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January 23rd, 2018

New Brew: Latest MACCHIATObin Community Boards are Able to Address Much Wider Scope of Developer Requirements

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Following the success of the MACCHIATObin® development platform, which was released back in the spring, Marvell and technology partner SolidRun have now announced the next stage in the progression of this hardware offering. After drawing on the customer feedback received, a series of enhancements to the original concept have subsequently been made, so that these mini-ITX boards are much more optimized for meeting the requirements of engineers.

Marvell and SolidRun announce the availability of two new MACCHIATObin products that will supersede the previous release. They are the MACCHIATObin Single Shot and the MACCHIATObin Double Shot boards.

As before, these mini-ITX format networking community boards both feature the powerful processing capabilities of Marvell’s ARMADA® 8040 system-on-chip (SoC) and stay true to the original objective of bringing an affordable Arm-based development resource with elevated performance to the market. However, now engineers have a choice in terms of how much supporting functionality comes with it – thus making the platform even more attractive and helping to reach a much wider audience.

Figure 1: MACCHIATObin Single Shot (left) and MACCHIATObin Double Shot (right)

The more streamlined MACCHIATObin Single Shot option presents an entry level board that should appeal to engineers with budgetary constraints. This has a much lower price tag than the original board, coming in at just $199. It comes with two 10G SFP+ connectors without the option of two 10G copper connectors, and also doesn’t come with default DDR4 DIMM as its predecessor, but still has a robust 1.6GHz processing speed.

This is complemented by the higher performance MACCHIATObin Double Shot. This unleashes the full 2GHz of processing capacity that can be derived from the ARMADA 8040, which relies on a 64-bit quad-core Arm Cortex-A72 processor core. 4GB of DDR4 DIMM is included. At only $399 it represents great value for money – costing only slightly more than the original, but with extra features and stronger operational capabilities being delivered. It comes with additional accessories that are not in the Single Shot package – including a power cable and a microUSB-to-USB cable.

Both the Single Shot and Double Shot versions incorporate heatsink and fan mechanisms in order to ensure that better reliability is maintained through more effective thermal management. The fan has an airflow of 6.7 cubic feet per minute (CFM) with low noise operation. A number of layout changes have been implemented upon the original design to better utilize the available space and to make the board more convenient for those using it. For example, the SD card slot has been moved to make it more accessible and likewise the SATA connectors are now better positioned, allowing easier connection of multiple cables. The micro USB socket has also been relocated to aid engineers.

A 3-pin UART header has been added to the console UART (working in parallel with FTDI USB-to-UART interface IC). This means that developers now have an additional connectivity option that they can utilize, making the MACCHIATObin community board more suitable for deployment in remote locations or where it needs to interface with legacy equipment (that do not have a USB port). The DIP switches have been replaced with jumpers, which again gives the boards greater versatility. The JTAG connector is not assembled by default, the PCI Express (PCIe) x4 slot has been replaced with an open PCIx4 slot so that it can accommodate a wider variety of different board options (like x8 and x16, as well as x4 PCIe) such as graphics processor cards, etc. to be connected. Furthermore, the fixed LED emitter has been replaced by one that is general purpose input/output (GPIO) controlled, thereby enabling operational activity to be indicated.

The fact that these units have the same form factor as the original, means that they offer a like-for-like replacement for the previous model of the MACCHIATObin board. Therefore existing designs that are already using this board can be upgraded to the higher performance MACCHIATObin Double Shot version or conversely scaled down to the MACCHIATObin Single Shot in order to reduce the associated costs.

Together the MACCHIATObin Double Shot and Single Shot boards show that the team at Marvell are always listening to our customer base and responding to their needs. Learning from the first MACCHIATObin release, we have been able to make significant refinements, and consequently develop two new very distinct product offerings. One that addresses engineers that are working to a tight budget, for which the previous board would not have been viable, and the other for engineers that want to boost performance levels.





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