arm⁶⁴ Development Workstation

Low power, small form factor Arm64 (aarch64) development machine.

The idea behind this build was to design a workstation for working on Free/Libre and Open Source Software development for the Arm architecture, using as small and light a machine as possible. This was only possible because of the availablity of the recently released SolidRun MITX motherboard with NXP SOC which offers generally comparable performance to the current crop of x86-64 processors, at under half the power consumption.

I currently do the majority of my work on an AMD x86-64 desktop, or Intel x86-64 laptop. Being able to develop on an Arm machine means not having to cross-compile from x86-64 when developing for the Arm architecture.

This board is partnered with 32GB of fast unbuffered ECC DDR4 RAM, an NVME M.2 SSD and low power AMD GPU.

SolidRun HoneyComb LX2K (NXP LX2160A 16-core 2GHz Arm Cortex A72)

Pre-production Early Access Development Board from SolidRun, a company better known as a manufacturer of embedded systems components.

Featuring the 16-core NXP LX2160A SOC, originally intended for "Edge Computing" and networking devices, which consumes only ~35W power under load... Perfect for a small ITX build.

SOC specs:
* 16 Cortex-A72 CPU cores, running up to 2.2GHz
* 18MB cache/on-chip memory
* 24 SerDes lanes, operating up to 25GHz
* Up to 16 Ethernet ports
* Supported Ethernet speeds include 1, 2.5, 10, 25, 40, 50, and 100 gigabits per second
* 114Gbps Layer 2 Ethernet switch
* Up to 24 PCIe Gen3 lanes, supporting ports as wide as x8
* 50Gbps security accelerator
* 100Gbps data compression/decompression engine

Board specs:
* CEx7 LX2160A 16-core Arm Cortex A72
* up to 64GB DDR4 (dual channel 3200MT/s)
* M.2 2240/2280
* MicroSD
* 64GB eMMC
* 4x SATA 3.0
* 2x SFP+ ports (10GbE each)
* 1x 1GbE copper (RJ45)
* 1x PCIe x8 Gen 3.0, open slot (can support x16)
* 3x USB 3.0
* 3x USB 2.0
* MicroUSB for debug (UART over USB)
* USB to STM32 for remote management

OS Support (as of Sept. 2019):
* Linux Kernel 4.14x
* Mainline Kernel – work in progress
* UBoot – work in progress
* UEFI – work in progress

32GB (2x16GB) Crucial ECC SODIMM 2666 CL19 (CT16G4TFD8266)

The fastest/best bang-for-the-buck ECC SODIMMs currently on the market (or at least available to us mere mortals).

HP EX920 M.2 NVMe x4 (1TB)

Only 6.23W power consumed under load, 0.73W idle. 650TB write endurance. Great value-for-money NVME M.2 SSD with very respectable performance. 5 year warranty.

* Silicon Motion SM2262
* Intel/Micron 64L 3D TLC
* M.2 2280 PCIe 3 x4 NVMe 1.3 (double-sided)
* Seq. Read: 3200 MB/s
* Seq. Write: 1800 MB/s
* Rand. Read: 350k IOPS
* Rand. Write: 250k IOPS

AMD Radeon WX 5100 (8GB)

Good performance-per-watt AMD workstation card. Able to drive x2 4K displays at 60Hz. Well-supported by the Open Source AMD graphics stack under Linux. Draws only ~75W at load and doesn't require extra power from the PSU. Generally very quiet and cool.

FSP Fanless 150W Flex ATX 1U (FSP150-50FGBBB)

Passively-cooled Flex ATX power supply. Total system power draw under load is ~107W so this PSU is more than capable enough, and completely silent.

Velka 3 rev 1.1

Extremely compact MITX chassis with x2 VF-8010-PWM 80 x 10 mm cooling fans and a high quality LiHeat 300 mm D Type shielded PCIe riser cable for the GPU.

Information correct as of Sept. 2019

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  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Unexpected place to find this system =)
Is there a chance you'll post the photos? About to order one and curious how it looks like in a real build.

what board revision btw?

  • 13 days ago
  • 1 point

Hi, sorry I've not logged in here for a good while. I'm surprised anyone is interested in a random Arm dev build on here. Yes, I'll get some pictures up. I'll probably desolder some of the unnecessary cabling from the psu to make it more presentable, but I can get a few pics up this weekend (before messing around with the soldering iron, so you can see it as-is), including some gut shots. Board is rev 1.4.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

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  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorted now. Cheers.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Photographs to follow at a later date, as well as part reviews once everything's been put through its paces. Cheers.