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Re: General Issues

To: riscy@pyramid.com
Subject: Re: General Issues
From: Andreas Busse <andy@piggy.waldorf-gmbh.de>
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 93 18:23:35 GMT
Reply-to: riscy@pyramid.com
Sender: riscy-request@pyramid.com
Hi there !

> Many of the small details, such as how many serial ports, parallel
> ports, floppy, etc have essentially been voted on.  The major issues
> however must now be resolved.  Below is a list of topics that must
> be resolved before we can start to create schematics:
>       *  Peripheral controller
>               Should we use the IDT 79R3730, or design our own?

I would say, developing our own peripheral controller takes
time and is perhaps a not very reliable solution. I prefer
the use of the IDT chip.

>               Should we use a IDT 79R3041 CPU as an I/O controller?

I doubt that an extra I/O CPU improves speed that much. We will
have some extra overhead due to the communication, no matter
what protocol and what hardware is between the two CPUs.

>       *  Should we have an ISA bus or a simpler bus?
>               ISA is more practical, but a new simple 8-bit bus is
>               cheaper and free of the ISA IBM-ness.

Designing our own bus might of course have advantages over that
brain-dead ISA bus. But what hardware will be available for that
bus ? Who will design it ?
I prefer the ISA bus, dumb as it is. All the non-standard
hardware, like dsp cards, eprom programmers and so on are
available. It's just a question of some generic ISA drivers
to support that stuff.

>       *  Should we have SCSI?
>               SCSI for this board will probably be much cheaper and
>               probably faster than something like Adaptec.

I agree. SCSI is definitly a must.

>       *  Should we have video?
>               Video is looking to be the most expensive option on
>               the whole board, but some say its essential.

It looks like it *is* essential for most of us. We should
have on-board video.

>       *  Should we have ethernet?

Yes, for the same reason as we should have SCSI on board.
On-board ethernet is much cheaper than *every* ethernet ISA card.

> Other issues such as keyboard, RTC, NVRAM, serial, parallel, floppy
> disk drives, ISDN, SNA, T1 and the Coke machine interface are not that
> important until these issues are resolved.  Please address yourselves
> to these issues so that we can come to a decision in the next week or
> so.

I agree, with one exception I have forgotten myself when
writing my "downgraded spec sheet": Floppy is *important*.

Imagine someone buys a mips-board and adds a disk and
a monitor (what most people will do). How to install Linux
if there's no floppy ? He can't use the tape because there
is none. He can't use the serial I/O's because there's
nothing to download from.

Any idea ?


Andreas Busse             | e-mail: andy@piggy.waldorf-gmbh.de (home)
Eislebenstrasse 5         |         andy@resi.waldorf-gmbh.de (office)
D-5300 Bonn 1             | Phone:  +49 (0)228-252687


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