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Graphics controller for PowerPC

Started by Elder Costa January 7, 2005
Hello.

I am looking at some possible processor architectures for future products.

Intel offers some Pentium III and Pentium M derivatives plus chipsets 
that include peripherals and graphics controllers with 2D acceleration.

I have browsed through Freescale page looking at their several PPC 
families. There are some very interesting SOCs based on medium to high 
end CPUs (which I guess must be equivalent if not superior to the above 
x86 concerning processing power) with all sort of peripherals, floating 
point, even ethernet MACs but no graphics controller. I would appreciate 
insights on parts to perform such a function should I design products 
based on PPC.

TIA.

Elder.


> I have browsed through Freescale page looking at their several PPC > families. There are some very interesting SOCs based on medium to
high
> end CPUs (which I guess must be equivalent if not superior to the
above It seems that PPC does not directly target that market. The approach I'm looking at is to use a PCI variant and an off-the-shelf PCI graphics chip (or rather, a PCI slot), not that I like this idea much.
Elder Costa <elder.costa@terra.com.br> wrote :

> I have browsed through Freescale page looking at their several PPC > families. There are some very interesting SOCs based on medium to > high end CPUs (which I guess must be equivalent if not superior to > the above x86 concerning processing power) with all sort of > peripherals, floating point, even ethernet MACs but no graphics > controller. I would appreciate insights on parts to perform such a > function should I design products based on PPC.
almost all PPC SBCs have PCI, just look for some PCI graphic core with open specs (ATI comes to mind) Pozdrawiam. -- RusH // http://randki.o2.pl/profil.php?id_r=352019 Like ninjas, true hackers are shrouded in secrecy and mystery. You may never know -- UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE.
larwe@larwe.com wrote:
>>I have browsed through Freescale page looking at their several PPC >>families. There are some very interesting SOCs based on medium to > > high > >>end CPUs (which I guess must be equivalent if not superior to the > > above > > It seems that PPC does not directly target that market. The approach > I'm looking at is to use a PCI variant and an off-the-shelf PCI > graphics chip (or rather, a PCI slot), not that I like this idea much. >
Lewin and Rush. Good idea. The question is are there graphics controllers suited to embedded applications (that is, long term availability)? The last time I checked out (some years ago) the only chip that could fit this description was the C&T69000 which is (was?) a pretty decent component (at least for this kind of application). Any suggestions. Or we must be stuck to Intel as far as graphics+stability+medium to high end CPUs are concerned? Regards. Elder.
>The last time I checked out (some years ago) the only >chip that could fit this description was the C&T69000 which is (was?)
a
>pretty decent component (at least for this kind of application). Any
Now Asiliant :) It's the oldest chip around, and it's quite popular, I think it will probably be around for a few years more. But it's horribly ancient technology. I don't think there's a good long-term answer which is why I said I would put a PCI slot on it. Or MiniPCI, if you're short of space.
> must be stuck to Intel as far as > graphics+stability+medium to high end CPUs
I assume you're talking about XScale here. Be very wary of the performance issue. If you use graphics on XScale, you rapidly chew up the memory bandwidth. There are other parts - MIPS based, for instance - which have graphics and a high-end micro all in one. But overall if you need high performance, you have to go with dedicated video RAM, which means an external video device anyway. Look also at Epson and Seiko for VGA controllers aimed at embedded applications. I'm not very familiar with Seiko's parts but I know Epson's have been around for donkey's years (although they're horrible to work with). Since both are targeted specifically at embedded apps, I'd expect them to have reasonably good longevity.
larwe@larwe.com wrote:
> think it will probably be around for a few years more. But it's
I checked it out just after posting. Asilients (WHT is this? :-) ) web site informs last buy was in april 2004.
> I assume you're talking about XScale here.
Not really. We are using PXA255 in some new low end/low cost designs (it's a pitty Cirrus' EP9307 wasn't around when we made the decision) and besides the memory bandwidth you pointed, it lacks floating point and so limits too much its usage for medium to high end deployment. Intel does have some low power (for Intel's standards :-) ) processors plus associated chipsets (with graphics engine and other good stuff) labeled embedded and AFAIK Intel so far has honored its long term availability for these (so called) embedded components. There is some Celerons and Pentium M and they just added some new processors based on 90nm. But x86 architecture is somewhat braindead (to my limited knowledge) due to its inheritance (16 bit legacy code compatibility and so). AMD Geode line is also a candidate but, in addition to the braindead issue, AMD has a negative record regarding embedded stuff (which is a pitty as their Alchemy processors are good stuff). I wonder how trustworthy is Via on this aspect. I am talking about 5 years+ availability. Power PCs seem to be the best alternative as I am also considering the OS side.
> There are other parts - MIPS based, for instance - which have graphics > and a high-end micro all in one. But overall if you need high > performance, you have to go with dedicated video RAM, which means an > external video device anyway. Look also at Epson and Seiko for VGA > controllers aimed at embedded applications. I'm not very familiar with > Seiko's parts but I know Epson's have been around for donkey's years > (although they're horrible to work with). Since both are targeted > specifically at embedded apps, I'd expect them to have reasonably good > longevity. >
Epson does have graphics controllers that could fit (I need 1024x768 resolution though 1268x1024 could be necessary in the future) but they've been around for a while so I wonder their long term availability.
On 8 Jan 2005 05:12:13 -0800, larwe@larwe.com wrote:

(snip)
> >There are other parts - MIPS based, for instance - which have graphics >and a high-end micro all in one. But overall if you need high >performance, you have to go with dedicated video RAM, which means an >external video device anyway. Look also at Epson and Seiko for VGA >controllers aimed at embedded applications. I'm not very familiar with >Seiko's parts but I know Epson's have been around for donkey's years >(although they're horrible to work with). Since both are targeted >specifically at embedded apps, I'd expect them to have reasonably good >longevity.
Well, we needed a full industrial (-40&#2013266096;C to +85&#2013266096;C) video controller to use with an MPC8250. We selected the Eposn S1D13806. We ran production for just over a year, and then Epson discontinued it without notice. I hate it when that happens. It's a shame, because it had integrated SDRAM. It was the perfect single-chip solution for our application. Now we are in the same boat of looking for a suitable replacement, with full industrial specs. And by the way, we don't want a PCI interface. We are thinking that we will have to use an FPGA+SDRAM+video DAC, but this is going to use more real estate. Any ideas? ================================ Greg Neff VP Engineering *Microsym* Computers Inc. greg@guesswhichwordgoeshere.com
Darn, this thread is like going to a school reunion and finding that
everyone you went to high school with died in a tragic hippopotamus
stampede.

>>Seiko's parts but I know Epson's have been around for donkey's years >>(although they're horrible to work with). Since both are targeted > > Well, we needed a full industrial (-40&#2013266096;C to +85&#2013266096;C) video controller to > use with an MPC8250. We selected the Eposn S1D13806. We ran
Hmm. This chip is _really_ old. It was already a mature product when I looked at it in 2000 or maybe even 1999 (it was called the SED1386 then). But they described it as one of their best-selling products. I guess I should be glad I unloaded the EVB on eBay some time ago ;)
> interface. We are thinking that we will have to use an > FPGA+SDRAM+video DAC, but this is going to use more real estate. Any
I commiserate, but there aren't any GREAT solutions. The problem is that the high-volume graphics solutions are driven by the PC market and have consequently short lifespans - plus they're difficult to interface to unless you have PCI/AGP. The embedded solutions are expensive and very proprietary and it's hard to believe a vendor who says "we'll be there for you in the future". In my case, I didn't need enormous performance (I worked for the now-defunct Digi-Frame Inc, doing digital multimedia appliances). So I focused pretty much exclusively on micros with on-chip graphics controllers. When we needed higher performance, we migrated to a SBC based on Geode (this was, by the way, something of a mistake - see the various horror stories I've posted on this). We started migrating to a Via-based SBC but Digi-Frame folded before that ever became a reality. This topic comes up in c.a.e periodically (I know I have started threads on it at least four or five times :). -- Here, in a large house, formerly a house of state, lives Mr. Tulkinghorn. It is let off in sets of chambers now, and in those shrunken fragments of its greatness, lawyers lie like maggots in nuts.
Lewin A.R.W. Edwards wrote:
> controllers. When we needed higher performance, we migrated to a SBC based > on Geode (this was, by the way, something of a mistake - see the various > horror stories I've posted on this). We started migrating to a Via-based
Would you mind to sumarize these horror stories? We've been using Geode for a while. We are having some problems with Linux+RTAI hanging every two weeks. Perhaps some of our problems are similar to yours. Thanks. Elder.
Greg Neff <greg@guesswhichwordgoeshere.com> writes:

>Well, we needed a full industrial (-40&#2013266096;C to +85&#2013266096;C) video controller to >use with an MPC8250. We selected the Eposn S1D13806. We ran >production for just over a year, and then Epson discontinued it >without notice. I hate it when that happens. It's a shame, because >it had integrated SDRAM. It was the perfect single-chip solution for >our application.
>Now we are in the same boat of looking for a suitable replacement, >with full industrial specs. And by the way, we don't want a PCI >interface. We are thinking that we will have to use an >FPGA+SDRAM+video DAC, but this is going to use more real estate. Any >ideas?
Coral-P, Coral-Q ? Best regards, Wolfgang Denk -- Software Engineering: Embedded and Realtime Systems, Embedded Linux Phone: (+49)-8142-66989-10 Fax: (+49)-8142-66989-80 Email: wd@denx.de You are an excellent tactician, Captain. You let your second in com- mand attack while you sit and watch for weakness. -- Khan Noonian Singh, "Space Seed", stardate 3141.9