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Rugged, Linux-driven SBCs tap Cavium’s ARMv8 Octeon TX SoCs

Nov 9, 2017 — by Eric Brown 3,501 views

Gateworks has launched a “Newport” family of SBCs that run OpenWRT and Ubuntu on Cavium’s dual or quad ARMv8 Octeon TX networking SoCs, starting with a 105 x 100mm “GW6300.”

Gateworks, which sells a line of Linux-ready, NXP i.MX6-based Ventana SBCs, has moved to Cavium’s 64-bit, ARMv8 Octeon TX for its Newport family. Gateworks announced four industrial temperature Newport SBCs that runs Linux on Cavium’s new Octeon TX SoC, starting with the now available GW6300. There are actually eight models overall since each board is available in dual-core 800MHz (or 1.2GHz) and quad-core 1.5GHz models.

Gateworks Newport GW6300 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The four main Newport product lines, listed in order of size and features include the 100 x 35mm GW6100 (Q2 2018), 100 x 70mm GW6200 (Q1 2018), 105 x 100mm GW6300 (now), and 140 x 100mm GW6400 (Q1 2018). All four systems ship with Ubuntu and OpenWRT Linux BSPs.

Cavium Octeon TX


Cavium, which has long been known for its Linux-friendly, MIPS64-based Octeon processors, including the Octeon III, moved to an ARM foundation for the ThunderX and ThunderX-derived Octeon TX. While the up to 48-core, 28nm fabricated ThunderX and second-generation, up to 56-core, 14nm ThunderX2 are aimed at datacenter and cloud applications, the Octeon TX is a more embedded-oriented networking processor, competing with NXP’s QorIQ line.

Cavium Octeon TX and ThunderX models (left) and Octeon TX block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Announced in May 2016, the Octeon TX comprises four processor lines, all with dual-issue, out-of-order, 64-bit ARMv8.1 cores. The CN80XX model used in the first three Newport SBCs, and the CN81XX used on the GW6400 offer 1x to 4x cores, with up to 2MB of Last Level Cache and a single 32-/64-bit DDR4 channel with ECC support. The higher end CN82XX and CN83XX models supply 8x to 24x cores, with up to 8MB of cache and dual 64b-bit DDR4 channels with ECC.

Octeon TX draws its cores from the enterprise-oriented ThunderX line, but it borrows many of its networking and I/O capabilities from the Octeon III. Octeon TX is optimized to run multiple concurrent data and control planes simultaneously, and it integrates Cavium’s security architecture from the Nitrox V security processor family. This is a headless product line, however, without a 3D GPU. Applications include security and router appliances, NFV and SDN infrastructure, service provider CPE, wireless transport, NAS, storage controllers, IOT gateways, and printer and industrial applications, says Cavium.

Newport family

The first three Gateworks Newport boards use the Octeon TX CN8021 or CN8020 models, all with dual or 1.5GHz (quad) clock rates. The GW6400 moves up to a CN8120 SoC that bumps the dual-core version from 800MHz to 1.2GHz. The three smallest boards ship with 1GB to 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 4GB to 64GB eMMC, while the GW6400 provides 2GB to 8GB DDR4 and 8GB to 64GB eMMC.

Newport specs comparison
(click image to enlarge)

As shown in the Newport spec sheet above, feature capabilities rise in sync with size. The boards offer 1, 2, 3, and 4 mini-PCIe slots respectively, from small to large. Gigabit Ethernet ports range from one on the GW6100 to dual GbE ports on the mid-range models and either 5x GbE or 3x GbE with 2x SFP fiber ports on the GW6400. They all offer varying levels of PoE support.

The tiny GW6100 is limited to a single coastline USB 3.0 port, while the others offer two, and add more internal USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces. The GW6100 is limited to 2x TTL serial interfaces while the others give you a choice of 2x RS232 or 1x RS485. All but the GW61000 feature microSD and SIM slots, as well as mSATA (SATA III) and optional CAN.

All four models offer I2C and SPI, 4x DIO, an RTC with battery, and hardware monitoring. They all provide -40 to 85°C support, wide-range 8-60V DC inputs, and power consumption that ranges from 4W on the GW6100 to 8W on the GW6400.

Options include GPS and Maxim DS28C22 encryption chips. There are also development kits available, as well as support for the same display options provided for the Ventana family. This is not open source hardware, but as usual with Gateworks there is extensive documentation, which here includes a software wiki and a 3D model.

Newport GW6300

The currently available GW6300 is available in two SKUs: the GW6300 and GW6304. Both ship with 8GB eMMC and 3x mini-PCIe slots. The standard GW6300 ships with a dual-core 800MHz Octeon II with 1GB DDR4, while the GW6304 moves to the quad-core, 1.5GHz model and doubles the RAM to 2GB. The GW6304 also adds GPS and CANBus.

GW6300 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Coastline ports include 2x PoE-ready GbE ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and a microSD slot. Three mini-PCIe slots are available: one with mSATA, one with a SIM slot, and the other featuring Gateworks GW1608x expansion modules, including modules with additional mini-PCIe slots and one with GbE and SFP expansion.

A development kit available for both SBC models includes an OpenWRT BSP with U-Boot (or optional Ubuntu), as well as a JTAG programmer, passive PoE power injector and power supply, and cables. Volume customers can customize the processor model, RAM, and flash, and can even add or remove peripherals.

Specifications listed for the Newport GW6300 and GW6304 include:

  • Processor — Octeon TX — 2x ARMv8 ThunderX cores @ 800MHz (GW6300) or 4x ARMv8 ThunderX cores @ 1.5GHz (GW6304)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB (GW6300) or 2GB (GW6304) DDR4
    • 8GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
    • mSATA (SATA III) via mini-PCIe #2
  • Networking — 2x GbE ports (1x with passive PoE 10-60V input, 1x with 802.3at PoE 37-57V)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2x RS232 or 1x RS232/422/485
    • DIO, SPI, I2C
    • Fan speed
    • CAN (standard on GW6304, optional on GW6300)
  • Expansion — 3x mini-PCIe:
    • #1 — PCIe or GW1608x expansion modules (3x mini-PCIe, 4x legacy mini-PCIe, and GbE/SFP)
    • #2 — PCIe or mSATA, USB 2.0
    • #3 — PCIe or USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SIM
  • Other features:
    • Ublox ZOE-MQ8 GNSS GPS Receiver with PPS (standard on GW6304, optional on GW6300)
    • Optional Maxim DS28C22 security chip
    • Tamper switch support
    • RTC with battery backup
    • Programmable shut-down and wake-up
    • Voltage and temperature monitor
    • Pushbutton switch
  • Power:
    • 8-60V DC jack (or PoE)
    • Typical consumption: 6W@25C (GW6300) or 8W@25C (GW6304)
    • Voltage reverse and transient protection
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 105 x 100 x 21mm
  • Weight — 96 g
  • Operating system — OpenWRT and Ubuntu BSPs

Further information

The Newport GW6300 and GW6304 SBCs are available now with undisclosed pricing. The Newport GW6200 and GW6400 are due in Q1 2018, and the GW6100 is due in Q2. More information on the Newport boards may be found in Gateworks’s Newport announcement and product page. More on the GW6300 and GW6304 may be found on the GW6300 product page.

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