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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

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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.

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