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Posts Tagged ‘mips’

Two Contests for Makers with BeagleBone Green (ARM) and Creator CI20 (MIPS) Boards

February 12th, 2016 2 comments

I’ve noticed Hackster hardware community has helped organizing several challenges for makers, and the most two recent one are sponsored by Imagination Technologies with their Creator CI20 MIPS board, and SeeedStudio and Beagleboard.org with BeagleBone Green board.

“Terminate the competition with Creator Ci20!”

Creator_CI40_BoardThat’s the title for Imagination Technologies contest, who basically wants you to create our robot overloads using their MIPS board, or at least design a Terminator inspired robot or hack using the board.

You’ll need to submit your idea by March 4, 2016, and the company will give 50 Creator Ci20 to the best 50 ideas, aftwer which you have until April 29, 2016 to complete your project, and write about it on Hackster with photos, code and schematics. Three winners will be selected by May 6, 2016 to get one of the three prizes:

  • 1st place (worth $400) – A bag of Imagination-powered goodies, including a Meizu MX5 smartphone, the upcoming Creator Ci40 development board, and other accessories and add-on boards from MikroEletronika
  • 2nd place (worth $200) – A Securifi Almond router and a Creator Ci40 board
  • 3rd place (worth $150) – A chipKIT Wi-FIRE development board and a Creator Ci40 board

BeagleBone Green (BBG) Contest

BeagleBone_GreenThere’s no particular theme for this contest, and the organizers simply ask you to submit any idea using BBG by February 22, 2016, where 20 contestants will win a BBG board each, and 100 more get a 20% discount coupon valid on SeeedStudio. Winners of the pre-contest will be announced on February 27. You’ll then have until March 31 to submit your complete project with hardware design files, source code, and pictures, and 3 winners will be selected by April 2. The three prizes will take you to Shenzhen Maker Faire:

  • 1st place – Paid Trip to Maker Faire Shenzhen 2016 ($3,000) + $900 SeeedStudio Store coupon + Designed for Manufacturing Review
  • 2nd place – Paid Trip to Maker Faire Shenzhen 2016 ($3,000) + $400 SeeedStudio Store coupon + Designed for Manufacturing Review
  • 3rd place – Paid Trip to Maker Faire Shenzhen ($3,000) + $200 SeeedStudio Store coupon + Designed for Manufacturing Review

I could not find the exact dates for Shenzhen Maker Faire 2016, but last year it took place on June 19 to 21.

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FOSDEM 2016 Schedule – Open Source Hardware and Software Event in Europe

January 13th, 2016 3 comments

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is a 2-day event that usually takes place on the first week-end of February in Brussels, but this year it will be on January 30-31. The event brings thousands of developers, hackers, and other person interested in open source technology who present their projects and share ideas. FOSDEM 2016 schedule is now available, and There will be 557 speakers, 612 events, and 50 tracks this year including 7 main tracks: Distros, Enterprise, Hardware, Communications, Miscellaneous, Office, Systems Administration, and Virtualization.

FOSDEM_2016

So I’ve had a look at some of the talks, especially out of  “Embedded, Mobile and Automotive” and “IoT” devrooms, and prepared my own virtual schedule although I won’t be able to attend.

Saturday

For many years MIPS processors have been involved in the embedded market, particularly in areas related to networks and storage. With the success of the mobile market, and the great evolution of the world linked to the “makers”, other architectures (such as ARM), they have reached very large levels of diffusion.

Meanwhile, the MIPS architecture has evolved, introducing innovations and improvements to adapt to both the processor market from performance, both to the world of micro-controllers. The future of MIPS is a new family divided into several generations evolving.

During the presentation, after a brief and simplified introduction to architecture, will be shown the technologies available at the time and what will be the future developments.

The presentation will also show some reference platforms (ex. Imagination Creator CI20), and how to work to integrate and port on these platforms. Application examples with Yocto and buildroot, to switch to a full distribution (Debian). Finally it will also present a perspective on the use of MIPS in embedded designs.

AsteroidOS is a free and open-source smartwatch platform based on OpenEmbedded, libhybris, BlueZ5 and Qt5. The OS currently offers a basic user experience on the LG G Watch. This technical talk will briefly introduce the philosophical background of the project and more deeply its architecture’s details in order to attract developers, porters and curious.

This talk will successively be focused on how to boot an Android Wear watch, on how to gain hardware acceleration on that kind of hardware, on how Qt5 and OpenEmbedded are used and on the future of AsteroidOS.

AsteroidOS uses similar technological choices as those of projects like SailfishOS, NemoMobile, Mer, WebOS-Ports or Ubuntu Touch but adapted to the needs of smartwatches. The architecture of those project will briefly be compared during the presentation.

Based on Migen, MiSoC is a library of cores and a system-on-chip integration system to build gateware for various applications. MiSoC is lightweight (runs on FPGA devices as small as Spartan-6 LX9 with 32-bit RISC CPU and SDRAM), portable (demonstrated on Xilinx, Altera and Lattice devices) and high performance (e.g. contains the fastest open source DDR3 solution we are aware of). Designing and integrating cores is facilitated by Python and Migen features. Current MiSoC applications include LTE base stations, video processing (Numato Opsis) and experiment control system (ARTIQ).

Nemo Mobile is a long time FOSS operating system. Created in 2012 as continuation to Meego Community Edition, it has been actively developed since then. The newest iteration of it is to use Glacier UI as its renewed User Interface, along with its Qt Components. These components are now used in the NemoTablet adaptation using Raspberry Pi2 as underlying hardware and its plethora of possible peripherals to create a true DIY tablet derived from SailPi project.

With Raspberry Pi 2 introduction in February 2015, it was then possible to create an adaptation for it. This enables the myriad of functionality it offers, with its hardware provided. Initial adaptation was done originally for SailfishOS, but Nemo Mobile had the first run and checking that everything worked, before a closed system was installed. Nemo Mobile, however, was then not tried until later. The idea came once the official touchscreen by Raspberry Pi Foundation was released, so that a FOSS tablet could be built by anyone and used. Raspberry Pi 2 has non-free hardware, but Nemo Mobile itself is FOSS completely. As with all other adaptations, the questions regarding hardware freedom limitations rise for a good reason.

Libreboot is a free software BIOS replacement (boot firmware), based on coreboot, for Intel, AMD and ARM based systems. Backed by the Free Software Foundation, the aim of the Libreboot project is to provide individuals and companies with an escape from proprietary firmware in their computing. Libreboot is also being reviewed for entry as an official component of the GNU system.

Boot firmware is the low-level software that runs when you turn your computer on, which initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for your operating system. Libreboot currently supports laptops and servers, on x86 (Intel and AMD) and ARM (Rockchip RK3288), with more hardware support on the horizon. The purpose of this talk is to describe the history of the project, why it started, why it’s important, where it’s going and, most importantly, to tell people how they can get involved.

Francis also runs the Minifree (formerly Gluglug), a company that sells computers with libreboot and Trisquel GNU/Linux pre-installed.

No abstract, but it’s clear about Olimex’s Allwinner A64 A64-OlinuXino board to be used in the company’s open source hardware laptop.

A brief discussion about the stable release branch 4 of KiCad as well as goals for the next development cycle and beyond.

The WPANKit is a ptxdist based Open-Source 6LoWPAN Board Support Package (BSP). The main focus is to provide a software development kit for the linux-wpan project. The linux-wpan project aims to implement a 6LoWPAN inside the mainline Linux kernel.

This talk will present the WPANKit: An Open-Source Linux BSP to develop 6LoWPAN IoT applications. It contains support for various common platforms such Raspberry Pi’s and Beaglebones. Additional components like the openlabs 802.15.4 transceiver SPI transceiver or BTLE USB dongles gives you a getting started platform into the Linux 6LoWPAN world.

The WPANKit will directly build a current mainline 6LoWPAN kernel, which is the official bluetooth-next tree. This is important, because the mainline 6LoWPAN development is still much in development. Additional the WPANKit offers a large of userspace IoT software collection e.g. tshark for sniffing network traffic, libcoap, etc. On top of this BSP you can develop your IoT application, setting up a Border-Router or help at the current mainline 6LoWPAN Linux-kernel development.

Through the power of ptxdist you can easily add new own packages for cross-compiling. As well we accept patches to integrate new software into the official WPANKit repository, so we getting more and more new IoT capable software into the WPANKit which can be used by other ptxdist users.

An AdaCore intern has rewritten the CrazyFlie drone software, originally in C, into SPARK. In addition to fixing some bugs, this allowed to prove absence of runtime errors. Various techniques used to achieve that result will be presented, as well as a live demo of free fall detection.

This talk will take us through the available FOSS software stacks that are available for automotive. This last year has produced a lot of working software from fiber-optic networking drivers in the Linux kernel, complete In-Vehicle Infotainment stacks, to a newly released Qt Automotive. There has also been a change in available hardware to run this software on, new boards like the Minnowboard Max, Renesas’ Porter board, and even the Raspberry Pi 2. This talk will try and cover the entire software ecosystem and how it matches to hardware, how you can get involved today, and what the future holds.

Turris Omnia aims to bring to the market affordable, powerful and secure SOHO router which is completely open-source and open-hardware. As a operating system it uses our own fork of OpenWrt which has some additional features such as automatic security updates. This talk will cover few topics such as motivation for starting this project and developing of our own hardware and software.

FROSTED is an acronym for “FRee Operating System for Tiny Embedded Devices”. The goal of this project is to provide a free kernel for embedded systems based on ARM Cortex-M CPU family, which exposes a POSIX-compliant system call API. Even if it runs on small systems with no MMU and limited resources, Frosted has a VFS, UNIX command line tools and a HW abstraction layer which makes it easy to support new platforms and device drivers.

This talk will cover why the project was started, the approach taken to separate the kernel and user-space on ARM Cortex-M CPU’s without MMU, the collaboration with the libopencm3 project to provide a high quality hardware abstraction layer and the future goals of the project. Of course there will a demo showing the latest developments: dynamic loading of applications and possibly TCP/IP communication.

Sunday

Yocto project has been used at Open-RnD for building a number of IoT related products. The talk will go though the details of integration of Poky build system and OpenEmbedded layers into 3 projects carried out at Open-RnD:

  • an autonomous parking space monitoring system
  • a distributed 3D steroscopic image acquisition system
  • a gadget for acquisition of metabolic parameters of professional athletes

The presentation will approach to building software, automation and upstreaming of fixes. Only widely available hardware platforms such as BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi, Wandboard or Gateworks GW5400 (not as widely used as the previous ones, but still fully supported) were used in the project, hence all the points made during presentation are directly applicable by professionals and hobbyists alike.

Tizen is an open source GNU/Linux based software platform for mobile, wearable and embedded devices as well as Internet of Things. Tizen:Common provides a generic development environment for Tizen 3 which key features include, Wayland, Weston, EFL UI/UX toolkit, and a web runtime for safely running standalone HTML5 apps. Yocto Project offers tools to easily expends features of Tizen:Common by creating layers for new profiles. This talk will focus the Tizen architecture and it will provide guidelines for creating and building new Tizen profiles, based on Tizen:Common, using the Yocto Project for devices with Intel or ARM processors. It will also provide information about hidden gems in Tizen on Yocto and practical examples for packaging and deploying HTML5 applications through Yocto recipes for the open source hardware development boards like Raspberry PI2 or HummingBoard (Freescale I.MX6 ARM SoC) or MinnowBoard Max (Intel).

Finally, since Tizen aims to because the OS of everything, we will illustrate this by extending Tizen Distro with new connectivity features provided by IoTivity library, the open source implementation of OpenInterConnect’s standard.

This session will show you how to build your own retro hand-held console that is powered by Java, runs on a Raspberry Pi, and is printed on a 3D printer. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Hacking Java on the Raspberry Pi
  • Rigging input devices with Pi4J
  • Insane performance tuning on the JVM
  • Why your boss [or SO] needs to buy you a 3D printer!

And of course your retro gaming mettle will be put to the test, so make sure to dust off your old 8 and 16 bit consoles to prepare.

How to roll your own build and extend the Fairphone 2 hardware

The kernelci.org project is currently doing hundreds of build and boot tests for upstream kernels on a wide variety of hardware. This session will provide an introduction to the kernelci.org system, some live demos and how to start consuming its results, and be a forum for further discussions.

Distributed boards farms across the world are working together to deliver unified build, boot, and test results for every merge of an upstream Linux kernel tree. A community based architecture agnostic effort, kernelci.org aims to detect regressions in a timely manner and report back to kernel developers with a concise summary of the issues found. On every merge, all defconfigs for x86, arm, and arm64 are built, booted, and tested on over 300 real or virtual hardware platforms. Come join in the discussion and help make Linux better!

Hardware is funny stuff. It is often documented to work one way when it actually works a slightly different way. Different revisions of the hardware may have different bugs that require different sets of work-arounds. Programming it even slightly incorrectly can lead to software crashes or system hangs. Sometimes some versions of the hardware work fine, but the version not on the developer’s desk crashes. Failure modes are often opaque and give no clues for fixing the problem. Writing robust, reliable software to run directly on hardware is hard.

Software simulation of hardware is a technique that, in many cases, can alleviate some of this pain. Teams that develop hardware will often create a simulator as a by-product of hardware synthesis. Not ever developer is fortunate to have access to such tools. Those who do have access often find them slow or difficult to use. After all, these simulators are generally created as an aid for the hardware developers themselves. Much of the benefit of a full hardware simulator can be attained by developing the simulator independently from the hardware development. When the correct techniques are applied, it’s not even that hard.

This talk will present a variety of techniques based on experience with several “home grown” simulation environments. Techniques for both developing and validating the simulator and techniques for integrating simulation in the regular development process will be described.

  • 16:00 – 17:00 – PHP7 by Derick Rethans

With PHP 7 having been released, it is time to show what’s in there. Speed, scalar type hints and spaceships.

These are just a few selection from the complete schedule. Last year, most FOSDEM 2015 videos were available in mid-March, so I’d expect FOSDEM 2016 videos to be available in about the same time frame.

As usual, the event will be free, and does not require registration, so you just need to show up at the Université libre de Bruxelles in order to attend.

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MIPS Creator Ci40 Development Board Powered by cXT200 SoC Launched for $53 on Kickstarter

November 23rd, 2015 20 comments

Last year, Imagination Technologies launched their first community development board with MIPS Creator CI20 powered by Ingenic JZ4780 dual core MIPS processor running both Android and Linux, and now supported by various projects. The company has been teasing about its MIPS Creatort Ci40 for a few weeks, and was already announced as the MIPS platform of choice for Google Brillo operating system, but the board has now officially been launched via a Kickstarter campaign where you can get the board for $53, as well as some add-on boards.

MIPS_Creator_CI40But instead of using a processor from one of their partner, Imagination just designed their own MIPS interAptiv SoC for the board.

Creator Ci40 board specifications:

  • SoC – Imagination Technologies Creator cXT200 with 2x MIPS interAptiv core @ 550MHz, 512KB L2 cache, and an Ensigma C4500 RPU (for 802.11ac/ BT 4.1 LE)
  • System Memory – 256 MB DDR3
  • Storage – 512 MB NAND flash, micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.15.4 radio for 6LoWPAN
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Audio – 1 x 3.5mm input/output jack, 1 x S/PDIF input/output connector
  • Expansion Headers:
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header
    • 2x mikroBus headers
    • Other undocumented headers
    • I/Os include: 32x GPIO, 4x PWM, 1x SPI, 2x UART, 2x I2C, and 5x ADC.
  • Debugging – JTAG/EJTAG, 1x micro USB port for serial console (TBC)
  • Security – TPM chip
  • Misc – 9x indicator LEDs
  • Power Supply – 9V via power barrel, or 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 100 mm x 106 mm
cXT200 Block Diagram

cXT200 Block Diagram

The board will support Linux (buildroot), Brillo OS, Debian, and OpenWRT. Optimized GNU tools and library will also be provided for the MIPS platform, and the board will have access to the cloud via the company’s FlowCloud IoT framework. Some code sample for the latter  have already been provided on github.

Creator Ci40 Open Source Software Stack (Click to Enlarge)

Creator Ci40 Open Source Software Stack (Click to Enlarge)

In Internet of Things projects you also need “things”, and not only a gateway, so the company is also offering Creator Ci40 IoT kit with Ci40 board, as well as two MikroElektronika’s 6LoWPAN Clicker boards  powered by 2 AAA batteries acting as nodes (i.e. things), and three Click boards fitting in mikroBus sockets.

Credtor Ci40 IoT Kit (Click to Enlarge)

Credtor Ci40 IoT Kit (Click to Enlarge)

The Clicker boards are powered by a MIPS based Pic32MX micro-controller, and run Contiki real-time operating system. As reported in my post about HummingBoard Gate board, there are over 150 Click (add-on) boards to both Ci40 and clickers board functionality can be augmented by any of these standard add-on boards by MikroElectronika.

While Creator Ci40 board itself is 35 GBP (~$53), you could consider getting the IoT kit instead for 70 GBP ($106). Shipping is not included, and they charge a flat fee to any destination ranging from 5 GBP for th board only to 12 GBP for the various kits. Delivery is scheduled for April 2016. You can also find more details on Imagination’s Creator Ci40 product page.

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Linux 4.3 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

November 4th, 2015 2 comments

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 4.3 last week-end:

So it *felt* like the last week of the rc series was busy, to the point where I got a bit worried about the release. But doing the actual numbers shows that that really was just my subjective feeling, probably due to the kernel summit and travel back home from Korea. It wasn’t actually a particularly busy week, it’s just that the pull requests were more noticeable in the last couple of days.

We had a network update and a late fix for a x86 vm86 mode bug introduced by the vm86 cleanups, but other than that it’s just a collection of various small one-liners all over. Ok, the vm86 mode thing was a one-liner too, it was just slightly more nerve-wracking because it looked scarier than it was before people (Andy) figured out what was going on.

The changes from rc7 are dominated by the network stuff, but as you can tell from the appended shortlog it’s not anything particularly scary.

So on the whole, this remains a rather calm release cycle until the very end. And with the release of 4.3, obviously the merge window for 4.4 is open, and let’s keep our fingers crossed that that will be an equally calm release. Especially since apparently Greg has decided ahead of time (as an experiment brought on by discussion at the kernel summit) that 4.4 will be another LTS release.

Linus

Linux 4.2 brought us file systems and networking changed, new cryptography implementations, AMD GPU driver support for more graphics card, among other things. Some changes made to Linux 4.3 include:

  • Removal of EXT-3 file system (EXT-4 file system will handle EXT-3)
  • Various fixed for BTRFS, EXT-4, F2FS, and XFS file systems
  • IPv6 is now built into the kernel by default.
  • New driver framework for nonvolatile memory devices (e.g.EEPROMs). See nvmem.txt for details.
  • The networking layer added “lightweight tunnel” support.

More user visible and internal changes can be found on LWN’s merge window articles [1], [2] and [3].

I’ve also compiled some of the new features and improvements specific to the ARM architecture with a focus on Allwinner, Rockchip, Amlogic and /Mediatek processors often featured in this blog:

  • Allwinner:
    • A10 / A13 / A20 / A23 / A31 – Enabled OTG controller
    • A10 / A10s / A13 / A20 – Support for DMA engine
    • A23 / A33 – Support for USB controllers
    • most of Allwinner SoC – Support for Allwinner Security System crypto accelerator (sunxi-ss)
    • AXP152 – AXP152 mfd support
    • Added boards – Iteaduino Plus A10 board, Ippo-q8h-a33 v1.2 tablet board
  • Rockchip
    • Audio – Machine drivers for Rockchip systems with MAX98090 and RT5645 and RT5650
    • Added USB PHY support for RK3066 and RK3188, enabled on Marsboard
    • Reserve unusable memory region (0xfe000000~0xff000000) on RK3288 and RK3368
    • Fixed suspend issues on RK3288
    • Added support for phase inverters
    • Added support for Rockchip RK3368 including clock-controller
    • Added support for Netxeon R89 board, two Chromebooks (Veyron family), and R88 board (RK3368)
  • Amlogic (Minor changes)
    • meson6: DTS: Fix wrong reg mapping and IRQ numbers
    • meson8b: Properly include clk.h
  • Mediatek
    • Added basic support for Mediatek MT6580
    • Added SMP support for Mediatek MT6795
    • Mediatek MT8173: cpuidle-dt updates, watchdog device, misc other additions
    • Added MT6397 PMIC support to MT8173 eval board
  • Qualcomm
    • Qualcomm MSM8916 and APQ8016 updates for USB
    • Pinctrl driver updates for Qualcomm SPMI-MPP, and Qualcomm Technologies QDF2xxx ARM64 SoCs
    • Qualcomm driver for SMM/SMD (Shared Memory Driver)
    • Regulator driver for the Qualcomm RPM
    • Device tree updates for Compulab QS600, Inforce 6410 & 6540,  APQ8074 Dragonboard, etc…
  • Samsung
    • Various defconfig and device tree updates for Exynos processors
    • cpufreq driver updates
    • clk driver updates for Exynos 3250, 4210, 4412, and 5250 SoCs
  • Xilinx – ZynqMP: A bunch of devices added to the existing DTSI (sdhci and watchdog on ep108, DWC3 usb, SMMU, CANs node…)
  • Other new ARM SoCs & hardware platforms – Broadcom North Star 2 (ns2), Marvell Berlin4CT,  Freescale i.MX6UL boards, SocioNext (previously Panasonic) UniPhier, Texas Instruments DM814x, Gumstix Overo platforms

There have also been some changes for MIPS architecture mostly committed by Imagination Technologies themselves:

  • Fixed JZ4740 build
  • Cavium Octeon CN68XX improvements
  • Some work on the clock framework
  • Added uprobes support
  • Support for the I6400
  • Moved ath79 GPIO driver to drivers/gpio
  • Various fixes

Finally, I’ve generated Linux 4.3 Changelog with comments only (12.3MB) using git log v4.2..v4.3 --stat. Normally I would also recommend checking out the changelog on KernelNewbies here, but they have not even updated Linux 4.2 changelog yet.

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Altair FourGee LTE Chipsets Promise 10 Years of Connectivity with AA Batteries for IoT Applications

October 29th, 2015 No comments

Connectivity achieved with GSM,. 3G or LTE (4G) cellular networks is great for long distances, but usually costs and power consumption are too high for IoT or M2M communications, which explains why there are competing long range low power WAN standards such as Sigfox, LoRA or Weightless. Altair Semiconductor introduced two new LTE SoCs, namely FourGee-1150/6410 and FourGee-1160/6410 a few months ago, supporting respectively LTE Cat-0 and Cat-1 connectivity, and promising up to 10 years of battery life on AA batteries for smart meters, wearables, security alarms, city lightings, etc…

LTE_SoC_for_IoT

Altair FourGee-1150 and FourGee-1160 key features and specifications:

  • Processor – Multiple MIPS M5150 “Warrior” MCU cores
  • LTE Connectivity
    • FourGee-1150
      • LTE Release 12 Category-0 (1Mbps / 1Mbps), software upgradeable for supporting Release 13 features
      • Integrated VoLTE/IMS/OTA-DM functionality
    • FourGee-1160
      • LTE Release 11 Category-1 (10Mbps / 5Mbps), software upgradeable for supporting Releases 12 and 13 features
      • Integrated VoLTE/IMS/OTA-DM with HD voice functionality
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR) architecture allowing upgrade to the latest LTE releases
  • RF featuresLow power RF CMOS architecture; Two RF ports supporting two bands in the range of 400-2700MHz; Integrated power detector; SAW-less Tx operation
  • Interfaces
    • USB2.0
    • Ethernet
    • UART, SPI, Auxiliary PWM and ADC
    • I2S/PCM
    • Camera
    • USIM
  • Embedded power management unit (PMU) featuring ultra-low deep sleep current consumption
LTE Smart Meters?

LTE Smart Meters?

The company claims its “FourGee chips offer up to 10 times better energy efficiency and half the connectivity cost of the standard LTE technologies being used today” (4G performance at 2G price points). Altair Semi gave a LTE-powered smart meter running up to 10 years with standard AA batteries, as an example. Verizon Wireless and Altair also announced a strategic initiative to accelerate the development of new LTE-based  Internet of Things (IoT) products, meaning products should be in the fields in a not too distance future.

Altair FourGee-1150/6401 and FourGee-1160/6401 pages have few other details..

Via Imagination Blog

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Ingenic X1000 MIPS Processor and X1000 Phoenix Board Target IoT and Embedded Applications

September 22nd, 2015 No comments

Ingenic is a Chinese SoC vendor that makes processors featuring their X-Burst cores based on MIPS architecture. Their JZ47 series can be found in tablets and development boards such a MIPS Creator CI20, while their M series, including Ingenic M200, are dedicated to wearables & IoT applications. The company has now launched X series starting with X1000 processor which include an audio codec, a Voice Trigger Engine (VTE) and 32MB RAM in package.

Ingenic X1000 Block Diagram

Ingenic X1000 Block Diagram

Ingenic X1000 features:

  • CPU Core – Ingenic MIPS XBurst 32-bit core up to 1.0 GHz, Double precision hardware float point unit, L1 cache 16KB/16KB, and L2 cache 128KB
  • Security Core – On-chip security ROM and RAM, hardware AES and RSA, supports security boot and user customization
  • Memory
    • 32MB LPDDR in package
    • Support 16-bit DDR2, DDR3 and LPDDR up to 512MB
    • Support Quad-SPI NOR/NAND, eMMC, SDHC
  • Display –  8-bit, 9-bit, 16-bit parallel interface SLCD up to 640×480@60Hz, 24 bpp
  • Hardware JPEG encoder Core – Up to 2.0 MPixels@15fps, motion JPEG encoder up to 1280×720@30fps
  • Voice Trigger Engine – Low-power DMIC controller, noise reduction for voice recognition, low trigger latency, filters for voice detection, far-field voice recognition, microphone array supported
  • Audio Codec – Hi-Fi quality audio codec, audio sample rate up to 192kbps
  • USB – USB OTG 2.0 High Speed, on-chip USB OTG 2.0 high speed PHY. Supports host only, device only and OTG modes
  • Other Peripherals and I/Os
    • 3x I2C, 1x SPI
    • 3x Full-duplex UART
    • 1x Smart card interface
    • 1x I2S, 1x PCM
    • 1x Ethernet MAC
  • Process Technology and Package – 65nm LP, BGA-190, 0.8mm pitch, 13mm x 13mm x 1.2mm

The processor is said to support “Linux 3.0 OS and greater”.

Ingenic_Phoenix_X1000

X1000 Phoenix Development Board

Ingenic also developed X1000 Phoenix evaluation/development board with X1000 processor, 16MB SPI NOR flash, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6212), a micro SD slot (up to 32GB), an Ethernet port, a micro USB OTG port, a stereo audio power amplifier, 3 microphones (2 digital, 1 analog), as well as an expansion header that supports display and camera interfaces, a “payment” interface, and Zigbee. The board is powered by a 5V/3A power adapter, and also features a JTAG connector for debugging.

I could not find details with regards to pricing and availability. You may want to visit Ingenic X1000 product page (Chinese version) for some more information in both English and Chinese, at least until the company decides to complete the English version.

Thanks to Frederic, Victor and José for the tip.

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Loongson Introduces MIPS64 3A2000 & 3B2000 Processors Based on GS464E Architecture

September 3rd, 2015 9 comments

Loongson recently unveiled two new quad core processors Loongson-3A2000 & Loongson-3B2000 targeting respectively consumer electronics and server, and on the company’s new GS464E architecture using MIPS64 cores.

Outline of Processor Pipeline (Click to Enlarge)

Outline of Processor Pipeline (Click to Enlarge)

Both processors are 4-way superscalar processors built on a 9-stage, super-pipelined architecture with in-order execution units, two floating-point units, a memory management unit, and a crossbar interconnect. According to Imagination Technology, Chinese media reported that 3A2000 CPU was designed at high-performance consumer electronics products such as desktop computers and laptops, 64-bit embedded and DSP applications, and network routers, while 3B2000 will be used in 8 to 16 core server systems, meaning there would be 2 to 4 quad core processors in these servers.

I could not find anything about the new processors on Loongson product page, but a white paper describes GS464E architecture in details. Unfortunately, the document is entirely in Chinese, except the abstract and some charts and tables:

Loongson GS464E is the most recent processor architecture introduced by Loongson Technology. In this paper, we describe the key aspects of the GS464E architecture. Compared to the previous GS464 architecture, GS464E focuses on improving the performance of memory access and branch prediction, using enlarged queues, caches, and TLBs in the processor. Support for the MIPS DSP instruction set and virtualization is also provided. Specifically, the memory subsystems have a 3-level cache hierarchy each with an LRU replacement policy, and also support multi-processor cache coherence. With the aforementioned optimization features, GS464E has become an innovative, high-performance processor architecture.

And some results are really impressive with over 2000% improvement in memory transfer over the previous generation Loongson-3A (GS464).

GS464E_benchmarksImagination also displayed a chart showing performance per MHz is pretty good compared to AMD, ARM and and Intel.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

However, I could not find any power consumption data such as TDP or performance per watt, so I’m not sure the new processor excels there, especially since the processors are apparently manufactured with a 40nm process technology. However, two new chips to be released in 2016 –  3A3000 and 3B3000 – will be built using 28nm process node and clocked at 2GHz.

Some other interesting features of the processor / architecture include:

  • MIPS64 Release 3 instructions
  • LoongBT, a binary translation technology that enables developers to run x86 and ARM code
  • LoongVM instructions for custom virtual machines
  • LoongSIMD instructions for 128- and 256-bit vector arithmetic operations

The new Loongson processors run Linux (Loongnix distribution), and previous versions of the processor could also run OpenBSD, so it might be ported too.

The new processors should soon be found in devices sold in China.

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Linux 4.2 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

September 2nd, 2015 No comments

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 4.2 last Sunday:

So judging by how little happened this week, it wouldn’t have been a mistake to release 4.2 last week after all, but hey, there’s certainly a few fixes here, and it’s not like delaying 4.2 for a week should have caused any problems either.

So here it is, and the merge window for 4.3 is now open. I already have a few pending early pull requests, but as usual I’ll start processing them tomorrow and give the release some time to actually sit.

The shortlog from rc8 is tiny, and appended. The patch is pretty tiny too.

Go get it,

Linus

Some notable changes made to Linux 4.2 include:

  • File systems
    • New features for F2FS including per file encryption
    • CIFS support SMB 3.1.1 (experimental)
  • Cryptography – Jitter Entropy Random Number Generator, Chacha20 stream cipher and Poly1305 authentication (RFC7539),New RSA implementation. See lwn.net for details.
  • AMD GPU driver added support for AMD “Tonga,” “Iceland,” and “Carrizo” systems. That driver has now over 400,000 lines of code…
  • Networking

Some of the new features and improvements specific to the ARM architecture include (With a focus on Allwinner/Rockchip/Amlogic/Mediatek processors often discussed in this blog):

  • Allwinner:
    • A10/A10s/A13/A20/A31/A23 – SRAM Controller
    • A23 – SMP support, architected timer support
    • A31/A31s – CPUFreq support
    • A33 – Machine support, Bring-up sharing most drivers with A23, pinctl driver, PIO controller
    • A80 – Architected timer support, USB support
    • AXP221 PMIC driver
    • New boards and devices: LinkSprite pcDuino3 Nano, Cubietech Cubieboard4, Gemei G9, Auxtek T004, Utoo P66, Wexler TAB 7200, MK808C, Jesurun Q5, Xunlong Orange Pi, Xunlong Orange Pi Mini, Sinlinx SinA33
  • Rockchip
    • Fixes for GPU DRM driver
    • RK3368 – Added pinctrl and Ethernet (dwmac) support
    • Device tree – Files relicensed under GPLv2/X11 dual-license, Enable A12 HW PMU events in RK3288 boards, and TSADC for Firefly and PopMetal boards
    • Fixed IR receiver bug and modify some GPIO code in RK3288
  • Amlogic – Added documentation to the clock controller… nothing else.
  • Mediatek
    • Fixed clock registration in MT8135
    • Small changes and fixes to pinctrl driver
    • Added driver for Mediatek MT8173 I2C controller
    • Some fixes for PMIC
    • MT7601U driver (WiFi device)
    • Pinctrl driver for MT8127, MT6397,
  • Qualcomm
    • Added SPMI PMIC Arbiter device tree node for MSM8916
    • Added 8×16 chipset SPMI PMIC’s nodes
    • Added MSM8916 restart device node
    • Added initial set of PMIC and SoC pins for APQ8016 SBC board
  • Samsung
    • Fix exynos3250 MIPI DSI display and MIPI CSIS-2 camera sensor
    • Bring back cpufreq for exynos4210
  •  ARM64
    • New processors: Hisilicon ARM64 SoCs (e.g. Hi6220)
    • Various fixes for ARM64 for ACPI, MMU, SMP, perf, and more.
    • Enabled EDAC on ARM64
    • Support for Hikey board, ARM Juno r1 board
  • Various changes to some Atmel and Marvell processors, see Free Electrons blog post for details.
  • Other new ARM SoCs & hardware platforms – Freescale i.MX 7Dual, ZTE ZX29670, Buffalo WXR-1900DHP, ASUS RT-AC87U, SmartRG SR400ac, Compulab CM-A510, and more

There has also been some interesting changes for the MIPS architecture:

  • many bug fixes: LLVM build issue, KVM fixes, fix seccomp MIPS64, fix for oprofile (get_c0_perfcount_int), Fix JR emulation for R6, etc…
  • Some code cleanups (fixed misspellings, removes some code)
  • Added support for appended DTP
  • Improvements for R12000, R3000, Broadcom BCM47xx and BCM63xx,  ATH79
  • Large patchset for Ingenic JZ4740 SoC
  • Added support to Pistachio SoC
  • New MIPS platforms: MIPS Creator CI20 board and XWR-1750 board

A complete changelog for Linux 4.2 should soon be published on Kernelnewbies.org, and you’ll probably also want to look at their ARM architecture and drivers sections for more details about to various platforms including ARM and MIPS. I’ve also generated a complete Linux 4.2 Changelog with comments only (13.9MB) using git (git log v4.1..v4.2 --stat)

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