Ross Nicholls' Over:Board Looks to Put a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Into Your Mini-ITX PC Case

Crowdfunding campaign looks to produce the first physical prototypes on an extremely aggressive schedule.

Engineer Ross Nicholls has launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring the Over:Board to life: a carrier board designed to take a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and turn it into a computer compatible with ITX-style cases.

"After years of wanting to combine two of my loves — the wealth of available components, peripherals and accessories of the PC world with the flexibility, customisability and community support of the Raspberry Pi — I have designed a mini-ITX carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4," Nicholls explains. "I have designed and made many carrier boards and peripheral PCBs in my professional career, but this is the first based on my own personal wishes."

"The design is ready to go and is built up from the Raspberry Pi CMIO 4 board schematic and extended to include more PC-centric components and engineered for maximum compatibility with Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and ATX cases and PC peripherals."

Designed around the standardised mini-ITX form factor, allowing it to fit in traditional PC cases, the carrier board has a 24-pin ATX-format power input, a fully-size PCI Express slot connected to the Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module's single lane, a USB-SATA connector for storage, real-time clock with battery backup, a USB audio controller, a fan controller, UART header, front panel header, and the full 40-pin Raspberry Pi general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header.

On the rear panel of the board, designed to be accessible at the back of a case, is a micro-USB client port, an RS232 serial port, two HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, a microSD card slot, and 3.5mm analog audio connectors.

While the design is claimed complete, Nicholls has yet to produce a prototype. "My intention is to get 3 manufacturers to make 5 prototype boards each," he notes. "I will select the highest quality board for the pre-production run. With 2 of the boards from each manufacturer I will use them for testing, marketing and development. The remaining 9 boards will be sent to Early-backers as reward for their support."

Nicholls has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to fund production: Backers can choose a final production board at £99 with shipping expected in September, a pre-production board for £149 with shipping in May, or one of the limited number of prototype boards for £199 with shipping expected in March, should the aggressive target be hit and the prototype prove successful.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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