7 distinctive features of Advantech motherboards for industrial applications

Advantech is widely known for its industrial solutions, such as thin clients, automation devices, industrial computers and servers for video surveillance systems or medical organizations. In general, everything that today is considered to be peripheral or boundary areas of use is produced by Advantech. Among the company’s products there are also server-type motherboards, which are also designed mainly for highly specialized areas of use, when products from other manufacturers do not pass the parameters. In this article, we will use the example of several Advantech models to explain how they differ from other manufacturers ’ models.

1) Product lifecycle-7 years

If you put in any project the ability to scale with a constant range of equipment, then you have to keep the warehouse under the customer’s sample. For example, you have a machining machine that has a control PC with a specific configuration listed in the documentation. If your customer decides to purchase 100 more of these machines in 6 years, you will either have to alter the documentation for the new equipment, or search the market for the configuration of the specified server, because the change of components may not be allowed by the contract. Someone keeps the spare parts in stock, but Advantech guarantees that from the moment of launch in the series to the moment of withdrawal of the product from production, it will take 7 years. During this time, you can order the same motherboard, and in general, meet the demand of your customer.

I hasten to note that today the exposure time of server components rarely exceeds 3 years: the equipment is too quickly outdated, and a long life - this is a rarity, which is appreciated, for example, by various departments and the military.

2) Extended operating temperature range

Modern server components are heated so much that even expensive coolers can not keep the temperature close to the surrounding air. For processors and GPU has already become the norm to maintain the operating temperature of 70-80 degrees Celsius, RAM modules RDIMM calmly heated to 65 degrees Celsius, SSD - up to 70. All these brothers inevitably transmit heat to the motherboard, so it is characterized by local temperature differences of 10-20 degrees and general heating up to 50 degrees and above.

If you look at the temperature ranges of server motherboards, most of them do not differ from analogues for desktop PCs: for example, ASRock Rack is 0-35 degrees Celsius, SuperMicro usually 0-50 degrees, and Advantech - from 0 to 60 degrees Celsius. And we are talking about the temperature of the surrounding air, and the Board itself can be heated even more!

Advantech ASMB-586 ASRock Rack E3C246D4U Gigabyte MW21-SE0 Supermicro X11SSL-F
Operating ambient temperature, С 0 - 60 10 - 35 0 - 40 0 - 50
Non-operating ambient temperature, С -40 - 85 -40 - 70 -40 - 60 -40 - 70
Operating relative humidity, % 95 н/д 95 90

The high temperature range allows you to save on cooling where possible, and in general it speaks about reliability, but at the expense of what it is achieved?

3) Using of high-quality components

It is clear that if we are talking about high resource and reliability, it should be seen by the design of the motherboard itself. That is, it is not enough just to say: “our motherboards are designed for extreme conditions”, it is also necessary to use high-quality components, and since 99.9% of customers do not delve into the intricacies of production, we will do it for you. Here is a simple example: the Board uses Japanese solid-state aluminum capacitors from Nippon with temperature indicators of 15 thousand hours at 105 degrees Celsius, that is, they are immortal!

This scrupulous approach to components is typical in everything that the manufacturer applies to the production of the Board. Even the battery for the BIOS here is “Made in USA”, even the BIOS itself is physically separated here: the EC EEPROM uses a separate chip.

4) Hardware switches for maintenance functions

Advantech motherboards are characterized by a large number of jumpers-jumpers, which you will not find on the boards of other companies. For example, resetting the Watchdog timer, which, by the way, can be configured within 255 seconds with the accuracy of a second! A separate jumper allows firmware updates, another-the choice of power connectors used. By default, they are set so that you do not need to change anything, but you can not do without instructions here.

Some jumpers are installed on the pads to output external connections, and therefore documented in the appropriate section.

5) Headers and connectors for external panels and indicators

Well, such simple things as 8 SATA3 ports or 11 USB ports you will find on almost every server Board, the output for the network activity indicator-you will already have to look for, but the pad for connecting PS/2 ports, output to an external battery, GPIO and PMBUS (for communication with the power supply) you will find only in Advantech.


Connectors such as the connection of the LED indicator of the state of the machine or the connection of an external voltmeter in general may be required only for very rare cases, and here you do not have much to choose from. Some features of the Board, such as the placement of the IPMI BIOS on the mezzanine can be used for additional security, for example, to exclude the possibility of remote connection to the hardware over Ethernet.

At the same time, there are no special features of connecting DIMM modules and PCI cards: everything is standard here.

6) Common Susi API management Protocol

Advantech has developed a single Protocol for monitoring and managing its IoT devices, thin clients and servers, SUSI (Secure, Unified and Smart interface). In relation to motherboards, it has the following functionality:

System protection:

  • Data security
  • Watch Dog timer operation
  • Overheating protection
  • Control throttle

Monitoring:

  • Fan operation
  • Hardware monitoring
  • System information

Access to I / O functions:

  • GPIO
  • SMBus / I2C
  • Display backlight

Cross-platform support is supported within the shared stack (Windows, Linux, Android, RTOS). Thus, the administrator or service organization has a single management interface with low-level access to Advantech devices that can be located on geographically distributed sites.

7) PCI 2.2 in modern motherboards

Another rare feature for server segment cards is support for the PCI 2.2 interface (this is the one that was before PCI Express). In the modern server Park, it has not been used for a long time, but among the specialized equipment, especially related to high-frequency signals, there are cards with a PCI interface, and for such customers it is important to have support for the old interface in a machine with a modern processor.

ля таких заказчиков важно иметь поддержку старого интерфейса в машине с современным процессором.

Advantech ASMB-584 Advantech ASMB-784 Advantech ASMB-785 Advantech ASMB-925
CPU Socket LGA 1150 LGA 1150 LGA 1151 LGA 3647
Formfactor Micro ATX ATX ATX EATX
Number of slots PCI 2.2 1 3 3 1

Advantech has boards such as the ASMB-785 with an lga1151 socket under Xeon E3 that allow up to three PCI boards, two PCI Express 16x and two PCI Express 4x. The board has three video outputs (two DVI-D and one VGA), so it is ideal for situation centers or control rooms. But even more interesting is the asmb-925 Board for 2 Intel Xeon Scalable processors with one PCI 2.2 slot.

Recommendations for the customer

The modern concept of peripheral computing dictates to the customer the requirements for installing server blocks not where the equipment is convenient and comfortable, but where it is necessary, closer to the fleet of IoT devices that generate data. In this regard, it is quite natural to use the products of a company that specializes exclusively in industrial equipment, testing it to work at high temperature, vibration and electromagnetic environment characteristic of industrial premises.

Studying the characteristics of motherboards, you will not find information about supported operating systems, so I recommend that you always check this question with the distributor when drawing up the project documentation. For ordering through a tender, Advantech products are a “hallowed land” for the integrator, since the presence of a large number of outputs and hardware jumpers allows you to completely exclude the supply of analogues or replacements of the specified nomenclature.