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Old 01-13-2013, 12:05 PM   #1
thinklogic
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Default industrial, rugged mobos

Anyone have experience with industrial rugged mobos?

It seems there's a number of them including IEI, advantech, covalent, etc. Their selling point is they offer higher quality components, wider operating temperatures and overall more rugged design than consumer motherboards (of course at 2x the cost...)

I'm shopping around for a mobo (not chipset picky, mATX/mini-ITX preferred) in the industrial-class but can't seem to find any real reviews that test their longevity. Google is chock full of spamvertisements and anandtech isn't exactly for the industrial crowd.

EDIT: I found ruggedPCreview.com, but they seem to have a strong Advantech bias...

Some of them are advertising 7-10 year life spans but I'm having a hard time dissecting the truth from the spam.

Suggestions

Last edited by thinklogic; 01-13-2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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An industrial board aint gonna last longer than a regular consumer board. They are just designed to cope better with dust, humidity, radical heat changes and so on. In other words, different environment.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
An industrial board aint gonna last longer than a regular consumer board. They are just designed to cope better with dust, humidity, radical heat changes and so on. In other words, different environment.
There' some truth to that, but I would question the quality of a $35 mobo's components

My application isn't a particularly harsh environment, but it *must* last a long, long time and have some horsepower to it - Intel Core i series or similar AMD offerings. An embedded Atom chip just ain't gonna cut it. However the mobo must offer unquestionable quality & reliability. Decade+ lifespan in a "set and forget" situation.

Ultra Durable 4/5 from Gigabyte & MSI's Millitary Class III mobos are attractive offerings in the consumer market, but I still hesitate to trust the consumer market...

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Old 01-13-2013, 12:46 PM   #4
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My GA-P35-DS3R v1.0, one of Gigabytes early "Durable" boards, has lasted from 2007 until now, and is still alive and kicking.

Edit: I actually have two of them, basically identical rigs, both running well, and pretty-much always overclocked.

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Old 01-13-2013, 12:50 PM   #5
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Paging Rubycon...

What do you need an industrial mobo for? Are you operating a system in a harsh environment, or are you just worried about reliability?
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVerLoRDI View Post
worried about reliability?
Not just worried, it's *gotta* be reliable in the 10+ year lifespan.

Because it's not a harsh environment, things like vibration resistance or humidity ranges aren't very important - I'm optimizing for longevity here. No OC'ing either, it will stay 100% stock.

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:00 PM   #7
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Just discovered DFI's industrial motherboard MTBF chart: http://www.dfi-itox.com/pages/produc.../info/mtbf.php

The same DFI of LANparty fame - but now in the industrial sector. Also looking at Intel's server motherboards which have published MTBFs...
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinklogic View Post
Not just worried, it's *gotta* be reliable in the 10+ year lifespan.
No such components exist. Nothing on the consumer market, nothing on the industrial market, is guaranteed to last a decade. Are industrial/enterprise parts more likely to make it to a decade than consumer parts? Of course. But like you've noted the former are twice the cost of the latter - and I'd rather have an entirely redundant set of consumer components than one set of industrial components.

You need to re-think your approach to the problem.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:22 PM   #9
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If you "gotta" have it last 10 years, buy duplicate backup boards in case it fails, you can do a quick swap out instead of tracking down the board. Intel branded boards are also proven to be rock solid. Not a single of the 40 i've build from 04 has failed yet.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:42 PM   #10
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What is this for, some kind of server setup? I would just look at building two redundant systems with failover. Also ensure it is on clean backed up power. What tends to be hard on components is power off/on cycles. Keep it running 24/7 and it's less likely to fail prematurely. My home server is a good 7 years old. I've only shut it down a few times, and those are the times where I had failures. It's now on a 5 hour battery backup system as it approaches the end of it's life. Been putting lot of money into power backup as it's still cheaper than trying to troubleshoot random component failures. Eventually I want to replace the whole thing though but its more expensive than just adding batteries to the backup system.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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backup boards are sound advice -

Of course it's just a matter of probabilities - less vs more likely to fail in <10years. Published MTBFs from solid manufacturers, within reasonable prices are my current line of attack. Intel's a solid brand, and there are others
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigantopithecus View Post
No such components exist. Nothing on the consumer market, nothing on the industrial market, is guaranteed to last a decade.
Good reality check, thanks
With most situations, motherboards get replaced because they're obsolete. Here - it's kind of a "set in concrete" situation that will stay static for a while, so it will be "just powerful enough" to handle the workload but absolute top quality components.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
What is this for, some kind of server setup?
It's a client workstation , but because of the situation it's a pain in the you-know-what to have to deal with component failure.

Since it's not a server situation total redundancy isn't cost justifiable, but component quality is an absolute must. He's getting the best Seasonic PSU and Samsung SSD drive I can justify (plus a backup HDD drive)... and I am sticking with integrated graphics because they're "good enough" and no discrete GPU card = 1 less component that could fail.

Motherboards are one thing I hate to skimp on, hence my focus on MTBF.

Last edited by thinklogic; 01-13-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:53 PM   #13
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Update:
skipping the "industrial" boards, I've focused on Intel's server line-up.
Here's my current build so far:

Motherboard: Intel DBS1200KPR server board - LGA1155, mini-ITX
LGA1155 socket, SATA III and ECC (!!) supported memory.
(the "R" version of this board adds support for Ivy Bridge i3s)
$142 from Provantage: http://www.provantage.com/intel-dbs1200kpr~7ITEM0RN.htm

Calculated MTBF: 255,227 hours @ 55 deg C. per Intel's Technical Product Specification:
http://download.intel.com/support/mo...p_tps_r1_0.pdf
~30 years seems a little hypish for a $150 board, but even if its 1/3 that life I'm happy.
AT $150 it's not astronomically expensive, and it's an Intel miniITX server board with ECC support!

CPU: Core I3-3225
3.3Ghz, Dual-Core with HT and HD-4000 graphics. Plenty for this situation.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:09 PM   #14
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double check, i could be wrong, but i dont think core i3's support ecc memory (if that is what you were going to get)

edit: i was partially wrong, and partially right

http://www.intel.com/support/process...-031175.htm#10
Quote:
Does the Intel® Core™ i3 Desktop Processor support Error Correction Code (ECC) memory?

The Previous Generation Intel® Core™ i3 Processors and the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i3 Processors do not support ECC memory, but the 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i3 Processors support ECC memory.

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:55 PM   #15
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Most PC components used in harsh environment focus on the chassis providing environmental protection.

In my experience SuperMicro has provided a stable, long lasting platform. Many of their boards will last 10+ years easily.

Use fanless power supplies and solid state hard drives and put it in a dust tight enclosure and you will be good to go!
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubycon View Post
Most PC components used in harsh environment focus on the chassis providing environmental protection.

In my experience SuperMicro has provided a stable, long lasting platform. Many of their boards will last 10+ years easily.

Use fanless power supplies and solid state hard drives and put it in a dust tight enclosure and you will be good to go!
Great suggestions. You say a "dust tight enclosure." How do you provide cooling then to the case? There are "heatsink cases" but it sounds like there might be other options http://www.silentpcreview.com/article937-page1.html

SuperMicro keeps coming up in my searches as an extremely reliable mobo brand. [snip] looks like they do support Intel integrated graphics on some boards. Will enquire about MTBFs -

Any suggestions on CPU cooling options that would last? There's a number of fans that have high MTBFs, and of course some pre-made watercooler solutions but I'm open for suggestions

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Old 01-15-2013, 08:43 PM   #17
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I work for a company that sells ruggedized tablet PCs. Our motherboard doesn't come in a standard form factor like what you are looking for, but meets similar specs of the boards the industrial manufacturers you quote.

Our pure electrical failure rate is something rediculously low over the 3 year warranty period, like 0.5 to 2% depending on the component (HDD/SSD on the high end, motherboards on the low end) They get used in environments of extreme temperature (our spec is -20C to 60C, but I know in some scenarios like vehicle environments, those numbers get exceeded by as much as 30C on the high end, 10C on the low end) While also handling high G-forces (3-5lb device, 5 ft drop, you do the math) and unpredictable electrical environments (big trucks are hella noisy).

in summary, you get what you pay for with most industrial spec'd boards
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RU482 View Post
I work for a company that sells ruggedized tablet PCs. Our motherboard doesn't come in a standard form factor like what you are looking for, but meets similar specs of the boards the industrial manufacturers you quote.

Our pure electrical failure rate is something rediculously low over the 3 year warranty period, like 0.5 to 2% depending on the component (HDD/SSD on the high end, motherboards on the low end) They get used in environments of extreme temperature (our spec is -20C to 60C, but I know in some scenarios like vehicle environments, those numbers get exceeded by as much as 30C on the high end, 10C on the low end) While also handling high G-forces (3-5lb device, 5 ft drop, you do the math) and unpredictable electrical environments (big trucks are hella noisy).

in summary, you get what you pay for with most industrial spec'd boards
Good points, and I see where in my application a true, industrial motherboard is overkill. The only factors I'm optimizing are MTBF and feature set, so any cash going towards G-force and temperature extreme design costs would be wasted. It seems like server mobos are more in line with my application.

However, I appreciate the comment - there are other, personal applications where a G-force rated motherboard would come in handy
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:56 AM   #19
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If dust is an issue you will want a positive pressure system using fan(s) with adequately filtered inputs. Heatpipe coolers or large conventional fin/pin heatsinks will suffice. Delta, San-Ace, Nidec, NMB are good brands of fans that will work reliably.

You can also use dedicated spot coolers for an otherwise sealed enclosure. These can be thermoelectric or conventional phase change refrigeration based. If copious compressed air is available and noise is of no concern you can even employ vortex tube cooling!
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:24 AM   #20
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I think Supermicro makes nice boards. If maintenance is difficult, consider using components that can be cooled passively. Realistically, in a well built system, fans will fail more often than the components they cool, and they draw lots of dust which must be addressed regularly one way or another.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:52 PM   #21
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I guess the ruggedpcreview.com website is meant to last untouched for as long as the products they review?

yeesh
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