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Re: Mips project Go or Wait?

To: riscy@pyramid.com
Subject: Re: Mips project Go or Wait?
From: Andreas Busse <andy@resi.waldorf-gmbh.de>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 93 09:55:37 +0200
Reply-to: riscy@pyramid.com
Sender: owner-riscy@pyramid.com
> Seems like all we need to decide on what to do about the project is
> the price of the 4000 PC and the 4200 PC to decide on which cpu to use,
> and the price of parts for the arc 100/150 kits.

Yes, that's right, but it seems to be *very* difficult. I never had
problems to get prices from IDT, but dealing with NEC is a hard, hard,
hard job. I have still no answer to my question wether a production kit
is available now or not, nor could they tell me prices. All I know is that
NEC works on an application note, which is currently available in japanese
only. However, I'm working on getting more informations, and it would be
very helpful if someone can tell me from where the information about the
production kit came. The more information *I* have, the more I can make
the NEC people work for me !

> I heard the the approximate price of the 4000 PC is about $300.  But I don't
> have any distributor contacts to check on a price.

I think this price is a bit too optimistic, at least for now. A few weeks
ago I got a price of around us$600 for a R4000PC, but this *will* change
as soon the Orion and the R4200/VRX is available and well-known.
IDT suggested me to use the Orion, because it's pin-compatibel with
the R4000PC. That means that we could start the development with R4000 CPUs
and later plug in the Orion. Assuming that it will take some months
to get the hardware working, this might be worth a discussion. Only
a few people would need to pay for the R4000, and all others can (or will)
wait for the Orion.
However, the NEC VRX might be good choice too, but we need more informations.

> Assuming us and Waldorf can get 50 board purchases together seems like a
> good guess would be.  

Here's the corrected guess.

$100            $5000 for the production kits, cpu's, and plans / 50 boards
                (can we get the gerber files for free as mentioned on the list?)
$600            mips 4000 PC or less for a 4200
$100            appropiate size motherboard, drilled etc.
$300            vram, sims slots, support chips (MCT-ADR, 2*MCT-DP), scsi
                support, video support, etc.
$1100  for 64 bit 50 Mhz external 100 Mhz internal workstation on a board.

$700   for a NEC VRX solution (estimated VRX price: $200)
$700   for an IDT Orion solution (estimated Orion price: $200)

> Hopefully it could be alot cheaper.

Hmm. I don't think that we can make it cheaper than $700.
That would be a miracle :-)

> If we can pin these numbers down we can make a decision an send our checks
> to Neil, or Waldorf ,and start the process of getting the boards.

> I hate seeing no discusion on the list, I'd hate to see it die.

Yes, this is what I feel. I understand that people are confused by
the discussion about what Mips-CPU we should use. But I have the
feeling that we come closer to a decision. We have currently three

- R3081/R3041
- NEC R4200 and ARCset
- IDT Orion and ARCset

I hope the discussion will awake again !


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