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Announcement   Announcement : ACube Systems
   posted by mordock on 11-Jan-2007 7:29:30 (13562 reads)
Bassano del Grappa (Italy) 10/01/2007 - Alternative Holding Group, Soft 3 and Virtual Works created today ACube Systems Srl, a company born to take care of the production and commercialisation of the Sam440ep product line.
Sam440ep will be the first manufactured motherboard. The heart of Sam is the PowerPC 440, a System On Chip (SoC) made by AMCC under a licence from IBM.


The main characteristic of a SoC system is the presence, together with the CPU, of a number of integrated peripherals which allow 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 board doesn't need the classical northbridge / southbridge combination because a part of their functionalities are implemented in the CPU, and the balance is provided by other components and devices.
The availability is planned for the first quarter of 2007.
The new company will continue to do research and development for current projects for the embedded and desktop markets.
More news will be made available in the next weeks through the company website www.acube-systems.biz.
    

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PosterThread
adiaux 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Jan-2007 9:38:24
#61 ]
Super Member
Joined: 1-Jun-2006
Posts: 1249
From: Unknown

@ "Acube"

Good work! This sounds very assuring! Looking forward to see more news from you ...


@ amipal

Quote:
The SAM is not meant to be the most powerful desktop machine on Earth, the point of it is its cheap hardware. The processor will quite happily give a nice OS4 experience.


It will be too underpowered to be considered powerful, and it will be too overspecced and too complex to be cheap, so in the end it will be neither. IMHO, it will be poorly positioned, "stuck in the middle", due to lack of focus, which is something that derives from decisions made *before* the design process even started. But according to some, they already have an industrial customer of some kind that has more or less "ordered" this design (and hopefully a thousand units or so), which is good, since it won't be ideally suited for consumer markets IMHO. Don't get me wrong with this, I think the "SAM" is the most promising non-Genesi PPC project right now, and I will most certainly buy the board if it materialize, as will many others here on AW.net (regardless the cost, for the same geeky reasons), but it won't sell in any greater volumes to general consumers other than that. Maybe a Samantha 2 will be the answer, but that would probably be at least 2 years away in time ...

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adiaux 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Jan-2007 10:07:56
#62 ]
Super Member
Joined: 1-Jun-2006
Posts: 1249
From: Unknown

Quote:
...and I will most certainly buy the board if it materialize, as will many others here on AW.net (regardless the cost, for the same geeky reasons), but it won't sell in any greater volumes to general consumers other than that.


The market size for SAM is unknown at best, and quite limited at worst (at least for consumers). This calls for a suggestion to Acube regarding pricing strategy - *don't* get trapped in the online discussions about price, and don't try to cut down on your profit margins before the product even gets here in order to satisfy some online voices. The design *is* expensive, and defines the boundries and your freedom to act. IMHO you should go for a market skimming strategy (ie quite a high price in the beginning, that is being reduced over time) rather than trying to penetrate the market with low initial prices. Skimming capitilizes on the early adopters, the enthusiasts, who is prepared to pay almost anything in order to be the first to have this new product, and it brings faster recovery of the initial and development costs, ie "take as much as you can as fast as you can take it". Then when sale frequency drops, the price should follow. If I were you I would try to find a "healthy" price, a price level on which you can live (provided that you sell x amount of boards every month), and set that price level as a "target price", which you should reach in 12 months time or so. Then make a limited production run and set the initial release price at 150%-200% of the target price. If your target price is $400, the initial price tag could be $600-$800. You *would* sell boards at these prices IMHO, and when/if you don't, then it's time to lower the price. It's always easier to lower a price tag, than it is to raise it.

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ironfist 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Jan-2007 14:47:31
#63 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Dec-2004
Posts: 770
From: Pegasos.org

sgm:
I would prefer an English link. Italian text gives me nothing
so my statement stands - designing yet another Cube is
just boring.

takemehomegrandma:
You are correct. It's always easier to lower prices than
raise them. However, I think Eyetech managed to do the
latter, didn't they?..

So, for this freaky market it would work, not for other
markets.. Or you can do what Apple does - never lower
any prices. Not even when you switch from PowerPC to
cheap-ass x86.

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Lou 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Jan-2007 16:24:42
#64 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 2-Nov-2004
Posts: 4169
From: Rhode Island

@Hammer

You can read my semi-reply on amiga.org

but in the end Amiga doesn't have DirectX 8.1 which is a 2001 technology standard by the way. Also even in 2001, you had 1GHz cpus pushing the needs of a gpu where as the SAM is 1/2 as powerful at best, hence you'll never see games maxing out this gpu's polygon count at all. This is probably the cheapest gpu on the market and that's why it's on this board.

Even laptops with which this "crappy by desktop standards" gpu came in has ~1.5GHz cpu's pushing better games that demand better graphics. Also, resolution is just a factor of having ram and a descent 2D fill rate. PC's were doing 2048x1600 in 2001. I used to run BLEEM emulating a PS1 running Tekken 3 @ 1600x1200 on my ATI Radeon 7000 with a 900MHz cpu and 256MB. The polygon count was low as hell, but it ran fast.

Look forward, not backwards was my whole point in comparision...

Just leave out the ATI mobile chip and put in an AGP or PCIx slot.
But that would change the form factor to a desk top form factor...
but wait, isn't this for an Amiga desktop?
No this board is not designed for a desktop and that's what you all don't get.

They are taking an manufacturing PC form factor and trying to sell you an Amiga platform. It's almost like Eyetech all over again, cashing in on a manufacturing market and raping the Amiga market...

Last edited by Lou on 13-Jan-2007 at 04:37 PM.
Last edited by Lou on 13-Jan-2007 at 04:30 PM.

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Hammer 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 13-Jan-2007 21:34:45
#65 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4897
From: Australia

Quote:
You can read my semi-reply on amiga.org

You missed certain key NVIDIA, UDMA, PCI (PCI Read" (2), "PCI Write" (2)) and AGP (with Fastwrites, "AGP Read"(1), "AGP Write"(1)) era technologies.

**According to AMD(ATI),
1. The graphic accelerator has direct read and write to main memory.
2. PCI devices has direct read and write to main memory e.g. factor in DMA engines from UDMA PATA controllers.

Quote:
but in the end Amiga doesn't have DirectX 8.1 which is a 2001 technology standard by the way


Note why I stated "DirectX 8.1 class" or should I state OpenGL versions i.e. a list of extensions? The use of DirectX release is for encapsulating a collection of key hardware functions.

Quote:

Also even in 2001, you had 1GHz cpus pushing the needs of a gpu where as the SAM is 1/2 as powerful at best,

More likely less than 1/2 i.e. factor in SIMD ISAs for 2001/2002 PCs (e.g. SSE/3DNow Pro and VMX) and PPC440’s dual issue vs P6’s three issue instructions.

Quote:

hence you'll never see games maxing out this gpu's polygon count at all. This is probably the cheapest gpu on the market and that's why it's on this board.

Sufficient dot generation would be an issue for SAM, but Radeon 9000 has hardware shaders and TrueForm. TrueForm support would be important for SAM.

Refer to TrueForm from
http://www.digit-life.com/articles/atitruform/index.html

To quote
"We use up the power of modern accelerators and, first of all, their T&L blocks, without being limited by a weak CPU of the system."

PC world didn’t maximize the use of TrueForm techniques i.e. focused on brute CPU performance.

Quote:

Even laptops with which this "crappy by desktop standards" gpu came in has ~1.5GHz cpu's pushing better games that demand better graphics. Also, resolution is just a factor of having ram and a descent 2D fill rate. PC's were doing 2048x1600 in 2001. I used to run BLEEM emulating a PS1 running Tekken 3 @ 1600x1200 on my ATI Radeon 7000 with a 900MHz cpu and 256MB. The polygon count was low as hell, but it ran fast.

Look forward, not backwards was my whole point in comparision...


My statements was against GameCube comparison.

Last edited by Hammer on 14-Jan-2007 at 12:51 AM.
Last edited by Hammer on 13-Jan-2007 at 11:16 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 13-Jan-2007 at 10:22 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 13-Jan-2007 at 10:21 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 13-Jan-2007 at 09:57 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 13-Jan-2007 at 09:49 PM.


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Lou 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Jan-2007 16:31:44
#66 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 2-Nov-2004
Posts: 4169
From: Rhode Island

@Lou
There has been several warnings and request to start a forum thread instead allready.

Requests from our staff: At any time, if a moderator or administrator makes a request of a user, that user is expected to follow the instructions. We rarely, if ever, challenge our users to do something (usually this has to do with an inappropriate avatar or some sort of aberrant behaviour). However, when it does happen, we expect it to be followed; participate in this site, and you participate in it as a privilege, not a right. You may always PM an administrator or the webmaster to ask questions or file a complaint. However, I place great faith and trust in my staff to do the right thing. Your cooperation is appreciated.

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Last edited by tomazkid on 18-Jan-2007 at 12:41 AM.
Last edited by Lou on 14-Jan-2007 at 04:35 PM.

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Framiga 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Jan-2007 16:39:52
#67 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 5-Jul-2003
Posts: 2213
From: Unknown

LOL! literally amusing! i can't really beleive you are really thinking what your writing! (but for the sake to "provoke" bad reactions .... read it as tr....g)


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smartroad 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 14-Jan-2007 22:54:33
#68 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 13-Feb-2005
Posts: 215
From: United Kingdom

Interesting. The use of a SoC for a low end machine seems a good idea. By integrating the north/southbridge chips the PCB design should be a lot simpler and far cheaper to produce. At the end of the day this is targeted more at the embedded market, POS machines and the like, it just happens that OS4 can run on it (subject to licensing issues).

This should be a fine system for use as a general use machine, internet browsing, word processing, basic gaming, limited graphics manipulation. I wonder why people are getting so hung up on the GFX horse power, after all, there isn't a game on the amiga market that can tax the Radeon that is on the machine.

Looking at the board, it seems to be a mini-itx form factor, can that be confirmed?

At the end of the day the important question is, how much? Once we know that figure the we will know if it is truly over/under powered.

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Samwel 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Jan-2007 2:25:40
#69 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

@smartroad

You can be quite sure it will be underpowered compared to any PC board, price wise.
Unless they get a customer wanting them to produce +10000 boards a month.
Which IMHO is very unlikely.

Although with a relatively high batch number they could keep the price quite low.
Especially compared to anything else (AmigaOne's) that has been released for OS4.

IMO an introductionary price of about 350 incl. OS4 would be ok. If then lowered to
300 (or lower) in time..
Yes I know a similar board for x86 goes for way under 200..

Last edited by Samwel on 15-Jan-2007 at 02:28 AM.


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Hammer 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Jan-2007 9:20:40
#70 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4897
From: Australia

Quote:
Edited: removed moderated quote/tomazkid


Sure they can... It’s only the matter of $$$

Quote:
Edited: removed moderated quote/tomazkid

You assume too much.

Last edited by tomazkid on 18-Jan-2007 at 12:44 AM.


_________________
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uboat 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Jan-2007 16:09:27
#71 ]
Member
Joined: 2-Apr-2004
Posts: 73
From: Melbourne Australia

'Scuse my ignorance, but does this thing have a hard drive interface? I couldn't see mention of one at their website.

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adiaux 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Jan-2007 17:21:12
#72 ]
Super Member
Joined: 1-Jun-2006
Posts: 1249
From: Unknown

@ Samvel

Quote:
Although with a relatively high batch number they could keep the price quite low.


AFAIK, it is a 10-layer motherboard with quite a few extra controller chips on it, and this doesn't change in a fundamental way when volume increases. The complexity the high specs brings kind of nullifies the benefits of the SoC IMHO. The specs defines the price.

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Lecta 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Jan-2007 17:24:07
#73 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Apr-2003
Posts: 139
From: Italy

@uboat

Sam440ep does not have an ide interface (PATA - Parallel ATA) but instead 4 SATA (Serial ATA) connectors. You can use them to connect SATA hard drives and also SATA CDWRITER/DVDWRITER.

Regards

Last edited by Lecta on 15-Jan-2007 at 05:25 PM.


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AmigaOS 4 Translator & Betatester

AmigaOneXE G4@1Ghz 2GB RAM Radeon 9000 PRO 128MB
Sam460ex@1,1GHz 2GB RAM Radeon X1550 PRO PCI-E
Both running AmigaOS 4.1 Update 6 (BETA)

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Samwel 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 15-Jan-2007 23:38:31
#74 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

@TMHG

As I see it, the higher specs the better. For me Efika sucks donkey!
To lock the memory at 128MB is NOT good for a OS running a emulator
for many of its applications.

Yes of course $200 is a really good price.. But you have to look at WHAT you
get for those $200 also IMHO.
It's not suitable for developers, desktop user or anyone requiring the use of
more memory than 128MB. Although as a kiosk station this board is really
great, also some other embedded uses.

As I remember reading they were working on reducing the layers. Thus
reducing the price. If this reduction reaches the first released revision we'll
have to wait and see I guess.

But they'll never reach the $200 price level that Efika has, no matter what.
Maybe double that if they're lucky with their customers.


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[SOLD] A1-C - 750GX 800MHz - 512MB - Antec Aria case

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redfox 
Re: ACube Systems
Posted on 21-Jan-2007 0:23:45
#75 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 2048
From: Canada

Congratulations. I wish all the best in your efforts.

---
redfox

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