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8/1/2017 | By Maker.io Staff

Hands-on with the UDOO x86

Just recently I had received my UDOO x86 development board, which I backed in 2016 through Kickstarter and I was excited to get started with it as it’s been a long time since the Kickstarter campaign finished funding in 2016. There had been some delays with the manufacturing and there were also some minor tweaks to the hardware, but just like any other Kickstarter campaign, I’m sure it was worth the wait. After all, you would rather want a working finished product than a board with bugs and issues.

The UDOO x86 as you can guess is based on an Intel Quad Core x86 CPU. The campaign received more the 4000 backers raising a staggering $800k to bring the project to life. The board itself came in three different flavors, UDOO Basic, UDOO Advanced and UDOO Ultra all offering something different for every backer. The option I backed on Kickstarter was the Early Bird UDOO x86 Advance & Starter Kit for $134. This included the following:

  • 1x UDOO x86 Advanced
    • Intel Quad Core 1.6GHz boosted to 2.24GHz
    • 4GB of RAM
    • 1x HDMI, 2x miniDP++
    • eMMC 8GB
  • 1x Starter Kit
    • 12V 3A UK power adaptor
    • HDMI Cable
    • SATA & Power adaptor
    • Acrylic Enclosure

Later on, throughout the project UDOO gave the option for all its backers to upgrade the 8GB of eMMC to 32GB for only $20 extra, which of course I did. I thought it would be much easier and convenient to store the OS on the eMMC then use other options such as microSD or USB flash drive for extra storage if needed.

First thing I did when I received the board was to assemble the acrylic case. I was quite pleased that a case did come with the UDOO as there are several parts under the board which are exposed so it wouldn’t sit flat on any surface. Acrylic case was breeze to put together, with just a few nylon spacers, screws and nuts it was assembled in no time at all.

I then connected my HDMI monitor and USB mouse & keyboard, and was ready to boot it up. The power supply that came with the kit was a 12V 3A power supply. I would be sure that this is a minimum requirement for powering the board as; not only is it a powerful board, but there are also many peripheral ports, not to mention the Arduino compatible Intel Curie.

After booting up for the first time I was presented with the shell command prompt, at this point I had realized that it did not ship with any OS installed on the board, unlike some other boards. However, this wasn’t a problem and was rather welcomed as it gave me the option to choose which type of operating system I wanted to install such as Android, Linux (various versions) or Windows, pretty much any OS that support x86 CPUs.

I decided to go with installing the latest Ubuntu OS, which you can download from the Ubuntu website. I checked out the user instructions on the UDOO website and there is a handy little guide to show you how to download and install the OS to a USB flash drive. I did this and then inserted the drive into the UDOO x86 board and powered on whilst pressing the Esc key until it booted into the BIOS. The BIOS is a menu system that allows you to do certain things such as determine the boot priority and you can also check the computers statistics. Once in the BIOS menu you can select to boot from the USB flash drive that you just inserted. Ubuntu installation will then proceed and you just simply follow the steps to install it. When installing you can select the eMMC memory storage to installed the OS to, therefore when the board boots up you do not require the flash drive or any other memory device. Once finished, the board booted into Ubuntu Desktop.

At this point without any Wi-Fi capability, I was pretty much stuck. I didn’t easily have access to an Ethernet port, I mean how many actually use Ethernet these days? I would either have to purchase a Wi-Fi module that slots into the M.2 slot under the board or purchase a USB Wi-Fi dongle. Most other boards at least come with Wi-Fi built-in and ready to use out of the box, after all this UDOO x86 should be future-proof and IoT ready.

These are just my initial thoughts on the board and I’ll be sure to update my progress as I use to more often and hopefully get the Wi-Fi issue sorted soonest. I’ll certainly be interested to see how it compares to other x86 SBC’s.

 UDOO x86