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AMD Launches Xilinx + Linux Powered Robotics Starter Kit

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  • AdrianBc
    replied
    Originally posted by coder View Post
    You're right that CPU performance isn't really the point, here. However, unless this is an older SoC, I'd at least expect it to use A55 cores.
    It is indeed a rather old SoC.

    All the FPGA manufacturers had difficulties with transitioning to more recent CMOS manufacturing processes, so all the FPGAs that are easily available are made in old processes.

    Xilinx has announced already a few years ago some successors for the UltraScale+, but those have been practically nonexistent until now, at least as retail products. Even UltraScale+ is very hard to get in comparison with older FPGAs.

    About Cortex-A53 vs. Cortex-A55, you are right.

    Cortex-A55 and all the other ARM cores which implement at least the Armv8.2-A architecture should always be the only acceptable choice for new purchases, instead of the ancient cores which implement only the Armv8.0-A architecture, e.g. Cortex-A53, Cortex-A72 or Cortex-A73.

    Armv8.2-A has corrected an important mistake in the original Armv8.0-A ISA, the lack of atomic instructions, and it has also various other useful improvements.

    Cores implementing the much improved Armv9-A ISA would be even better, but the first such cores have been introduced only last year, so they are available only in expensive smartphones. Some years will pass until they will be available in cheap single-board computers, e.g. with Cortex-A510 instead of Cortex-A55.


    However, in this product the FPGA is the main feature. The ARM cores, Cortex-A53 and Cortex-R5, even if they are both obsolete, remove the necessity of wasting a good part of the FPGA by implementing some processor cores and they are faster than anything that can be made using only the FPGA logic and multiplier cells.


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  • coder
    replied
    Originally posted by AdrianBc View Post
    When using just the Cortex-A53 cores, this computer is slow, even if it is adequate for the kind of tasks that people do with a Raspberry Pi.

    On the other hand, for the kind of users who are able to implement an FPGA design, this board is awesome. It has a much more powerful FPGA than any other board in this price range.
    You're right that CPU performance isn't really the point, here. However, unless this is an older SoC, I'd at least expect it to use A55 cores.

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  • cb88
    replied
    This particular SKU appears to lack PL ram... so the FPGA has only its on die ram and no large ram it can acess (all large ram acesses go through the slower ARM - FPGA interface).

    They DO make versions of this SOM with a dedicated ram for the FPGA though and most applications probably want that.

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  • AdrianBc
    replied
    Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
    No SBSA/SBBA, no standardised UEFI boot support, no interest.

    You are right in the sense that such a board is of little interest for most people without specialized knowledge, even if you can take it out of the box, boot immediately the provided Linux image and use it like you would use a Raspberry Pi or any other ARM-based single-board computer.

    When using just the Cortex-A53 cores, this computer is slow, even if it is adequate for the kind of tasks that people do with a Raspberry Pi.


    On the other hand, for the kind of users who are able to implement an FPGA design, this board is awesome. It has a much more powerful FPGA than any other board in this price range.

    If you offload tasks to the FPGA, the board can achieve in many cases a better performance than boards with much more powerful ARM or Intel/AMD cores.

    The board might not have "SBSA/SBBA" or "standardised UEFI boot support", but this does not matter at all, because it has something far more important. It has complete documentation for the FPGA and ARM cores, with much more hardware details than available for almost any other modern CPU powerful enough to run Linux or another similar operating system.

    Here you can know precisely every single step that happens from a hardware reset until your operating system is booted, unlike in almost all systems with "standardised UEFI boot support", where you have no knowledge or control of the abilities of your black-box UEFI firmware to override your operating system whenever it desires, using either the Intel/AMD System Management Mode, or one of the ARM hypervisor levels.

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  • Sonadow
    replied
    No SBSA/SBBA, no standardised UEFI boot support, no interest.

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  • AdrianBc
    replied
    Originally posted by arQon View Post
    Can someone give me a use case where FOUR GbE ports is even desirable, let alone needed?

    I mean, there has to BE one or they wouldn't bother with the extra two, but damned if I can think of what it might be...

    That "FOUR GbE" must be a typo in the article.

    The image shows only 2 GbE ports, together with 4 USB 3.0 ports, all of which are needed for many applications.

    EDIT: My first impression was wrong, the board has indeed 4 GbE, listed as 2 GbE + 2 "industrial" GbE, even if it is not clear what "industrial" means, maybe they are certified for EtherCAT, or for another Ethernet-based CAN replacement. The application that they had in mind would be to use the 2 simple GbE ports to connect to computers, while the 2 "industrial" GbE will be used to connect to (non TCP/IP) EtherCAT or similar ports on industrial equipment, e.g. robots. 2 "industrial" ports are needed, because such industrial Ethernet links are usually connected in rings.

    Nevertheless, "FOUR GbE" would be very useful if you would want to make a firewall/router with it for your home. Using such a board has the advantage that you can trust it much more than you can trust most Intel/AMD or ARM CPUs, many of which have undesirable remote management features that can be used as backdoors.

    I am using an Intel NUC for such a router, and I had to add to it 4 GbE-on-USB adapters, in order to have 1 GbE port for the Internet and 4 GbE ports for the local computers. Most of the time I use all 4 internal ports, for my main computer, for a testing computer and for the computers of other 2 family members. So less GbE ports would not be acceptable for such an application. An extra Ethernet switch would cost more, occupy more space and consume more power, without any advantage.
    Last edited by AdrianBc; 19 May 2022, 04:23 AM.

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  • Veto
    replied
    For cameras?

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  • zexelon
    replied
    Originally posted by arQon View Post
    Can someone give me a use case where FOUR GbE ports is even desirable, let alone needed?

    I mean, there has to BE one or they wouldn't bother with the extra two, but damned if I can think of what it might be...
    The first one that popped into my mind was to prototype some sort of router setup... but yah, not a ton of use I can think of for all those ports in a pure "robotics" use case.

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  • arQon
    replied
    Can someone give me a use case where FOUR GbE ports is even desirable, let alone needed?

    I mean, there has to BE one or they wouldn't bother with the extra two, but damned if I can think of what it might be...

    Leave a comment:


  • coder
    replied
    I wonder how much this differs from other Xilinx development kit boards. It feels like they just added a couple features to cater to the machine vision & robotics markets. Maybe the biggest difference is the price, as hardware development kits can be quite expensive.

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