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Sandwich-style SBC offers 10GbE SFP+ ports

Dec 11, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1820 views

[Updated: Dec. 12] — SolidRun’s “ClearFog CX 8K” SBC is built around a “CEx7 A8040” COM Express Type 7 module that runs Linux on a quad -A72 Armada A8040. Features include 2x 10GbE SFP+ ports, a GbE port, and mini-PCIe, M.2, and SATA expansion.

In August, SolidRun updated its ClearFog line of Linux-driven router boards with a ClearFog GT 8K SBC with the same 2GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A72 Marvell Armada A8040 SoC found on its MacchiatoBIN Double Shot Mini-ITX board. Now, the company has returned to the headless (no graphics) Armada A8040 with the ClearFog CX 8K.



ClearFog CX 8K (left) and CEx7 A8040 COM
(click images to enlarge)

Unlike the monolithic ClearFog GT 8K and MacchiatoBIN SBCs, the board has a sandwich-style design similar to the earlier, dual Cortex-A9 Armada 38x driven ClearFog Pro and ClearFog Base boards. The ClearFog CX 8K SBC incorporates SolidRun’s new CEx7 A8040 COM via a COM Express Basic Type 7 interface. The carrier board has four 10GbE ports, but the module limits you to using only two of them.

We saw no announcement for the ClearFog CX 8K, but the product page was noticed by CNXSoft. The board starts at $360 with 8GB eMMC and an empty RAM socket. Adding 4GB DDR4 bumps you up to $435, and boosting RAM to 16GB will cost you $690. All the prices include the CEx7 A8040 module and a heatsink.

 
CEx7 A8040 module

The CEx7 A8040 module uses the Basic Type 7 form factor, which is typically found on “server-on-module” offerings featuring high-end Intel Xeon D 15xx or Atom C3xxx processors. It’s rare to see an Arm-based Type 7 module. The only one we can recall is Reflex CES’ COMXpressSX Stratix 10. According to SolidRun, moving to Type 7 will enable “simpler development and deployment options, and simple interchangeability” with future modules. Presumably, these will include a module with support for 4x 10GbE ports.



ClearFog CX 8K (left) and CEx7 A8040 COM

Like the ClearFog CX 8K, the 125 x 95mm CEx7 A8040 supports Debian and Yocto Project stacks based on Linux Kernel 4.4x. The module supplies 8GB eMMC and supports up to 16GB DDR4.

The CEx7 A8040 features dual 10GbE interfaces, 2x SATA III, PCIe Gen 3 x4, and 2x mini-PCIe lanes. The COM enables Marvell’s 88f8040 secured boot “and high performance security hardware acceleration engines, enabling enhanced security features such as IPsec,” says SolidRun. Virtualization support is also available. Like the ClearFog CX8K board, the module supports 0 to 70°C operation.

 
ClearFog CX 8K

At 190 x 127mm, the ClearFog CX 8K is a bit larger than the ClearFog GT 8K, and it lacks the earlier model’s -40 to 85°C option. The centerpiece is the bank of 4x 10GbE SFP+ cages with an adjacent, copper GbE port. By comparison the earlier GT 8K has a single 10GbE SFP+, a WAN port, and 4x switched GbE ports with 2.5GbE uplinks to the SoC.



ClearFog CX 8K detail views, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Like the earlier model, the CX 8K gives you a microSD slot, USB 3.0 port, debug interface, and GPIO. Unlike that model, you also get a SATA III interface. Dual mini-PCIe slots and a single SIM slot are on board along with a PCIe Gen 3 x4 slot.

Specifications listed for the ClearFog CX 8K include:

  • Processor (via CEx7 A8040 module) — Marvell Armada 8040 (4x Cortex-A72 cores @ up to 2GHz); packet, security, DMA, and XOR co-processors
  • Memory/storage:
    • Up to 16GB of single-channel DDR4 RAM (via CEx7 A8040 module)
    • 8GB eMMC (via CEx7 A8040)
    • MicroSD slot
    • SATA III interface
    • Optional M.2 slot with support for Key-B and 2280 SSDs
  • Networking:
    • 4x 10GbE ports via SFP+ (only 2x are functional)
    • GbE port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • Micro-USB debug UART
    • GPIO
  • Expansion — PCIe x4 slot; 2x mini-PCIe slots; SIM slot; optional M.2 for SSD (see above)
  • Other features — User push buttons; LEDs; heatsink; “temp. & power station”; optional enclosure
  • Power — 12V DC input
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C
  • Dimensions — 190 x 127mm
  • Operating system — Linux 4.4x; Debian; Yocto Project

 
Further information

The ClearFog CX 8K is available with the CEx7 A8040 module starting at $360 (see pricing above). The CEx7 A8040 module is also available separately for $168 with 8GB eMMC but no RAM and $374 if you add 16GB DDR4. More information may be found on SolidRun’s ClearFog CX 8K and CEx7 A8040 product pages, each of which link to shopping pages.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

3 responses to “Sandwich-style SBC offers 10GbE SFP+ ports”

  1. Baruch Siach says:

    The carrier provides 4 SFP ports, but the A8K based module only supports 2. Future modules are expected to utilize all 4 carrier SFP ports.

  2. Jeff Child says:

    Thanks Baruch.
    We’ve confirmed that that is indeed the case. And we’ve updated the story.

  3. User says:

    In terms of hardware, Mikrotik CRS305 provides Arm CPU and 4xSFP+ for $125 retail.

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