Moving along

Discussion in 'Pyra News' started by EvilDragon, May 27, 2018.

  1. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Whew - finally, I find the time to sit down and update you on what's going on with the Pyra devlopment / production.

    Time to start with the case.

    So, what has happened in Greece during the last few weeks?
    While it seems at first not much has happened, they have made some important progress.

    According to my contact, they have fixed the remaining two issues (shoulder buttons and stylus) and he personally went there regularly to check the shoulder buttons and told them if it needs more changes or not.
    I hope he's as picky as me, as that would mean they should work 100% in all cases now :D

    After he approved them everything, they made a small test run of 50 parts to test the tolerances during production.
    Producing ONE case with working shoulder buttons doesn't mean that they will all work with 50 different mass produced parts!

    So they had to produce them... and then test the functionality of the shoulder buttons with all those 50 case.
    Quite a lengthy but very important process if we don't want to have any bad surprises when we finally start the mass production!

    The final result is on the way to me - but I'm on a short holiday trip from Tuesday to Sunday next week, so I won't be able to test it before I get back.
    You can be sure it'll be one of the first things I do though!

    Unfortunately, I didn't receive an answer to my question what exactly is included in the package so far (well, it's weekend and my contact also wants to have some free time ;)).
    I hope that it will have the logo glued in as well and the aluminium plate for cooling, as that would mean I can build a full Pyra!

    Next up, the PCBs:
    We're still waiting for the mainboards, but they shouldn't be too far away now.

    As you know, we received the improved 4GB RAM CPU boards and you're all eagerly awaiting results (as am I!)
    Well, unfortunately, a quick test by Nikolaus didn't show much improvement, it was still running unstable.
    You can probably imagine how much that demotivated me... however, after sleeping over it for one night, I was able to think properly again.

    First, Nikolaus test doesn't say much. We played around with a LOT of parameters trying to get the 4GB RAM to work with the previous PCB version - including some that noted "Do not use for in live mode" in the datasheet.
    Nikolaus just put in his testing card from back then, he didn't change or review any parameters, so it could be the setup is completely wrong and therefore the RAM is unstable.

    For further testing and debug, some of the CPU boards have been sent to Tony Lindgren (an expert in OMAP things). He received the boards but didn't have time yet to work on that yet, but I can't wait for results!
    We also wanted to send some of the PCBs to zmatt, but he hasn't replied to any of our emails yet. I sure hope he's doing fine and just incredibly busy - hopefully, nothing has happened to him... you never know on the internet. Though he's still idling around in IRC, which is a good sign.

    This brings up another important point:
    Kernel developers!

    There's still quite a few things which should be done before the release. We don't have proper powersaving, the TILER implementation needs to be tidied up, 3D is not yet implemented, Audio needs a better setup, etc.
    It seems there are less and less kernel developers having the time to work on such things in their spare time.
    That's why I decided to hire freelancers to help out as well!

    We already have one who has knowledge of the OMAP series and is working on the AM-series from TI at the moment. He's a friend of Nikolaus and has already done work on the GTA04.
    He agreed to help us out, but he doesn't have too much time - still, any help is good :D

    Now, here's a question for you:
    I know we've got quite a lot of OpenSource fans around here. Maybe some know some good kernel developers, who are able to include and improve hardware support and fix various issues.
    We can provide a test unit as well as the needed datasheets - but it needs someone who is capable of debugging and fixing low-level things.
    I am fine paying for the work as well.

    Any ideas or contacts? :)

    Okay, back to our next steps:

    As I don't know yet whether the 4GB RAM will work properly or not, I'm also thinking of how to continue in case they DON'T work yet (let's hope they do though!)
    I always like to have a plan B ready upfront :)

    Well, let's assume everything is working and ready except for the 4GB RAM version.
    In this case, I'll start the mass production - with 2GB RAM boards. No need to wait further if everything is ready!

    Quite a few of you have signalled they will be happy with 2GB RAM for a start. And 2GB RAM will eat a bit less battery as well.

    Of course, we will continue to work on the 4GB RAM boards so we'll have them available some time later. We already own the RAM chips - it would be a waste of 30k EUR not to use them!

    There's a company in Munich (so round the corner) who claims they can get ANY RAM chip to work (and so far, they did, according to our memory distributor).
    They have measurement devices that go inbetween the RAM chip and PCB and monitors EVERY signal.
    So if something fails, they will EXACTLY know what.

    We'll get that to work, even if we start with 2GB RAM first.

    So much for now. I really had hoped to post better news than that (you can imagine how happy I would be with better news!) but that's life. And everything Pandora-related ALWAYS had been hard work instead of good luck.

    But as usual, I'll keep going forward! No way to give up!
    el joker, ObiKKa, Michoko and 39 others like this.
  2. Hồng Thất Công

    Hồng Thất Công Đả Cẩu Bổng Pháp

    Dec 19, 2012
    Cái Bang
    Good idea. I'll take the 2GB Pyra now and will buy another 4GB pyra later. I have 3 Pandoras afterall...
  3. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    Thank you for the update ED. Enjoy your holiday trip.
  4. Wally

    Wally I am a banana! Staff Member

    Jan 31, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah. Probably can survive with 2GB, especially considering it’ll be older games that i’ll be playing :)
  5. Ted

    Ted Member

    May 2, 2016
    Beijing, China
    Great update and have a nice holiday~
  6. Nintendo

    Nintendo Nintendo Switch

    Oct 8, 2005
    Thanks for the update, ED.
    Enjoy your holiday break.
  7. ClockworkCoder

    ClockworkCoder Chaotic Neutral

    Jan 21, 2016
    2GB would be okay with me if necessary, depending on upgrade options.

    Anyway, thanks very much for the update even if there are some aspects of frustration in delivering it. Have a great trip next week :)
  8. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Hardcore Member

    May 29, 2010
    I'm willing to accept 2GB now if I can get 4GB board later!

    If I pay the full 4GB price now, will I be able to get a discounted 4GB board later on? Because I already bought the vouchers.
  9. ghostpatch

    ghostpatch Active Member

    May 22, 2011
    heaving a 1st run with 2GB Pyras only sounds like a good decision to me. More people would get their hands on Pyras and could start playing, testing, porting, bebugging etc. I ordered a 4GB model but I would gladly switch to a 2GB model in that case : )

    I also hope to buy a clear case as well! : )
    zedr0k likes this.
  10. matzesu

    matzesu Hardcore Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    Germany,, Saarland, at home
    As I’m a Homebrew Handheld Noob whit First Batch Pandora Experience, I would say go for the 2 GB First Batch,
    I will use my Pyra most likely for Emulator purposes and maybe some older Ports,
    It’s more like a new Pandora Device for me..

    So if it’s Fasten the Massproduktion, I would be ok whit the 2gb Pyra
  11. CommanderB

    CommanderB Member

    Mar 1, 2014
    Thanks for the update and have a relaxing vacation!

    Well, let's not throw the towel unless the instability is confirmed by the developers. Nevertheless I would be completely satisfied with a 2GB 1st gen Pyra. It is of course much more important that the devices sees the light of the day at all. Also then I would have an additional motivation for the first CPU board upgrade waiting game :D

    Regarding the developers Sebastian Reichel ( comes into my mind. But I guess that Nikolaus has already asked him and he might be busy, too.
    ClockworkCoder likes this.
  12. TheOldOne

    TheOldOne Fallen Paladin

    Jul 22, 2015
    I have said before I can do 99.99% of what I want to do with the Pyra on the 2GB version.
  13. asimov-solensan

    asimov-solensan Member

    Jan 8, 2010
    It's a really depressing update if you ask me. It feels to me that we are a year away still.

    Thanks for keeping us update. I really appreciate the effort of ED and everyone involved.

    If I can give my opinion: give up on the 4GB board, assume losses and put the effort into a totally new cpu board (I mean soc and all).

    edit: just to clarify, assuming losses may mean also price increase for preorders. I would accept it.
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
    Bokkertoff likes this.
  14. FBnil

    FBnil Ready to Champion the Pyra to the World...

    Dec 14, 2012
    Wow the legendary Pandora Santoryu technique! tl;dr: Pun related to Once Piece Manga.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 27, 2018, Original Post Date: May 27, 2018 ---
    No, it's more like a Zelda RPG, where you almost-almost finished the level, but not yet (because you went left, instead of right). Instead of actually just starting the level.
  15. szr

    szr Member

    Feb 5, 2014
    That probably wouldn't be too good for the back.. :p
  16. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

    Oct 6, 2008
    Somewhere off the coast of the EU
    Your princess is in another castle, I'd have thought. But in any case, thanks for the update ED - forewarned is forearmed and all that.

    Unfortunately, I don't know any kernel devs nearly well enough to ask any of them to help out in this. I'd hope with more videos from prototype users and even end users, it'd be easier to drill up a bit of excitement about this project again.

    Regarding the 2GB issue, well, my preorder is still for a 2GiB unit anyway, because there are only a handful of games and things I want to use on my Pandora that I need swap for, and that's only got 512MiB of RAM. My build server with an x64 CPU and 2GB of RAM has only ever run out of RAM when I want to compare whole hour long video files, and I'd have to split those anyway unless I had more than 64GB of RAM (the motherboard claims it tops out at 4GB)
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  17. SneHebNor

    SneHebNor Member

    May 15, 2016
    While I ordered a 4 GB RAM Pyra with 4G modem, I did this only because it was the most expensive combination and I wanted to motivate the developers ;~)
    I never planned to use the 4G modem anyway and can live nicely with only 2 GB of RAM.
    My Olimex Teres I has 2 GB of RAM and it's not that bad.
    And I very much prefer to have a Pyra with 2 GB over having no Pyra with 4 GB of RAM.
    Better burn time over more important things! :~)
  18. pyrat

    pyrat Very Active Member

    May 20, 2016
    Thanks for the update.

    Best of news is you take vacation. I was getting tired of updates saying the team was overstressed (well, EvilDragon, mainly).
    Enjoy a good vacation.

    I doubt I'd take a 2GB Pyra. I'd probably cancel, but I can wait for that to be sorted out, and I'm not at the front of the queue anyway.

    Having said that, I think if nothing softwarewise has been done to test 4GB I don't take it as a failure yet. It could easily be some
    timing issue, or any configuration. Keep up the good job, EvilDragon, Niklaus, and now Lindgren.

    Btw, has 2GB been tested again with the latest PCB ? Who knows, it might not work now. I'm sure you'll test it before any mass production,
    just didn't find it important enough to mention.

    Hope cases work ok next week or whenever you can test them.

    Happy holidays.
    Lightkey likes this.
  19. AnimatedFreak

    AnimatedFreak Very Active Member

    Oct 29, 2011
    Have a good holiday, you overwork yourself way to much.

    As much as I love your dedication to get the 4GB ram working at some point it might be time to give up on getting it working and to move on working on a brand new SoC upgrade and maybe give those who ordered a 4GB Pyra a discount on that upgrade to make up for not being able to deliver on 4GB versions of the OMAP5. But it's your call at the end of course.
  20. Binky

    Binky Death's Steed Staff Member

    May 28, 2003
    16A (TO)
    I'm wondering if doing a 2GB first batch could be a useful demand-management tactic, as well as a sensible time-saving measure.

    Many of the people who'd be put off by "only" 2GB of RAM are the same people who would baulk at unpolished software, long shipping times, and all the other teething problems associated with this sort of release.

    We should do more to stress the resource-frugality of the Linux desktop environment, too. There are very few tasks which need more than 2GB of RAM, but are otherwise sensible on a palmtop. Zealous web caching seems to be the main one, these days.
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Djoga'Ro, FBnil, Wally and 1 other person like this.

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