Free Electrons has been working on porting several ARM SoC to the Linux kernel (mainline), including Marvell XP and 370 SoCs, and they’ve been informed by Marvell that the company finally released Marvell Armada 370 processor publicly without requiring NDA nor registration. Marvell Armada XP dual and quad core processors datasheet found in higher-end NAS and cloud servers has not been released (yet), but we’ve been told many peripheral blocks are very similar, so Marvell Armada 370 datasheet can also be used for Armada XP processors to some extend.
Two documents have actually been released for Marvell Armada 370: the functional specification and the hardware specification (datasheet). The first document is actually the one with the most information with 1148 pages providing details about peripherals, against 164 pages for the latter providing details about pins and electrical characteristics.
So we’ve got an ARM SoC with mainline kernel support, and decent documentation. That’s already good, but there’s more as at least three devices based on Marvell Armada 370 are supported in mainline:
- Armada 370 Mirabox – A development kit by Globalscale Technologies that sells for $149.
- Netgear RN10200 (ReadyNAS102)- A two-bay NAS that’s sold for about $150 on Amazon.
- Netgear RN10400 (ReadyNAS104)- About the same as RN10200, but with 4-bay instead, and selling for about $250.
So you could just download the kernel from kernel.org, build it with your needed/required features, and use the relevant DTS files (armada-370-mirabox.dts, armada-370-netgear-rn102.dts, or armada-370-netgear-rn104.dts) to run the latest Linux kernel on your device.
Let’s just check the hardware specs of Netgear RM10200:
- CPU – Marvell Armada 370 ARMv7 processor @ 1.2GHz
- System Memory – 512MB
- Storage – Some flash for firmware, 2x bays for 2.5″or 3.5″ SATA/SSD supporting up to 8GB in total, 1x eSATA expansion port
- Connectivity – 1x Gigabit LAN port
- USB – 1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0
- Misc – 2-Line LCD display, 92mm fan
- Power Supply – 12V, 5A External 60W: input 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz
- Power Consumption – 31W during operating, 1W on Waker on LAN mode, and 210 mW in power off mode.
- Dimensions – 220 x 101 x 142 mm
- Weight – 2.12 kg
If you want to see more technical details including pictures of internals, details about the chips inside the NAS, instructions to get access to the serial console via a USB to TTL debug board, and step by step instructions to build the kernel and install Debian, you can visit natisbad blog.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.