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gprovost

Helios64 Annoucement

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Hi guys,

 

I guess some might have heard that we (Kobol Team) were spinning a new project to succeed to Helios4. Here it is... Helios64

 

Helios64_Specs_Teaser.thumb.png.3e60b3e141697ac737a43ffd30861a39.png

 

 

We didn't have to look too far for the board name :D since in essence the goal was to redesign from scratch Helios4 with a 64-bit SoC and try to improve every key features that made Helios4 a very targeted board for NAS setup.

 

Right now we are at the prototyping test phase, hopefully in a 2 month time will have dozen of Eval boards to send around for evaluation and review... and if all goes well first batch should be available for order in Feb / March 2020.

 

Happy to answer any question :-)

 

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It's not the same form factor. Helios4 was 100x100mm, Helios64 is 120x120mm... There will be a new case of Helios64 and on this aspect the case will also significantly improved over the previous one.

 

Yes you could re-use the Helios4 PSU (12V/8A), however it might be wiser to for a 10A that we will sell also.

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helios is a great pruduct and this one seems very interesting but with 200€ you can buy some interesting solution based on x86 board...

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2 hours ago, qstaq said:

.

what a statement. :P

 

 

9 hours ago, gprovost said:

Happy to answer any question :-)

always good, here are a few:

 

  • Is powering over USB-C possible (means does USB-PD work, I know the rockpi uses a pd conform power-circuit up to at least 12V (could be more don't remember), so even a 4HD setup should be possible with a proper PD implementation)..
  • Is the m.2 slot NVMe capable?
  • With an adjusted bootloader, "advanced" bootoptions (NVMe etc.) is possible, do you populate a SPI NOR on the board?
  • I know your focus will be on NAS usecase but IMO the SoC is capable of doing "more than just NAS" any chances to get HDMI and/or MIPI (DCI & CSI) wired out? (IMO even on a pinheader where people need an adapter board to get them 'functional' would be a nice option).
  • It seems that eMMC is soldered directly to the board, did you consider a module option as well (as done for the RockPi, several NanoPi's etc.)?
  • Do you have a price for the board? I assume it won't be one of the cheaper RK3399 boards due to all the additional features populated on the baseboard.

 

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8 minutes ago, chwe said:

what a statement. :P

 

I confused the 3399K with another RK SoC so asked a stupid question :)

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13 hours ago, jimandroidpc said:

ECC RAM?

 

We will offer an ECC option. The Rockchip RK3399 SoC itself doesn't have a memory controller that has ECC feature, however we are currently working with a SDRAM vendor that now offer built-in ECC feature inside the SDRAM directly. It's not impossible it will be available on day one.

 

 

7 hours ago, chwe said:

Is powering over USB-C possible (means does USB-PD work, I know the rockpi uses a pd conform power-circuit up to at least 12V (could be more don't remember), so even a 4HD setup should be possible with a proper PD implementation)..

 

No. It is not a use case that make sense from our point of view. I don't believe there will be a lot of people out there with a USB Type-C power adapter that can delivered up to 100W. Plus the power circuitry (and the PSU) would be quite expensive.

 

7 hours ago, chwe said:

Is the m.2 slot NVMe capable?

 

No. It's a pure M.2 SATA port. FYI it's share with the SATA port 1, so the combination is either ( 1x M.2 SSD + 4x HDD/SSD ) or 5x HDD/SSD.

 

7 hours ago, chwe said:

With an adjusted bootloader, "advanced" bootoptions (NVMe etc.) is possible, do you populate a SPI NOR on the board?

 

Yes there is a 128Mb SPI NOR Flash.

 

7 hours ago, chwe said:

I know your focus will be on NAS usecase but IMO the SoC is capable of doing "more than just NAS" any chances to get HDMI and/or MIPI (DCI & CSI) wired out? (IMO even on a pinheader where people need an adapter board to get them 'functional' would be a nice option).

 

Something we didn't disclose because too much info already on the picture, the USB Type-C has been designed with a 4-in-1 mode concept :

- Display Port
- DAS mode
- Host mode
- Serial Console Access
We will explain more at a later stage... but it's quite a unique design we did.

 

7 hours ago, chwe said:

It seems that eMMC is soldered directly to the board, did you consider a module option as well (as done for the RockPi, several NanoPi's etc.)?

 

We wanted to make the eMMC a basic feature of our board. I mean what's the point to sell it as a module when you know that in 90% of the case your user should use eMMC instead of SDcard. It also help in term of software support to know that all user Helios64 user will have the same config, therefore we can focus on installation guide that use the eMMC.

 

 

7 hours ago, chwe said:

Do you have a price for the board? I assume it won't be one of the cheaper RK3399 boards due to all the additional features populated on the baseboard.

 

You guess right this is not just some bare bone carrier board with a SoC in the middle. Between the PCIe-to-SATA bridge, the 2.5Gbe interface, the built-in UPS feature, RAM, eMMC, etc... it adds-up quickly. We also paid a lot of attention on the different power rails, this is a premium design compare to all the RK3399 board out there.

Helios4 was USD200 with the full kit (PSU, case, cable, fan, etc...), our goal it to try to be in the same ballpark. This time we will sell a-la-carte style, you can just buy the board alone, our with the case, if you already have a PSU then no need to order one...

 

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First, thanks for the openness even in such a early announcement. It's really appreciated.

 

17 hours ago, gprovost said:

No. It is not a use case that make sense from our point of view. I don't believe there will be a lot of people out there with a USB Type-C power adapter that can delivered up to 100W. Plus the power circuitry (and the PSU) would be quite expensive.

a lot of notebooks switch to such a powering as well (including mine going up to 65W). I do believe it becomes a standard (and therefore cheaper) in the future and it's one I actually like. I don't need several different chargers in the future one will fit. Might be more complicated with all the features you already implemented on this USB-C.

 

17 hours ago, gprovost said:

Yes there is a 128Mb SPI NOR Flash.

great!

 

17 hours ago, gprovost said:

Something we didn't disclose because too much info already on the picture, the USB Type-C has been designed with a 4-in-1 mode concept :

- Display Port
- DAS mode
- Host mode
- Serial Console Access
We will explain more at a later stage... but it's quite a unique design we did.

Flash over USB? Rockchip has tools to do this (e.g. rkflashtool). E.g. is the recovery pin properly wired out (without the pain touching two testpads etc).

 

17 hours ago, gprovost said:

Helios4 was USD200 with the full kit (PSU, case, cable, fan, etc...), our goal it to try to be in the same ballpark.

IMO if you could hold the price (including case etc.) this seems to be a really good deal. But I assume it will be a challenge..

 

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6 hours ago, chwe said:

Flash over USB? Rockchip has tools to do this (e.g. rkflashtool). E.g. is the recovery pin properly wired out (without the pain touching two testpads etc).

 

Yeah I should have mentioned that also. Through the same USB Type-C we also support Flash over USB with the rockchip dev/flash tools available. The recovery button is on one of 3 push button on the board. Each on-board memory (SPI and eMMC) can be disabled with a proper jumper ( No need to have 16 fingers to flash the board :P ).

 

6 hours ago, chwe said:

IMO if you could hold the price (including case etc.) this seems to be a really good deal. But I assume it will be a challenge..

We will try our best. Also we will sell a simple adapter kit in order for people to use Helios64 with any mini-ITX and ATX PSU. This way people could recycle their old case and save money.

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Great timing.  Just started doing some research to replace my 4 bay Qnap NAS that will reach EOL/software support by the end of next year.  Have been looking at various SBC's but couldn't find one that supported 4-5 sata drives other than the NANO PI SATA HAT  configuration which I wasn't to keen on.  The Helios64 sure looks like it will do the job just nicely.  The kit build will especially nail it for me.😁

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On 10/15/2019 at 7:50 PM, gprovost said:
On 10/15/2019 at 12:06 PM, chwe said:

With an adjusted bootloader, "advanced" bootoptions (NVMe etc.) is possible, do you populate a SPI NOR on the board?

 

Yes there is a 128Mb SPI NOR Flash.

 

16MB SPI NOR is a good choice, not just for uBoot, but one could put an entire operating system in there (openwrt for example)

 

On 10/15/2019 at 7:50 PM, gprovost said:
On 10/15/2019 at 12:06 PM, chwe said:

It seems that eMMC is soldered directly to the board, did you consider a module option as well (as done for the RockPi, several NanoPi's etc.)?

 

We wanted to make the eMMC a basic feature of our board. I mean what's the point to sell it as a module when you know that in 90% of the case your user should use eMMC instead of SDcard. It also help in term of software support to know that all user Helios64 user will have the same config, therefore we can focus on installation guide that use the eMMC.

 

I agree - @chwe - solder down is going to offer benefit of cost and board space - 16GB is plenty of space considering the other connectivity.

 

@gprovost - nice board...

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On 10/15/2019 at 2:39 AM, gprovost said:

We didn't have to look too far for the board name :D since in essence the goal was to redesign from scratch Helios4 with a 64-bit SoC and try to improve every key features that made Helios4 a very targeted board for NAS setup.

 

Curious as to why Rockchip RK3399K vs staying in the Marvell ecosystem with Armada 8040?

 

Marvell has always been strong in the network/storage arena as communications processors...

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11 minutes ago, sfx2000 said:

Curious as to why Rockchip RK3399K vs staying in the Marvell ecosystem with Armada 8040?

 

Armada A8040 is 5x-6x more expensive than RK3399K... it just doesn't fit into the bill for a consumer device like Helios64.

 

Also from the info I got, Marvell is not going to develop anymore their Armada family. They will focus on low power SoC, and let the high performance Armada SoC get phase out by Cavium ones... quite sad actually.

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22 hours ago, gprovost said:

Armada A8040 is 5x-6x more expensive than RK3399K... it just doesn't fit into the bill for a consumer device like Helios64.

 

Also from the info I got, Marvell is not going to develop anymore their Armada family. They will focus on low power SoC, and let the high performance Armada SoC get phase out by Cavium ones... quite sad actually.

 

That's what I thought - the 8040 is an expensive chip, without a doubt, and in an odd space - too big to be small, and too small to be big - Marvell recently has gone in a new direction, selling off the WLAN stuff to NXP, and focusing on core segments.

 

The RK is probably the right choice...

 

As a side note - The Cavium ThunderX and ThunderX2 is also an interesting story - X2 is the old Broadcom Vulcan hardware on custom ARM cores (Broadcom, like Apple and Qualcomm, was an ISA/Arch licensee), ThunderX was Cavium's own effort with ARM IP cores... I had access to a ThunderX machine that was sitting idle in a data center for some time, and used it as a builder for a distro my old startup/science project was doing. Having 48 ARMv8a cores with a server class IO/MEM made builds a snap ;)

 

 

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On 11/6/2019 at 11:28 PM, DBwpg said:

469L

 

Yeah, the moving walkway is nearing it's end on the TS-469L....

 

Quote

[Compatibility]
- QTS 4.3.4 is the final available firmware update for the following models: TS-1269U-RP, TS-869U-RP, TS-469U-RP, TS-469U-SP, TS-869 Pro, TS-869L, TS-669 Pro, TS-669L, TS-569 Pro, TS-569L, TS-469 Pro, TS-469L, TS-269 Pro, TS-269L.

 

Doesn't mean it'll roll over and die tomorrow mind you - it's just not going to get future updates from QNAP at some point, but the HW itself will likely outlive the drives inside.

 

 

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:44 PM, sfx2000 said:

 

Yeah, the moving walkway is nearing it's end on the TS-469L....

 

 

Doesn't mean it'll roll over and die tomorrow mind you - it's just not going to get future updates from QNAP at some point, but the HW itself will likely outlive the drives inside.

 

 

Yeah.  I've got an even older 219P with 2x 4tb drives that I use to backup my 469l on a monthly basis.  Will probably use my 469l as my backup once I setup a new NAS hopefully the Helios64 when it comes out.  Looking forward to using Openmediavault and Docker when the opportunity arises.

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On 10/16/2019 at 4:50 AM, gprovost said:

You guess right this is not just some bare bone carrier board with a SoC in the middle. Between the PCIe-to-SATA bridge, the 2.5Gbe interface, the built-in UPS feature, RAM, eMMC, etc... it adds-up quickly. We also paid a lot of attention on the different power rails, this is a premium design compare to all the RK3399 board out there.

Helios4 was USD200 with the full kit (PSU, case, cable, fan, etc...), our goal it to try to be in the same ballpark. This time we will sell a-la-carte style, you can just buy the board alone, our with the case, if you already have a PSU then no need to order one...

 


Any chance of a no-frills basic router board without the NAS stuff?

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It seems so. Also they kept their promises for the case.

The price for all what it offers I think it is quite decent. I like the expansion capability through the USB-C (DAS) I hope it works well with armbian.

 

What is the opinion of more experienced people?

 

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Looks good! Congrats to the Kobol team for designing another interesting NAS board.

 

Is the 12V 10A power supply neccessary though? I mean thats 120W, with that much power one can easily run a real x86... 

How much does the board itself consume? 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, count-doku said:

Looks good! Congrats to the Kobol team for designing another interesting NAS board.

 

Is the 12V 10A power supply neccessary though? I mean thats 120W, with that much power one can easily run a real x86... 

How much does the board itself consume? 

 

Well, I would think that's pretty much in line with the power requirements for running a 5 NAS drive enclosure.

30 minutes ago, count-doku said:

 

 

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On 1/3/2020 at 4:37 AM, count-doku said:

Is the 12V 10A power supply neccessary though? I mean thats 120W, with that much power one can easily run a real x86... 

How much does the board itself consume? 

 

We will post all those info in due time on out wiki, still so many things to do :-/. Typical idle power consumption of Helios64 with 5x WD RED is between 25-30W. Obviously power consumption will depends a lot on HDD brand / model you use. The reason of 120 watt PSU is you need to take in consideration current spike during HDD spin-up start, and you should always provision for a bigger PSU because PSU becomes less effective with time and you want to be sure the power budget is always easily covered by the PSU. But using your Helios4 PSU will do the job too because we are able to mitigate HDD spin-up current spike with on board power sequencing.

 

I post some of the pics here :P

 

h64-bundle.png

h64-board-intro.png

h64-case-intro.png

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Hi.

Looking forward to have it. Just orderd one a few hours ago.

Would it be possible to install armbian/openmediavault on a harddisk and not an sd-card?

 

Regards,

Michael

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