Posts Tagged ‘freebsd’
Orange Pi Development Boards

Netgate SG-3100 is an ARM based pfSense Firewall Appliance

November 30th, 2017 19 comments

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 for LAN
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion
    • 2x M.2 ‘B’ key sockets (SSD, LTE)
    • 1x M.2 ‘E’ key socket (2230 form factor) for WiFi / Bluetooth
    • 1x miniPCIe (WiFi)
    • microSIM
    • mikroBUS socket, for community hacking and OEM expansion opportunities
  • Console Port – 1x mini USB port
  • Power Supply – 12V/3.33A threaded barrel connector
  • Power Consumption – 5W (idle)
  • Dimensions – Enclosure: 20.3 x 17.8 x 4 cm; motherboard: mini-ITX 17 cm x 17 cm
  • Operating Temperature – 0°C to 65°C
  • Certifications CE, FCC, RoHS, UL

The device is pre-loaded with pfSense with features such as stateful packet filtering firewall or pure router, routing policy per gateway and per-rule for failover and load balancing, transparent layer 2 firewall, support for IPV6, NAT, BGP, VPN: IPsec, OpenVPN, L2TP, Dynamic DNS client, and more. SG-3100 is said to support up to 1.8 million active connections.


Click to Enlarge

This model targets SMB to medium sized networks, small to medium sized branch office, managed service providers (MSP), home or commercial high-speed Gigabit connections, or multiple VPN Connections.

Netgate SG-3100 is sold for $349 with a 12-month hardware warranty, and a one year subscription to pfSense Gold ($99 value) providing access to extensive documentation and videos. More details may be found on the product page.

NetBSD is Now Running on Allwinner H3 Boards

July 11th, 2017 8 comments

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 supported since 2015 by NetBSD 7.0 and greater with Raspberry Pi 2, ODROID-C1, BegleBone Black, Allwinner A20/A31 boards, and others, but the work done on Allwinner H3 is different, as it’s the first implementation to use device tree, and eventually it should be possible to ship a single GENERIC evbarm kernel for all boards.

Thanks to Geokon for the tip.

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

July 5th, 2017 15 comments

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 – 4x USB 2.0 ports including 2x via headers, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion – 1x PCI-E 3.0 up to x4 (in x4 slot); number of PCI-E lane is configurable via BIOS setup: 0, 2, or 4.
  • Video Output – VGA
  • Serial – 1x COM port via header
  • IPMI & 2D Graphics – ASPEED AST2400 BMC
  • Misc – TPM header; AMI UEFI 2.4/SMBIOS 2.7.1 “BIOS”;  HW monitoring: 4-fan status and tachometer, CPU voltage monitoring, system temperature, VBAT, etc…
  • Power Supply – ATX power connector; 12V DC power input; CPU thermal trip support for processor protection; power-on mode for AC power recovery
  • Dimensions –  17.02cm x 17.02cm (Mini-ITX)
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0°C ~ 60°C; storage: -40°C – 85°C

The board supports Windows 64-bit operating systems like Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Hyper-V Server 2016, etc.. as well as various 64-bit Linux distributions such as RedHat Linux EL 7.3, Fedora 25, SuSE SLES 11 SP4, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and others, as well as FreeBSD. You may find the full list here.

If you’d like a complete system, the company also offer SuperServer 5029A-2TN4 with the board, and the company’s SC721TQ-250B mini tower with four hot-swap 3.5″ SATA drive bays, two internal 2.5″ drive bays, and 1 slim DVD-ROM drive bay shared with one internal 2.5″ bay.

Supermicro A2SDi-2C-HLN4F motherboard is sold for just above $200 on websites such as Atacom and WiredZone. I found the barebone “SuperServer” sold for $405 on Newegg. The latter has been reviewed on ServeTheHome in April with the conclusion rather positive:

If you are looking for a 1GbE NAS unit, this is a great option. The performance is well above the previous generation dual core and sometimes quad core models. The ability to maintain a low power profile will help ROI.

Over time, we expect to see better support for the X553 NIC. The major competition for this unit will be when the higher core count variants come out and iterations that support 10GbE.

In many environments, this is going to be a perfect NAS/ network services platform. If you wanted a simple 1GbE Linux NAS or caching appliance, the Supermicro SYS-5029A-2TN4 should be high on your list.

They also ran several benchmarks to put the CPU performance into perspective.

OpenSSL Sign Benchmark – Higher is Better

You’ll find more details about the motherboard on the product page.

Thanks to Paul for the tip.



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

December 14th, 2016 10 comments

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.

cavium-thunderx-arm-server-rackAvantek 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 4 nodes with front access to the node trays

The server is compliant with ARM’s Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) and Server Base Boot Requirements (SBBR), which means you can load any compliant OS on the server such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, FreeBSD 11 and others.

64-bit-arm-server-for-saleSo I went through the check out process for Avantek 384 core server and I could go until the process payment step without issues, except I had to use a UK address. However, I did not press the “Place Order” button since 1. I don’t actually have a UK address (a forwarder could provide that), and 2. I don’t feel like spending around 15,000 GBP (~$19,000 US) for the system, plus whatever is needed for the hard drives and memory :). If your budget is also restrained, but would like a ThunderX server, you can opt to get Avantek 32-core 1U rack system for about 1,500 GBP (~$1900 US) and up.

Thanks to Sander for the tip.

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

June 1st, 2016 5 comments

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 total of 12 DIMMs per socket.
    • Up to 3200MHz in 1 DPC and 2966MHz in 2 DPC configuration.
  • Full system virtualization for low latency from virtual machine to IO enabled through Cavium virtSOC technology
  • Next Generation IO
    • Integrated 10/25/40/50/100GbE network connectivity.
    • Multiple integrated SATAv3 interfaces.
    • Integrated PCIe Gen3 interfaces, x1, x4, x8 and x16 support.
  • Integrated Hardware Accelerators
    • OCTEON style packet parsing, shaping, lookup, QoS and forwarding.
    • Virtual Switch (vSwitch) offload.
    • Virtualization, storage and NITROX V security.
  • Manufacturing Process – 14 nm FinFET


Just like for Cavium ThunderX, four revisions (SKUs) will be provided to match specific requirements, with all support 10/25/40/50/100GbE connectivity:

  • ThunderX2_CP for cloud compute workloads.  Used for private and public clouds, web serving, web caching, web search, commercial HPC workloads such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and reservoir modeling. This family also includes PCIe Gen3 interfaces, and accelerators for virtualization and vSwitch offload.
  • ThunderX2_ST for optimized for big data, cloud storage, massively parallel processing (MPP) databases and Data warehousing. This family supports multiple PCIe Gen3 interfaces, SATAv3 interfaces, and hardware accelerators for data protection, integrity, security, and efficient data movement.
  • ThunderX2_SC for optimized for secure web front-end, security appliances and cloud RAN type workloads. This family supports multiple PCIe Gen3 interfaces, as well as Cavium’s NITROX security technology with acceleration for IPSec, RSA and SSL.
  • ThunderX2_NT optimized for media servers, scale-out embedded applications and NFV type workloads. This family includes  OCTEON style hardware accelerators for packet parsing, shaping, lookup, QoS and forwarding.

The processor complies with Server Base Boot Requirements (SBBR), UEFI, ACPI support), and SBSA Level 2, and will support Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and later, Red Hat Early Access for ARMv8,  SUSE SLES SP2 and later, CentOS 7.2 and later, and FreeBSD 11.0 and later.

Charbax interviewed the company at Computex 2016 in the 20-minute video below, where you can also see Gigabyte G220-T60 server with ThunderX with an Nvidia Tesla GPU (at the 7:20 mark) for “high performance compute applications”, and other servers based on the first generation ThunderX SoC.

It could not find when the SoC will be available. More details can be found on Cavium ThunderX2 product page.

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

August 20th, 2015 4 comments

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.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

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 debug via FTDI cable
  • Expansion headers
    • Low-speed expansion (LSE) port – 2×13 (26-pin) male 0.1″ pin header with access to SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2x UARTs (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (including 2x supporting PWM), +5V, and GND
    • High-speed expansion (HSE) port –  60-pin, high-density connector with access to 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 Lane, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, and GND
    • 8x buffered GPIO
  • Power Supply – 5V DC input via coaxial jack, 5V DC output via  2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 99 x 74mm
  • Temperature Range –  Operating: 0 – 70 deg C (fanless); Storage: -20 to +85 deg C
  • Certifications – FCC part 15 Class B, CE Class B, IEC-60950, RoHS/WEEE

The Turbot board will support Lure expansion boards designed for MinnowBoard MAX, as well as its software including operating systems such as Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Android 4.4, Yocto Project Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, and FreeBSD.It will be open source hardware with design files (schematics, PCB layout, gerber, BoM) released under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.
MinnowBoard_Turbot_EnclosureThe platform is currently sampling to early customers, and will be listed on in mid-September 2015, before shipping in quantities in October 2015. Price is  $139 MSRP for single unit order, and the board, lures and an anodized aluminum case can already be pre-ordered from Netgate. Further information can be found on ADi Engineering MinnowBoard Turbot product page.

Via LinuxGizmos

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

June 12th, 2013 1 comment

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.

Deciso Netboard A10
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, 9W TDP, Radeon HD 8210E GPU)
  • System Memory – Up to 8GB DDR3 non-ECC, 1x 1600/1333/1066
  • I/O Interfaces:
    • 1 x PCIe x4 Edge Connector
    • 5x USB 2.0 (2 on header, 1 on edge connector, 2 external ports)
    • 3x Serial (2 on header, 1 with integrated usb serial converter on miniUSB B port)
    • 2x SATA 3 + mini power header (JST)
    • SD card socket
    • 6x GPIO on header (2 shared with micro switch and gpio indicator led) Optional
    • 1x Display Port ++ (aka Dual Mode)
    • 1x VGA on header
  • Ethernet – 4x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel 82574L)
  • Power:
    • External 12V [wide range capable 7-24VDC]
    • ACPI 3.0 (With 5V power rail always active)
  • Temperature range – Operating: 0 to +45°C, Storage: -20 to +80°C
  • Humidity – Operating: 10 to 95% r. H. non cond. / Storage 5 to 95% r. H. non cond.
  • Dimensions – 185mm x 125mm

Deciso supports both Linux and FreeBSD on the board, with other operating systems available on request. Netboard A10 boots with SageBIOS Coreboot from a 32Mbit serial SPI flash. The board also powers the company’s 19” Netboard A10 based Network appliance.


Deciso Netboard A10 Rack Appliance

Linux Gizmos reports samples of the Netboard A10 will be available in Q4 2013, and mass production of the board and rack appliance should start in Q1 2014. Further information is available on Netboard A10 and Netboard A10 Rack Appliance pages.