Few years ago SolidRun released MACCHIATObin board. Nice fast cpu, PCI Express slot, several network ports. I did not buy it because it supported only 16 GB of memory and I wanted to be able to run OpenStack.
Time has passed, HoneyComb LX2 system appeared on AArch64 market. More cores, more memory. Again I haven’t bought it — my Ryzen 5 upgrade costed less than HoneyComb price is.
And when someone asked me for some serious AArch64 system to buy I was suggesting HoneyComb.
Let us look at hardware
So what do we have here?
- 16 Cortex-A72 cores
- 2 SO-DIMM slots (up to 64GB ram in total)
- USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (as ports and/or headers)
- standard ATX power socket (no 12V AUX needed)
- 3 fan connectors (one with PWM, two with 12V)
- front panel connectors like on x86-64 motherboards
- M.2 slot for NVME (pcie x4)
- PCI Express slot (open x8 one so x16 card fits)
- MicroSD slot (for firmware)
- 4 SFP+ ports for 10GbE networking
- 1 GbE port
- 4 SATA ports
- serial console via microUSB port
- power/reset buttons
Lot of networking and there is even version with 100GbE port added: ClearFog CX LX2.
So how I got it?
I wrote that I did not bought it, right? Jon Nettleton (from SolidRun) contacted me recently and asked:
Morning. do you have any interest in a HoneyComb? I have some old stock boards available to the community. I figured it may help you out with your UEFI Qemu work.
We discussed about SBSA/SBBR stuff and I sent him an email with address information and shipping notes.
Some days passed and board arrived. I added spare NVME and two sticks of Kingston HyperX 2933 CL17 memory and it was ready to go (microsd card keeps firmware):
Let’s run something
Debian ‘bullseye’ booted right away. Again I used pendrive from my EBBR compliant RockPro64. Started without problems.
Network ports issue
Ok, there was one problem — on-board ethernet ports do not work yet with mainline nor distribution kernels so I had to dig out my old USB based network card.
There are patches for Linux kernel to get all ports running. May get merged into 5.13 kernel if things go nicely.
I plan few things for HoneyComb:
- check several distributions how they handle AArch64 systems
- improve SBSA ACS code as HoneyComb is almost SBSA level 3 compliant (there are some places where error/warning messages break output)
- build, deploy and test OpenStack
- test software
- check how it works as AArch64 desktop (like I did with APM Mustang 6 years ago)