Last summer, Intel launched a competitor to the Raspberry Pi hobby board known as the MinnowBoard. Chipzilla’s offering was admittedly much more expensive than the competition but it was a bit more powerful as well. Now, Intel is back with the second generation of the MinnowBoard and thankfully, they’ve dropped the price considerably.
The second coming of the MinnowBoard, affectionately known as the MinnowBoard Max, arrives in two different configurations. The cheaper of the two includes a single-core 64-bit Atom E3815 processor clocked at 1.46GHz alongside 1GB of RAM while the more expensive model ships with a dual-core E3825 running at 1.33GHz. Both chips are based on Intel’s Bay Trail architecture.
Connectivity options are the same across either configuration and include an HDMI port, USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. There are also GPIO pins used to help with debugging and connecting peripherals as well as 8MB of memory for firmware although fortunately there is also a microSD card slot for storage expansion. They are compatible with a multitude of operating systems such as Android 4.4 and Debian Linux, just to name a few.
The boards are being marketed toward the embedded sector for use in digital signage, ATMs and point-of-sale systems but I don’t see why they couldn’t also be used for HTPC systems and the like.
Intel says the MinnowBoard Max will launch in June priced at $99 for the single-core option and $129 for the dual-core configuration.