The Parallella began life in 2012 when Adapteva launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $750,000 to get its project that aimed to give everyone the chance to own a ‘supercomputer’ off the ground. In much the same way that Nvidia recently showed how to create a server cluster from a number of Raspberry Pi boards, Adapteva aimed to do a similar thing with the Parallella, the difference here being that instead of an ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2835 media applications processor as found in the Raspberry Pi, Adapteva built its $99 single-board computer based around Xilinx’ Zynq7010 dual-core Cortex A9 SoC CPU and Adapteva’s new Epiphany-III multi-core processor.
Having recently begun fulfilling orders to its Kickstarter backers, Adapteva is now opening up the Parallella for pre-orders from its website with prices starting at $99 and delivery due in October this year.
The Parallella’s Epiphany-III (E16G301) accelerator chip consists of 16 RISC cores running at 1GHz. Each chip also integrated links that allow for up to 64 chips on a single board. The Parallella board itself packs in the Zynq7010 dual-core Cortex A9 chip with the Epiphany III, along side 1GB of DDR3 RAM, a MicroSD card slot plus two USB2.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet. Throw in microHDMI video output and you’ve got a complete computer system in the making. According to Adapteva, you don’t need assembly-code modules to make use of the parallelism here – C++ can be used to create efficient code that works.
The Parallella comes with no SD card or power brick for that $99 price but a free Ubuntu 12.04 distro, plus a range of Epiphany open source tools are available from Adapteva’s GitHub site. Adapteva is selling a $39 accessories bundle that adds in 5VDC/2A power brick, HDMI cable, Class-10 Sandisk MicroSD card and two USB cables to suit.
The company is also launching a four-board cluster kit which bundles four Parallella boards, each with MicroSD card preloaded with Ubuntu 12.04, flexible board-to-board link cables. It’ll sell for $575 and is also expected to ship in October. You can pre-order both options now from the Adapteva website.
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