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CrazyApe
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:31 am    Post subject: Cheap, Modern MIPS architecture. Reply with quote

Yesterday, an article was posted on linuxdevices and it looks to me like the best/cheapest way to get a modern MIPS system up and running with a $199 motherboard. It's lets you build a MIPS architecture machine with pc compatible hardware.

It's an ATX-Flex (this will fit in a standard ATX case) form factor motherboard with ATX power connector, 1xPCI, ATI vga, 128MB ram, IDE, etc. plus a 400MHz MIPS CPU!!!

Oh yeah, it already has a linux 2.4 series kernel.

The price was the impressive part since some people will pay more for a top end PC motherboard.

The Article:
http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS5894977110.html

I'm really interested in getting one of these, the only thing putting me off is that the 128MB doesn't apear to be upgradable. Not without some hardware hacking at least. Can anyone else see any other possible pitfalls, consider that I'm only playing about with it as a hobbie, I don't need it to do any heavy work.
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stonent
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first one definitely has an SDRAM slot.

The cpu used is compatable and comparable to an SGI O2 workstation's cpu.

The RM5200 was available for a while in the SGIs.. In fact on the nekochan.net forums, a user upgraded his O2 to a 600MHz cpu which made it the fastest O2 available.

Still, for $199 this looks like a nice piece of hardware to tinker with.

I wonder if we could convince the mips64emul guy to add emulator support for it?

EDIT: I just e-mailed him.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The board with the SDRAM slot is not ATX-Flex, I can't even identify the power input to the board for that one.

It's a shame, it would be great to have the ram socket on the ATX-Flex board, not to mention the second ethernet port.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd take a chance with the first one. Surely it runs off some varient of 3.3/5/12v Just mount it to a piece of plexiglass or plywood.

Or make a custom case for it.
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Kumba
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the RM5231 chips are virtually the same processor used in the Cobalt Microserver systems. The CPU in this dev board is probably a few revisions ahead of the original chip in the Cobalt systems, but a quick read of the site still implies the chip lacks any secondary cache (SC), which is a real killer on performance.

Overall, a neat system, though.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.pmc-sierra.com/xiaohu/

Here's some downloads.

One of the PDFs says the PMC kit is available with an RM5231A, RM7035C, or a PM7935. It used a PMC PMB172 System Controller, and CM5470 Clock Generator. Interestingly enough, it has a smart card slot in front. So I'm guessing they are thinking Citrix terminals or something.

It comes with "ready to use Linux OS" with GUI and open office. And is supported by 2.4.18 and newer kernels.

Both have 8mb ati Rage XL and the chinese dev system has a 32mb flash.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also the 7035s and 7900s have cache.

Code:
# New high performance MIPS64™-compatible Instruction Set Architecture with integrated L2 cache and EJTAG.

    * 668, 750 and 835 MHz operating frequency.
    * 1753 Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS @ 835 MHz.
    * Dual-issue superscalar 7-stage pipeline.
    * 16 Kbyte, 4-way set associative L1 Instruction cache.
    * 16 Kbyte, 4-way set associative L1 Data cache.
    * 256 Kbyte, 4-way set associative L2 cache with industry best 5-cycle access latency.
    * Fast Packet Cache to assists processing of packet data.
    * 8K entry branch prediction table.
    * Fully associative 64-entry TLB with dual pages.
    * High-performance Floating Point Unit (IEEE 754).
    * Fixed-point DSP instructions such as Multiply/Add, Multiply/Subtract, and 3 Operand Multiply.

# High-performance system interface:

    * 64-bit multiplexed address/data bus (SysAD) bus.
    * Multiple outstanding reads with out-of-order return.
    * 1600 Mbyte/s peak throughput.
    * 200 MHz maximum frequency using HSTL signaling on the SysAD bus.
    * SysAD bus supports 1.5 V, 2.5 V, 3.3 V I/O logic.
    * Processor clock multipliers 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
    * Integrated external cache controller (up to 64 Mbytes):
          o User-selectable EZ Cache protocol eliminates the need for external tag RAM.
    * Integrated on-chip EJTAG capability.
    * A 64-entry dynamic Trace Buffer for use in real-time trace and debug.
    * Two 32-bit virtually-addressed Watch registers.
    * Integrated performance counters:
          o 2 independent 32-bit counters.
          o Counts over 30 processor events including miss predicted branches.
          o Enables full characterization and analysis of application software.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.momenco.com/products/jag-atx.html

A bit more pricey...

The Jaguar-ATX evaluation board is now available and priced at $4,975. Discounts are available in large quantities. For more information, visit http://www.pmcsierra. com/techSupport/MPDresources.html or email mailto:apps@pmc-sierra.com.
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Kumba
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stonent wrote:
It comes with "ready to use Linux OS" with GUI and open office. And is supported by 2.4.18 and newer kernels.


2.4.18....*cringe*

That is SO yesterday, to use common teenspeak. I can understand the work done to produce said kernel was probably started 2+ years ago, but you'd think they'd make sure to do random updates of their working source trees, so that by release, they'd atleast have a semi-modern kernel (~2.4.23+). This is similar to the PS2 problem. Sony did a great job porting Linux to what some would say is a rather ecclectic system, but I really wonder when they started the porting job, because it hurts to think about the 2.2.1 kernel that comes default with the system, and the only available, known working updates are 2.2.21 and a 2.4.17 not initially designed for PS2.


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