forum GNU Linux PowerPC Notebook

Hardware => Suggestions => Topic started by: robyinno on December 23, 2014, 01:08:58 AM

Title: about suggestions
Post by: robyinno on December 23, 2014, 01:08:58 AM
Some tech specs are already defined as wrote in FAQ page http://www.powerpc-notebook.org/faq/
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: amigabill on December 26, 2014, 02:57:45 AM
I think MXM graphics is a great idea.

I would add a southbridge to be companion with an SoC style CPU, which would provide more USB, add USB3, and give faster SATA-3 than I understand to be included in Freescale SoC parts. The A-Eon X1000/Nemo motherboard proves the concept with an AMD sb600 southbridge. While the newer FCH parts call their link to the CPU-internal northbridge link by a different name, I suspect it would be similarly connectable, as it still appears to be based on PCI-Express, potentially with a video link in parallel. And it is relatively easy to join AMD's Embedded Developer website to obtain specs and reference designs. This is my intention for how I myself would design a PPC system today.

For other things, I would hope to see PCIe-Mini/Msata  and/or M.2/NGFF slots for wifi, video decoder, etc. mini-cards, and I myself hope to see Expresscard2 slot supported as well.

I am hopeful for a backlight keyboard, which I find useful in my PC laptop. I have a work laptop by Lenovo which instead has a small LED "flashlight" in the top screen frame, which does a poor job and causes more reflection glare on the keyboard than useful visibility.

But I am very excited at possibility of modern PPC laptop, and would be happy to see anything happen, these are just some of my wish list things for consideration.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: vox on March 30, 2015, 11:35:06 PM
Some tech specs are already defined as wrote in FAQ page http://www.powerpc-notebook.org/faq/
  • CPU: 64 bit PowerPC, multi-core with AltiVec
  • video card: MXM ( upgradable)
  • USB
  • SATA
  • RAM: DDR3, upgradable
  • HD/SSD 2.5, upgradable
  • Standard notebook case 15,6

MXM is quite nice idea, it gives a nVIDIA / Radeon choice to users and ends that war.
Hope Wi Fi is a standard too, and that monitor could be 17", such project deserves it :-)
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Carlos on April 16, 2016, 02:30:33 PM
I prefer as small as possible, e. g. 11". Maximum 15,6". 17" is way to big.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: cyrano on June 01, 2016, 04:46:54 PM
Isn't MXM rather expensive and a slowly disappearing standard?

I have to buy some of these cards for repair (iMac 27") and they are getting real hard to get lately. There isn't much choice and they are getting expensive (around 250 € for not even a top of the range card).
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Casper on June 01, 2016, 04:51:12 PM
Isn't MXM rather expensive and a slowly disappearing standard?

I have to buy some of these cards for repair (iMac 27") and they are getting real hard to get lately. There isn't much choice and they are getting expensive (around 250 € for not even a top of the range card).

It isn't really dissapearing, it's just not used that often, with many laptop producers using own proprietary standards. I think it's good to be able to replace GPU's, but it would be wise to work together with a GPU producer or an MXM vendor to keep the prices somewhat under control.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: cyrano on June 01, 2016, 05:17:59 PM
Maybe you should read this:

http://mxm-upgrade.com/

Also, supporting every card in the market seems like an impossible job. And supporting a limited number is dangerous, as you cannot guarantee that the cards will be available in the future. Even Apple is struggling atm to supply the right cards.

GPU chips for laptops OTOH are cheaply available from ebay and taobao. You just need a lto find a lab to solder them (unless you're equipped to do BGA yourself).
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Carlos on June 01, 2016, 05:48:21 PM
I'm, nor really familiar with MXM. I know that are notebooks with MXM cards.
But, if you can't just change the card without a problem, then it's a useless feature. Then we should go with a soldered GPU.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: cyrano on June 01, 2016, 06:10:21 PM
The type of cards you can use depends on the BIOS (for PC's) or the EFI (for Macs). AFAIK there is no PC that supports all cards. Besides, there are already 3 generations of cards that are mutually incompatible.

All I know is that the 8 iMac models only support a few cards each. And in the PC market, I can't even think of a laptop that uses MXM cards. That doesn't mean there aren't any, just that they probably are the expensive kind (gamer oriented).
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Casper on June 01, 2016, 06:15:57 PM
If it's really too much trouble, we might indeed better opt for a soldered in GPU. Then of course, we'll have to decide on a GPU. I don't think we'd have the resources to offer multiple configurations.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: cyrano on June 01, 2016, 06:28:07 PM
OK, let's start the holy GPU wars  ;D

Personally, I have no real preference between Intel, nVidia or ATI. Are there any other choices? And is it even possible to mate an Intel GPU to a PPC processor?
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Casper on June 01, 2016, 06:31:46 PM
Intel GPU's are only present as iGPU's so that's a definite no. AMD has better FOSS support, but they also need proprietary firmware to make the GPU's work. Nvidia has terrible FOSS support and has been a constant pain in the neck for the people who write the Nouveau FOSS driver for Nvidia GPU's.

I'd say AMD is the way to go, but unless we find someone who can reverse engineer firmware, I'm afraid a fully FOSS GPU is going to be a problem.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: cyrano on June 01, 2016, 07:06:16 PM
Bunnie has released a completely open sourced GPU, implemented in an FPGA:

http://gplgpu.com/

However, that seems like an abandoned project and it is fairly low performance anyway. There have been other efforts, like the Open Graphics Project (OGP, gone?), MIAOW (academical), Nyuzi (academical) and freedreno (gone).

The ARM platform has open source drivers for the Lima GPU's, but these aren't available without the ARM processor, as these are all SOC's.

The question in my mind is: "What's IBM putting in it's PPC workstations?"
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Carlos on June 01, 2016, 07:52:07 PM
OK, let's start the holy GPU wars  ;D

Personally, I have no real preference between Intel, nVidia or ATI. Are there any other choices? And is it even possible to mate an Intel GPU to a PPC processor?

As you said before, it's not about the hardware, it's about the software.
From this POV, AMD I would prefer.
Maybe we could jump on the new Polaris architecture ;D
Radeon R9 M480(X) ;)
If too power-hungry: Radeon R7 M440 or Radeon R5 M445

Scheduled for mid 2016 :)

Regarding to OpenPOWER and IBM: AFAIK they use nVidia Pascal GPUs (https://www.ibm.com/blogs/systems/ibm-power8-cpu-and-nvidia-pascal-gpu-speed-ahead-with-nvlink/)
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Casper on June 01, 2016, 08:20:41 PM
As far as commercial GPU's go, I'd go for one of AMD Polaris' chips. We'd just have to look for what we want price/performance/power usage wise.

I'd certainly not follow IBM here. They use Nvidia Tesla GPU accelerators and there's no way you're going to cram one in a notebook.
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Carlos on June 02, 2016, 01:18:20 PM
I've just read that the new AMD mobile GPUs aren't Polaris. It's only a rebrand.
Anyway, AMD is the way to go :)

Only 480 and above are Polaris:
http://techfrag.com/2016/04/29/amd-radeon-r9-m480-m480x-mobility-chips-feature-polaris-11-gpu/
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: Carlos on June 29, 2016, 06:06:13 PM
Linux is supporting the new GPU generation already.

Sorry I used Google Translator ... but it isn't that bad:

Quote
Radeon RX 480 and Linux

The open source Linux graphics drivers support the new graphics chip generation already - this is a novelty, because in the recent past it took at least months, to the open source drivers are unable to attract new GPUs. Rosy the situation is not yet, because the appropriate drivers stuck so far only in pre-release versions of the Linux kernel 4.7, 12.0 and Mesa LLVM 3.8.1 / 3.9. However, these versions should appear in the next few weeks, so Ubuntu 10.16 should and other distributions appearing in autumn supported the new graphics cards from home. Until then, there are also still eliminate some detail problems, because the brief test with development versions of the Linux kernel and the image of Mesa Radeon RX 480 flickered now and then; AMD's open-source developers are discussing but just a few corrections that eliminate this problem if possible.

Source: Heise.de (http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Polaris-ist-da-AMD-Grafikkarte-Radeon-RX-480-mit-hoher-Spieleleistung-und-einem-Makel-3251042.html)
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: nemesis on July 02, 2016, 09:18:20 PM
I've just read that the new AMD mobile GPUs aren't Polaris. It's only a rebrand.
Anyway, AMD is the way to go :)

Only 480 and above are Polaris:
http://techfrag.com/2016/04/29/amd-radeon-r9-m480-m480x-mobility-chips-feature-polaris-11-gpu/

 I agree AMD will be a better first choice
Title: Re: about suggestions
Post by: msuchanek on June 02, 2017, 06:03:58 PM
If it's really too much trouble, we might indeed better opt for a soldered in GPU. Then of course, we'll have to decide on a GPU. I don't think we'd have the resources to offer multiple configurations.

How about making a mainboard with a MXM slot and a default MXM card?

You can also test other MXM cards available to verify that the slot works as intended.

Then you get working device with a card of your choice and people are free to swap in a different card.

Or you can start shipping a different model with a different card later.