While there is a open source alternative for almost every useful closed program out there, open source hardware are however rare. Parallella which started earlier as a Kickstarter campaign to create a really cheap, reliable supercomputer for masses, had promised earlier that they will make their hardware open source. The campaign is now over and now it seems that they have fulfilled their promise.
Some of the mind blowing specs of this tiny board are:
- SoC – Xilinx Zynq7000 Series (Z-7010 or Z-7020) Dual-Core ARM Cortex A9 with 512KB L2 Shared Cache
- Coprocessor – Epiphany Multicore Coprocessor. The Parallella-16 board includes the 16-core Epiphany-III processor The Parallella-64 board includes the 64-core Epiphany-IV processor
- System Memory – 1024MB DDR3L
- Boot Flash – 128 Mb QSPI Flash
- Indicators – 2 User controlled LEDs
- USB 2.0 Port(0) Connects to a host machine (PC/tablet/smartphone)
- USB 2.0 Port (1) Connects peripheral devices
- Ethernet – 10/100/1000M Ethernet, RJ45 with magnetics and LEDs
- SD Connector – MicroSD, 3.3V
- Video – Micro HDMI connector
- Expansion Connectors – Four 60-pin high speed Samtec connectors for:
- Epiphany link expansion connector(s)
- Zynq programmable logic extension connector
- Power: JTAG, debug connector
- Power Source – USB or 5.0V DC
- PCB Dimensions – 86.36mm x 53.34mm
Despite of its sheer power, the whole computer consumes just 5 Watts of electricity. As per the reports, during normal usage, the 64 core version of Parallella will be able to provide processing power enough to compete with a 45 gHz CPU.
All the source code, including design files, its Linux kernel, u-boot, Ubuntu distro, SDK etc are available from its GitHub repository. Parallella indeed is a dream board for hardware tweakers and hackers who want to do get the most out of their computers.
For those who haven’t participated in the kickstarter campaign, you can visit their websites for updates regarding pre-order of the board and other documentation.