Banana Pi 24-Core ARM Server Spied Running Ubuntu 18.04
Raspberry Pi developer boards have proven to be very popular with folks looking to build a project that needs a power-efficient and modest performing single-board PC. Raspberry Pi unveiled its Raspberry Pi Model 3 A+ last month for $25. The success of Raspberry Pi has spawned similarly designed products from a number of competitors looking to cash in. However, a company called SinoVoIP is targeting a higher-end of the market with boards called Banana Pi that have been around for a few years.
Banana Pi boards are typically based on ARM core technology processors and are relatively inexpensive. The company behind the boards also has a somewhat checkered reputation when it comes to documentation and firmware updates for its devices, but has a robust user community that reportedly offsets that downside to some extent. The latest Banana Pi device being teased is something very different in the form of a 24-core ARM server that speculation suggests might be sold as a Banana Pi server board or as a finished server product.
Details on the motherboard and platform are unknown, and the blurry image above is the only clue at what the company is baking up right now. However, the motherboard image above gives you an idea of a current product design for a PC form factor that also uses a 24-core ARM-based chip. Regardless, the image in the video reportedly shows a 24-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with 32GB of RAM, though the OS only sees 29.4GB of that RAM. The OS is Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS with MATE desktop. Unless the processor used in this device is something unannounced, and that seems unlikely, the chip itself would likely be a SocioNext SC2A11. The same processor is used in the Linaro Developer Box.
The video above shows the 24 cores of the server being fully utilized while building the Linux kernel. Other tidbits about the board come from LinkedIn comments from someone named Nora, who is said to be Project Manager for Banana Pi at Foxconn. The comments claim the board supports NVMe storage and that TensorFlow (for machine learning) under Docker, Raspbian, and ROS Melodic Morenia have all been tested on the board. There is no indication of pricing or availability at this time.