Our New Machine, Pandora

Should this thread die?

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Orkie

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lubidog said:
It would be great to read a post from Exophase, saying that he is happy and excited to develop for this, knowing the specs as he does!
I think you're asking for the impossible, I've never seen Exophase getting excited over anything. Apparently he doesn't like hardware :D.
 
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Dzz

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Squidge said:
From your wink, it would seem that you assume porting from mmsp2 to mmsp2+ would be simpler. If this is the case, you would assume wrong :)
Oh well, then whether the MMSP2+ is used or another processor, all of the hardware-specific parts of the kernel will have to be written from scratch I suppose. Fun job for somebody!
 
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lubidog

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While you have a point, unless you are gonna learn to code and write them yourself you should use a different tone!
 

X-Code

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:lol: Funny

I've been considering the possible device size comparing to PSP, GP2X and N770 and have reached the conclusion that the machine could be around 16 cm wide, and around 2 to 2.3 cm thick ( if it's designed based on what I think it's going to be very sexy B) )
 

Null

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I wouldn't start calling the new hardware the phantom device, after all you know what happened to the last one. :p

 

DaveC

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gp2xs said:
If this new/phantom device is not gp2x compatible and had a decent MAME port I would buy it.
Whoever is behind this new/phantom device please make sure the controls can handle actual mid-80s to late 90s style of game play. This means from Pac Man to Street Fighter ][ from basic four way stick motion to intricate semi-circle combos. If the gp2x had better controls I could have personally influenced the sale of perhaps hundreds of them. I just can't recommend it to die-hard gamers because of the sloppy controls. So to beat this dead Zebra to death, please make nice controls. Thanks.
This is why I suggested that the unit be playable in the vertical orientation too. This means buttons and pad in the right spot as well as a non-clamshell type. Playing a game such as Pac-man or many shooters would have a very very small image on a 4.3" 16:9 screen non-rotated, plus it has to be fractionally scaled causing blur. As you may have read in the other thread it seems this is not an important consideration for the new device at all. The GP2X may still have the edge when playing such arcade games.
 
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Squidge

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Dzz said:
Oh well, then whether the MMSP2+ is used or another processor, all of the hardware-specific parts of the kernel will have to be written from scratch I suppose. Fun job for somebody!
MMSP2+: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.
MX31: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.
<Mystery Chipset>: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.

No fun! :( ;)
 
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nubie

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fusion_power said:
Oh, because some people seems to be fascinated with this EEE Laptop, do you know, that the battery time is just 3 Hours? 3 HOURS? :lol: Come on, this is nothing, less than nothing I think. Well, for me it would be more than useless and I think the real battery time will be less than 3 Hours. This is not mobile enough for a device like this.
Sorry for the major Off-Topic again, but I do happen to have a plan to make the battery last longer, and for $200 I am perfectly happy with 3 hours of battery life :p
  1. Underclock, (a 900mhz P3 Celeron is overkill, 400-500mhz is plenty, even for n64 emulation)
  2. Take out 256MB of RAM, (I thought I heard that 256MB was onboard and there were 2 SoDIMM slots, one with the other 256MB, less RAM = less power usage, 256 is fine for Linux/W2K Lite)
  3. Bigger/Better battery pack, (Not hard, either find higher-rated individual cells, or double up on cells, I enjoy soldering)
  4. LED backlight mod for the LCD, (If it comes in Cold-Cathode Fluorescent I can save a lot of energy here)
  5. 3 Hours is not less than nothing, for $200 and the hardware we get I think it is fine.
On Topic:

I don't really care what chip, I just thought that the MMSP2+ would be nice if it was easy to integrate and cheap, and I think it will be cheap.

Basically I am very interested in the new device, the screen resolution and control/expandability are looking excellent, as are the power source and included power supply.

@ anyone in the know, are we planning on using DDR2?? Will that help with power-saving?
 
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Exophase

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sam fisher said:
predatorramboxxx said:
GunPei2X said:
predatorramboxxx said:
I dont really see the point of this system right now. Their are virtually multiple devices that have what people are looking for such as 500+ mhz, running windows ce (which is very good for making programs/emulators), have a graphic cards like the intel 2700, have keyboards/touchscreen, wifi, and have plenty of nand for under 400 USD and have virtually thousands of programs/emualtors/apps.
I think it's because most of them don't have great controls for gaming, nor dedicated devs to optimise/create programs specifically for that device. And it sounds like this will be half the cost.

I have seen people using bluetooth game controls but you are right most don't have a decidated dpad or game controls.

Actually those 500mhz processors are usually Xscale processors which are equivelent to a 250mhz ARM9.


I constantly hear this claim and I see little to really back it up. I've read the white papers, I've seen the instruction cycle timings, I know the cache specs and I simply can't imagine how it could possibly perform on average half as many instructions per cycle as a typical ARM9 (say, what's in the GP2X).
 
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Exophase said:
sam fisher said:
predatorramboxxx said:
GunPei2X said:
predatorramboxxx said:
I dont really see the point of this system right now. Their are virtually multiple devices that have what people are looking for such as 500+ mhz, running windows ce (which is very good for making programs/emulators), have a graphic cards like the intel 2700, have keyboards/touchscreen, wifi, and have plenty of nand for under 400 USD and have virtually thousands of programs/emualtors/apps.
I think it's because most of them don't have great controls for gaming, nor dedicated devs to optimise/create programs specifically for that device. And it sounds like this will be half the cost.

I have seen people using bluetooth game controls but you are right most don't have a decidated dpad or game controls.

Actually those 500mhz processors are usually Xscale processors which are equivelent to a 250mhz ARM9.


I constantly hear this claim and I see little to really back it up. I've read the white papers, I've seen the instruction cycle timings, I know the cache specs and I simply can't imagine how it could possibly perform on average half as many instructions per cycle as a typical ARM9 (say, what's in the GP2X).

Thats what i was thinking becuase they handhelds are running quake 3 and a fullspeed psx emu and some without 3d graphic cards ... and then i am called an idiot for not believing that arm9 that is half is the same as a xscale which is doubled
 
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Exophase

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nubie said:
Where is the comparable ARM processor for a 1Ghz K7 ?? Oh, right, there isn't one.
Guess you haven't looked at the Cortex A8 very closely, have you. Superscalar architecture that can clock 1GHz or higher. It might not be able to do quite as many instructions per second as an Athlon XP class CPU but it has a much more sophisticated instruction set with more registers, and excellent instruction density with Thumb 2 that can probably beat x86. There isn't 128KB of L1 cache, but it's also much better than 2-way set associative.

If you want to know of a CPU I'd be excited to work on that would be the one (and only). Don't feel bad, it's not just hardware, I'm almost never excited about anything.

And nubie, I know you're a huge EEE proponent (you bring it up all the time) but if you think x86 is the future of embedded hardware then I think you're kidding yourself. Cheap laptops and UMPCs are making headway but they can't really stand up against the myriad of ARM devices.
 
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halo9

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Dzz said:
My wish list:

1. Killer gameplay ergonomics... "in the zone for 3 hours and feeling great" ergonomics.
2. Whatever. Faster CPU/memory I suppose.
Yep. Damn right. :)
 
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Zeladin

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Exophase) Cheap laptops and UMPCs are making headway but they can't really stand up against the myriad of ARM devices. I would have to agree here - for now. Though I don't see that x86 will ever really replace arm for portable devices. I do think these Ultraportable super-cheap laptops may replace laptops :) - after all they can do all the things people mostly do on laptops... on the other hand our little device here if it ever exists will do a lot of that too... Qualcomm were offering a very nice 1ghz Arm SoC called scorpion I think. It doesn't exist though... [URL="http://www.cdmatech.com/products/scorpion_mobile_microprocessor.jsp said:
http://www.cdmatech.com/products/scorpion_...roprocessor.jsp[/URL] Not a realistic suggestion though.

"] and never do any... :unsure: Scientific calculator anyone? :)

Edit; linky for Exophase to drool over his excitable hardware...
 
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KeyboardCowboy

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predatorramboxxx said:
This new phantom device better be able to run psx and dosbox fullspeed or seriously why bother.
I don't see the PSX part being a problem. Can't speak for DosBox. Software rendering is the part of PSX emulation that hogs the most CPU cycles, so once a hardware renderer is implemented performance should dramatically improve. I'm sure not every game would run at 60 FPS with No frameskip (The only definition of fullspeed) but there is the potential for it. Even low-end hardware-level graphics acceleration makes other tasks like SNES emulation of graphically intensive games entire orders of magnitude faster.
 
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Tobriand

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Squidge said:
Dzz said:
Oh well, then whether the MMSP2+ is used or another processor, all of the hardware-specific parts of the kernel will have to be written from scratch I suppose. Fun job for somebody!
MMSP2+: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.
MX31: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.
<Mystery Chipset>: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.

No fun! :( ;)


What so there's another chipset involved?!? This relationship is going to be comples, I can tell...

I wonder what the third one might (stress on might) be. Also noticed an "if" earlier.

Conclusion: There's an MMSP2+ prototype. There's also a similar prototype for several other chipsets that are being compared off against eachother for coolness. This I (and I think all of us) would generally be very much in favour of (even if we only see the winner).
 
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craigix

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Tobriand said:
Squidge said:
Dzz said:
Oh well, then whether the MMSP2+ is used or another processor, all of the hardware-specific parts of the kernel will have to be written from scratch I suppose. Fun job for somebody!
MMSP2+: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.
MX31: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.
<Mystery Chipset>: All hardware-specific parts of the kernel are already written.

No fun! :( ;)


What so there's another chipset involved?!? This relationship is going to be comples, I can tell...

I wonder what the third one might (stress on might) be. Also noticed an "if" earlier.

Conclusion: There's an MMSP2+ prototype. There's also a similar prototype for several other chipsets that are being compared off against eachother for coolness. This I (and I think all of us) would generally be very much in favour of (even if we only see the winner).


Now that's an idea. :rolleyes:
 
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Game_over

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Are they in talks about a interface/firmware or is it still extremely early? I actually would like to utilize managed code (like a veriant of XNA, or clone) for game development. I actually had an easier time playing fighting games with a "n-gage QD" rocker style d-pad as oposed to a regular one. I think if there is going to be a physical keyboard it should work in the way of all those HTC phone where in most cases it slide down from the bottom.

Can't Wait to finish "Project 19: Mario HDR" maybe it will have a new home... ;)
 

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ooops the following post got out of band.. sorry i just came back from vacation and felt the urge to comment different stuff :blink:



Goobers said:
quartercast said:
For these boards, would they be dongle-style addons? I was thinking more of a "gaping-hole" style expansion port where additional cartridges could slot in a la NDS/handheld dictionary devices. Of course the initial cost in designing and fabricating these carts would be higher than that of a USB dongle-style implementation, but it would be more portable and aesthetically pleasing.



I would doubt it, although depending on the design it might be possible to create jackets (like the ones you can get for ipaqs) for it to slot into. We'll have to see I guess.


Those slots in the IPAQ are most probable PCMCIA slots (which undergone different electrical busses in the past). A realworld slot type for realworld connectivity + the space for CF storage which would mean large storage upto 32GB and very fast throughput. (upto 40MB/s continous measured with todays best cards) - in sharp contrast to the largely useless SDIO connectivity. A PCMCIA->CF adapter could hold a CF GPS device for example.

On a sidenote: i proposed 2 slots of them & addible controller addons to the left & right side of the console. See here: http://www.gp32x.de/board/index.php?showt...044&st=180#

Benefits of additional modules are that new (experimental? or even commercial) controls could be easily added with least amount of need to mod the core console. Given empty add-on shells it could be marketed as DIY controller testing platform. I think its been told often but i can't refrain of telling once more: a good controls setup can do wonders and make the difference between consoles.

@KeyboardCowboy: i think its now too late to switch the main IC but at least you held the flag upright. I personally think that a faster cpu & lower energy consumption never can be bad but who knows :)

Btw the ARM11 is a much more complex piece ... comparable to a pentium when a ARM9 is a 486. (purely illustrative numbers. I did not wanted to compare speeds, but only complexity) So the energy saving manufacturing process will be equalled by a more complex technology + higher clocking.

Btw i doubt that MES has own production lines. They probably order their chips at big foundries like alot of other pure IP companies. And while there is much demand on the top-notch fabrication techniques there will be still a lot of older factories which surely comes at a nice rebate on prices :)

GunPei2X said:
predatorramboxxx said:
I dont really see the point of this system right now. Their are virtually multiple devices that have what people are looking for such as 500+ mhz, running windows ce (which is very good for making programs/emulators), have a graphic cards like the intel 2700, have keyboards/touchscreen, wifi, and have plenty of nand for under 400 USD and have virtually thousands of programs/emualtors/apps.
I think it's because most of them don't have great controls for gaming, nor dedicated devs to optimise/create programs specifically for that device. And it sounds like this will be half the cost.


Couldnt tell it better: mostly controls suck. Or do you like to run Quake on a iPhone with a "touch here to face upwards" steering ? Playing a stunts like (racing-) game on a N800 ? Well i think you get off-track quite soon with a digital dpad only.

jbrodack said:
anyway my main point is no matter how good the new machine is and despite some flaws of the gp2x I wouldn't want this new machine for this xmas. and I have a feeling that a lot of gp2x users won't feel the need to go to the next greatest thing immediately. I mean psp is more powerful than gp2x yet a lot of people prefer their gp2x. so beyond specs a big thing to think about is release date. First and foremost do not rush this thing out.
Thanks, if the design of a console needs time it should take its time B)

KeyboardCowboy said:
A non-MMSP2+ chipset wouldn't limit the appeal to the GP2X community, it would only add the possibility for a more feature-rich device with greater programmer appeal and put a significant dent in power consumption. However the MMSP2+ would be fine so long as the engineers are very careful to alleviate the bottlenecks encountered in the GP2X's MMSP2 implementation.
More horsepower won't touch old gp2x fans but will probably attract geeks & nerds who look for something sophisticated to toy with. :D

Squidge said:
Then how could you possibly say the i.MX31 is only "a very small increase in price", if you don't have prices of both chipsets?
This is getting a bit off i guess. Considering the i.MX31 is offered at such affordable prices the MMSP2 cannot be sold for more money or else customers would start to leave. Licenses cost money so they can't give them away for free: i guess they sell the chips around 20-30% off the freescale part. (purely speculative!). Given the cost for this chip alone i would happily spent the pricetag off it to have it over an inferior one. On a sidenote: any figures for a TI omap3 IC [see: TI overview sheet ]?

Dzz said:
Assuming that the MMSP2+ register definitions and general operation methods are similar to the MMSP2 (which seems likely) and also assuming that Craig et al are working from the Open2X kernel effort (which seems possible), it would probably be a fair bit easier to work with the MMSP2+ than the i.mx31.
Very good point. (period) The old question: freedom or compatibility?

DaveC said:
gp2xs said:
If the gp2x had better controls I could have personally influenced the sale of perhaps hundreds of them. I just can't recommend it to die-hard gamers because of the sloppy controls. So to beat this dead Zebra to death, please make nice controls. Thanks.
This is why I suggested that the unit be playable in the vertical orientation too. This means buttons and pad in the right spot as well as a non-clamshell type.


Good point too. Both Stick + DPad on the left (lower in vertical) position ? With 2 input devices switching orientation might be easier, though this has to be proven yet.

[edit] added link to TI overview.
 
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KeyboardCowboy

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Exophase said:
I constantly hear this claim and I see little to really back it up. I've read the white papers, I've seen the instruction cycle timings, I know the cache specs and I simply can't imagine how it could possibly perform on average half as many instructions per cycle as a typical ARM9 (say, what's in the GP2X).
I've seen benchmarks to indicate it however I do not have them here in front of me. It's pretty apparent in any kind of thorough testing though. I've had a PDA with a 624 MHz XScale which I was able to overclock to 730 MHz. It performed slower than my current PDA at those speeds (which has a Samsung S3C-series SoC w/ a true ARM9-300 MHz part, overclocked to 410 MHz) in numerous tasks, including rendering web pages, playing video, running emulators, and even the interface itself is snappier on the ARM9.

Bear in mind, XScale is based on a much older iteration of ARM microarchitecture than ARM9 that Intel won quite some time ago, and from there, it would appear all they did was tack on more controllers and ramp up the clockrate. As a result performance is pretty poor until you get to very high speeds, and then the power consumption is terrible. My aforementioned XScale-based PDA struggled to operate more than 3 hours with WiFi/Bluetooth disabled and a low backlight level, while the S3C/ARM9-based unit manages nearly 11 hours with a brighter backlight setting. The PDA with the XScale also got uncomfortably warm, enough to make my hands sweat.
 
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