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PosterThread
Yo 
ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 5:55:00
#1 ]
Team Member
Joined: 8-Oct-2004
Posts: 2042
From: France, on an ADSL line

ACube Systems

Sam440ep is the first modular motherboard produced by ACube Systems Srl.

The main characteristics are:

* low power consumption
* passive cooling
* scalability

The core of the board is the PowerPC 440EP, a System On Chip (SoC) produced by AMCC under license from IBM.

One of the main features of the PowerPC AMCC 440EP is the presence, together with the CPU, of a number of integrated peripherals. This allowed us to build a complete system with a huge savings of both development and debug time, with less components and space used on the PCB. This also results in a significant cost reduction for the customer.

As a consequence the northbridge/southbridge combination is not present on the board. Part of their functionalities are built into the CPU.

The 440EP chip has a size of 35x35 mm, with a PBGA packaging (456 balls). It is built with CMOS (0.13 um) technology, has a very low power consumption (only 3 Watts at 533Mhz) and it does not require any active cooling system.

Technical Specifications

* MiniITX Form Factor (17x17 cm)
* CPU SoC AMCC 440ep
o Integrated DDR 266 memory controller
o Integrated PCI controller
o Integrated Flash memory devices controller
o Integrated USB 1.1 Host and 2.0 Device controller
o 2 integrated Ethernet 10/100 ports
o Up to 4 serial ports
o 2 I2C interfaces
o SPI interfaces
o 64 pin for I/O General Purpose
* 512 MB DDR soldered onboard (or in alternative a DDR DIMM 100 slot, max 512 MB)
* USB 2.0 OHCI/EHCI NXP PCI controller
* Audio Cirrus Logic CS4281 and Realtek ALC655 Codec
* Silicon Image 4 Serial ATA ports
* ATI RADEON Mobility M9 with 64mb RAM graphic chip
* Pericom 8150B PCI Bridge
* FPGA Lattice XP with 80 pin I/O expansion connector
* PCI Slot - 32 bits, 33 Mhz
* mini PCI Slot - 32 bits, 33 Mhz (optional)
* RTC with backup battery
* UBoot 1.3.1

Further information, FAQs, availability and price, media and other resources and driver downloads, please visit http://www.acube-systems.biz/eng/sam.php

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Yo 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 6:04:09
#2 ]
Team Member
Joined: 8-Oct-2004
Posts: 2042
From: France, on an ADSL line

This is a co-operative effort of AmigaWorld, AmigaRoundTable, and Amigaweb to increase communication and aid in dispersal of information throughout the Amiga community. AW, ART and Amigaweb jointly release these questions and answers which we hope will start an informative dialogue.

Project questions by users are welcome, but ALL off-topic posts, flames, or new posts in this forum not by a project/staff member will be deleted, and may be dealt with harshly.

-------------------------
A Question and answer session with Max Tretene, ACube Systems Srl

ACube Systems as a business
-------------------------

(01) Long term do you see ACube Systems as both a distributor and a reseller?

We see ourselves as a manufacturer and distributor on a long term basis. At the moment we are still acting as a reseller to serve customers that don't have a reseller in their area but we are sure that things will improve soon in this field.

(02) If so can you elaborate on any changes you might make, such as the possible addition of a POS (point of sale) system to the website?

At the moment we are not interested in becoming a reseller, we are more focused in creating a network of reliable resellers in all major countries/areas.

(03) Is there any information you can share regarding usage of your products outside of the Amiga community, or comments about what role the Sam440ep might play in the automotive industry?

Automotive is really a different market than the embedded one. The rules and the requirements for the automotive products are really strict and at the moment we are not interested in entering such a market. On the embedded one, we have some interesting products going on.

(04) How successful have OS4 for classic and minimig been as products?

OS4 for Classic has been really a nice surprise. We did not expect so many Classic Amigas to be still around. Minimig is a small and niche product, it still has a good amount of requests and we are really happy about it.

(05) What made you decide to manufacture and sell the Minimig?

We believed (and still believe) that it is an excellent product that deserved a mass production.

(06) How many Cyberstorm/Blizzard PPC's have successfully been repaired?

Not so many, probably people preferred to wait for a new machine coming out instead of investing in such old hardware, Although I have to say that a 300Mhz Blizzard PPC is really impressive!


ACube Systems products - Sam440ep
-------------------------------

(01) How does the Sam440ep@667MHz compare to the MicroGX @800MHz?

Very well, Sam has some important advantages over the Micro. Sam has a fast DDR memory interface, a fast SATA controller, a powerfull M9 graphic chip so the feeling when you use AmigaOS 4.1 is that of a faster system compared to the Micro. Obviously on simple computing power the Micro is more powerful but on overall system performances, Sam outperforms in many areas the Micro.

(02) Is the ATI M9 64 or 128 bit?

128 bit.

(03) Do you have any recommendation on a specific PCI riser card to use?

No.

(04) Can it triple boot OS4.1, AROS, and Linux easily?

Yes.

(05) The board is listed as "HIGH-SPEED USB 2.0 Certified". Is there anything other than software that would prevent implementation of USB2?

OS4.1 needs an EHCI driver to be able to use USB2 on the Sam.

(06) What is the maximum memory it can take/use?

The Sam440ep board can take 512 Mb RAM via a DIMM slot.

(07) Will the Sam440ep system bundle come with the proper I/O ports backplate?

Yes, we're working on it.

(08) For those building their own systems, will there be an ACube Systems official recommendation on parts, including case and a compatibility list?

We have a complete list of cases on our website. Regarding other parts: any widely available component can be used on the Sam, the only limitations are on the specific Operating System supported hardware.

(09) Why was the mini-pci slot removed from the final design?

On the embedded version it is available upon request.


ACube Systems products - Sam440ep-flex
-------------------------------

(01) What is the approximate timetable and cost of the Sam440ep-flex?

Flex will be available before Christmas. Price hasn't been decided yet.

(02) Are bundles planned for Sam440ep-flex, as they are for the Sam440ep?

Yes.


ACube Systems - the future
-----------------------

(01) Do you plan or consider further extensions to the SAM series?

We have a detailed business and development plan for the coming years.

(02) Have you considered a Sam440ep laptop and would this be feasible?

We have many options for current and future products. Laptop is one of these.

(03) Could you please tell us a bit about how and why the ADS5121/Hellrosa/Efika2 was on display by ACube Systems at Pianeta Amiga?

We, as hardware manufacturer, evaluate many different kind of processors. Since this is a reference board we are studying and evaluating it (as we are doing with other processors).

(04) Is AmigaOS4.x planned for this board?

As far as we know, no.

(05) Are there any plans for MorphOS V2.x for the Sam440ep or Sam440ep-flex?

We contacted the MorphOS team but at the moment they are focused on other developments.

(06) In a perfect world, what would you like to see accomplished with regards to the Amiga, both classic and next generation - hardware and software.

We would like to see new software for Amiga that fills the gap between us and other platforms. A complete web browser, an office suite and all other programs that are needed for everyday use. On the hardware side it would be nice to have some new and powerful accelerator boards for the classic and new more powerful and cheaper NG hardware.

(07) How do you envision your relationship with Hyperion for the future?

We are working together to continue the evolution of the Amiga Operating System and hardware.

(08) What do you think about the NatAmi ( http://www.natami.net ) Is this something ACube Systems might consider getting involved in?

It seems an interesting idea but at this stage we prefer to focus on our own products. But obviously this could change in the future, who knows...

Max Tretene, ACube Systems Srl

(edited formatting)

Last edited by Yo on 12-Oct-2008 at 06:09 AM.

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QuBe 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 6:23:42
#3 ]
Super Member
Joined: 3-Dec-2006
Posts: 1062
From: Dunes of Uridia

@Yo

Thanks to all for consolidating this information into one thread, it makes for easier understanding of what is happening with regards to SAM. I like the format. I really hope we can get more summary information similar to this on what is happening across the length and breadth of the Amiga market, it really does save time :)

Q!

"aLL RoAds LeAd ToO hOMe"

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Mrodfr 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 6:44:26
#4 ]
Super Member
Joined: 28-Jan-2007
Posts: 1396
From: French

hello,

Thanks a lot for the questions with Acube. Particularly the backplate, the USB2 ,flex before xmas,and others.....

Questions:

- Enough stock for futur customers who want to buy at xmas time or during 2009 ????

- Svideo connection: output and/or input ????

Last edited by Mrodfr on 12-Oct-2008 at 03:10 PM.

_________________
BTW, what you have done for the amiga today ????

-A1200+Mediator+VooDoo3+060/50+96mo+SCSI-KIT
-SAM440EP-667mhz-on MapowerKC3000+AOS4.1

Amiga Docs Disks Preservation Project

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tonyw 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 6:57:02
#5 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 3103
From: Sydney (of course)

@Yo

A most interesting and useful thread. Thank yo -er- you.

_________________
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tony

Hyperion Support Forum: http://forum.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php

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delshay 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 7:46:59
#6 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Sep-2008
Posts: 447
From: Unknown

300Mhz Blizzard PPC i like to see some benchmarks

Last edited by delshay on 12-Oct-2008 at 07:59 AM.

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logicalheart 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 8:52:37
#7 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Dec-2003
Posts: 676
From: Sandy, Utah. USA

@Yo

Thanks all for the good information.

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http://www.youtube.com/hostcove
Sam460 : X1000 : X5000

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TrevorDick 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 9:14:18
#8 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Dec-2004
Posts: 2636
From: Wellington

Very good Q/A session. Many thanks.

TrevorD

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NomadOfNorad 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 19:40:33
#9 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jun-2003
Posts: 746
From: Jacksonville, Florida, USA, Earth, Sol system, Milky Way galaxy

Are there or will there be machines that have HDMI ports?

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ChrisH 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 20:11:32
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6673
From: Unknown

@delshay
There was a guy at the ANT (Sam440 demo) meeting today who was showing an (apparently) 300MHz BlizzPPC, and he will apparently be making some post(s) about it on Amiga.org & AW.net eventually. But he didn't want to give too many details away (like who he was!).

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NoelFuller 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 12-Oct-2008 22:39:17
#11 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2003
Posts: 926
From: Auckland, New Zealand

@Yo

Thanks Yo et al.

Next time anyone asks about SAM440ep-flex would you ask about the zigbee option please? Will it be supported through OS4.1? By that I mean software running on 4.1 that can be used to scan transducers, as in monitoring household power use, solar heating, wind systems, controlling a telescope, hydroponics installation, even model train systems for those into such things, etc, etc. Zigbee and transducers are short range but very cheap. So far I have not noticed a photograph of a board with that option in place.

Noel

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AmiKit 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Oct-2008 6:53:29
#12 ]
Super Member
Joined: 18-Jul-2004
Posts: 1084
From: Europe

Hi Max!

I wish you and your team good luck!

Reagrds,
Jan

PS: If anyone's interested, here's an interview with Max from Pianeta Amiga 2006.

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ChrisH 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Oct-2008 10:17:29
#13 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6673
From: Unknown

@Yo
Question for ACube: What will ACube do about (existing) Sam440 owners who do NOT have a backplate?

Question for ACube: Should the Sam440 (a mini-ITX mobo) fit in most/all mini-ATX cases? (These are cheaper & easier to install than mini-ITX cases)

EDIT: It seems that the answer is probably "yes", with the caveat that the unusual orientation of the Sam's powersupply connector means that it won't work in the smallest ITX cases (since there needs to be space on that side for the powersupply cable).

Question for ACube/Hyperion: Are there any plans to add Sam440 USB2.0 support to OS4? I believe that currently only USB1.1 is supported by OS4 on the Sam?

Question for ACube/Hyperion: Is sound recording supported by OS4.1 on the Sam440?

P.S. One thing not made clear in the Sam spec sheet is that it has a DVI output, not a VGA output.

Last edited by ChrisH on 02-Nov-2008 at 10:08 AM.
Last edited by ChrisH on 13-Oct-2008 at 10:27 AM.
Last edited by ChrisH on 13-Oct-2008 at 10:23 AM.
Last edited by ChrisH on 13-Oct-2008 at 10:21 AM.
Last edited by ChrisH on 13-Oct-2008 at 10:19 AM.

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I can usually be found on www.Amigans.net (my favourite Amiga forum).
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue...

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NoelFuller 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Oct-2008 12:41:21
#14 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2003
Posts: 926
From: Auckland, New Zealand

@ChrisH

Quote:
Question for ACube: What will ACube do about (existing) Sam440 owners who do NOT have a backplate?


Note Q & A 07 in SAM440ep section in the interview in this thread.

Noel

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ChrisH 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Oct-2008 14:10:34
#15 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6673
From: Unknown

@NoelFuller
I made my question precisely BECAUSE of Q & A 07:
Quote:
(07) Will the Sam440ep system bundle come with the proper I/O ports backplate?

Yes, we're working on it.


Which indicates they are working on a backplate for NEW Sam440s, but I want to know about 'OLD' Sams that did not come with a backplate (which presumably includes ones currently being sold).

edit: Kgrach had this to say, but he doesn't speak for ACube AFAIK.

Last edited by ChrisH on 14-Oct-2008 at 02:12 PM.

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I can usually be found on www.Amigans.net (my favourite Amiga forum).
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue...

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number6 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Oct-2008 14:33:56
#16 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 25-Mar-2005
Posts: 9860
From: In the village

@ChrisH

Here is where we enter a "grey area" as regards this forum for facts only.

1st, let's repeat this for those who have not seen the current dealer list:
OS4.x and/or SAM Dealers (All current info)

Acube Systems has stated in the Q&A:
Quote:
We see ourselves as a manufacturer and distributor on a long term basis. At the moment we are still acting as a reseller to serve customers that don't have a reseller in their area but we are sure that things will improve soon in this field.


Your point is well taken that boards sold prior to systems being offered fall into a different category temporarily, where Acube is acting as a reseller prior to the dealers taking over that aspect in full.

I think it is fair, though, for Acube to merely relay this policy TO the dealers and allow them to post on how existing boards will be handled regarding the supply of the backplate.

Let's be honest, for Acube Systems to achieve their intended focus, then the dealers WILL have to do some of the factual posting about systems and what is included, in order to free Acube of this additional responsibility.

#6

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ChrisH 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Oct-2008 18:25:31
#17 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6673
From: Unknown

@number6
Well, if ACube would at least indicate that they will be supplying "spare" backplates to dealers (and privately communicate the cost to dealers), then it will be reasonable for us to ask dealers (like AmigaKit) what their policy will be...

_________________
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I can usually be found on www.Amigans.net (my favourite Amiga forum).
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue...

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Lecta 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Oct-2008 21:18:57
#18 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Apr-2003
Posts: 139
From: Italy

@ChrisH

Quote:
Which indicates they are working on a backplate for NEW Sam440s, but I want to know about 'OLD' Sams that did not come with a backplate (which presumably includes ones currently being sold).

edit: Kgrach had this to say, but he doesn't speak for ACube AFAIK


Let me answer, as *I* speak for ACube (at least for this specific topic):

For customers who already bought Sam440ep the backplate will be shipped completely free of charge.
For every board sold after the backplates are ready, one backplate will be included with the board.

There is no difference between backplates for Sam440ep and Sam44o-Flex boards.

Bye

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tonyw 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Oct-2008 1:27:52
#19 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 3103
From: Sydney (of course)

@Lecta

Thank you for clearing up the confusion.

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tony

Hyperion Support Forum: http://forum.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php

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ChrisH 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Oct-2008 13:38:24
#20 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6673
From: Unknown

@Lecta
Many thanks for the update! It wasn't a show-stopper for me personally, but still very nice to know

_________________
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I can usually be found on www.Amigans.net (my favourite Amiga forum).
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue...

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