At OCP Summit 2023, there was a passively cooled Arm system based on the Ampere Altra processor that has a neat trick: the ability to add a GPU. The 7StarLake TEC300S combines a modern Arm server processor, 8 channels of DDR4 memory, and a decent amount of expansion capability into a system designed to be deployed far from a typical data center.
7StarLake TEC300S Overview
On the front of the system, we get a four 2.5″ SSD array. These are actually for 2.5″ SATA SSDs, which is something we do not see often these days, given how much M.2 storage has taken off. There are, however, two M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4 x4 internal slots for M.2 SSDs.
On the network port side, we get a legacy VGA connector and four USB 3 ports. We also get four network ports. These network ports are 2x 1GbE and 2x 10GbE ports.
One can also see the DC power input (18-36V), but there is an option for AC input. There is also an expansion card slot. Inside, one has the option to add a NVIDIA RTX A1000 GPU in a MXM form factor to make an edge inferencing box.
Patrick held this system at OCP Summit 2023 and said: “This system is very heavy as it is mostly heatsink to be able to cool the system.”
Not everyone will need to put a system on a truck, boat, aircraft, or other place where passive cooling is needed. For some, this is a requirement, and it is cool to see something like this use not just a low-end embedded CPU but something with up to 128 cores.
Perhaps one day we will review something like this.