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Hardware News   Hardware News : Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
   posted by ironfist on 31-Dec-2008 10:45:20 (9593 reads)
* FlexATX Form Factor (21.6 x 17 cm)
* CPU SoC AMCC 440ep (400, 533 or 667 Mhz)
o Integrated DDR 266 mhz memory controller
o Integrated PCI controller
o Integrated Flash memory devices controller
o Integrated USB 1.1 Host and 2.0 Device controller
o 2x integrated Ethernet 10/100 ports
o Up to 4 serial ports
o 2x I2C interfaces
o SPI interface
o 64 pin for I/O General Purpose


* 2x DDR DIMM 100 slots, max 1 GB RAM
* USB 2.0 OHCI/EHCI NEC PCI controller (2x external ports, 2x internal ports)
* Audio Cirrus Logic CS4281 and Realtek ALC655 Codec
* Silicon Image 4x Serial ATA ports
* Pericom 8150B PCI Bridge
* FPGA Lattice XP with 80 pin I/O expansion connector
* 1x PCI Slot - 32 bits, 66 Mhz
* 2x PCI Slot - 32 bits, 33 Mhz
* mini PCI Slot - 32 bits, 33 Mhz (optional)
* RTC with backup battery
* ZigBee module (optional)
* UBoot 1.3.1

Click-eli-Click! (with picture)
    

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PosterThread
Hans 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 1-Jan-2009 20:36:17
#41 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Dec-2003
Posts: 4919
From: New Zealand

@Ironfist
Quote:
Darth X:
Que?!

Why would it be technically impossible?


Because PCI-Express is totally incompatible to PCI. AGP, on the other hand, is based on the same signalling system as PCI, with certain differences.

PCI-Express divides the bus up into lanes, and each lane transfers data serially, not in parallel. The advantage is that you don't need to keep 64+ parallel data lines synchronized, which means that you can really crank up the transfer clock.

Also, regarding the memory. 100 pin memory is for embedded devices and the 440ep is an embedded chip. I'm guessing that the memory controller is designed to interface with these 100 pin SO-DIMMs which have a 32-bit data bus, and not the normal ones with a 64-bit data bus.

Hans

Last edited by Hans on 01-Jan-2009 at 08:39 PM.


_________________
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ironfist 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 1-Jan-2009 20:44:52
#42 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Dec-2004
Posts: 770
From: Pegasos.org

Hans:
Thanks for explaining the PCIexpress part instead
of being plain rude as Darth X.

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KimmoK 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 1-Jan-2009 20:58:15
#43 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5188
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

I'm still satisfied with my order of SAM with the mobile GFX chip. (hope to get the board soon)

I really hope we one day see:
1) a very simple and cheap AOS4 capable PPC board (perhaps AA/AA+ gfx on board)
2) AOS4 capable PPC board for PCI (could then use x86 motherboard i/o etc.
3) a high end AOS4 capable PPC board with around 1ghz+ embedded PPC
4) PCI express bus instead of PCI as soon as possible


_________________
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// For freedom, for honor, for AMIGA
//
// Thing that I should find more time for: CC64 - 64bit Community Computer?

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COBRA 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 1-Jan-2009 21:10:49
#44 ]
Super Member
Joined: 26-Apr-2004
Posts: 1809
From: Auckland, New Zealand

@wegster

Quote:
I'm glad to see ACube, or someone, is producing something that will run OS4, although note - there is still no availability date announced. I continue to hope at some point their pricing (for whatever system, does not have to be the SAM) is in line with it's performance and specs.


Be realistic, value for money compared to what? A PC motherboard being produced in batches of millions? You will never get Amiga hardware produced in such quantities, thus you will never be able to buy custom Amiga hardware with similar price vs. performance ratio as mainstream PC hardware.

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Zylesea 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 1-Jan-2009 21:46:07
#45 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 2170
From: Ostwestfalen, FRG

It's a step in the right direction, but still a way to go to be competetive. See, I just picked up a Mac Mini some days ago.
1.5 GHz G4 1 GB RAM, 64 MB VRAM, 80 GB harddisk, Combo drive, small case and PSU, etc. for 262 EUR! Okay, it is not new, but it is well proven hardware. Plus, I can legally run OS X on it additionaly to MorphOS whenever I need to (don't like OS X too much, but it can't hurt to have it available)
Therefore my choice was pretty easy.
But *if* Acube will reach a price of less than 250 EUR (incl. 20% VAT) I may consider again. Unless then I stay with my Pegasos, Efika and mini for my ppc comuting experience.


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MorphOS user since V0.4 (2001)

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Jose 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 1-Jan-2009 23:32:24
#46 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 934
From: Unknown

Like the previous SAM board, I think it misses a CPU slot. I also miss the higher end PPC CPUs....


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kindergip 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 4:54:47
#47 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Aug-2004
Posts: 312
From: Canada

@ll

Hmm, in front of me is a 500G SATA drive, a DVDburner and on the shelf above
me is a PCI Radeon 9250 256M 128bit gfx card.

On my right is a gutted, ie the hard drive has been transferred to my
revitalized AmigaOne XE 2G/9250 256M, µA1.

I'm ready to part with my µA1, it's never given me a bit of trouble,
it has a DVD burner and is in an Antec Aria case, the drawback is that
the GFX ability is a touch light to run 4.1 in all its glory and it
appears that will not be remedied any time soon.

I'm going to be buying a SAM flex to replace it for a number of reasons,
one; SAM flex is new, supported hardware. Two; Sam flex has the FPGA chip
which is a possibility for the future. Three; I already have the pieces
needed to boot it up and run 4.1 smoothly.

Other intangibles include things like the age of my XE (despite having the
'fix', a G4@933MHz and several capacitors replaced) is a factor. What
if one day it just stops?

Support of the community is also important, if these early sales are not
made then the developers we have will gradually move on to other projects.
I'd like to see ReBol become a real part of the Amiga. Think of that and
a ZigBee module. Or being run off the FPGA in some sort of controller capacity.

Cost is not a valid complaint. We are at present, the remnants of a user base.
A hobbyist market strung out from legacy hardware off through emulators and
into various pieces of new-now old G3-4 technology to a place where finally
there is new hardware in the form of a highly usable low end base starter
machine.

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TheDaddy 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 8:46:33
#48 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Sep-2005
Posts: 4499
From: Quattro Stelle

It seems strange to me that there are still people complaining about specs, price etc...

Roll back two years, when ACube wasn't around offering SAMs, and all we had was OVERPRICED Blizzards, which are slower than the SAM and an EXPENSIVE graphics card and PCI combination.

Now that there is a solution, now that we have a chance to use OS4.X we moan.

Go figure.

I am sure a 100GHz PPC with 4 PCI-Express gfx cards in Crossfire will come eventually, but it all depends on the sales of the SAMs, how do you think ACube finance their projects?


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ChrisH 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 13:30:42
#49 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6673
From: Unknown

@wegster
Are there any Gig-Ethernet PCI cards? That could be a good use for one PCI slot on the Flex, if someone wrote the drivers...

As for blaming ACube about Sam440 being "low specs": I think it is a good "mid-range" compromise specification for OS4, which is fast enough to run most OS4 apps reasonably, yet not extremely expensive (there are already enough price complaints without it costing several hundred pounds more!). Also, I believe they are investigating a newer/better design, now that OS4.1 for Sam440 shows there is interest, but that could easily take a year or two (by which time such a design *may* not cost much more than the current Sam440).

Last edited by ChrisH on 02-Jan-2009 at 01:32 PM.


_________________
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I can usually be found on www.Amigans.net (my favourite Amiga forum).
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miksuh 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 15:09:08
#50 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 731
From: Espoo, Finland

Quote:
As a normal user, not having 1 Gig Ethernet is good, cause it won't be wasted. Bandwidth on cable is still no where near that.


You are missing the point. it's nice to have 1Gbit/s LAN even if your internet connection is a lot slower. Remember that LAN works at the speed of the slowest device connected to it. So if you have 1Gbit/s router and other computers have 1GbIt/s network cards then one computer with only 100Mbit/s NIC slows down the whole LAN.

Last edited by miksuh on 02-Jan-2009 at 03:14 PM.

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billt 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 16:47:31
#51 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3143
From: Maryland, USA

Quote:
You should know better than to make a lame comment like this for something that is technically impossible.


Bplan did some bridge logic to connect an AGP slot to the PCI bus. I'm not sure if it was full-out AGP bus or just PCI n an AGP slot, but it worked. You can do the same for PCI-Express. There's even chips out there ready to do this for you.
http://plxtech.com/products/expresslane/bridges.asp
I have one of these chips on a PCI-PCI-Express adaptor card in my AmigaOne right now.

PCI-Express stuff is supposed to be up and down compatible to number of lanes. You can run a x16 graphics card in a x1 slot, electrically. There are even x16 slots that only have a small number of lanes with pins for connections. That way you can physically pklug the graphics card in even if only a couple lanes are there for connection and use. Should work fine. My adaptor card only has a x1 PCI-Express electrically, but it's in a x16 slot so I can physically plug in graphics cards to play with, as well as any x8, x4 card and of course any x1 card. Not ideal for closing the case up, but nice for other stuff.

But in answer to why not, reasons include cost and interest/need from larger markets that this board might be suitable for. The PCI-66 slot may be more interesting to larger buyers than our little Amiga club.... Though PCI-Express would be more interesting to such potential larger buyers than AGP would have been.


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ironfist 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 20:30:44
#52 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Dec-2004
Posts: 770
From: Pegasos.org

miksuh:
"So if you have 1Gbit/s router and other computers have
1GbIt/s network cards then one computer with only
100Mbit/s NIC slows down the whole LAN."


No that's not true. Only the specific router port where
the 100 Mbit computer is connected to will run at 100 Mbit.
The rest will run at Gbit speeds.

Otherwise it would be a really crappy router and I suggest
you get a switch to use for the LAN instead.

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KimmoK 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 20:33:00
#53 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5188
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

@miksuh
"So if you have 1Gbit/s router and other computers have 1GbIt/s network cards then one computer with only 100Mbit/s NIC slows down the whole LAN."

I think it depends on the router. IIRC some routers can have assynchronous ports @ different ethernet speeds.

Currently, I personally prefer to have 100Mbit ethernet because gigabit chips are too hot & draw a lot more power 24h/365d per year.


btw. have I understood it correctly that the best feature of gigabit ethernet is the jumbo frame that reduces CPU usage ?? (as a result, some gigabit network hard disks work a lot faster with jumbo frames enabled)


_________________
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// For freedom, for honor, for AMIGA
//
// Thing that I should find more time for: CC64 - 64bit Community Computer?

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Hammer 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 22:14:20
#54 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 3945
From: Australia

Quote:
Because PCI-Express is totally incompatible to PCI. AGP, on the other hand, is based on the same signalling system as PCI, with certain differences.

PCI-Express divides the bus up into lanes, and each lane transfers data serially, not in parallel. The advantage is that you don't need to keep 64+ parallel data lines synchronized, which means that you can really crank up the transfer clock.
.

There are PCI-toPCI-Express X1 converters for PCI-Express enabled motherboards.
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/381/1008381/pci-express-to-pci-converters-are-available

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/679/1018679/pci-x1300-cards-go-on-sale
http://www.techspot.com/review/15-visiontek-radeon-x1300-pci/
AMD/ATI Radeon X1300 256MB PCI. The target market is some older Shuttle PCs and PCI only corporate/value PCs. To link a native PCIe GPU to PCI, they used a PLX bridge chip. Able to run F.E.A.R (Xbox 360 game) at low details.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131082
http://www.pricescan.com/VisionTek-Radeon-HD-2400-Pro-256MB-DDR2-PCI/co/229185.html
ATI Radeon HD 2400 PCI. Includes Geometry shaders, Tessellation and Global Illumination hardware.

The answer is, it's technically possible to bridge PCIe to PCI.

Is there any AOS4.1 drivers that would drive this GPUs?

Last edited by Hammer on 02-Jan-2009 at 10:55 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 02-Jan-2009 at 10:50 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 02-Jan-2009 at 10:45 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 02-Jan-2009 at 10:29 PM.


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Hammer 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 22:26:17
#55 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 3945
From: Australia

@billt

One could saw-off the ends of PCIe X1 slot to run PCIe X16 wide slot gfx card i.e. poor's man ATI CrossFire or NV SLI (via hacked drivers).


_________________
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Phantom 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 23:11:13
#56 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 2-Aug-2007
Posts: 2047
From: Unknown

Nice management.

My new "car" is now already old (I bought it 3 months ago), because my company decided to produce a new model of it. So now, my new "car" is became old, because of a new "car" model. And all these, within 3 months. Excellent.


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Lecta 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 2-Jan-2009 23:45:59
#57 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Apr-2003
Posts: 139
From: Italy

@Phantom

I really don't understand what's your problem here.
You bought "your car" three months ago and you used it until now. The "new car" will be available soon but that does not mean that your "old car" will stop working. Furthermore the specs of the "new car" are very similar to the specs of the "old car". We can't really talk of a "new car" but of a "old car" revised.

But, leaving aside specs comparisons, do you really prefer that no new models should be researched, developed or produced because you happen to have bought your "car" just a few months ago? Sam440ep is on sale since september 2007 (ok, OS4 is available only from some months).

It's not that Apple or Dell hold back the introduction of new models only because some (many) customers have just bought one of their older models (It's happened to me with my MacBook Pro... after a couple of months Apple introduced a new model with multitouch touchpad....)

Regards,

Last edited by Lecta on 03-Jan-2009 at 12:12 AM.


_________________
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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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Hans 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 3-Jan-2009 0:11:45
#58 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Dec-2003
Posts: 4919
From: New Zealand

@Hammer

Quote:
The answer is, it's technically possible to bridge PCIe to PCI.


That's not the same as using a PCI controller for AGP, which can be done without putting a bridge chip in-between. Ironfist didn't realize that PCI and PCI-Express buses are totally different (electrically and signal wise) whereas AGP is an extension of PCI (with certain restrictions).

Added to that, having a PCI controller provide a PCI-Express port via a bridge is a very poor solution, since it offers none of the advantages of PCI-Express. It's much more flexible if the user of the board has the option to plug in a bridge board.

Quote:

Is there any AOS4.1 drivers that would drive this GPUs?

I'm working on it, slowly. See here. I'm using cards that have the PCI-to-PCI-Express bridge built in.

Hans


_________________
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wegster 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 3-Jan-2009 1:31:28
#59 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Nov-2004
Posts: 8554
From: RTP, NC USA

Quote:

Quote:

I'm glad to see ACube, or someone, is producing something that will run OS4, although note - there is still no availability date announced. I continue to hope at some point their pricing (for whatever system, does not have to be the SAM) is in line with it's performance and specs.


Be realistic, value for money compared to what? A PC motherboard being produced in batches of millions? You will never get Amiga hardware produced in such quantities, thus you will never be able to buy custom Amiga hardware with similar price vs. performance ratio as mainstream PC hardware.


Sure, which is one of the reasons I think commodity hardware, such as PS3, or running on a VM, is key. Failing that, you'd see more sales on an Efika-like system, than the (to me) overpriced SAMs.

It's all relative. Cut the price in half, or a complete system for < $500, and we're getting closer, but no one outside a very few will really buy OS4 until it runs on commodity or *very* cheap hardware.


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wegster 
Re: Sam 440EP Flex Revealed
Posted on 3-Jan-2009 1:35:14
#60 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Nov-2004
Posts: 8554
From: RTP, NC USA

@chrish
Quote:

@wegster
Are there any Gig-Ethernet PCI cards? That could be a good use for one PCI slot on the Flex, if someone wrote the drivers...


Indeed there are:
for the RTL8169(S/SB)
http://os4depot.net/index.php?function=showfile&file=driver/network/rtl81x9_dev.lha


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