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VIA Launches Its Own ARM Development Board

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  • #11
    Originally posted by Soul_keeper View Post
    I get the feeling that next year we're gonna see some really exciting arm products.
    I hope so. I've been keeping an eye out for a board with a quad Cortex A15, that also has a usable GPU in X.Org or Wayland. I think that would be able to replace my laptop for all uses except gaming. Plus my Globalscale Dreamplug (ARMv5te) server needs an upgrade as it's too slow to handle mediagoblin and other python based apps.

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    • #12
      So from the specs it "supports up to 3 USB 2.0 ports"...in real life, there's 1 onboard, plus 2 on an I/O extender board that has "one USB board-to-board connector": looks like this is off on the one onboard, and they're counting the mini USB ports.
      Audio and power button are on the extender board.
      Oh, it has 2 COM ports ("one for RX/TX only").

      So let's see:
      2x full USB 2.0 ports
      2x Mini USB ports
      1x COM port
      1x COM port, RX/TX only
      Audio in
      Audio out
      Mini HDMI
      Touch screen
      10/100 ethernet
      I2C & GPIO pin header.
      1 LED

      No SD card/SATA port, AFAICT.

      The wireless module is an Atheros 9271 b/g/n USB module.
      "Supported" OSs are Android and Debian.

      I'm getting the impression that a beaglebone black is the thing to compare it to.
      And that has half the eMMC, half the ram, half the USB ports, one serial header, optional JTAG; one HDMI port, no dedicated audio; 6 LEDs; a microSD slot; a 1 GHz A8; and costs less than half the price ($45).
      Looks like the Pi and the Beaglebone Black have lots more pins available.

      Really, it seems they're aiming at people who need RAM, USB, serial, and audio jacks...but not removable or expandable storage.
      And that is the big deal breaker, in my book.
      It also seems to be underpowered and overpriced.

      I suspect that lacking an SD/microSD slot will damage its viability as a prototyping platform, since it eliminates any products where those are desired.

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      • #13
        Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
        No, it isn't. There are PLENTY of dual core cortex A9 boards under $100, including several of the ones mentioned in this topic. RPi is actually one of the WORST values in terms of price vs performance. The fact that it has a linux-functioning GPU is what gives it a slight edge over many of the Mali based systems.
        I own a few Pis, and know a few other people with them. For us "performance" is a low contributor to "value". Things like a well maintained Linux Distro, low cost and cheap GPIO gizmos have a much higher weighting. The plain fact is that the Pi is fast enough for everything I want to do on it. Yes it is extremely slow in terms of CPU ops, but I am very rarely waiting on CPU.

        Look at the hugely vibrant arduino community - cheap ubiquitous hardware with decent IO can easily out weight a slow (even glacial) CPU for many users.

        Very few Pis are seeing use as "desktop" computers. None of the approx 10 I know of are even connected to a monitor. Plenty of them are acting as a full linux OS in front of a hobby project, the CPU could be anything really. Most of mine normally have loadavgs of under 0.1.

        If I had to "fix" things about the Pi it'd be dropping the SD Card for another USB (which you could boot off), more RAM, and giving it a power switch jumper. CPU is waaaay down the list and not something I'd ever consider paying 4x the price for.

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        • #14
          The CIR module is also interesting. But I'll echo the overpriced for the specs comment.

          One thing only Via seems to get so far is to make boards *TX compatible. You can't mount a Pi or Beagle in a normal case.

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          • #15
            Originally posted by samworm View Post
            I own a few Pis, and know a few other people with them. For us "performance" is a low contributor to "value". Things like a well maintained Linux Distro, low cost and cheap GPIO gizmos have a much higher weighting. The plain fact is that the Pi is fast enough for everything I want to do on it. Yes it is extremely slow in terms of CPU ops, but I am very rarely waiting on CPU.

            Look at the hugely vibrant arduino community - cheap ubiquitous hardware with decent IO can easily out weight a slow (even glacial) CPU for many users.

            Very few Pis are seeing use as "desktop" computers. None of the approx 10 I know of are even connected to a monitor. Plenty of them are acting as a full linux OS in front of a hobby project, the CPU could be anything really. Most of mine normally have loadavgs of under 0.1.

            If I had to "fix" things about the Pi it'd be dropping the SD Card for another USB (which you could boot off), more RAM, and giving it a power switch jumper. CPU is waaaay down the list and not something I'd ever consider paying 4x the price for.
            That is absolutely true, and I sincerely commend you for using the Pi for it's intended purposes. There's a little part of me that dies every time when I hear someone buys a Pi and complains about it's performance or uses it strictly for XBMC. I think the Pi is fantastic for non-desktop OS purposes and is the best value in the sense. But if you want a mini ARM PC, it's probably of the worst values. The problem is it seems the majority of people who buy it use it as a PC, or bought it just simply because its cheap but otherwise have no use for it.

            You're also completely right about a maintained OS. I own a Beagleboard-xM and I am very disappointed about how poorly the distros are maintained. You can get pretty new kernels but it's such a hassle to use the xM's features that I shouldn't have had to bother with in the first place.
            Last edited by schmidtbag; 11-01-2013, 10:51 AM.

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            • #16
              Originally posted by Ibidem View Post
              No SD card/SATA port, AFAICT.

              ....

              Really, it seems they're aiming at people who need RAM, USB, serial, and audio jacks...but not removable or expandable storage.
              And that is the big deal breaker, in my book.
              It also seems to be underpowered and overpriced.

              I suspect that lacking an SD/microSD slot will damage its viability as a prototyping platform, since it eliminates any products where those are desired.
              Umm...


              Upper right of the board. The silk-screening says SD1.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by Veerappan View Post
                Umm...


                Upper right of the board. The silk-screening says SD1.
                Thanks for that. I read the page, saw all the ports and so on, didn't see any reference to an SD card,
                and figured that they would have mentioned it at least once in that long a page if they had one.

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                • #18
                  Smells to me like VIA is not getting much traction with their current spin of the wondermedia platform. It definitely cannot compete with the allwinner, mediatek or rockchips of today. Not in terms of price/performance, features, and definitely not in the form of hackable designs...

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