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From Russia with MIPS: an SoC, COM, and all-in-one PC

Mar 7, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,875 views

T-Platforms unveiled a “SF-BT1” module and “Tavolga Terminal” all-in-one PC based on it, which run Linux on a dual-core, MIPS P5600-based Baikal-T1 SoC.

Imagination Technologies announced the Debian Linux ready, 21.5-inch Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT all-in-one, as well as a SMARC-based “SF-BT1” COM that powers it. Both devices are built by Russia-based T-Platforms. The COM runs Linux on a Baikal Electronics Baikal-T1 system-on-chip, the first commercial SoC to use Imagination’s 32-bit MIPS Series5 Warrior-P P5600 processor.

MIPS Series5 Warrior-P P5600 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Baikal-T1 SoC integrates dual 28nm fabricated MIPS P5600 cores clocked at 1.2GHz with 1MB L2 cache and 128-bit NEON multimedia technology. Running on less than 5W, the Baikal-T1 supports DDR3 RAM, as well as PCIe 3.0, SATA 6Gbps, and both Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet. Other I/O includes USB 2.0, GPIO, I2C, UART, and SPI. The SoC taps the P5600’s hardware virtualization support to enable guest operating systems working in independent virtual machines.

Baikal-T1 SoC (left) and block its diagram
(click images to enlarge)



The T-Platforms SF-BT1 computer-on-module builds upon the Baikal-T1 to support “high-performance IoT platforms, embedded control systems, industrial automation, healthcare or networking equipment,” according to Imagination. The 82 x 80mm COM adopts the SMARC 1.1 form-factor, featuring an MXM 3.0 expansion for connecting to a carrier board.

SF-BT1 module, with and without its heatsink
(click image to enlarge)

The SF-BT1 runs Linux Kernel 3.19 on the 1.2GHz Baikal-T1. The module is equipped with 2GB to 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM with ECC, as well as optional 8GB NAND flash. It features a 10-Gbps Ethernet interface with XAUI, 10GBASE-KX4, and 10GBASE-KR support, as well as support for dual Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The SF-BT1 provides interfaces for dual SATA 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a PCIe Gen 3 x4 expansion slot. Additional I/O includes 2+1 SPI, dual UARTs, three I2C, 31x GPIOs, plus JTAG and EJTAG. The 3.3 VDC powered module includes a battery backed RTC. Customization and consulting services are also available.

The module supports an early prototype of prplSecurity, an open source security framework developed by Imagination’s Prpl project for developing open source software on MIPS processors. prplSecurity provides open source APIs that enable “hardware-level security controls such as root of trust, secure boot, secure hypervisor and secure inter-VM communications,” says Imagination.

Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT

As you may have noticed, there’s no mention of a GPU on the Baikal-T1 SoC, and no listing of display interfaces on the SF-BT1 module. Yet, the first T-Platforms product based on the COM is a Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT all-in-one PC that offers full HD resolution on its 21.5-inch IPS display. T-Platforms evidently added a SiliconMotion SM750 graphics chip, with 2D acceleration and 16MB of video RAM, among other features, to the COM’s carrier board within the terminal.

Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT
(click image to enlarge)

The Tavolga can operate as a standalone Linux desktop or work in terminal mode as a web client with remote access using protocols like RDP and VNC. T-Platforms is also planning a more compact version of the Tavolga, without the integrated display.

The Tavolga Terminal, which is referred to as the Meadosweet terminal TB-T22BT on the T-Platforms website, runs Debian 8, and is available with 2GB to 8GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB of NAND, an SD slot, and up to a 64GB, 2.5-inch SSD. The computer is further equipped with four USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, Kensington lock slot, an audio jack, stereo speakers, and a Smart Card slot.

You can choose from one or two Gigabit Ethernet ports. There’s also a slot for an optional, SFP (small form-factor pluggable) module, “making it ideal for hi-speed browsing and data transfers,” according to Imagination.

The passively cooled Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT operates at 0 to 40°C. A 110-230V, 50-60Hz AC power supply is also available.

Further information

The T-Platforms SF-BT1 SMARC computer-on-module will be available in the second quarter along with development kits and carrier boards. According to Imagination Technologies, the Tavolga Terminal TB-T22BT is now available for order from T-Platforms, with shipments due in the second quarter. Pricing was unstated for either product.

More information may be found in the Imagination blog announcement, as well as the T-Platforms SF-BT1 and Tavolga Terminal product pages. More on the Baikal-T1 SoC may be found on this Baikal Electronics Baikal-T1 product page.

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