Parallella Hardware

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Introduction

The Parallella board was inspired by hardware communities such as Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard and Arduino, and aims to democratise access to parallel computing by providing an affordable open high-performance computing (HPC) platform.

The platform is being built on the following principles:

  • Open Access: all architecture and SDK documents openly published on the Web — no NDAs or special access required.
  • Open Source: software platform based on free and open source software (F/OSS) development tools and libraries. Board design files provided under an open source hardware license once the Parallella computer ships.
  • Affordable: the goal is to bring the hardware cost to below $100, making it an affordable platform for all.

The key features of the board are: a Xilinz Zynq SoC which provides a Dual ARM® Cortex™-A9 processor plus programmable logic, 16/64-core Epiphany floating-point accelerator (32/100 GFLOPS) and high bandwidth expansion via daughter cards.

Kickstarter

The initial run of Parallella computers is being funded via a Kickstarter campaign, which on 27th October 2012 had succeeded in raising $898,921 via 4,965 backers, and with those pledging $99 or more receiving at least one board.

Thanks to generous support from Xilinx the Kickstarter boards will be upgraded to use a Zynq-7020 SoC instead of a Zynq-7010.

Prototypes

The first Parallella prototypes shipped in late December 2012 and comprise of a ZedBoard plus a 16 or 64-core Epiphany FMC module. From a software perspective these are virtually identical to the final form factor boards.

Specifications

Please note that these are preliminary specifications and subject to change.

18-core 66-core
Target price: US$99 US$TBC
System-on-a-chip (SoC): Zynq 7010/7020
CPU: 800 MHz Dual ARM® Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ with CoreSight™
Many-core accelerator: Epiphany-III 16-core 65nm Microprocessor with 32 GFLOPS peak performance (E16G301) Epiphany-IV 64-core 28nm Microprocessor with 100 GFLOPS peak performance (E64G401)
Memory (SDRAM) 1024 MiB DDR3L
USB 2.0 ports: 1x USB 2.0 | 1x USB 2.0 OTG
Video outputs: Micro HDMI
Audio outputs: Single bit SPDIF on the PEC_POWER connector
Audio inputs: none, but a USB mic or sound-card could be added
Onboard Storage: 32Mb QSPI Flash Memory | MicroSD
Onboard Network: 10/100/1000 wired Ethernet RJ45
PEC_POWER expansion: 1V, 1.35V, 1.8V, 3.3V & 5V power supplies. I2C, UART, SPDIF, JTAG
PEC_FPGA expansion: includes 48 bidirectional signals that can be configured within the Zynq device to support a number of different signal standards. When configured as LVDS signals, each differential signal pair provides a maximum bandwidth of 950Mbps. In aggregate, the PEC_FPGA connections can provide 22Gbps of total I/O bandwidth.
PEC_NORTH/PEC_SOUTH expansion: 3.2GB/s total I/O bandwidth via 2.5V LVDS 2.8GB/s total I/O bandwidth via 1.8V subLVDS
Real-time clock: None
Power source: 5 V (DC) at 1A
Size: 3.4" x 2.15"

For further details see the Hardware Reference Manual.