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Roving Reporter: A Ferrari in the Raspberry Pi World

Reprinted from the original article posted in the Intel Embedded Community.
A new credit card-size board launched with a Kickstarter campaign provides a
powerful new alternative to the Raspberry Pi2, the de facto standard of todays
makers. However, while the UP board shares the same form factor (85.6mm x
56.5mm), it targets the professional maker market. This is readily apparent when
you look at its processor. As a press release notes, for a board you can slip into a
pocket, the 14 nm four-core Intel Atom processor x5-Z8350 is a Ferrari (Figure
1).

Figure 1. The UP board is a Raspberry Pi2 alternative with a powerful processor for its size.

In this post, we look at the performance attributes and other advantages of the new
board and its processor.
UP A Board and an Organization
The board originates from a collaboration of AAEON, Emutex, and Intel, but has now
taken on a life of its own as an organization and product line under the name UP.
A team of independent hardware and software engineers referred to as the UP
Garage Team have created an UP website and UP community. The team hails half
from the industrial electronic market and half from the makers market.
The team runs an UP Shop offering different configurations and accessories. Like all
Internet of Things (IoT) innovations, innovation is ongoing. The original design
featured 1GB DDR3L RAM and 16GB eMMC. The most recent UP designs pack up to
4GB DDR3L and up to 64GB eMMC.
UP bridges the gap between the world of prototypes and the world of high-grade
mass-produced embedded systems solutions. AAEON, the industrial embedded
company of the Asus group, manufactures the boards in compliance with industrial
standards wide operating temperature, three years longevity, CE/FCC Class A

certifications, and RoHS compliance. For ODM customers, UP can provide BIOS
modifications, depopulated I/O, and system customization. The board is available
with a growing selection of accessories, including a 10-inch waterproof touch
display and various types of chassis.
The Configuration
For versatility, UP features a 40 GPIO designed to connect a shield with the same
connector-and-pin definition of Raspberry Pi2 (Figure 2). UP upgraded its original 40pin interface by integrating an Altera MAX V CPLD (output DC-current up to 170mA)
and an ADC (8bit/189KSPS) to enable a new series of mixed analog/digital
applications.

Figure 2. The UP boards configuration includes a 40 GPIO and other similarities to the
Raspberry Pi2.

The MAX V CPLD enables breadboard-friendly GPIO features. The MAX V CPLD
GPIOs can be re-programmed to change: GPIO-driver strength, slew-rate (fast/slow),
Schmitt trigger, internal pull-up and internal clamp diode. Developers can also reprogram the MAX V CPLD to integrate ad-hoc finite-state machines that reduce
the latency of OS/drivers to enable faster response.
The latest board announced on the site features the expanded memory and runs up
to two independent displays. The board includes a Display Serial Interface (DSI) and
support for both embedded Display Port (eDP) and Consumer Electronics Control
(CEC) over HDMI. Other I/O includes 4x USB 2.0 ports on connectors, 2x USB 2.0
ports on header, 1x USB 3.0 On-The-Go (OTG), 1x Gbit Ethernet (full speed), and 1x
camera (MIPI-CSI).
A standard industrial PC operating temperature range of 32-104F/0-60C makes
the UP board a rugged, reliable, and flexible solution for many applications. Other
UP board highlights:
Includes real-time clock (RTC)
Supports Preboot eXecution Environment (PXe) and Wake-on-LAN
Runs Windows 8.1, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows IoT Core

Supports a touch controller part via the USB header

Operating System Choices


Developers can choose the operating system best suited for the application
Android 5.0 Lollipop, Microsoft Windows* 10, or Linux*. All advanced computing
features and simple connection interfaces are made available through standard
Linux, Windows and Android APIs which are regularly improved and supported by
the UP community.
UP is Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT, making it ideal for IoT edge-to-cloud
applications. Pre-tested and verified to work with Microsoft Azure IoT services, the
board makes it easy to get IoT solutions up and running quickly. The certification
opens up an ecosystem of devices and platforms for faster time to production.
Emutex can help get Linux users started through a new build of their ubilinux*
distribution. Ubilinux is an embedded Linux distribution based on Debian that is
targeted at embedded devices with limited storage capabilities. Emutex provides
ongoing support through a proactive ubilinux community.
For makers intending to use UP platforms in IoT solutions, Emutex provides a free
version of their ubiworx* software framework. This solution speeds development of
sensor-monitoring IoT gateway solutions and cloud connection. For example, using
Emutexs ubiworx IoT software, developers can set up solutions where sensors
communicate with the UP board and perform functions such as turning on a light
when a switch is pressed or indicating when a door is opened.
A Processor Designed to Keep UP with the IoT
The Intel Atom processor x5-Z8350 is a 1.44 GHz SoC with a 1.92 GHz burst
frequency. Launched at the start of 2016, the Atom processors advanced
processing capabilities make the UP board an excellent choice for applications in
robotics, drones, machine vision, Smart Home, education, digital signage, intelligent
cars, and IoT in general.
The processor is the latest in the Intel Atom processor x5-Z8300 product family
which uses Intels latest 14 nm manufacturing process to provide tightly integrated
SoCs (Figure 3). A power envelope of 2 W makes this processor family suitable for
constrained environments.

Figure 3. This diagram shows the wealth of features integrated into the Intel Atom
processor x5-Z8300 product family.

The Intel Atom processor x5-Z8350s four CPU cores and 2 MB of last level cache
enable fast computing and efficient multi-tasking. Intel Burst Technology
dynamically optimizes compute and graphics performance to handle peak loads and
deliver lower overall power consumption. Support for 64-bit applications helps
deliver higher performance and greater functionality across a wide range of IoT use
cases.
The processors integrated graphics give the UP board an advantage over boards
with lesser graphics and headless designs like the Intel Galileo board. The
processors Intel HD Graphics (Gen 8) features 12 execution units running at up to
500MHz to deliver excellent 3D graphic performance, including 4K video playback.
The eye-popping visual experiences and high-quality image capture improve results
for visually-intensive IoT applications. Integrated support for hardware-accelerated
video transcoding, video conferencing, wireless display connectivity, and the latest
graphics APIs (DX11.2, DX12) provide the foundation for flexible, high-quality user
experiences on small, lightweight, low-power mobile devices. The processors
graphics support Open GL*4.2, Open CL*1.2 OGL ES3.0, H.264, HEVC (decode), and
VP8.
For security, the processor provides the hardware-enhanced security features
needed for professional IoT applications. These features include:
Intel AES New Instructions (Intel AES-NI) a set of instructions that
enable fast and secure data encryption and decryption
Intel Identity Protection Technology a built-in security token technology
that helps provide a simple, tamper-resistant method for protecting access to
online customer and business data from threats and fraud
Up and Running with UP

For a quick start on new IoT solutions, be sure to check out the UP product line. To
shop for other components from a selection of over 5,000 items, visit the Alliances
Solutions Directory.
Learn More
Contact featured members:
Contact AAEON
Contact Microsoft
Contact Emutex
Contact UP
Solutions in this blog:
UP Board
Related topics:
Internet of Things and Big Data - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and
more)
Performance - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
Security - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
AAEON and Microsoft are Associate members of the Intel Internet of Things
Solutions Alliance. Emutex and UP are General members of the Alliance.
Mark Scantlebury
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance
Editor-in-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine