You know what’s more powerful than a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4? Six Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 devices hooked up in a cluster that allows them to work together. And the new DeskPi Super6C is a mini ITX mainboard designed to make it easy to create exactly that kind of cluster computer.
Available from DeskPi for $200 (or from Amazon for $250), the 170 x 170mm (6.7″ x 6.7″) board has connectors for up to six Raspberry Pi CM4 modules, plus everything you need to add storage, cooling, and I/O devices. What it doesn’t come with is any Raspberry Pi Compute Modules. You’ll need to bring your own… if you already have some (or can find a store that has them in stock).
The Super6C mini ITX board has six M.2 2280 slots, allowing you to add a PCIe Gen 2 x1 SSD for each Raspberry Pi computer that’s connected. Each CM4 unit also gets its own microSD card reader, micro USB 2.0 connector, and 5V fan header. The Raspberry Pi computers talk to one another via a 1 Gbps Ethernet connection.
The first module also has access to HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4a ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, and two USB Host 2.54 4-pin headers. The board also has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and 3 12V fan headers.
DeskPi ships a 100W power supply with the Super6C, which should be able to power all of the hardware as well as some attached connectors.
According to the company, potential uses include creating a home server, self-hosting cloud applications, creating a network-attached or distributed storage system, developing edge applications, or getting your feet wet with machine learning, parallel processing, or other applications. You can find more details at DeskPi’s GitHub repository.
This isn’t DeskPi’s first time building hardware to extend the capabilities of Raspberry Pi computers. The company’s DeskPi Pro was released a few years ago as a Raspberry PI case that makes it easy to add a hard drive, and the company introduced a DeskPi Lite earlier this year that lacks hard drive support, but makes the little computer’s ports more accessible.
It’s also not the first Raspberry Pi-compatible cluster computer we’ve seen. Earlier this year the Turing Pi 2 mini ITX cluster board went up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign. That model support for up to four Raspberry Pi CM4 boards (as well as several other mini PCs)
via CNX Software
I bought a Desktop Pi system some years ago. There was a widespread problem with the SSD interface which still remains unresolved despite public promises by them to replace all affected boards. No way would I buy from them again!
I bought a Desktop Pu system some years ago. There was a widespread problem with the SSD interface which still remains unresolved despite public promises by them to replace all affected boards. No way would I buy from them again!
That seems like quite a bit of money to spend on what would likely be a mess of a system.
Compared to a normal ITX desktop, it doesn’t really make much sense to me.
Being a mess of a system is kind of the point. You’d use this to run a lot of home server applications, running on less power than a stack of used optiplexes.
That said, I still wouldn’t want to use this particular board for that, because putting something other than storage devices into the m.2 slots would be difficult, unless I was going to get some really tall spacers. I kind of prefer the Turing Pi approach better even if there aren’t as many pcie slots, since I can easily power the hard drives I’d need and the computer with the same power supply.
Heck it, we’re doing six compute modules.
Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama’s about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: 6 compute modules and dual full-size HDMI ports.
Does that mean it only runs one copy of Doom, or can run six Doom games at once?