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Re: Thanks for this Fosdem embedded week-end

+++ Peter Vandenabeele [04-02-26 15:48 +0100]:
> On Thu, Feb 26, 2004 at 12:29:18PM +0100, Henrion Benjamin wrote:
> > Hi all,
> [...]
> > 3. searching for funding to make a cigar board for making cheap (under
> > 100eur) xterminals (I'm looking for a SoC with sound, eth, usb, vga; if
> > you know something nice); if you have 10.000eur to invest in this
> > project, contact me
> I think it would be nice to have a General Purpose board with some good 
> CPU (IXP425 or one of the many new ARM92x based SoC's like Toshiba,
> NetSilicon, Cirrus Logic, Triscend/ARM, ...) that have all the peripherals 
> that you mention above and this to be available at a cost that is close 
> to the BOM (Bill Of Materials). When looking at the BOM (and the cost 
> for a 4 layer board) we may be not too far off for the 100 EURO target 
> you raise (I would guess 200 EURO for now, but this will continue to
> drop).
> I am also aware of local funded R&D projects at Flemish High Schools (TETRA)
> that will be investigating this. So that may help on your funding question as 
> well.
> What would you need the funding for ?
> One discussion that could be started here or on a different list is to understand
> which combinations of SoC, external components and board type (4 layer, 6 layer)
> would be required and what would be the production cost of such a basic General
> Purpose board with ARM9/XScale CPU. Many people on this list have a detailed 
> idea about which components could be used and what the cost would be.

http://balloonboard.org/ aspires to this sort of purpose, but because it is
small, relatively well-equipped, 8-layer and built to tight tolerances it is
more like 600E than 200E (in ones). It's probably about to get a re-lay to
make it cheaper to build (mostly by improving the yiled) but it's quite hard
to make cheap arm boards that have lots of interesting stuff on them,
especially in small quantities :-) We were aiming for 200E sorts of prices
originally when we saw the BOM, but it is hard to build small-run boards
like this at anything like the BOM costs. Manufacturing, especially in
Europe, is expensive, and you always find yourself putting in a few extra
useful items, which all cost money.

We (balloon people) certainly are very interested in what the minimal set of
things is that people want on a board. The idea of balloon is that it has a
few things many people want (CPU, RAM, FLASH, external bus, USB, Audio, CF
(for expansion - ethernet, HD, wireless) and lots of power options) and you
could build it with only some of those to keep costs down, then you add
anything else via the bus. 

Perhaps this is not the best approach, but it would be educational to hear
why not from people. Unless anyone can think of a better place, I'd suggest
that the balloon list is as good a place as any to discuss the things that
experimenters and developers want on a board, and how much they are prepared
to pay for those things. The LART list is another suitable place, although
that focuses on home-buildable arm hardware slightly more.

Aleph One Ltd, Bottisham, CAMBRIDGE, CB5 9BA, UK  Tel +44 (0) 1223 811679
work: http://www.aleph1.co.uk/     play: http://www.chaos.org.uk/~wookey/

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