Electronics manufacturer Aaeon launched the PICO-WHU4, the brand's latest miniature board that targets the AI and edge computing markets. The PICO-WHU4 is an excellent Raspberry Pi alternative for customers that fancy a more powerful solution.
As the name implies, the PICO-WHU4 conforms to the Pico-ITX form factor and officially measures 3.94 inches x 2.84 inches (100mm x 72mm). For comparison, the Raspberry Pi 4 B comes with dimensions of 3.37 inches x 2.22 inches (85.6 mm x 56.5 mm), so the PICO-WHU4 is right up its alley.
The Raspberry Pi 4 B utilizes Arm's quad-core Cortex A-72 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. The PICO-WHU4, on the other hand, leverages Intel's 8th Generation Whiskey Lake processors, opening the door to x86 applications. Whiskey Lake, which is manufactured on the 14nm process node, offers chips that span from two cores up to four cores. The 14nm parts typically operate within the 15W envelope, but also feature a cTDP (configurable TDP) between 12.5W and 25W.
|Processor||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||L3 Cache (MB)||Graphics||Graphics Base / Boost Clock (MHz)||TDP (W)|
|Core i7-8665UE||4 / 8||1.7 / 4.7||8||Intel UHD Graphics 620||300 / 1,150||15|
|Core i5-8365UE||4 / 8||1.6 / 4.1||6||Intel UHD Graphics 620||300 / 1,050||15|
|Core i3-8145UE||2 / 4||2.2 / 3.9||4||Intel UHD Graphics 620||300 / 1,000||15|
|Celeron 4305UE||2 / 2||2.0 / 2.0||2||Intel UHD Graphics 610||300 / 1,000||15|
The Raspberry Pi 4 B forces you to choose between 1GB, 2GB and 4GB soldered LPDDR4-3200 options. The PICO-WHU4 is equipped with a SODIMM DDR4 slot, allowing you more flexibility in terms of memory capacity. The board can support up to 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory.
The PICO-WHU4 has a diverse range of connectors. There's a standard SATA III port for connecting your storage devices, such as hard drives or SSDs. The board also provides an mSATA/mPCIe x 1 slot, an M.2 2230 (E key) slot, and two COM headers with support for RS-232/422/485.
The PICO-WHU4 outputs video through the two HDMI 1.4b ports. Whiskey Lake incorporates two different integrated graphics solutions. The more powerful UHD Graphics 620 is found on the Core offerings, while the UHD Graphics 610 is present on the sole Celeron chip. However, both iGPUs can push resolutions up to 4K (3840 x 2160).
Aaeon employs two Realtek RTL8111G ethernet controllers to supply two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the PICO-WHU4. The board only has two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. Nonetheless, it has one USB 2.0 header and provides another two USB 2.0 ports in case you need the extra connectivity.
The PICO-WHU4 is designed to be deployed in harsh environments. The board can withstand operating temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius and operating humidity up to 90%. Furthermore, Aaeon offers an optional aluminum heat spreader and cooler for the PICO-WHU4, which you can purchase for $12 and $25, respectively.
The price tag is one of the PICO-WHU4's toughest selling points. It remains to be seen what the other models will cost, but Aaeon currently sells the Core i5-8365UE version for $783. You'll also have to factor in the cost of the memory as well. That's difficult to swallow for casual DIY users when the Raspberry Pi 4 B starts at a mere $35. Given the specifications, the PICO-WHU4 is probably more suited for serious projects.