[Soekris] Cost effective embedded solutions

Soren Kristensen soren at soekris.com
Sun Jul 20 21:02:40 UTC 2003

Hi List,

A couple of words on future directions....

Info Account wrote:
> PPC would be nice, also nice is the Alchemy au1500 line - MIPS core,
> 400 Mhz, about $9 each in quantity, super low power consumption, two
> Ethernet PHYs.  I've got a Linux distribution up and running on the
> Cogent au1500 SBC, you could easily spin a sub $50.00 400 Mhz SBC
> with PC card support, USB, and two 10/100 ports.

PPC, MIPS, Arm, even SH.... There's plenty of nice chips but which one 
to choose ? A even better comes out next month, using a different 
processor than last month's.

So I'm doing x86, that's my core compentency and I like the smooth
upgrade path. Show me any other architecture where a single well tested 
binary runs on anything from a 16 Mhz 386 made 17 years ago to today's 3 
Ghz P4....

I'm considering doing a low cost wireless boards because I can, it's
easy as I already have everything in my CAD system, the BIOS is done, I 
have the test setup and I already have flow of all the parts.

And the stocking standard version will be stripped down to become low 
cost, if somebody need something bigger, we're still going to have all 
the current products.

Brandon Peterson wrote:
> If anything it looks like more expensive versions are being planned.
> BTW, that's exactly what I want. I want to build a devices to compete
> with the ~$2500 firewalls like WatchGuard, Cisco, etc. When you think
> about the features you can build in Linux or *BSD, it looks pretty
> nice to build a comparable product for a hardware cost of ~$500.

Otherwise my limited design resources will be spent on making bigger and
faster boards targeting security and network applications, and maybe
later on NAS and Blade servers, all optimized for open source operating
systems. Our new office have space for additional engineering resources,
and we're getting to the point where our cash flow allow us to start

Jim Thompson wrote:
> Careful.  PCMCIA will always be more expensive than miniPCI (I can
> explain 'why', if required) and ISIL just sold the business to Virata,
> who likely will NOT continue to sell the much-loved Prism2/2.5/3.0
> chipset.

> Stick with miniPCI, or face extinction.   (BTW, Soren, I now have most
> of the AMD 802.11 chipset working under linux.)

I agree with Jim, the world is moving towards Mini-PCI, and the Prism 
based boards might soon become hard to get as the manufacturers moves 
toward all the new cheaper chipsets that's comming out right now.

I will do a PC-Card version, as it will still a good choice for a while, 
but be prepared to move to Mini-PCI....



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