RISC-V Keynote at Embedded Linux Conference 2018 (Video)

The Embedded Linux Conference and OpenIoT Summit 2018 have just started, and the Linux Foundation has already uploaded a few keynote videos to YouTube, including the one by Yunsup Lee, Co-Founder and CTO, SiFive, entitled “Designing the Next Billion Chips: How RISC-V is Revolutionizing Hardware”. Yunsup explains the current problem with chip development, and go through the open source RISC-V solutions offered by Sifive. Currently design a chip has a high upfront (NRE = non-recurring engineering) costs, is time-consuming (1.5 to 2 years at least) and silicon vendors normally target high volume production, but now many applications like IoT or machine learning require custom chips that may not be (yet) manufactured in such high volume. The solution is to adapt some idea from open source software to open source hardware in order to lower the costs, enable fast prototyping, and involve the community of designers and software developers. He took Instagram as an example, as it sold for $1 billion …

Netgate SG-3100 is an ARM based pfSense Firewall Appliance

pfSense software is a popular open source firewall distribution based on FreeBSD operating system that is entirely managed via a web interface. Up until recently, FreeBSD (see comments section) pfSense would only support x86-64 (Intel or AMD hardware). But progress has been made with pfSense (and FreeBSD) for ARM, and Netgate, the company behind pfSense, is now selling two ARM based firewall appliances with SG-1000 microFirewall powered by Texas Instruments AM3352 Cortex A8 SoC, and sine a little over of month,  SG-3100 firewall appliance based on a more suitable Marvell dual core Cortex A9 processor. Netgate SG-3100 hardware specifications: Processor – Marvell ARMADA 38x 88F6820 dual core ARM Cortex-A9 @ 1.6 GHz with NEON SIMD and FPU System Memory – 2GB DDR4L Non ECC Storage – 8GB eMMC Flash Network Interfaces 2x Gigabit Ethernet configured as dual WAN or one WAN one LAN 4x ports Gigabit Marvell 88E6141 switch, uplinked at 2.5 Gbps to the third port on the SoC …

NetBSD is Now Running on Allwinner H3 Boards

Most people will run Linux kernel on development boards because it does the job, and that’s usually the only option. But others have been working on NetBSD kernel for Allwinner H3 boards, and it’s now running on various H3 boards with serial console, USB, Ethernet, SD card, and eMMC flash working. Jared McNeill explains they first had to deal with low-level code to initialize the CPU and MMU, before using a U-boot layer to disguise NetBSD as the Linux kernel in order to load kernel and device tree file. The code then jumps to the generic ARM FDT implementation of initarm to relocate DTB data and perform other steps, and finally they can enumerated devices. This is explained in greater details in the aforelinked blog post on NetBSD website. Jared tested the implementation on NanoPi NEO and Orange Pi Plus 2E, but others have reported success on various hardware based on Allwinner H3 processor. Other ARM development boards have been …

Supermicro A2SDi-2C-HLN4F Server Mini-ITX Motherboard is Based on Intel Atom C3338 “Denverton” Processor

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote about Intel Atom C3000 Series “Denverton”  processor based on the same Goldmont architecture used in Apollo Lake processor, and used in an early GIGABYTE MA10-ST0 server motherboard prototype. The latter is not out yet, but according to a YouTube video, the 16-core motherboard should be launched in H2 2017. In the meantime, Supermicro also made their own Denverton motherboard based on a lower-end Atom C3338 dual core processor. Supermicro A2SDi-2C-HLN4F board specifications: Processor – Intel Atom C3338 dual core Denverton processor @ 1.50 / 2.20 GHz with 4 MB  cache; 9W TDP System Memory Up to 64GB Register DIMM RDIMM and DDR4-1866MHz Up to 32GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC UDIMM, DDR4-1866MHz, in 2 DIMM slots Storage – 4x SATA 3 ports, but up to 8x SATA 3 (6 Gbps) ports are configurable; N.B.: total combined PCI-E lanes and SATA ports is up to 8 Connectivity – 4x GbE Ethernet via Intel C3000 SoC USB – …

Avantek H270-T70 384-core ARM Server Powered by Cavium ThunderX SoCs Can Be Bought Online

ARM servers have been around for a while, but usually it’s pretty hard to buy for individuals, and developer’s boards such as LeMaker Cello are never in stock, probably because the project has been canceled or suffered from further delays. However, if you have some uses for ARM servers and the cash that goes with it, Avantek Computer (UK) is selling some ARM based servers starting from an 1U Rack with a quad core Annapurna Alpine AL5140 processor up to Avantek H270-T70 with a 2U rack equipped with multiple Cavium ThunderX SoCs providing 384 ARMv8 cores to play with. Avantek H270-T70 server key features and specifications: SoCs – 8x Cavium ThunderX CN8890 processors with 48 custom ARMv8 cores each System Memory – 64x DDR4 ECC slots for up to 8TB memory Storage – 16x 2.5” hot-swappable HDD/SSD bays Connectivity – 8x 40GbE QSFP+ fiber ports (Cortina CS4343 controllers) Power Supply – 1600W 80 PLUS Platinum redundant PSU 2U Rack System with …

Cavium introduces 54 cores 64-bit ARMv8 ThunderX2 SoC for Servers with 100GbE, SATA 3, PCIe Gen3 Interfaces

Cavium announced their first 64-bit ARM Server SoCs with the 48-core ThunderX at Computex 2014. Two years later, the company has now introduced the second generation, aptly named ThunderX2, with 54 64-bit ARM cores @ up to 3.0 GHz and promising two to three times more performance than the previous generation. Key features of the new server processor include: 2nd generation of full custom Cavium ARM core; Multi-Issue, Fully OOO; 2.4 to 2.8 GHz in normal mode, Up to 3 GHz in Turbo mode. Up to 54 cores per socket delivering > 2-3X socket level performance compared to ThunderX Cache – 64K I-Cache and 40K D-Cache, highly associative; 32MB shared Last Level Cache (LLC). Single and dual socket configuration support using 2nd generation of Cavium Coherent Interconnect with > 2.5X coherent bandwidth compared to ThunderX System Memory 6x DDR4 memory controllers per socket supporting up to 3 TB RAM in dual socket configuration Dual DIMM per memory controller, for a …

MinnowBoard Turbot SBC Gets an Intel Atom E3826 Dual Core Processor, FCC & CE Certification

MinnowBoard MAX launched las year as a low cost board based on Intel Bay Trail-I single or dual core processor, and was mostly targeting developers of embedded systems and hobbyists, but could not be used by OEMs as it lacked FCC & CE certifications. ADI Engineering designed a MinnowBoard compatible board named MinnowBoard Turbot with a faster Intel Atom E3826 dual core processor, FCC & CE certifications, and various other hardware modifications bringing improved HDMI, a better voltage regulator, and populating several connectors. MinnowBoard Turbot specifications: SoC – Intel Atom E3826 dual-core processor @ 1.46 GHz (7W TDP) System Memory – 2GB DDR3L 1333 MT/s (Soldered) – Options: 1GB, or 4GB DDR3L Storage – 1x Micro SD card slot, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 8 MB SPI Flash for firmware (Tianocore UEFI, Coreboot / SeaBIOS) Video & Audio Output – micro HDMI connector Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ-45 connector USB – 1x USB 3.0 host, 1x USB 2.0 host Debugging – Serial …

Linux / FreeBSD Netboard A10 SBC Powered by AMD G-Series SoC

AMD announced the G-Series SoC, AFAIK the first x86 SoC including CPU, GPU and chipset (ala ARM), at the end of April, and a few products are already available such as Win Enterprises MB-60830. One of those new SoCs, GX-416RA, is especially designed for headless applications, and does not features GPU. Deciso decided to use this processor in the standard version of their Netboard A10, a single board computer that can be used for network based appliances such as IP-PBX, Firewall & UTM or Load Balancer. The company also provides 2 other versions of the board that includes AMD G-Series SoCs with Radeon GPU. Netboard A10 Specifications: SoC: AMD Embedded GX-416RA G-Series SoC (4x 1.65GHz Jaguar cores, 2MB L2 cache, 15W TDP, no GPU) Option 1: AMD Embedded GX-415GA G-Series SoC (4 x 1.5GHz Jaguar cores, 2MB L2 cache, 15W TDP, Radeon HD 8330E GPU) Option 2: AMD Embedded GX-210HA G-Series SoC (2 x 1.0GHz Jaguar cores, 1MB L2 cache, …