Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Today I saw the D-Link Boxee Box

I read that it uses an Intel Atom CE4100 SOC (System on a chip).

I did a lot of searching and found tons of PDFs and technical specs from Intel about the SOC itself, but I wanted to know how one goes about actually assembling a custom appliance/system using a chip like this.

Do SoC chips like this even require a general purpose motherboard? Do companies sell motherboards for specific SoCs, or does a company building the appliance have to have their own motherboards or I/O boards designed for such a system?

Does a company generally have to build their tool chain for software development on such a system (I see it's x86 compatible and runs a version of linux behind the scenes, so I guess it's not 100% from scratch)?

I guess I'm just curious about how much of these systems are ready-made and are just pieced-together from prefabricated parts and software, and how much the appliance company actually has to develop in-house, just for my own curiosity about how much work goes into designing custom/single purpose x86 appliances.

Also I couldn't even find wholesale or custom companies in the search engine that even sell these type of chips & parts. Anyone with better google-fu mind sharing some links? I'd just like to see prices and garner other information and see what type of place even sells such a thing.

Any information would be great. Thanks

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

SoC silicon still needs a board for a home, even though most or all of functionality you might traditionally see on a motherboard is integrated into the chip.

I suppose a large organization might design their own custom board tailored to their needs and contract out the fabrication. Smaller organizations would probably contract out the design, too. Either way, initial development / prototyping is probably done on a development board purchased from Intel or another vendor. I don't imagine such boards are particularly cheap.

Check this out. Sounds like you have to contact Intel for the custom kernel and SDK. There is a link in the comment sections to a source for a development board. You might or might not be able to get your hands on one or both as an individual due the the AACS bits.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.