Market research for new PowerPC system
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    jcmarcos
    Posts: 1178 from 2003/3/13
    From: Pinto, Madrid ...
    Quote:

    feanor wrote:
    Quote:

    jcmarcos wrote:

    just clone that MPC8610 evaluation board in you have at the smallest possible cost, that's all.


    Unfortunately that's not possible, for both copyright issues but also in terms of cost. Evaluation boards have lots of stuff that isn't really useful in an end product (like JTAG for example). Also they are quite big in size.


    I explained myself badly: Desing a completely new Mini-ITX (for example) board, taking all the knowledge from the evaluation board. Of course, those connectors for development purposes should be gone.
    By the way, it's just a shame that you have to repeat the work that NEC already did with its Redtail board. Has anybody here seen one, ever?

    I know you prefer having answers in your e-mail, but I prefer having this discussion in public, it's much more lively.

    Quote:

    I'm definitely not doing it for fun


    I assume you no longer work for Genesi.

    Quote:

    This is a market in itself. Not big, but I believe it's self sustainable


    I agree. The fact that every other player has left this market looks scary, but things can be done right.

    Quote:

    I don't know if a 500EUR MPC8610 board would be a right choice


    I think that's reasonable for a new MPC8610 computer, with a reasonable amount of expansion options - Yes, a single PCI slot is too little. But you have a problem: I won't buy it because my Pegasos is not broken yet. And many people will think the same: If you aren't rich, why would you buy another computer to do the same (enjoy MorphOS). Well, it's faster, but can you mention smething that us Morhers do, that needs a lot of processing power?

    Quote:

    the QorIQ series are the focus of Freescale right now


    Putting "freescale" and "focus" in the same sentence scares me. If I were you, I'd go for the most stablished solution, and leave others battle with freescale for newish things.

    Quote:

    bPlan like the idea, and I already started discussions with them about the board. I don't think I'll have a second chance in this however so I'll have to make sure it succeeds the first time.


    That looks like the start of an exciting ride!

    Quote:

    That's why I wouldn't like wasting their time with constant discussions and constant specs changes.


    Even if you have an exact specification in mind, things change during hardware development. Hardware usually has funny undocumented behaviours, it's a whole different world to software. With bPlan by your side, and all their expertise, many of those traps can be avoided.

    Quote:

    I'll have to make a decision about the hardware specs


    Use the same as your MPC8610 evaluation board.

    Quote:

    the project's viability and then things will start rolling.


    I guess you have a perfectly complete idea about viability, at least MorphOS wise. As for different markets, you could use again the idea of the "CrabFire", years ago: A Pegasos based firewall (running Linux, of course) that could be labelled as more secure because it used a weird (PowerPC) processor, and thus malware for it was unexistant. Sure you remember the project, it came from Gunne Steen, if I remember correctly.
    For other markets... I guess a bloody PC with Windows gets the job done easier and cheaper.

    Give us a computer for having fun! (that's why we were so grateful to Genesi anyway).
  • »24.09.09 - 09:56
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    feanor
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20
    Quote:


    jcmarcos wrote:
    I explained myself badly: Desing a completely new Mini-ITX (for example) board, taking all the knowledge from the evaluation board. Of course, those connectors for development purposes should be gone.
    By the way, it's just a shame that you have to repeat the work that NEC already did with its Redtail board. Has anybody here seen one, ever?



    No, only the photos posted on powerdeveloper.org.

    Quote:


    I assume you no longer work for Genesi.



    Hehe, actually I was never a Genesi employee, although they did fund my Altivec work on libfreevec and other stuff initially, and I will most likely work with Genesi in the future in other things as well, like ARM NEON stuff. In fact, this motherboard, if it happens it will happen with Genesi's cooperation, after all they're the ones that know how to build cool PowerPC systems and that's why I contacted them in the first place.

    Quote:


    I think that's reasonable for a new MPC8610 computer, with a reasonable amount of expansion options - Yes, a single PCI slot is too little. But you have a problem: I won't buy it because my Pegasos is not broken yet. And many people will think the same: If you aren't rich, why would you buy another computer to do the same (enjoy MorphOS). Well, it's faster, but can you mention smething that us Morhers do, that needs a lot of processing power?



    Yes, that is indeed a problem that I begin to realize. Many people might complain about lack of available new hardware, but if it was there tomorrow, would they buy it?


    Quote:


    I guess you have a perfectly complete idea about viability, at least MorphOS wise. As for different markets, you could use again the idea of the "CrabFire", years ago: A Pegasos based firewall (running Linux, of course) that could be labelled as more secure because it used a weird (PowerPC) processor, and thus malware for it was unexistant. Sure you remember the project, it came from Gunne Steen, if I remember correctly.
    For other markets... I guess a bloody PC with Windows gets the job done easier and cheaper.



    There are many markets, including embedded, which could be approached yes, but first I want to have an idea of how many people are interested with MorphOS/AmigaOS/Haiku/etc. In the end of October, I'll post a summary of exactly how many people sent me an email, and we can discuss it from there. I think it's a fair amount of time to make such an estimate.

    Quote:


    Give us a computer for having fun! (that's why we were so grateful to Genesi anyway).


    True! That's why I want to make it also! (I lied about not doing it for fun, fun is a very important factor, but it's not the deciding one, unfortunately :)
  • »24.09.09 - 10:14
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    ThePlayer
    Posts: 1032 from 2003/3/24
    From: Hamburg/Germany
    Quote:



    Yes, that is indeed a problem that I begin to realize. Many people might complain about lack of available new hardware, but if it was there tomorrow, would they buy it?






    I would buy a board that would replace my Peg2 G4.
    But it should have at least one PCI-E and 3-4 PCI Slots.
    The 8610 would be enough for me but i would go for the 1.33 Ghz version.
    And i would be willing to pay 6-700 Euro for that board if MOS 2.x would support it.
    Oh and SATA, DDR2 or 3, GBit Ethernet, 4-6xUSB2 and AC97 should be on board. And i don't care much about the DIU.
    PowerBook 17" SuperHD-Display MOD 1920x1200 :)
  • »24.09.09 - 15:29
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Jambalah
    Posts: 807 from 2008/3/30
    From: Roma, Italy
    Quote The Player!
    I would buy another PPC board more performing for that price and with that specs with no doubts.
    With MorphOS running on, of course! :-)
    Anyway it will go, congratulations for this nice idea!
    Pegasos II 1 ghz
    Powermac G4 Quicksilver with Sonnet Encore 1.8 ghz
    Powermac G4 MDD single 1.25 ghz, silenced for ears health...
    Powermac G5 dual 2.7 ghz I'll be back...
    Powermac G5 dual 2.0 ghz
    Powerbook G4 1.67 ghz 17
  • »24.09.09 - 19:20
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    pampers
    Posts: 1058 from 2009/2/26
    From: Tczew, Poland
    I hope your plan will come true.

    Email sent.
    MorphOS 3.x
  • »24.09.09 - 20:13
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Crumb
    Posts: 706 from 2003/2/24
    From: aGaS & CUAZ Al...
    @feanor

    http://www.ppcnux.com/?q=node/6562

    I've heard IBM is not as helpful with small companies as Freescale is... but a PPC970MP machine would rock :-)

    [ Edited by Crumb on 2009/9/24 22:38 ]
  • »24.09.09 - 21:35
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 10924 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > I tried to look up some prices for PPC970 and couldn't find a
    > distributor, would you mind pointing to some URLs?

    http://www.avnet.com offers the PPC970:

    PPC970FX between 77 and 140 USD
    PPC970MP between 209 and 315 USD

    ...depending on clock rate and quantity.
  • »24.09.09 - 22:23
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    MarK
    Posts: 641 from 2004/1/25
    From: Prague, The Cz...
    email sent.

    how about to make it a bit modular? first release could contain the most worth cpu, but later, you could sell a faster cpu module? like the idea of the pegasos board, where wasn't many options...

    bye, MarK.
  • »25.09.09 - 06:11
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  • Butterfly
    Butterfly
    clr666
    Posts: 85 from 2008/7/8
    From: Russia
    For first, idea of CPU upgrade card (with extra hw connectors like DDR2, etc.) for existing Pegasos machines is not so bad ;) And it is looong expected thing.
    And whole new hardware with modern interfaces will be pretty nice after years of waiting new powerful hw from Genesi.
    _______________
    wintel free
  • »25.09.09 - 06:48
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  • MorphOS Developer
    itix
    Posts: 1516 from 2003/2/24
    From: Finland
    @feanor

    Quote:


    But I will definitely fund the Haiku porting, because I like it and I think it has a lot of future.



    What kind of interest there is on the Haiku side?
    1 + 1 = 3 with very large values of 1
  • »25.09.09 - 09:20
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    Zylesea
    Posts: 1953 from 2003/6/4
    A modular system with current SoC-like ppcs is no viable way. The 8610 and 8640 are too different alredy:
    E.g. the 10 has inbuild gfx but no LAN, while the 40 has LAN but no gfx. The 1022 is also quite different. Thus modularity would be possible with one chip only and would only offer to get different clock rates. But e.g. in the case of the 8610, here are no higher clock rates scheduled that currently available. I doubt that the effort to make it exchangeable is worth the benefit. IMHO the design should kept as simple as possible to leave the price as low as possible.
    --
    http://www.via-altera.de

    Whenever you're sad just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.
    ...and Matthias , my friend - RIP
  • »25.09.09 - 09:25
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    jcmarcos
    Posts: 1178 from 2003/3/13
    From: Pinto, Madrid ...
    Quote:

    Zylesea wrote:

    A modular system with current SoC-like ppcs is no viable way.


    Agreed. Regular computers forgot about exchangable CPUs a long time ago. Not only for technical reasons (would you put critical, nearly gigahertz signals, on a regular copper connector?), but also because nobody changes the CPU of his computer. Moreover, the manufacturer would have to build products (CPU modules) without knowing if they are going to sell ever, and that's completely opposite to the first rules of business.
  • »25.09.09 - 10:19
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  • Moderator
    Golem
    Posts: 766 from 2003/2/28
    From: Denmark
    Quote:

    jcmarcos wrote:
    Regular computers forgot about exchangable CPUs a long time ago.

    Huh?
  • »25.09.09 - 19:20
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    feanor
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20
    Quote:


    Golem wrote:
    Quote:

    jcmarcos wrote:
    Regular computers forgot about exchangable CPUs a long time ago.

    Huh?


    He probably meant CPU *cards* and he's right about that.
  • »25.09.09 - 20:14
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    SoundSquare
    Posts: 1207 from 2004/12/1
    From: Paris, France
    Quote:

    What kind of interest there is on the Haiku side?


    yes, interesting question as the Haiku folks stated several time that their main concern was x86 and the PPC port is behind (and late).
  • »25.09.09 - 21:58
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    feanor
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20
    Quote:


    SoundSquare wrote:
    Quote:

    What kind of interest there is on the Haiku side?


    yes, interesting question as the Haiku folks stated several time that their main concern was x86 and the PPC port is behind (and late).



    Very little right now, and rightly so, let's not forget that Haiku has just released their first Alpha, their focus is getting the base stable. Even the ARM port is not at top shape -though a bit better than the PowerPC port. I'm having discussions with some of the PowerPC porters though. Haiku is a new OS, it can only get better and its marketshare can only increase, it would be folly to ignore it now, as it has great potential.
  • »25.09.09 - 22:04
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    SoundSquare
    Posts: 1207 from 2004/12/1
    From: Paris, France
    i don't deny the potential of Haiku, i've always been interested in it. I just hope there will be enough ressources in the future to maintain a PPC port (ARM is on its way to hit the netbook/net-top market, PPC is agonizing).

    So do you have in mind to work on the Open Server Workstation basis ("pegasos 3'), refresh the project and make it built by BPlan ? what part (appart from financially) do you plan to work on yourself ? And what kind of help would you need if any ? (some talented people around here may be of help)
  • »25.09.09 - 22:12
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    feanor
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20
    Quote:


    SoundSquare wrote:
    i don't deny the potential of Haiku, i've always been interested in it. I just hope there will be enough ressources in the future to maintain a PPC port (ARM is on its way to hit the netbook/net-top market, PPC is agonizing).



    Well, if the users that are so interested in it

    Quote:


    So do you have in mind to work on the Open Server Workstation basis ("pegasos 3'), refresh the project and make it built by BPlan ? what part (appart from financially) do you plan to work on yourself ? And what kind of help would you need if any ? (some talented people around here may be of help)



    I don't think I could use the same name. And no, there will not be a "Developer's program" like there was with Genesi -unless Freescale does the same thing as it did back then. There will be a few selected developers that will get free boards but on the basis that they work on something -and quite possibly financial help will be given also -eg. like in the case of Haiku/ppc.

    Personally, I plan to work on the Linux port, at least initially, set up autobuilders, make sure I support some popular distros (Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSuse) but also make sure the Linux distro distributed with the system will be as optimised and as integrated to the hardware as possible -no generic kernels, if Altivec is supported by the CPU, provide as many optimizations as possible. The distro distributed will be a slimmed down version of some chosen one. I have come to the point to dislike most distros, they're bloated like hell. Even moblin sounds better come to think of it. Anyway it is *very* early to decide on the distro yet. OTOH, I might hire someone to do the Linux work for me, and just work on the Haiku side myself. When the time comes, I'm sure I'll make a new inquiry for talented people to show themselves :D
  • »25.09.09 - 22:53
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 10924 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > do you have in mind to work on the Open Server Workstation basis
    > ("pegasos 3'), refresh the project and make it built by BPlan ?

    The OSW's TetraPower board was supposed to be PPC970 based. None of the 3 proposed CPUs is PPC970. I guess work on the new board would rather be based on the "Pegasos 8641D" (but with 8640D instead) or on the "Efika 8610" :-)

    BTW, the developer program of each project:
    TetraPower ("CANCELED")
    Pegasos 8641D ("CANCELED")
    Efika 8610
  • »26.09.09 - 02:27
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  • Butterfly
    Butterfly
    metalmac
    Posts: 87 from 2007/5/26
    Nice initiative! But I think what the Amiga/Haiku/PPC market realy needs is a portable laptop, And still I havent heard that any of the hw players are planing any laptops!? why?
    PowerBook G4@1.5Ghz, 1Gb ram, MorphOS 3.12
    Amiga 1200, Blizzard 1220/4@28Mhz, 500Mb HD, 6mb RAM, Workbench 3.1
    AspireOne, 1Gb RAM, 160Gb HD, Icaros Desktop
    AmigaOne 500, 2Gb ram, AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition
  • »26.09.09 - 08:37
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    feanor
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20
    Quote:


    metalmac wrote:
    Nice initiative! But I think what the Amiga/Haiku/PPC market realy needs is a portable laptop, And still I havent heard that any of the hw players are planing any laptops!? why?


    A laptop is much more difficult to work on. If the motherboard itself is successful and sales are good, we could easily -at least in the case of MPC8610 and P1022- move it back to a netbook form factor. But make no mistake, while an Atom netbook costs ~300-400$, and an ARM can cost $100 less, a PowerPC netbook, at least in small scales that we're after, should cost much more than that. Probably more than $600. On the other hand, it would be really cool to have a modern PowerPC laptop again -I'm writing this now on a Powerbook G4 12", the closest thing to a PowerPC "netbook".

    For now I think the best bet in terms of price, time-to-deliver and features would be going forward with the 8610. The P1022 is a sweet CPU even without Altivec, but it will just take too long -Q4/2010- plus it just occured to me, that binaries with FPU code, will not be able to run on the e500 cores without some kind of real-time FPU code translation, with performance loss.

    Btw, here are some early stats:

    http://www.codex.gr/index.php?pageID=&blogItem=60

    [ Edited by feanor on 2009/9/26 10:57 ]
  • »26.09.09 - 08:54
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 10924 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > a PowerPC netbook, at least in small scales that we're after, should
    > cost much more than that. Probably more than $600. On the other hand,
    > it would be really cool to have a modern PowerPC laptop again -I'm
    > writing this now on a Powerbook G4 12", the closest thing to a
    > PowerPC "netbook".

    There is already one, albeit with a CPU that's surely not in the class of the CPUs proposed by you:

    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6436&forum=11

    But then, you probably already know that one at least since your thread at the Haiku forum.

    > it just occured to me, that binaries with FPU code, will not be
    > able to run on the e500 cores without some kind of real-time FPU
    > code translation, with performance loss.

    Exactly, though only true for e500v2 (and before), which the P1 (and P2) series has. e500mc of P4 series (and coming P3 and P5 series) has a "desktop compatible" FPU implementation.

    More (and links therein):
    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6313&forum=11&start=3
    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6465&forum=11&start=19
  • »26.09.09 - 12:33
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    feanor
    Posts: 104 from 2009/3/20
    Quote:


    There is already one, albeit with a CPU that's surely not in the class of the CPUs proposed by you:

    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6436&forum=11

    But then, you probably already know that one at least since your thread at the Haiku forum.



    Yes, I saw that one, interesting, but it's not what I was thinking about.

    Quote:


    Exactly, though only true for e500v2 (and before), which the P1 (and P2) series has. e500mc of P4 series (and coming P3 and P5 series) has a "desktop compatible" FPU implementation.



    Yes, unfortunately it applies to our case, the P4 is way too expensive and I couldn't seriously suggest it as an alternative right now. (I know we are saying the same thing, there is no argument here). I just realized that for backwards compatibility, perhaps P1022 is not the best case, though attractive overall. It would need some serious work on the FPU real-time translation, and I can't even estimate the impact of that.
  • »26.09.09 - 13:01
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 10924 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > What kind of interest there is on the Haiku side?

    http://www.haiku-os.org/community/forum/market_research_new_powerpc_system
  • »26.09.09 - 13:02
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    SoundSquare
    Posts: 1207 from 2004/12/1
    From: Paris, France
    Quote:

    The OSW's TetraPower board was supposed to be PPC970 based. None of the 3 proposed CPUs is PPC970. I guess work on the new board would rather be based on the "Pegasos 8641D" (but with 8640D instead) or on the "Efika 8610" :-)


    true, i mixed them sorry.
  • »26.09.09 - 14:35
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