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Octeon TX2 based module powers new ClearFog networking boards

Jun 9, 2021 — by Eric Brown 1,060 views

SolidRun’s tiny “CN9130 Mini SoM” runs Linux on Marvell’s 2.2GHz, quad -A72 Octeon TX2 CN9130 and powers new ClearFog CN9130 Base and Pro SBCs with up to 5x switched GbE, SFP+, M.2, 2x mini-PCIe, and optional enclosures.

Over the years, SolidRun’s ClearFog line of networking modules, boards, and appliances have showcased various Marvell networking SoCs such as the quad -A72 Armada A8040 that powers the ClearFog GT 8K. SolidRun has now followed Marvell onto its Octeon TX2 line of processors, as seen in a new CN9130 Mini SoM module. The module is available on new ClearFog CN9130 Base ($226 and up) and higher end ClearFog CN9130 Pro ($253 and up) carriers. Available with optional enclosures, the boards can be used for prototyping or deployed as SBCs (see farther below).

CN9130 Mini SoM, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The CN9130 Mini SoM and ClearFog boards support networking, security, and edge computing applications. Examples include 5G base stations, routers and gateways, edge servers, software-defined networking, and high-speed network storage.

ClearFog CN9130 Base
(click image to enlarge)

As we noted in our April report on IEI’s Armada A7040-based DRPC-330-A7K embedded computer, Marvell last year discontinued the Armada branding and unveiled a Octeon TX2 CN913x (PDF) as the successor to the similarly quad-core, Cortex-A72 Armada A8040. Marvell had previously acquired Cavium, which made the Arm-based Octeon TX networking processors found on products such as Gateworks’ Newport SBC. Earlier Octeon SoCs were based on MIPS processors.

Block diagrams for Octeon TX2 CN913x (left) and CN9130 Mini SoM
(click images to enlarge)

According to this Linley Group write-up, the Octeon TX2 advances to a 16nm fab compared to 28nm for the A8040 (also called the 8040). This provides a speed boost as well as improved power efficiency.

The Octeon TX2 CN9130’s 4x Cortex-A72 cores are clocked to 2.2GHz for the commercial 0 to 70°C version of the CN9130 Mini SoM and 2.0GHz for the industrial -40 to 85°C model. By contrast, the A8040 tops out at 2.0GHz. The Mini SoM runs on only 11 Watts


The Octeon TX2 also includes other enhancements. “The new SoC boosts IPSec throughput to 15Gbps and can handle both bulk and public-key encryption,” says the Linley Group. “It sports a packet processor that can deliver 15 million packets per second or 25Gbps for IP forwarding, all with minimal load on the CPUs.”

The headless Octeon TX2 CN9130 supplies a 1MB L3 cache, as well as high-throughput network, storage, and security accelerators. There are 6x SERDES lanes for up to 10Gbps support and PCIe 3.0 x4.

The $171 and up CN9130 Mini SoM runs mainline Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, OpenWrt, or LEDE on the Octeon TX2 CN9130. The module has the same 50 x 35mm form factor and pin layout as SolidRun’s A38x SoM to enable easier upgrades. Based on the Arm-based, dual-core Marvell 38x, the A38 SoM was called the 38x-MicroSoM when it was announced as the module running on the original ClearFog networking board.

The new CN9130 Mini SoM is equipped with up to 8GB DDR4 plus 64Mb SPI and 8GB eMMC, expandable to 64GB. The module supports 5-12V input and 3.3V/1.8V I/O voltage and offers power management features.

I/O expressed via 3x Hirose DF40 connectors include the following networking features: single 10/5 GbE, 2x 1/2.5 GbE, 2x 5-GbE, and single 1/2.5 GbE. Expansion features include a PCIe 3.0 x4 plus 2x PCIe Gen3 x1 for a total of 3x controllers and up to 6x lanes. The module is further equipped with 2x USB 2.0, up to 2x USB 3.0 host/device, 2x SATA III, and other interfaces shown on the block diagram above.

ClearFog CN9130 Base

The ClearFog CN9130 Base carrier/SBC is aimed at “advanced NFV applications at the edge,” referring to network function virtualization applications such as firewall and router tasks. The 100 x 72mm board is smaller than the original, 160 x 100mm ClearFog Base.

ClearFog CN9130 Base with enclosure (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Both the Base and Pro carriers support CN9130 Mini SoM modules with up to 8GB DDR4 and up to 64GB eMMC, although the standard SKUs top out at 4GB and 8GB, respectively. On speical request, you can order the ClearFog boards or module without any eMMC.

The ClearFog CN9130 Base offers further storage opportunities via a microSD slot and an M.2 M-key 2242 slot with NVMe and LTE support. Unlike the Pro model, there is only a single mini-PCIe slot and it does not support mSATA, but it does support LTE. There are 2x SIM card slots.

ClearFog CN9130 Base detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The ClearFog CN9130 Base is further equipped with 2x GbE ports, an SFP+ port, and USB 3.0 host and micro-USB ports. A MikroBus header and console port are available for Click add-ons. There is an RTC with battery, a user push button, a hardware reset, and LEDs.

The Base has a 9-32VDC input jack The optional extruded aluminum enclosure boosts the dimensions to 120 x 80 x 30mm.

ClearFog CN9130 Pro

The more advanced ClearFog CN9130 Pro has the same 225 x 100mm dimensions as the original ClearFog and very similar ports and layout. RAM and eMMC specs are the same as the Base and it similar supplies a microSD slot and M.2 M-key 2242 slot for an NVMe SSD. Both mini-PCIe slots support mSATA and LTE and are accompanied by a dual SIM slots.

ClearFog CN9130 Pro with enclosure (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The ClearFog CN9130 Pro is equipped with 5x switched GbE ports, an SFP+ cage, and a standard GbE port. The detail view also shows a PoE header. The block diagram suggests the SFP+ port supports 10GbE and that the switched GbE ports can combine to act as a single 2.5GbE port. The same does not appear to apply to the Base SBC.

ClearFog CN9130 Pro detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Other features include USB 3.0 host and micro-USB ports and a MikroBus header (but apparently no console port). You also get an RTC with battery, a JTAG header, a user push button, a hardware reset, frequency and boot select switches, and LEDs. Unlike the Base, there is a TDM/analog audio header and a header for an optional PIC microcontroller.

Like the Base, the Pro board has a 9-32VDC input jack with optional adapters plus fan and “advanced” power controls. The optional extruded aluminum enclosure boosts the dimensions to 255 x 105 x 35mm. Like the Base model, the Pro is available in the same temperature ranges as the SoM.

Further information

The CN9130 Mini SoM is available for $171 with 1GB RAM and $189 with 4GB plus $10 for an optional heatsink. The ClearFog CN9130 Base costs $226 (1GB) or $244 (4GB), or $253 and $271, respectively, with enclosure. The ClearFog CN9130 Pro goes for $253 (1GB) or $271 (4GB) or $281 and $306, respectively, with enclosure.

All the SBC prices are for commercial temperature versions and include the heatsink, but not the optional $10 power adapters. All shipments have an 8-week delay, and there is a mention of possible further delays due to “global COVID-19 outbreak” and presumably the related chip shortage.

More information may be found on SolidRun’s CN9130 Mini SoM, ClearFog CN9130 Base, and ClearFog CN9130 Pro product pages, as well as the joint shopping page.

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