7 distinctive features of Advantech industrial motherboards

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 customary to rank as peripheral or boundary spheres of use (read the article about what is "edge computing" ), produced by Advantech. Among the company's products there are also server-type motherboards, which are also intended mainly for highly specialized areas of use, when the products of other manufacturers do not meet the parameters. In this article, we will tell, using the example of several Advantech motherboards, how they differ from models from other manufacturers.

1) Product lifetime - 7 years

If you include in any project the possibility of scaling with the same nomenclature of equipment, then you have to keep a warehouse for the customer's selection. For example, you have a processing machine, the documentation for which indicates a control PC with a certain configuration. If your customer decides to purchase another 100 of these machines in 6 years, then you will either have to redo the documentation for 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 spare parts in the warehouse, but Advantech guarantees that 7 years will pass from the moment of launching the series until the moment the product is discontinued. During this time, you can order the same motherboard, and in general, satisfy the demand of your customer.

I hasten to note that today the exposure time of server components rarely exceeds 3 years: the equipment becomes outdated too quickly, and a long lifespan is a great rarity, which is appreciated, for example, by various departments and the military.

2) Extended operating temperature range

Modern server components get so hot that even expensive coolers cannot keep the temperature close to the ambient air. For processors and GPUs, it has already become the norm to maintain an operating temperature of 70-80 degrees Celsius, RAM modules RDIMM calmly heat up to 65 degrees Celsius, SSDs - up to 70. All these fraternity inevitably transfer heat to the motherboard, so it is characterized by local temperature drops by 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 are no different from their counterparts for desktop PCs: for example, ASRock Rack has 0 - 35 degrees Celsius, SuperMicro usually has 0 - 50 degrees, and Advantech - from 0 up to 60 degrees Celsius. Moreover, we are talking specifically about the ambient temperature, and the board itself can get hotter!

Advantech ASMB-586

ASRock Rack E3C246D4U

Gigabyte MW21-SE0

Supermicro X11SSL-F

Working temperature, C

0 - 60

10 - 35

0 - 40

0 - 50

Storage temperature, C

-40 - 85

-40 - 70

-40 - 60

-40 - 70

Maximum working humidity,%





The high temperature range allows saving on cooling where possible, and in general it speaks of reliability, but how is it achieved?

3) Applying quality components

It is clear that if we are talking about a high resource and reliability, then this should be seen from the design of the motherboard itself. That is, it is not enough just to say: "our motherboards are designed for extreme conditions", you also need 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's a simple example: the board uses Japanese solid-state aluminum capacitors from Nippon with a temperature rating of 15 thousand hours at 105 degrees Celsius, that is, they are eternal!


This meticulous approach to components is characteristic of everything that a manufacturer uses to produce a board. Even the battery for the BIOS 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 have a large number of jumpers that you will not find on other motherboards. For example, resetting the Watchdog timer, which, by the way, can be adjusted within 255 seconds with an accuracy of a second! A separate jumper allows the firmware update, another one - the choice of the used power connectors. By default, they are set so that you do not need to change anything, but you cannot do without instructions here.

Some jumpers are installed on the blocks for outputting external connections, and therefore are documented in the corresponding section.

5) Pads and terminals 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, you will have to look for an output for the network activity indicator, but a block for connecting PS/2 ports, output to an external battery, GPIO and PMBUS ( for communication with the power supply) can only be found from Advantech.

Connectors such as connecting an LED indicator of the status of a machine or connecting an external voltmeter in general may be required only for very rare cases, and here you really don't have much to choose from. Some features of the board, such as placing the IPMI BIOS on the mezzanine, can be used for additional security, for example, to exclude the possibility of remote connection to equipment via Ethernet at the hardware level.

At the same time, there are no peculiarities for connecting DIMM modules and PCI boards: everything is standard here.

6) SUSI API Common Control Protocol

Advantech has developed a unified protocol for monitoring and managing its IoT devices, thin clients and servers, SUSI (Secure, Unified and Smart interface). With regard to motherboards, it has the following functionality:

System protection:

  • Data Security
  • Watch Dog Timer Operation
  • Overheating protection
  • Throttling control
  • Fan operation
  • Hardware Monitoring
  • System Information
Access to I/O functions:
  • GPIO
  • SMBus/I2C
  • Display backlight

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

7) PCI 2.2 in modern motherboards

Another rare feature for server-segment boards is support for the PCI 2.2 interface (this is the one that existed before PCI Express). In a modern server park, it has not been used for a long time, but among specialized equipment, especially those 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.

Advantech ASMB-584

Advantech ASMB-784

Advantech ASMB-785

Advantech ASMB-925

Processor socket

LGA 1150

LGA 1150

LGA 1151

LGA 3647

Board Format

Micro ATX




# of PCI slots 2.2





Advantech has boards such as the ASMB-785 with the LGA1151 socket for the Xeon E3, which can accommodate 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), making it 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 edge 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 park 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, tests it for operation at elevated temperatures, vibration and electromagnetic conditions typical for industrial premises.

Studying the characteristics of motherboards, you will not find information about the supported operating systems, therefore, I recommend that you definitely clarify this issue with the distributor when drawing up project documentation. For ordering through a tender, Advantech products are a paradise for an integrator, since the presence of a large number of outputs and hardware jumpers makes it possible to completely exclude the supply of analogues or replacements of the specified nomenclature.

Mikhail Degtyarev (aka LIKE OFF)

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