[Arm-netbook] "Great China's Firewall" blocking access to A10 SoC

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Mon Nov 7 15:29:04 GMT 2011

2011/11/7 Philippe Clérié <philippe at gcal.net>:
> On Monday, 7 November 2011 08:53:29 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>> * RAM: we're going for the full 2gb.  the little factory is finding
>> out if the full 2gb of RAM is in fact properly supported.  the
>> hardware supports 2gb RAM, but because nobody has done anything other
>> than 512mb not even the SoC people know if it does 2gb!  amazing :)
> 2GB would be very nice.
>>  * the usual EOMA/PCMCIA interfaces: SATA-II, 10/100 Ethernet, USB2,
>> I2C, 24-pin LCD-out and 16 pins GPIO
> Can we have 1Gbps Ethernet?

 no :)  these are low-power low-cost SoCs where the "Good Enough
Computing" Rule applies.  $7 doesn't get gigabit ethernet, sorry :)

> At least 2 SATA ports. I'd like to be able to mirror drives.

 yes, as a separate motherboard, with an SATA splitter PHY chip.  if
enough people also want that kind of motherboard.  there's only enough
room on the re-use of the 68 pins of PCMCIA for one SATA interface,
and the SoC only has one SATA as it is.

 oh wait.  this particular SoC happens to also have its LCD pins
multiplexed as PATA, so in theeorrry you could use that, if you don't
mind only being able to use the HDMI output rather than have the
option of an LCD panel as well.

> Probably too early for USB3 but I'll ask anyway. :-)

 yes.  wayyy too early.  the amount of power required means that,
internally, the silicon area for driving USB3 power is immense.
already, the silicon area for driving USB2 is a huge fraction of the
chip area, as it is.  i don't know if you've ever seen a picture of
wafers, but it's like... 0.1% is the CPU, 50%+ is _routing_ for the
inter-connect, a tiny fraction is the logic for the I/O and then the
rest is huge pads (relatively speaking) for getting enough power out
to the pins.

only when 28nm and below comes along is it going to be cost-effective
to do these high-speed interfaces, and that means abouut... 2-3 years,
at least, because access to 28nm has to become in less demand before
it filters down to "lowly" chinese SoC manufacturers.


More information about the arm-netbook mailing list