Posted in Hardware design on August 05, 2008 by Russell Hocken
Recently I was working on the power supply for our upcoming SnapperDV board. I needed a small efficient power supply to generate 1.3, 1.8 and 3.3volts for TIs TMS320DM355 which is the CPU on SnapperDV. On our Snapper270 design a TPS65021 is used which is a tripple DC/DC converter with two LDOs. Something similar would be ideal. After looking at all the options, strangely the same power supply chip seemed most suitable. Current limit looked good, the power fail detection comparators can be used instead for voltage sequencing, VRTC can be used as a system monitor voltage, the nINT output can be used as a voltage supervisor, The LDO can be used to power the CPUs PLL. It actually works out to be a very good fit - even though it is recommended for a PXA270 series CPU and it is not being used 'as intended'. Taken into account that we have these in stock given they are used on our SN270 product and it looks to be a very good proposition indeed.
Posted in Industry News on August 04, 2008 by Administrator
Apple was the company, in 1990, which put the money up for the formation of ARM. Acorn put up the founding staff and the technology. Apple's thinking then was that ARM would power the Newton, which would revolutionise the world. Well we know what happened with the Newton. Looking at it now the main thing that strikes me is how enormous it was. And I can't forget a comment made by a colleague that the handwriting recognition software on the Newton was the most efficient cache-flushing algorithm known to man. But anyway, my point is that Apple had an associate from ARM since the first. And now there is a rumour that Apple has perhaps purchased an architecture licence from ARM, meaning that it can implement its own variant of the microarchitecture. The evidence is sketchy so far:
[Talking about DEC who implemented StrongARM based on an architectural license] And who was the engineer that had led the Digital Equipment team that developed StrongARM under an architectural license? It was Dan Dobberpuhl, subsequently CEO of Palo Alto Semiconductor Inc. With the recent acquisition of P.A. Semi by Apple, Dobberpuhl has become an Apple employee. And perhaps now, with ARM's disclosure, we are beginning to see why Apple was interested in Dobberpuhl and his capable design team.
[The Apple rumour mill is running hard
also]. And this is supposedly the motivation:
The Apple iPhone is thought to have as many as five ARM processor cores inside it, but those processor cores are contained in multiple chips from several different chip vendors. Wouldn't that be perfect for rationalizing into a multicore ARM architecture, if Apple chose to go down that route?
Certainly there is merit in this - it is what Nokia have done with their communicator, which, believe it or not, used to have a 386 CPU and an ARM. The 386 was for keeping your hand warm. Most Bluetooth and WiFi devices include an ARM core. The iPhone is ARM11-based
, not the latest thing but still pretty nifty. Sadly, if Apple do produce an amazing new microarchitecture, it's unlikely we will see it in anything other than an Apple product. On the plus side, as StrongARM vanished, the prize for building a high performance ARM chip, well out in front of the industry, has not been awarded for years.
Posted in Uncategorized on August 02, 2008 by Administrator
"Commodore International have announced the release of their newest product, the Commodore 64 (C64). The new player in the home computing market is based on the 8-bit MOS Technology 6510 running at the incredible speed of 1MHz. It contains 64KB of memory and runs Commodore Basic version 2.0. Graphics are provided by the highly advanced 16-colour VIC-II (Video Interface Chip II) and sound though the 3-channel SID (Sound Interface Device) chip. The introductory price for the C64 is US$595 although there are rumours that the production cost is only US$135 providing Commodore a profit margin of over 75%!" 17 Million units sold. Peak production of 400,000 a month. Production cost eventually dropped to ~US$25. Best-selling single computer model ever. What's the right machine for this time?