[Arm-netbook] The future of EOMA-68

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Sat May 2 12:19:47 BST 2015

On Sat, May 2, 2015 at 8:51 AM,  <gacuest at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have seen that are developing several EOMA-68, but all have very little
> power or are old (like A20, JZ4775 or IC1T). This makes that many people
> that are looking for powerful hardware is left out of the EOMA-68 market.

 that's why there is a 10 watt version planned (10mm high CPU Card).

 also, it is why EOMA-200 exists.  "more powerful" hardware means "more power".

> What is the future of EOMA-68?

 the future of EOMA-68 is a decade-long standard.  anything and
everything *will* happen, in good time, as long as it fits within the
specification (including the power budget).

> Any EOMA-68 with a powerful hardware (like
> Tegra X1 or Intel Bay-Trail)?

 hi gacuest,

 powerful hardware means the following:

 * 10 to 200 Watts (EOMA68's entire budget because it is passive
cooled is an absolute max of 5 watts and that has to include the DDR
RAM and anything else)

 * lower geometry (22nm, 14nm, 10nm) so that the speed is faster for less power.

 so there are a couple of things that can be done.  a couple of
"cheats" so to speak.  the first is that you can get this "more
powerful" hardware, and you can run it for a short duration flat-out,
monitor the ampage and the temperature, and if exceeded STOP running

 the second is to simply lower the clock speed.

now, before we even get there, we have to gain access to the NVIDIA X1
and to the Intel Bay Trail SoCs.

 if you would like to find out for yourself what that's like, can i
suggest that you do the experiment for yourself.  i set you the
exercise of contacting NVIDIA and asking for the following:

 (1) a full datasheet and all other technical documentation including
power management
 (2) a Reference Design (including PMIC and DDR RAM layout already done)
 (3) samples (qty 10 to 25)
 (4) pricing in volume 250, 2500 and 30,000 for starters.
 (5) lead times on supply for the above quantities
 (6) lifetime of the product (i.e. how long it's going to be manufactured for)

once you have this information - *if* you can get this information -
and it is reasonable i.e. the Tegra X1 is not going to be discontinued
within the next 2-3 months, i will be absolutely delighted, and you
can have an EOMA68-X1 CPU Card.

second: dealing with Intel is.... interesting, shall we say.  they
have the market "subdivided" into segments: consumer, embedded, media
and now *shudder* Internet-of-Things.

the different departments are *ACTIVELY* prevented and prohibited from
competing with each other!

now, the "consumer" processors are typically only available for up to
9-12 months, and the MOQs are typically 1 million units and above.
they're also cheaper: the Z3735F is for example $USD 17 (which btw is
*TRIPLE* the price of the Allwinner A20 or the new 64-bit A64!!!)

the "embedded" processors are typically 1100 pins, the PCBs therefore
are extraordinarily complex (and costly) - $12 for a 45x78mm PCB would
not be an unreasonable estimate (compared to $1.50 for a 6-layer 5mil

and not only that but the cost of the actual processor itself is
*double* (minimum) that of the equivalent "consumer" processor.  how
could it not be: the yields on a 1,100 pin processor are much less
than on a 600-pin one, and the demand is less so they can't optimise
the fab to get better yields.  or, if they do, they make lots, but
then have to store them for 5 years in order to guarantee the
"embedded" status.

now can you see why these "more powerful" processors are not yet
available in EOMA68 form-factor?  it's purely the logistics of dealing
with these companies.

by complete contrast, the A20 and all the Allwinner processors, by way
of being extremely popular, and by way of Allwinner being extremely
helpful in giving me Reference Designs with the DDR3 RAM layout
already done, and by way of it being possible to get hold of samples
from random china suppliers....

can you see and appreciate the difference?

now, Ingenic, Allwinner and ICubeCorp have been *cooperative*.  Texas
Instruments and Freescale could also be said to be cooperative - after
all they provide things like the iMXQSB Reference Design and
BeagleBoard Reference Designs, and 1200 page reference manuals.  BUT,
unlike Texas Instruments and Freescale, the cost of the processors is:

* ICubeCorp IC3128: $2  (yes, USD 2.00 exactly)
* Ingenic JZ4775: $3. (yes, USD 3.00)
* Allwinner A20: $5 (yes, USD 5.00)

contrast this with:

* Freescale iMX6 Quad: ***THIRTY FIVE*** (35) US DOLLARS

* TI single-core Beagle Black processor: $5... but its performance is
*LESS* than that of the Ingenic JZ4775.

does that help explain, then, why the processors that are available in
EOMA68 form-factor are available, and why those processors that you
have listed are not yet available?

i would _love_ to be able to make the processors that you have listed
available, and if _you_ would like them to be made available, you can
help by finding out the information (1) through (6) listed above,
finding the funding required for the prototypes (which will be
somewhere around an estimated $USD 20,000 each) and then finding a
customer or customers that are willing to place the MOQ quantities all
at the same time.

am i making it clear that this stuff is really quite challenging?!!! :)


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