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Mixtile Cluster Box: Unleash the Power of Four Rockchip RK3588 SBCs over PCIe

The Mixtile Cluster Box is a server enclosure designed for small business applications and edge computing. It consists of four Mixtile Blade 3 Pico-ITX single board computers (SBCs), each powered by a Rockchip RK3588 processor. The SBCs are connected to the enclosure via a 4-lane PCIe Gen3 interface through a U.2 to PCIe/SATA breakout board.

The Cluster Box has been recently released by Mixtile, following the company’s work on the software and technical details. It is available for purchase on Mixtile’s website for $339, excluding the SBCs.

The specifications of the Mixtile Cluster Box include support for up to four Mixtile Blade 3 SBCs, each with up to 32GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 256GB eMMC flash storage. The enclosure also features a control board running OpenWrt 22.03, with a MediaTek MT7620A MIPS processor, 256MB DDR2 system memory, and 16MB SPI flash storage.

The Cluster Box includes an ASMedia ASM2824 PCIe switch with four PCIe 3.0 4-lane ports. It also provides storage interfaces through four U.2 breakout boards, with four NVMe M.2 M-Key slots (PCIe 3.0 x2 each) and four SATA 3.0 ports. Networking capabilities are offered through a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The enclosure is equipped with two 60mm fans for cooling and a power button with a blue LED indicator. It is powered by a 19 to 19.5V/4.74A power supply through a DC jack. The dimensions of the Cluster Box are 213 x 190 x 129 mm, and it is made of a metal case with SGCC steel materials. It has an operating temperature range of 0°C to 80°C and a storage temperature range of -20°C to 85°C. The relative humidity ranges from 10% to 90% during operation and 5% to 95% during storage.

Users can access the Mixtile Cluster Box through OpenWrt using SSH or a web interface. The Rockchip RK3588 boards come preloaded with a customized Linux system with Kubernetes. Control of each Mixtile Blade can be done through OpenWrt using a command called “nodectl,” which allows users to list active nodes, rescan nodes, power on/off nodes, reboot nodes, flash firmware, and enter the console of a specific node.

For more technical details and a getting started guide, users can refer to the documentation website provided by Mixtile.

Overall, the Mixtile Cluster Box offers a compact and powerful solution for building a four-node server cluster with Rockchip RK3588 SBCs. With its PCIe connectivity, storage options, and OpenWrt software, it provides a versatile platform for various server, Linux, DevOps, and home lab applications.

Source: CNX Software – Embedded Systems News.