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Intel Compute Card CD1M3128MK + DK132EPJ Dock SFF PC Review

By: Steven Bassiri | SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Nov 29, 2017 7:22 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Intel

Teardown of the Compute Card and Dock

 

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The dock has four screws camouflaged by four rubber feet. With a bunch of slides and prodding, we were able to dismantle the dock. It revealed a decent blower fan, and solid metal encasing.

 

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One thing we noticed is that if you insert a Kensington lock, a spring mechanism will push a metal bracket to prevent physical device tampering. The card ejection mechanism is set up to release pressure built up from inserting the card, and it works pretty well. I tried to eject the card by sticking something into the side vents, but I wasn't able to successfully achieve ejection, it was a lot easier when I opened the casing, but I think it's safe to say Intel designed the mechanism with security in mind.

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The image on the left shows the card, not inserted (image from the bottom of the dock), while the image on the right shows it inserted. When the card is inserted, a metal heat sink moves up to touch the bottom of the card and provide cooling.

 

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We can actually catch a glimpse of this large copper plate and thermal pad, and it seems to be reusable.

 

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I didn't remove the motherboard to see what was on the other side as it seemed to require even more dismantling of the card docking mechanism and I didn't want to break anything. We do see many familiar ICs on the top of the unit, and they do a lot of work.

 

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A Texas Instruments DP130DS is a Display Port re-driver, while the Parade PS8470A is an HDMI Jitter Cleaning Repeater. It seems that moving display over connection pins requires cleaning up the signal a bit. A Realtek RTS5442 is actually a type-C control chip with USB Power Delivery (up to 100W support), so we can assume that the custom port on the card is somewhat based on the type-C specification, perhaps only for power, but maybe also for data. I assume the IT8390 is an embedded controller. The Intel i211AT is used as the 1Gbit LAN controller, and the Realtek RTS5411 is used as a USB 3.0 hub.

 

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The card was a real pain to open up, you basically need to unscrew two tiny Torx screws and then that reveals a bracket with two other screws, and then with some effort, you can slide the unit out. The SSD has a thermal pad on the top of the unit, while I believe the SSD controller has a thermal pad glued on. On the other side of the card, we find the CPU and memory have thermal pads on them, and pressure on these pads is very good. The CMOS battery WIFI antenna side where the plastic is.

 

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The SSD is an SSDPEBKF128G7, our WIFI is the Intel Wireless-AC 8265D2W, and our power management IC is the ROHM992. We find two Micron 2GB modules, MT52L256M64D2PP-107. The Core m3 SoC is bare die. A Realtek RTS5440 is found inside (probably will be replaced with the RTS5450 like on the Pentium based card), it's a type-C controller and power delivery IC. We find more minor ICs like a Texas instruments HD3SS3212 10Gbps MUX (probably for video). We find an ITE IT8987VG, which is an SIO/EC (embedded controller), which probably acts to monitoring and control the system. We also fine a 64Mbit/8GB Winbond BIOS ROM as well.

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