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Linux-friendly network SBC taps new AMD G-Series SoCs

Jun 11, 2013 — by Eric Brown 2,485 views

Deciso announced a Linux-supported, AMD-based board, also available as a 19-inch rackmount networking appliance. The Netboard A10 and Netboard A10 Rack Appliance are built around a quad-core, 1.65GHz AMD Embedded GX-416RA G-Series SoC, and offer up to 8GB RAM, an open source Coreboot BIOS, four GigE ports, and I/O including USB, serial, SATA, and DisplayPort connections.

Dutch open source software and services firm Deciso has been around for 13 years, but the new locally produced Netboard products are the only hardware devices listed on its website. The Netboard A10 SBC (single board computer), which also forms the basis of the Netboard A10 Rack Appliance, is constructed on a proprietary asymmetrical form-factor measuring 185 x 12mm, and featuring a four-part edgecard connector.

Netboard A10 SBC and rackmount networking appliance
(click images to enlarge)

Both products are aimed at networking appliances, and the powder-coated, 19-inch Rack Appliance version can be configured by Deciso for IP-PBX, firewall/UTM, or load balancer systems. An optional AES program header supports crypto and hardware virtualization functionality.


The Netboard A10 incorporates AMD’s new Embedded G-Series SoC (system-on-chip), which uses a faster, 28nm “Jaguar” core than the earlier G-Series processors, and offers twice the shared L2 cache at 2MB. In addition to providing a faster new Radeon 8400 series GPU, the G-Series SoC for the first time integrates the Fusion I/O controller on the same die. The design is said to enable much faster performance and a smaller physical footprint while adding only slightly to the power consumption (9-25 Watt TDP).

AMD G-Series SOC architecture
(click image to enlarge)


The Netboard A10 ships with the G-Series SoC model that lacks a GPU — a quad-core, 1.65GHz model called the GX-416RA — but it’s also offered with two other GPU-equipped models. One is the quad-core, GX-415GA, clocked at 1.5GHz, which offers a similar 15 Watt TDP; the other is a dual-core, 1GHz GX-210HA, which features a 9W TDP.

The Netboard A10 offers up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and provides an SD card socket and four gigabit Ethernet ports. Other externally accessible ports include a standard USB 2.0 port and a micro-USB port that includes a USB/serial converter. There are also two SATA ports and a dual-mode DisplayPort. Header and card connector I/O provides additional USB, serial, and GPIO connections, as well as a VGA interface. The 19-inch Rack Appliance has identical specs, but adds a 110-230VAC power supply in addition to the board’s 12V, 7-24VDC-range supply.

Deciso offers a choice of Linux or FreeBSD operating systems. The company also touts the board’s open source SageBIOS version of Coreboot.

Specifications listed for the Netboard A10 and Netboard A10 Rack Appliance include:

  • Processor:
    • 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
  • RAM — up to 8GB DDR3, non-ECC, 1x 1600/1333/1066
  • Expansion — SD card socket; PCIe x4 edge connector
  • Networking — 4x gigabit Ethernet (Intel 82574L)
  • Other I/O:
    • 5x USB 2.0 (2x external ports including a micro-USB with serial converter, 2x header, 1x edge connector)
    • 3x serial (1x on mini-USB B port, 2x header)
    • 2x SATA 3 (plus JST mini power header)
    • DisplayPort ++ (dual-mode for HDMI/DVI)
    • VGA (header)
    • 6x GPIO on header (optionally 2x shared with micro switch and GPIO LED)
  • Other features — open source SageBIOS Coreboot; optional AES program header on card edge (with converter board compatible with Sage Smartprobe)
  • Power:
    • external 12V supply with 7-24VDC range
    • Rack Appliance only — integrated PSU 110-230VAC supply; 50/60Hz with 3 pin IEC power cord; “80%+” efficiency
    • ACPI 3.0 power management with 5V power rail always active
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 45° C
  • Dimensions — 185 x 12mm (board); Rack Appliance, 19-inch format
  • Operating system — Linux; FreeBSD (others on request)

Samples of the Netboard A10 will be available in Q4 2013, and full production of the board and Rack Appliance will follow early in 2014. More information may be found on the Deciso website’s Netboard A10 and Netboard A10 Rack Appliance product pages.

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