On Sun, Mar 11, 2007 at 11:59:11AM +0530, PhilipS wrote:
> Hello All,
> I am looking for MIPS Development boards for my hobby projects like
> Porting and Development, I am here by looking for an Expert
> buy a MIPS custom boards, so far on Google I could come across
> vendor selling MIPS Evaluation target boards which is Obviously
> which ,I cannot afford to buy. I hope I am asking this question at the
> place, else please suggest me where I can post my request if one knows
You're touch a big problem here, so I'm going to use this opportunity to
post a rant ...
Most of the eval boards are have very high price tags due to low volume
esotheric components such as very large and fast FPGAs or pricey matched
impedance connectors for logic analyzers. Another factor is that the
vendors making these boards usually target their commercial customers
factor in a fairly generous markup for the post-sale support into the
price of the board.
From a Free Software perspective this is a bloody disaster. Even if
moment I put on my dot com hat again, it's one. Over the past years the
commercial contributions have primarily focused on hardware support. In
many cases I received large code drops of lousy to medicore quality and
no maintenance at all after the initial code drop. I won't go into the
reasons here nor do I think I need to name companies here - but it's a
As usual exceptions proof the rule and also as usual there are alot of
grey shades between white and black. Some companies seem to have
difficulty to be good open source citizens - but they throw some free
hardware into the crowd. Not enough to satisfy the demand and usually
a few key people are really able to take advantage of that.
Otoh many if not most important and highest quality contributions over
years have come from hobby hackers, so in the end the lack availability
modern hardware is making everybody suffer. Meanwhile the importance of
Linux as OS for MIPS is continuing to rise ...
I hear similar complaints from other, mostly embedded architectures
ARM. But that's not an excuse - this problem wants some remedy.
But let's also look at the options you have right now:
o Eval boards end on ebay relativly rarely, but you can try anyway.
Another option is something like a surplus MIPS workstation.
o A bunch of wireless routers and other devices such as some the
WRT54 models have been recycled for hacking use with good success.
o Routerboard which is not yet supported out of tree (working in
the patches) would be another reasonably priced option. Generally
may want to look at the list of platforms supported by
http://openwrt.org/ - many of their platforms have friendly price
Of course alot of those are purpose built hw so may be a bit quirky
o Apparently AMD Alchemy boards used to be fairly cheap, on the order
$100. I have not idea this is true or still true for the new owner
Alchemy Raza Microelectronics.
o For the meager investment of a few megabytes of disk space Qemu is a
really nice and well performing system which also is rapidly