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New Libre-Focused ARM Board Aims To Compete With Raspberry Pi 3, Offers 4K

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  • #51
    Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
    I agree, but I'm sorry to inform you that it is done like this because it is better for the manufacturer's usecase so it's not likely to happen.
    Yeah I know... it is far cheaper to skip all the sockets and just get everything soldered at once, but not as cool


    • #52
      We are one of the backers of the project and here's the priority list from a marketing perspective for industrial and consumer adoption:

      1) Compatible form factor for re-use, less waste, and drop-in compatibility
      2) More RAM and faster storage
      3) Good power budget to prevent the hundreds of thousands of power supply issues caused by the MicroUSB connector
      4) Android 7.1 and Upstream Linux support is supported by vendor
      5) Good performance (the board archieve around 50% performance gain)
      6) HDMI 2.0 with 4K
      7) Modern codec (H.265 and VP9) support at 4K
      8) Pin to pin compatibility with 40 pin GPIO of Raspberry Pi 3 (others advertise 40 pin GPIO but the pin alternate functions are completely different and thus most HATs will never work)
      9) Gigabit Ethernet (this didn't make it since s905x doesn't have RGMII)
      10) USB 3.0 (this didn't make it since s905x doesn't have USB 3.0)
      11) SATA 2.0 or 3.0
      12) PCI Express 2.0 or 3.0

      We were lucky that we achieved 1-8 using a single board. That being said, the company will create a lot more boards using different SoCs for different markets. This specific board will be a long term support board with at least 5 years of production.

      Here's a list of things we didn't want from the get go:
      onboard wifi/bluetooth since this creates more problems than it solves and a cheap $5 USB dongle will perform way better
      high performance OoO CPU since there's no power budget for it on such a small board
      proprietary connectors like CSI and DSI on the Pi 3 (not to be confused with headers)
      unproven or unreliable or risky technologies (this always bites you in the ass in engineering)

      There was a lot of consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of every board on the market including upcoming boards like the Rock64 and the cheap Allwinner solutions. They all have critical weaknesses to presented considerable risk to all parties involved. Copious amounts of consideration and software and hardware engineering went into this board and we are pleasantly satisfied with the outcome.

      Yes in magic fairy land we would have Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, PCI-E, SATA 3.0 etc etc but they do not constitute a sufficiently large market for SoC vendors to design a chip that ticks every box. 95% of people will not use the Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, PCI-E or SATA 3.0 features to justify the cost. The RK3399 would be the closest thing but that would add $50 to the bill of materials on a $50 board resulting in a $150 board. A $150 board will never generate enough sales to achieve critical mass.

      A $10-20 board will not have enough margins to support a professional team of engineers. If you want a couple of hundred thousand of engineers, makers, students and such to waste a few days each to save $10 per board, you're wasting everybody's time and money.


      • #53
        2D graphics with hardware video decoders working is an achievement, I think it doesn't even work on my linux desktop lol. Would have been good on VIA (VX900 chipset and such) but all you could get was raw unaccelerated 2D with better support for resolutions/refresh rates than VESA driver, if you downloaded or compiled some bit of code from somewhere.

        I do have 3D acceleration but rarely even use it, for now. Google Earth was a good app while it lasted, but it's now deprecated.
        I have a little surprise for you : I have no use for Gnome 3, Unity, Compiz
        Last edited by grok; 06 July 2017, 12:47 PM.