is a limitation of the SOC itself, and is not something that can be enabled. If you were to add a SATA chipset to the board (mPCI-E for example) that supports port SATA port multipliers, that should work, given limitations that your OS may impose.