First some introductions. I’m Konstantinos Margaritis, a long time Amiga/BeOS/Linux user/developer and a PowerPC fan, former Debian Developer, also a SIMD/AltiVec fanatic and the author of libfreevec. I haven’t posted many things on the forum but I lurk on the #haiku channel as markos_. Anyway, I’ve posted this on some MorphOS/AmigaOS forums and I think it would be right to post it here as well. To anyone who is not a PowerPC user, it might seem like crazy, but here it goes:
I’m considering funding the design & production of a new PowerPC system (well, the motherboard, the rest are typical pc stuff and a case). No this is not a joke, I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and perhaps the chance will be given to me now. But before I spend any money on this, I want to do a little market research first. I know the market is literally “dying” for a new powerpc motherboard, but exactly how many are there that want to buy one?
Ok, let’s give some rough specs first. I’m considering 3 choices -not in order of probability/importance:
- MPC8640D-based. It will be dual core at 1Ghz -most likely, higher frequencies are much more expensive and the cost of the final board would be prohibitive.
- MPC8610-based. Single core at 1Ghz, slightly less expensive, and includes a 2D DIU display unit -quite fast, but no 3D unfortunately.
- QorIQ P1022-based. Again dual core at 1Ghz (1055Mhz to be precise). Apart from the much lower chip price, this one includes dual gigabit ethernet, dual SATA, USB 2.0 and a 2D DIU display unit (same as the MPC8610). So this one would lower the cost of the board quite much. Disadvantages: No AltiVec unit (it sucks I know), though it includes an SPE unit which is not that bad, and availability will be in Q3/Q4 2010, so that’s a long wait.
Now, the end motherboard will probably be MicroATX (in the 8640D/8610 case) or PicoITX (in the P1022 case), and it will definitely include:
- SATA connectors
- USB (possibly 2 back and 2 front, but that’s discussable)
- Dual gigabit (at least one will be there, in the case of the MPC8640D we might even have 4!!!)
- Sound (of course, SPDIF support will definitely be there)
- 1 PCI-e slot 1x
- 1 PCI-e slot (4x in the P1022 case, 8x in the MPC86xx cases)
Ok, what I want to know is if people would really really buy one of these. End price is estimated to be ~around~ 350EUR for the P1022 board or ~500EUR (definitely more in the case of 8640D) in the case of the other boards. Besides being more expensive, the MPC86xx chips, don’t include SATA, USB and only one of ethernet/sound (quad-gige in MPC8640D case, or sound in the case of MPC8610). I know this sounds a lot, but it’s the reality, there is not enough funding to build enormous amounts of units and bring the prices down substantially, we have to start low and build up from there. In case you are wondering, yes, the boards will be designed/produced by bPlan and funded by my company (Codex).
Support for other OSes (AmigaOS/MorphOS) will depend on the actual feedback I get from those users. But I will definitely fund the Haiku porting, because I like it and I think it has a lot of future. And I also think it would rock on PowerPC!
I would like to make a list of everyone that is really interested in such a system, so it would really help me make a decision sooner rather than later if you would send me a few personal details to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “PowerPC board”:
- email (definitely, I’d have to reach you back!)
- Phone/Skype (optional, please include international prefix)
- Forum you saw this post (ok, Morphzone in this case)
- OS of preference
- board you would be most interested in (MPC8610/MPC8640D/P1022)
- preferred price (please have in mind the estimated price quotes I mentioned, it might be lower but that’s not very probable)
- Other notes/comments
I’m not filthy rich, and I’m not doing this out of a hobby, if I’m going to invest this money, I want to know that I will make a profit out of it).
Thanks a lot for your time and I hope this system becomes a reality.