riscy
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Re: Mips on vesa

To: hp@vmars.vmars.tuwien.ac.at, riscy@pyramid.com
Subject: Re: Mips on vesa
From: Drew Eckhardt <drew@nag.cs.Colorado.EDU>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1993 07:23:11 -0600
In-reply-to: Your message of "Mon, 26 Jul 1993 14:36:13 MST." <9307261236.AA08234@quasi.vmars.tuwien.ac.at>
Reply-to: riscy@pyramid.com
Sender: owner-riscy@pyramid.com
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    You (Drew Eckhardt) wrote:
    > 
    > 
    >     The original mips design seemed to be basically mips+simm slots 
    >     on ISA bus and
    > 
    > Not on an ISA bus, but with an ISA bus for people who insist on 
    > having PC-compatable expansion slots. 
    
    No, the original project was indeed, as Bill wrote, to build a card
    with a MIPS processor and some memory to put into a PC. 
    changed to build a motherboard, however (But you should know that,
    Drew. The first mail I got on this list was by Neil answering (among
    other things) your claim that there isn't enough real estate on an isa
    board).

If we're being pedantic, yes.  However, Neil quickly conceeded that we 
needed a motherboard if we were going to get any performance out of the
system as a whole, and all recent discussions have been about a system
with a mother board.
    
    > IMHO, it seems to have been postponed because of
    > 
    > 1. No suitable DMA/DRAM/peripherial controller is available - 
    >   the 3730 isn't shipping and the Visual MOM chipset lacks 
    >   support for slave mode DMA. (Has anyone looked at the 
    >   NEC chipset?)
    > 
    > 2.  The 4200 would be faster, and should be cheaper than the 
    >   3081.  Availability at this point is questionable.$
    > 
    > 3.  In 6-9 months, IDT ships the Orion, an R4000 compatable chip.
    >   Also faster and cheaper than the 3081.
    
    It seems so. But this happened only recently, whereas Bill was talking
    about a decision made a month ago. But I don't like going back to the
    mips+ram-on-a-card idea. 

Agreed.  Performance and total system price would be lousy for people 
looking for a workstation/complete system, who seem to be the majority
of the riscy list readers.

    I like it even less if its going to be a vesa card. I have an old 
    25MHz 386 without vesa. When I buy a new computer it it will either be 
    a high-end 486 or some RISC workstation. 

Agreed.  

With the VESA solution, you get a PC with a MIPS CPU, not a workstation 
with reasonable I/O and video.

    I will not buy a 486sx just to plug a crippled mips motherboard into it.

Like I said, the motherboard solution makes the most sense (performance
and price wise) for the people who want a "workstation", ie the majority
of the riscy list readers.

For people wanting a *simple* solution *now* and not in six months, the 
VESA board is the only viable choice.

NEC's 4200 and chipset look like they're happening now and not in six
months, so I'll talk to NEC today and see if I can get some information 
on availability of their 4200 and chipset, as well as technical 
specifications (the Visual MOM chipset sounded great until we got the 
specs that showed it had no slave mode DMA, no variable bus sizing for 
peripherials, etc).

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