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Re: Who's there ???

To: riscy@sunsite.unc.edu
Subject: Re: Who's there ???
From: Andreas Busse <andy@waldorf-gmbh.de>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 94 11:37:29 +0100
> First, I think the prices, particularly for peripherals are too high.

Agreed, but can't change it.

> The board is expensive enough, then Video, CPU, memory etc. BTW, no-one
> has even said if normal PC SIMM will fit on the board. Does it need
> its own SIMMs? Not using PC memory will almost double the cost.

It wants 36bit 60ns SIMMs, 70ns perhaps will do too.

> OK, it's still less than a Pentium PCI board but by the end of the year
> (it'll take that long to port Linux won't it?) they'll be priced like 486s
> now.

Again, I'm sure the prices for the R4000 stuff will fall too.

> I don't want a Goddamn Intel again though!!!

That's why we are talking about Mips, isn't it ?

> I really want this project to work. I know Andy has put in a lot of time and
> effort into this _but_ if we had a design (as origionally desired) with
> everything on the motherboard, the costs go down immensely.

Agreed, but the design we can get isn't that way.

> As Andy said just the EISA chipset is $300.

Wrong, I meant the NEC chip set which can't be skipped in this
design. The EISA chipset can be skipped, but it would make a
redesign necessary. 

> The problem is, no manufacturer will produce
> a design for such a board. Either you hardware people out there manage to
> design one (I have no hardware education/experience) or we all just shut up
> and go buy Intel boards (which should please Bill Broadly, they're very cheap
> Bill).

Agreed. Well, if the ARC board is too expensive, why don't you
get the documentation for the NEC chipset and do your own design ?
It shouldn't be *that* complicated since the NEC chips do most,
if not all of the really complicated things.
If it works, Waldorf will perhaps produce it. Why not...

But please don't expect a lot of support from me. I can't, for example,
distribute circuit diagrams since Waldorf will *license* them from NEC.
They aren't GPL'ed, you know ?

I give you an idea what you *could* do:

- Get the R4x00 spec sheets, from NEC, IDT, Toshiba or the like.
- Get the NEC ARC chipset specs. You'll see, they do nearly
  all essential things. No need to think about complicated
  DRAM control with interleaving, burst mode and so on.
  Everything built-in. Should even be possible to use your
  old 9bit SIMMs (but you'll need lots of them).
- Add an ISA chipset. So far I know, this is supported by
  the NEC chips too.
- Leave everything else *away*, so that everyone can use
  his old stuff.
- Watch out for someone who could do CAD stuff.
- Ask me again if Waldorf can produce that board.
  We might be interested...

Costs ?
$500 for the CPU (will fall)
$300 for the NEC chips (will fall)
$100 for all the other glue (won't fall)
 $50 for a multilayer printed circuit board
$950 for a board comparable with all these ISA
     Intel Boards. Works, but doesn't do anything
     but consuming power :-) BUT WAY FASTER !

Then plug in your old video, scsi, serial, IDE
and so on cards. Ready.


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