Here I will give a history of the Compute Blade’s changes, starting with the concept.

About the enclosure (BladeRunner) and cooling (fan units), I will write separately.

From the current to the past. let’s go

Compute Blade Release Candidate Two

Name “Compute Blade v0.9 RC2”

Toolkit:

  • Altium Designer
  • Fully factory assembled

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD up to 22110 (2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 supported)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) up to 22W (normal operation 2-8W)
  • Optional real-time clock (RTC) module
  • Optional Zymbit ZYMKEY4i, or custom module for Zymbit Hardware Security(HSM)
  • USB-A for a flash drive for copying data during setup with UART or YubiKey keys during operation
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 on the front (TX, RX, GND)
  • Additional UART0 with 5v in (or out) next to RTC port
  • Two digital RGB LEDs
  • Hardware switchable WiFi, BT, and EEPROM write-protection
  • Activity, Power, and SSD LEDs
  • HDMI port for monitor (up to 4k60)
  • USB-C port and PRIBOOT button to flash the bootloader, access to eMMC/SD card or tests
  • TPM 2.0 onboard
  • PWM fan connector for the custom backplane (Fan Units), supports UART communication
  • Switchable USB input (USB-A or USB-C)
  • Programmable button on the front panel
  • Officially “Powered by Raspberry Pi”
  • FCC and CE ready
  • Individual serial number
  • The power supply of the Raspberry Pi CM4 is now 5.1V, which has improved stability under overclocking. This is fully within the specifications (4.75V-5.25V)
  • IEEE 802.3at detection (on Raspberry Pi with GPIO pin and additional LED on the blade)
  • New button for the front panel (to feel the click better)
  • All front LEDs can be turned off (except for Ethernet, this needs to be corrected in v.1), a very handy feature!
  • Signed by me (let it be a “feature” for RC2)

Bugs:

  • Positioning issues for digital LED and PoE mode LED for the first 10 blades in the batch

Compute Blade Release Candidate One

Name “Compute Blade v0.9 RC1”

Complete redesign switched to 4 layers PCB, new logo

Toolkit:

  • Altium Designer
  • Factory assembled (excluding PoE module and TPM chip)
  • Microscope 
  • Soldering station

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD up to 22110 (2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 supported)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) up to 22W (normal operation 2-8W)
  • Optional real-time clock (RTC) module
  • Optional Zymbit ZYMKEY4i, or custom module for Zymbit Hardware Security(HSM)
  • USB-A for a flash drive for copying data during setup with UART or YubiKey keys during operation
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 on the front (TX, RX, GND)
  • Additional UART0 with 5v in (or out) next to RTC port
  • Two digital RGB LEDs (instead of ID LED)
  • Hardware switchable WiFi, BT, and EEPROM write-protection
  • Activity, Power, and SSD LEDs
  • HDMI port for monitor (up to 4k60)
  • USB-C port and PRIBOOT button to flash the bootloader, or tests
  • TPM 2.0 onboard
  • PWM fan connector for the custom backplane (Fan Units)
  • Switchable USB input (USB-A or USB-C)
  • Programmable button on the front panel
  • Officially “Powered by Raspberry Pi”
  • FCC and CE ready
  • Individual serial number

Bugs:

  • Activity LED doesn’t work right
  • Footprint and positioning issues for digital LEDs
  • RPIBOOT button and USB-C issues
  • Too low resistor values with LEDs (they are too bright)

Compute Blade v0.7

Name “Uptime Compute Blade v0.7”

Toolkit:

  • KiCad
  • Microscope
  • Soldering station

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD up to 22110 (2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 supported)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) up to 22W (normal operation 2-8W)
  • Optional real-time clock (RTC) module
  • Optional Zymbit ZYMKEY4i, or custom module for Zymbit Hardware Security(HSM)
  • USB-A for a flash drive for copying data during setup with UART or YubiKey keys during operation
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 with 5v in (or out) next to RTC port
  • ID Led connected to GPIO18
  • Hardware switchable WiFi, BT, and EEPROM write-protection
  • Activity, Power, and SSD LEDs
  • HDMI port for monitor (up to 4k60)
  • USB-C port and PRIBOOT button to flash the bootloader, or tests
  • TPM 2.0 onboard
  • PWM fan connector for the custom backplane (Fan Units)
  • Switchable USB input (USB-A or USB-C)
  • Programmable button on the front panel

Bugs:

  • All looks fine, except for the fact that I had to solder it by hand

Compute Blade v0.6

Name “Uptime Compute Blade (Dev) v0.6”

The review:

Toolkit:

  • KiCad
  • Microscope
  • Soldering station

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD up to 22110 (2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 supported)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) up to 22W (normal operation 2-8W)
  • Optional real-time clock (RTC) module
  • Optional Zymbit ZYMKEY4i, or custom module for Zymbit Hardware Security(HSM)
  • USB-A for a flash drive for copying data during setup with UART or YubiKey keys during operation
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 with 5v in (or out) next to RTC port
  • ID Led connected to GPIO18
  • Solderable jumpers for disabling WiFi, BT, and enabling EEPROM write-protection
  • Activity, Power, and SSD LEDs
  • HDMI port for monitor (up to 4k60) (instead of micro HDMI port)
  • USB-C port and PRIBOOT button to flash the bootloader
  • TPM 2.0 onboard
  • PWM fan connector for the custom backplane (Fan Units)

Bugs:

  • USB-C powering with only 4.8V, because of the diode. Not a problem during flashing

Compute Blade v0.5

Name “Uptime Compute Blade (Dev) v0.5”

Toolkit:

  • KiCad
  • Microscope
  • Soldering station

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD up to 2280 (2230, 2242, 2260 supported)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet IEEE 802.3af (PoE) up to 12W (normal operation 2-8W)
  • Optional real-time clock (RTC) module
  • USB-A for a flash drive for copying data during setup with UART
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 with 5v in (or out)
  • ID Led connected to GPIO18
  • Solderable jumpers for disabling WiFi, BT, and enabling EEPROM write-protection
  • Activity, Power, and SSD LEDs
  • Micro HDMI port for monitor (up to 4k60)
  • USB-C and PRIBOOT button to flash the bootloader

Bugs:

Compute Blade v0.2

Name “Raspberry Pi CM4 Uptime platform v0.2”

Toolkit:

  • KiCad
  • Microscope
  • Soldering station

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD up to 2280 (2230, 2242, 2260 supported)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Power over Ethernet IEEE 802.3af (PoE) up to 12W (normal operation 2-8W)
  • Optional real-time clock (RTC) module
  • USB-A for a flash drive for copying data during setup with UART
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 with 5v in (or out)
  • ID Led connected to GPIO18
  • Solderable jumpers for disabling WiFi, BT, and enabling EEPROM write-protection
  • Activity, Power LEDs

Bugs:

  • No bugs at all
  • Except that I later discovered that the PoE IEEE 802.3af is not enough when the CPU is overclocked and running under full load for a long time, fixed from v0.6. Not critical

Compute Blade v0.1, proof of concept

Name “Raspberry Pi CM4 Uptime platform v0.1”

Toolkit:

  • EasyEDA 
  • Magnifying glass
  • Soldering station 

Features:

  • Support all Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD 2280
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • PoE (up to 12W)
  • External real-time clock (RTC) module
  • USB-A (for flash drive or copying data during setup with UART)
  • MicroSD card port
  • UART0 
  • ID Led connected to GPIO18

Bugs:

  • PCIe bus works with a huge packet loss (the differential pairs were made by eye)
  • The network doesn’t work 
  • GPIO_VREF pin floating
  • SD card port issues
  • Wrong CM4 footprint (It fit in tight to PoE module)

Compute Blade concept

Name “Raspberry Pi CM4 Blade Server Concept”

Toolkit:

  • Autodesk Fusion 360

Features:

  • Support Raspberry Pi CM4
  • NVMe SSD
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • PoE
  • Micro HDMI port for monitor
  • USB-C for setup

Bugs:

  • Obstructed access to interfaces

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ice
ice
4 months ago

Hi, great job!! can’t wait for the final version 🙂
Do you think it is possible to add a second NVME drive?

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 months ago

Is this intended to fit into a 400mm depth rack?

Micah
Micah
3 months ago

This is everything I am looking for in one package. Outstanding work on this. Any ideas when a finished version will be available?

Micah
Micah
Reply to  Ivan Kuleshov
3 months ago

You are the man, do you have a Patreon? I would like to contribute to this.

Guest
Guest
Reply to  Ivan Kuleshov
2 months ago

Awesome work, well done! I cannot wait to kickstarter the shit out of this project. I’ll take 10 !
(insert “take my money” meme)

Gondox
Gondox
3 months ago

Hi,
I love this project and hope for the kickstarter!
I know this is really late in the development process, but would it be possible to add an UEFI implementation like https://rpi4-uefi.dev/ to an EEPROM connected via SPI or something similar? This would be really useful and allow to deploy so many vanilla ARM64 Distribution images.

Gondox
Gondox
Reply to  Ivan Kuleshov
1 month ago

Hi Ivan,

thank you very much for your reply. I just wanted to clarify: my question was less about debugging, but more about being able to install OSes without raspberry pi specific u-boot and dtbs. The idea was to have rpi4-uefi on the eeprom and then you would be able to just install whatever vanilla arm64 linux you like: https://arm.fedoraproject.org/ or https://ubuntu.com/download/server/arm or https://ftp.fau.de/almalinux/9.0/isos/aarch64/

Gondox
Gondox
Reply to  Ivan Kuleshov
21 days ago

Thanks for the reply!
Please don’t invest too much effort looking into it.
It is absolutely possible, that I just misread the documentation over here: https://www.raspberrypi.com/documentation/computers/raspberry-pi.html#first-stage-bootloader and booting from an SPI attached EEPROM is not even possible. 🙁

Miguel Declan
6 days ago

Wow, this is amazing!!
Finally an option for enterprises to start including raspberry pi’s and just offering alternatives for people that want to have their own homely whilst saving a lot on electrics.
Can’t wait for it to be available, because I so want one so badly!

OzDeaDMeaT
OzDeaDMeaT
3 days ago

When can I buy some of these blades?