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My updated wishlist

To: riscy@pyramid.com
Subject: My updated wishlist
From: tor@tss.no (Tor Arntsen)
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 93 03:15:30 +0200
Reply-to: riscy@pyramid.com
Sender: riscy-request@pyramid.com
My updated wishlist:

* SCSI on board.  I wouldn't mind if it was fast and wide, but that's not
  mandatory for me.  The 53c90 is 8-bit, the 53cf90 is 8-bit fast, the 53cf94 
  can do fast and wide; is this the correct interpretation of the previous

* Ethernet on board if feasible.  
  BTW, my ISA 3c503/16 could achieve > 800KB/sec with net-1, less with net-2.
  Donald Becker reported more than 900KB/sec with the WD8013.  Both the 3c503 
  and the 8013 are NatSemi DP8390 based.
  So ISA boards can give quite good performance, BUT also *sucks* CPU!
  (runninng ttcp.)  Would it be efficient to have some DMA-based Ethernet? 
  If so, I guess it should not be put into any ISA bus slot then, or what?
  (If it's on board, and if it's only one interface type, I would prefer
  BNC for thinnet.  If you want good arguments, see Donald Beckers' 
  'Ethercard hardware tutorial' posted now and then at c.o.l :-)

* 8-bit Video on board (actually, I would love to be able to expand to
  24-bit, but that's not mandatory).  Sounds better to me to have a quite 
  'dumb' version than using any 'intelligent' device (i.e. no 34010, certainly 
  no VGA).
  I think at least 1152x900 (the Sun 'standard') is needed.  Working with an 
  A4 (letter) document is not easy even with 1024x768.  I worked for one year
  with a very ergonomically Tandberg X-terminal with an extremely good display,
  but, alas, 1024x768 is just too cramped.  So now I'm sitting here with a
  cheap, not very good focused, not too sharp MAG monitor.  I get flashbacks
  when I move my eyes.  Real bad compared to the Tandberg.  *But* it can do
  1152x900 with XFree86...
  And 1152x900x8 just fits in 1MB (VRAM, of course).

* Up to 64MB RAM at *minimum*.  Someone mentioned that code for MIPS is about
  40% bigger than code for i486.  So compared to that those 64MB is only like
  about 45MB on a PC, *which is not much*.  I'm using 16MB + 32MB swap at the
  moment..  In my opinion the max. limit should be about twice the size that
  one *thinks* one will ever need.  If it ends up with 64MB max, ok.  I hope
  I can live with that.  Please take my comments as just.. comments.  I don't 
  want to start any war about this.. :-)

* RTclock on board, of course

* A couple of serial ports, one for the mouse and one extra.  It seems like
  the opinions goes toward an (ISA) expansion bus, so more ports could be
  added later.

* CPU: r3k is ok, the r4k2 would be even better of course.
  I'm a bit worried about not having the possibility of adding an external
  cache.  It's expensive to put in that fast static RAM of course, but it's
  my impression that a good fast big cache could even outweigh using slower
  DRAM (not that I'm suggesting using slow DRAM :-).
  I must admit that I know next to nothing about the complexity level
  of designing in an external cache, can anyone say something about chips,
  cost, and design complexity level?

* Timers.. I may have missed something, but don't we need some kind of 
  timers to provide interrupts for the time slicing etc.  I would also like 
  to play around with some high-definition timers (what about RT-Linux..).
  Are there any built-in timers able to provide interrupts inside one of 
  those smart I/O chips already mentioned?

* Keyboard controller on board, for IBM style keyboards (could it handle
  PS/2 style keyboards?)

* Bus: I don't care actually, with the above I don't need much more.  
  The only thing I could think of would be a floppy interface, to boot my 
  root/boot floppy when I screwed up something.

That's all I can think of.

(tor@tss.no - on vacation mid-July to mid-August, not reading mails then)


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