HOME | Notebooks | Tablets | Handhelds | EMBEDDED | Panels | Definitions & Specs | Ruggedness Testing | Industry leaders | About us
AiMC-3200 | AIIS-1240 | AIMB-201 · 213 · 215 · 256 · 501 | ARK-1122 · 1123 · 1388 · 2121L · 2150 · 1503 · 3399 · 3403 · 3440 · 3500
DS-062 · DS303 · DS520 · 6320 | MARS-1031 · 3100S · 3100R | MIO-5270 · 5271 · 2263 | PCM-3363 · PCM-C3500 | PPC 157T · L158T · 3120 · 6170
PWS-8101M · 8033M · 770 | SOM-5788 · 5890 · 5894 · 5897 · 6765 · 6894 · 7565
TREK-510/303 · 520/303h · 550/303h · 674/306dh · 743 · 775 · 776 | ITA-1610 DLoG MTC6 · XMT 5/7
MICA-071 | MIT-M101 | UbiQ-480 | UTC-515 · 520 | VITA-350E | home | Advantech web
Advantech AiMC-3200 Intelligent Micro Computer

Compact, rugged, and highly configurable intelligent micro computer takes half as much space as traditional wall-mount systems
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer; photography by Carol Cotton)

Advantech's AiMC-3200 is a PC for industrial automation production applications. AiMC stands for "Advantech intelligent Micro Computer," and as of this writing (June 2014), the Intel H61-based AiMC-3200 is one of three products Advantech offers in this specific class, the other two being the Intel QM77-based AiMC-2100 and the also Intel H61-based AiMC-3420.

The goal and purposes of the Advantech systems is to provide compact turnkey designs that a) save space, and b) are suitable for quick deployment without substantial integration costs. How much smaller are these AiMC systems? They are generally about half the size of a traditional wallmount PC. But aren't full sized systems required for machine automation applications. Increasingly less so as integrating add-on functionality into just one of two cards is becoming the norm.

How did Advantech go about conceiving and designing these space-saving AiMC systems? By combining its packaging and integration expertise with its ready access to a vast lineup of embedded systems boards and components to create a unique solution.

The result is a powerful, easily configurable machine automation micro computer with a footprint of just 9 x 9 inches and a height of just 3.5 inches. It's made possible by using a PICMG 1.3 half-size backplane (in our review system a PCE-3B03A-00A1E) and a PICMG 1.3 half-size SHB CPU board (the PCE-3026) that can accommodate LGA 1155 Intel Core processors and was specifically designed for industrial applications that require high computing power in compact systems. That takes up the right 2/3rd of the package.

The left side accommodates an energy-efficient 250 watt 80 Plus certified PSU (see Wiki on 80 Plus). On top of that is a bay for two stacked 2.5-inch hard disks, each mounted with rubber bushings. The picture below shows how the AiMC-3200 looks from all sides.

Like all of Advantech's industrial PCs, the AiMC-3200 has an impressively solid steel chassis on which are mounted the various subframes, brackets, and electronic components. Opening the enclosure for maintenance or reconfiguration is as easy as can be: turn two thumb-screws and the top and side of the enclosure (one piece) lift right off.

Since the AiMC-3200 employs desktop-class technology with powerful standard voltage Core processors, it has both a CPU fan and dual system fans.

Fans being moving parts that may require maintenance or replacement, Advantech mounted them on an externally accessible steel panel so they can easily be reached. That panel also has an easily cleaned reusable filter to keep dust away from the inside of the unit. The presence and easy accessibility of the filter can be a major plus in dusty industrial environments where dust can quickly clog up the interior of a system and potentially lead to equipment failure.

The pictures below show, on the left, the rapid way to gain access to the interior of the AiMC-3200 for maintenance or reconfiguration, and, on the right, the way the fan assembly can also easily be opened for potential repair and, more importantly, for quick cleaning of the filter. Could this simple access be a potential problem? Possibly, and so Advantech installed a springloaded sensor that detects removal of the cover and can be programmed to issue alerts.

In terms of functionality and connectivity, the Advantech AiMC-3200 doesn't only pack a hefty processing punch thanks to its underlying high-power SHB, it's also well equipped to interface with a wide variety of general industrial applications. Our review unit was configured to offer the following external ports:

  • 4 x USB 2.0 (three on front panel, one internal as software key)
  • 2 x Serial RS232
  • 2 x RJ-45 gigabit LAN
  • 1 x PS/2 (still used for keyboard or mouse in legacy systems)
  • Power (AC)
  • 1 x 15-pin VGA video
  • 1 x DVI-D
That, however, isn't all the AiMC-3200 can do, thanks to its PICMG 1.3 architecture. Optionally available are 2-port and 4-port PCIe gigabit Ethernet PoE (Power over Ethernet) cards, 4-port RS232 or RS485/422 modules, an audio extension module with HD audio interface (and possibly more based on what all is available on the PCE-3026).

Available CPUs (see full specs) Intel Core i7 Intel Core i5 Intel Core i3
Model 2600 3550S 3220
Lithography 32nm 22nm 22nm
Cores/Threads 4/8 4/4 2/4
Base Clock Speed 3.40 GHz 3.00 GHz 3.30 GHz
Turbo Speed 3.80 GHz 3.70 GHz No turbo
Thermal Design Power (TDP) 95 watts 65 watts 55 watts
Smart Cache 8MB 6MB 3MB
Integrated graphics HD Graphics 2000 HD Graphics 2500 HD Graphics 2500
Graphics base speed 850 MHz 650 MHz 650 MHz
Graphics max speed 1.35 GHz 1.15 GHz 1.05 GHz
Intel vPro Yes Yes No

On the processor side, Advantech offers the AiMC-3200 with three fairly different CPUs. There are two quad-core chips, the Sandy Bridge based Core i7-2600 with eight threads, and the Ivy Bridge based Core Core i5-3550S with four threads.

The low end option is the Ivy Bridge dual-core Core i3-3220 which lacks the turbo boost feature of the other two, and also has less Intel Smart Cache and does't support Intel vPro. Note that these three processors have very different Thermal Design Powers as well (95, 65 and 55 watts, respectively).

The large variation in TDP may necessitate different CPU coolers. Our test unit came with a 1U fan/heatsink, where 1U means it's 29mm tall or less. Advantech says that if a 1.5U (i.e. up to 45mm tall) is used, and i5/i7 processors require that, only one of the two PCIe slots will still be available, so that's a consideration when deciding on which CPU to go with. Here we need to mention that our AiMC-3200 was not a very quiet unit, with the fans generating considerable noise. That may not be an issue in factory installations, but anywhere else it might be distracting.

We usually like to provide an idea of the relative performance of the devices we test in our lab, and so we ran our two standard benchmark suites, PassMark and CrystalMark. For comparison, we're listing the results of three other Advantech industrial PCs and panels we have reviewed and benchmarked over the past year. The idea is to show how a variety of processors and configurations perform in such devices.

Advantech Intel Core- and Atom based IPC and Panel Benchmarks
PERFORMANCE COMPARISON Advantech Advantech Advantech Advantech
Model AiMC-3200 ARK-2150L PPC-3120 ARK-1122
Model (click pic for review)
Year tested 2014 2013 2013 2013
Intel processor Core i3-2120 Core i7-3517UE Atom D2550 Atom N2800
CPU Speed 3.3GHz 1.7/2.8GHz 1.86GHz 1.86GHz
OS Software WES7-64 WES7 WES WES7-32
Thermal Design Power (TDP) 65 watts 17 watts 10 watts 6.5 watts
CPU Mark 3,875.3 3,164.8 553.8 546.1
2D Graphics Mark 570.9 475.8 40.1 NA
Memory Mark 1,417.0 923.3 260.3 254.3
Disk Mark 369.0 1,322.0 548.0 948.2
3D Graphics Mark 269.2 253.1 70.9 57.0
Overall PassMark 1,487.4 1,382.1 320.1 389.7
CM ALU 49,338 41,554 12,391 11,474
CM FPU 48,306 39,544 9,289 9,003
CM MEM 43,431 23,799 8,502 8,757
CM HDD 6,852 34,772 9,195 25,739
CM GDI 17,927 11,924 1,878 1,271
CM D2D 3,524 1,991 853 370
CM OGL 5,514 6,318 9,319 8,016
Overall CrystalMark 174,892 159,902 51,427 64,630

A couple of commentaries here: First, while the chips listed in the "Available CPUs" table above are the ones that Advantech offered a the time of this writing, our review unit came with a Core i3-2120, which is roughly a Sandy Bridge version of the officially listed Ivy Bridge i3-3220, so our benchmark results for the AiMC-3200 are almost certainly lower than those achievable with even the current low-end i3-3220. The i3-2120, however, is not a mismatch for the AiMC-3200 — it's one of the much larger variety (nine in all) chips offered for the PCE-3026 half-size SHB that's inside the AiMC-3200.

Second, take the above benchmark table for what it is intended: to provide an idea how very different chips perform in various Advantech industrial-grade devices. The table shows the large difference between Intel's Core and Atom chips, with the former providing superior performance and numerous features, and the latter fanless, low-cost operation. Do note that in virtually all of our benchmarks, the type of mass storage has a large impact on bottomline benchmark numbers. Conventional hard disks drag down performance whereas speedy SSDs can give it a major boost. But that boost usually comes at the expense of cost and lower capacity. It's always a game of balance and compromise.

As far as choosing between the available i3, i5 and i7 processors available for the AiMC-3200, it's a relatively minor cost issue, a more noticeable performance issue, and it can definitely be an issue which of Intel's advanced integrated technologies are needed for a given project. And also do remember that some of the higher-power chips will need the larger 1.5U heatsink/fan that'll block one of the PCIe slots.

Like many Advantech embedded products, the AiMC-3200 includes SUSIAccess software, a remote management API that can be used to monitor, configure, and control terminals in a centralized, real-time maintenance system. Our review system also included Advantech's Booting Manager, EWF (Enhanced Write Filter) Manager, and a FBWF (File Based Write Manager) utility.

The Enhanced Write Filter is especially interesting. What it does is provide the ability to write-protect a run-time image. It does that by redirecting write operations to another storage location and totally write-protects the run-time image, thus preventing any damage that might be caused by an unexpected power failure, vibration or even a virus attack.

As is, the Advantech AiMC-3200 is a remarkably compact, remarkably well-conceived, and remarkably configurable turnkey solutions for systems integrators of any number of machine automation applications. Its PICMG 1.3 compliant design based on half-size SHBs and SHB backplanes offers desktop PC functionality in a passive backplane implementation optimized for more demanding environments such as industrial automation, but also military, medical and telecom applications. -- Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, June 2014

Advantech AiMC-3200 Intelligent Micro Computer Specs:

Status Added 06/2014
Type Compact intelligent micro computer
CPU Type 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-3220 or
3.0GHz (max. Turbo 3.70GHz) Intel Core i5-3550S or
3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600
Chipset Intel H61 platform
BIOS AMI 64Mbit SPI Flash
OS Various versions of standard and embedded Microsoft Windows
Memory Max 16GB DDR3 1066/1333MHz in 12 204-pin SO-DIMM socket
Graphics Controller Integrated Intel HD Graphics
Watchdog Timer 255-level timer intervals, software setup
Graphics ports VGA and DVI-D
LAN 2 x 10/100/1000 Mbps (Intel 82579V and 82583V) LAN RJ45
Storage 2 x 2.5" HDD Bays
Housing Steel with included mounting brackets
Vibration With HDD: 1 Grms random, 5 ~ 500 Hz, 3 axes, 1hr/axis.
Shock With HDD: 10G, half sine, 11 ms duration.
Operating temperature 32° to 104°F (0° to °40C)
USB 4 x USB 2.0 (3 in front, 1 internal for software key)
Serial 2 x RS232 serial
PS/2 2 x 1 x PS/2
Audio NA
Expansion 1 x PCI Express x16, 1 x PCI Express x4
Size 9.13 x 9.13 x 3.54 inches (232 x 232 x 90 mm)
Weight 9/9 pounds (4.5 kg)
Power AC ATX 250W, internal power supply
Price Inquire
Webpage Advantech AiMC-3200 page, also see AiMC Series overview
Datasheet AiMC-3200

Advantech Corporation
13 Whatney
Irvine, CA 92618
Toll Free: 1-800-866-6008
Ph: 949-420-2500
Fax: 949-420-2501

Advantech Co. Ltd.
No.1, Alley 20, Lane 26, Rueiguang Road
Neihu District, Taipei Taiwan 114, R.O.C.
Tel: 886-2-2792-7818
Fax: 886-2-2794-7301