Yokemate of Keyboards
Posts: 4967 from 2009/1/28
From: Delaware, USA
providing me the MPC8641D samples for my aborted PPC motherboard
WHAAAT? Tell us more! Those samples alone are seriuos money themselves...
Freescale really is a true descendant of Motorola.
In the 80's when I was managing an independent Radio Shack (which also ran another business selling multi-user 68000 systems) Motorola announced it was discontinuing the 6829 (an MMU for the 6809 processor). Since I wanted one to experiment with, I contacted Motorola. They sent me out the XC labeled component (even though their reps and I had already discussed the Tandy developed VLSI that would become the core of the Color Computer 3 - and which made the 6829 obsolete).
I always had a good relationship with Motorola (their reps frequently gave me information before it was announced and samples were easy to obtain). Since I've managed a company that built computers based on their components, I never had a problem getting support from Motorola.
Believe it or not, Freescale (while it isn't quite Motorola) is also relatively easy to deal with. Unlike Applied Micro, I might add, which wouldn't give me an NDA unless I maintained a website, Freescale's reps and I have a good relationship that goes back to the Motorola period. Of all the companies currently making microprocessor, I think I'm most fond of Freescale. They really do try harder than most companies to promote their product.
I never posted anything about the MPC8641D project, because I didn't know if I'd see it to fruition. I did consult with Andreas because he has consistently offered me the best advice (of anyone on the web I keep contact with). I actually got pretty far with the design, but it required an ATI Southbridge (an SB600) anf a FPGA for glue circuitry. The expense of building the prototypes alone was daunting.
Then the MorphOS team announced support for G4 Macs, and it seemed pointless to consider building an expensive 1.25 Mhz e600 motherboard.
Especially since I would have had to pay the MorphOS development team for porting (or at least provided several machines and convinced them that my project was worth supporting).
Anyway, yes Freescale did provide me with two MPC8641Ds worth at least a couple hundred a piece. But, that's because they took me seriously.
I've talked to the head of IBM's division that makes Cell processors (and the Xenon), Freescales reps (of course), and the designer of the X1000 (months before anyone else was discussing Varisys, Andreas and I were speculating about that company's owner). I tried to establish a relationship with Applied Micro (which I still have one contact with), but they're more secretive than IBM.
I (and I believe Andreas, although I wouldn't claim to speak for him) believe strongly that our future still lies in PPC (or PPC related) processors. While Freescale has canceled the e700, they appear to have incorporated some of the e700's features in their latest evolution of the e500 core. I've already sent in an inquiry about the P5020 and 5010 (the first 5500 cored processors).
While financing a new motherboard is a massive undertaking (and I don't doubt Treavor at A-eon's estimates of his current expenses), the design tools don't require a large team of people (just a lot of time - designs have gotten much more complicated since I was selling 68K based systems).
So, right now, yes I'm sitting on the MPC8641D samples (and a lot of preliminary design work tat has not seen recent revisions in months). IBM wouldn't agree to sell me Cell processors. Applied Micro is even harder to deal with and I have no idea how A-eon managed to secure PA6Ts (although Andreas has consistently insisted this would be the X1000's processor - and he was right).
Lets see if the 5500 core has potential. That lack of Altivec instructions is discouraging, but the first two processors are supposed to clock up to 2.2 Ghz (with 2.5 processors apparently coming soon and a design goal of 3.0 Ghz).
I've always believed that, with the proper financing, a motherboard with much better features than the boards that Acube sells could be built (and that it could be sold for about the same price as the SAM).
But, its never good to announce speculative projects. Only once something has reached at least a prototype stage, would I normally feel comfortable releasing any info on it.
The main reason I posted this, is that I want you all to realize that these things are worked on and discussed amongst a few of us. PPC is not dead, hell its not even resting.
"Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"