Forums

Cheap PowerPC Evaluation Board? Does one exist?

Started by luis.espinal January 23, 2010
Hi all - I'm trying to find an evaluation board with which I can 

1. Learn the basics of embedded software development, and
2. Learn the PowerPC architecture.

My selection of PowerPC architecture is due to some embedded software job
openings that open at my work on a regular basis. I have 15 years of
software development experience (mostly Java), but I'm knowledgeable of
C/C++ and x86 assembly. 

So I think (I hope) the PowerPC architecture part is not going to be that
much of a challenge given time and effort. But I would really like to do it
on an eval board and face the basic nuances and details of embedded
software development. But every PowerPC board I've seen costs between
$500-$1k and above (whereas I can get a board for other architectures for
$200 and less.)

Is there a cheap powerpc board that you could recommend? If not, is there
some sort of simulator that one could use not just to learn PowerPC
architecture, but that also emulates the basics of embedded work?

Thanks,

- Luis.

ps. I did a search on the boards. Found some info on PowerPC, but nothing I
could relate to this specific questions :(

	   
					
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On Jan 23, 9:20=A0am, "luis.espinal" <luis.espi...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 1. Learn the basics of embedded software development, and > 2. Learn the PowerPC architecture.
Well... Depends what you mean "cheap". There are some older hardware platforms that have been used as PPC eval kits. For example, the Kuro Box - I wrote a series of articles around this thing for IBM several years ago (read my same question as yours, six years ago, right here in c.a.e.: http://www.embeddedrelated.com/usenet/embedded/show/5140-1.php). Unfortunately the modern versions of this device are now ARM-based. Some sites appear to offer old stock e.g. http://www.geekstuff4u.com/kuro-b= ox-hg.html?___store=3Den The PlayStation 3 is also an option, though you will not be able to do much low-level with it (you can write PPC asm, of course, if that tickles your pickle). Or you can use an older Macintosh computer, which is well documented. However all this is a bit moot. You might want to talk to the hiring people at work, but if they are sane they will not really care if you know "embedded on PPC" or "embedded on ARM" or "embedded on any other comparable 32-bit micro". The skillset is easily transferable.
>On Jan 23, 9:20=A0am, "luis.espinal" <luis.espi...@gmail.com> wrote: > >> 1. Learn the basics of embedded software development, and >> 2. Learn the PowerPC architecture. > >Well... Depends what you mean "cheap". There are some older hardware >platforms that have been used as PPC eval kits. For example, the Kuro >Box - I wrote a series of articles around this thing for IBM several >years ago (read my same question as yours, six years ago, right here >in c.a.e.:
http://www.embeddedrelated.com/usenet/embedded/show/5140-1.php).
> >Unfortunately the modern versions of this device are now ARM-based. > >Some sites appear to offer old stock e.g.
http://www.geekstuff4u.com/kuro-b=
>ox-hg.html?___store=3Den > >The PlayStation 3 is also an option, though you will not be able to do >much low-level with it (you can write PPC asm, of course, if that >tickles your pickle). > >Or you can use an older Macintosh computer, which is well documented. >
Hi and thanks for replying! I looked into getting a used GameCube, but then adding the price and time to mod it so that it can boot Linux directly, I figured out I might as well get a Mac as you suggested. I'm currently bidding for a Mac G4. With a linux distro, it will be a good server, and I'll be able to program in PPC asm (which is one of the things I wanted to do.) It's surprising that there are no PowerPC eval boards that are less than $400 - I got a PIC kit for less than $60, and there are plenty of ARM and AVR boards for cheap-o. Oh well. Funny thing is that, after reading your comment about the PlayStation, I remembered I got a Nintendo DS Lite as a gift a couple of years ago. Never used it. That'd be a good ARM toy to hack (seems easier and cheaper than modding a GameCube.)
>However all this is a bit moot. You might want to talk to the hiring >people at work, but if they are sane they will not really care if you >know "embedded on PPC" or "embedded on ARM" or "embedded on any other >comparable 32-bit micro". The skillset is easily transferable. >
Good advice. I'll talk to the hiring people to get their input. You might be right if they don't really care, with the caveat that I've never done any embedded development (but I'm willing to even take a paycut if that what it takes to break in.) But if it were to occur that they really want want to pigeonhole the skillset, I wouldn't be surprise. It's quite common. I was unemployed for the first quarter of 2009, applying everywhere. I have 10 years of experience working with Java, doing development and admin work for WebLogic and Tomcat/JBoss servers. And I was declined for a couple of gigs on entry-level Java development because they were using WebSphere. For a developer, it doesn't matter if it's WebLogic, Tomcat or a bean burrito. I hope it's not the case with this gig :) Enough of the rant. Thanks for your input! I'll post a follow up when I get my mac, or in the rare event I run into a PPC board that doesn't cost $400+ --------------------------------------- Posted through http://www.EmbeddedRelated.com
In article <XaidnV72FYgimMbWnZ2dnUVZ_hKdnZ2d@giganews.com>,
luis.espinal <luis.espinal@gmail.com> wrote:
>Hi all - I'm trying to find an evaluation board with which I can > >1. Learn the basics of embedded software development, and >2. Learn the PowerPC architecture. > >My selection of PowerPC architecture is due to some embedded software job >openings that open at my work on a regular basis. I have 15 years of >software development experience (mostly Java), but I'm knowledgeable of >C/C++ and x86 assembly. > >So I think (I hope) the PowerPC architecture part is not going to be that >much of a challenge given time and effort. But I would really like to do it >on an eval board and face the basic nuances and details of embedded >software development. But every PowerPC board I've seen costs between >$500-$1k and above (whereas I can get a board for other architectures for >$200 and less.) > >Is there a cheap powerpc board that you could recommend? If not, is there >some sort of simulator that one could use not just to learn PowerPC >architecture, but that also emulates the basics of embedded work?
I'm interested in PowerPC too, and bought myself a nice second hand iMac for under 100 Euro. This will allow me to get up to steam regarding the instruction set at least. (Also the Open Boot Rom with Forth interests me.)
> >Thanks, > >- Luis.
Groetjes Albert -- -- Albert van der Horst, UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS Economic growth -- being exponential -- ultimately falters. albert@spe&ar&c.xs4all.nl &=n http://home.hccnet.nl/a.w.m.van.der.horst
luis.espinal wrote:
> > It's surprising that there are no PowerPC eval boards that are less than > $400 - I got a PIC kit for less than $60, and there are plenty of ARM and > AVR boards for cheap-o. Oh well.
http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-8100 -- newell N5TNL
luis.espinal wrote:

> It's surprising that there are no PowerPC eval boards that are less than > $400 - I got a PIC kit for less than $60, and there are plenty of ARM and > AVR boards for cheap-o. Oh well.
Well, just because you got a skateboard for $50 doesn't mean you're entitled to get a car for a similar amount, see? The PPC-based micros I've heard of are at least one order of magnitude more high-end than what you most likely have in mind when you just say "PIC" without further detail. A useful eval/devel board for a 100+ pin PPC is necessarily much more complex than that for a 10-pin PIC. Or, to put it the other way round: how many PICs do you know that have the computational power or I/O bandwidth to drive a (somewhat) current video game box or run MacOS?
>luis.espinal wrote: > >> It's surprising that there are no PowerPC eval boards that are less
than
>> $400 - I got a PIC kit for less than $60, and there are plenty of ARM
and
>> AVR boards for cheap-o. Oh well. > >Well, just because you got a skateboard for $50 doesn't mean you're >entitled to get a car for a similar amount, see? The PPC-based micros >I've heard of are at least one order of magnitude more high-end than >what you most likely have in mind when you just say "PIC" without >further detail. A useful eval/devel board for a 100+ pin PPC is >necessarily much more complex than that for a 10-pin PIC. > >Or, to put it the other way round: how many PICs do you know that have >the computational power or I/O bandwidth to drive a (somewhat) current >video game box or run MacOS? >
Fair point. --------------------------------------- Posted through http://www.EmbeddedRelated.com
>luis.espinal wrote: >> >> It's surprising that there are no PowerPC eval boards that are less
than
>> $400 - I got a PIC kit for less than $60, and there are plenty of ARM
and
>> AVR boards for cheap-o. Oh well. > >http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-8100 > >-- >newell N5TNL >
Niiiice. Too bad I already made an agreement to buy a Mac PPC G4... or not so bad since it has a 1GB RAM and it will cost me $75. It will make a nice Linux server. I'm working this on my own with a fixed budget, so I'll have to buy this board and its development kit at a later time. Thanks a million, though! --------------------------------------- Posted through http://www.EmbeddedRelated.com
Another option from Axiom:

http://axman.com/

They have the PB-0555 for ~$200.  I've used this board a lot (I learned
PowerPC asm on it) and have been satisfied with it.

The USB-BDM cables aren't cheap though (~$100), so don't buy yourself into
a corner until you confirm this number.  Then don't forget CodeWarrior
isn't free, I'm not familiar with other options for development...

I think I'm moving to the ColdFire Tower systems, they look like a lot of
fun and you get a pretty nice processor kit for $129 (not powerPC though so
it's irrelevant).

Phillip



>>luis.espinal wrote: >>> >>> It's surprising that there are no PowerPC eval boards that are less >than >>> $400 - I got a PIC kit for less than $60, and there are plenty of ARM >and >>> AVR boards for cheap-o. Oh well. >> >>http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-8100 >> >>-- >>newell N5TNL >> > >Niiiice. Too bad I already made an agreement to buy a Mac PPC G4... or
not
>so bad since it has a 1GB RAM and it will cost me $75. It will make a
nice
>Linux server. > >I'm working this on my own with a fixed budget, so I'll have to buy this >board and its development kit at a later time. > >Thanks a million, though! > >--------------------------------------- >Posted through http://www.EmbeddedRelated.com >
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