Replacing the CPU?


ethereal

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Has anyone messed around with replacing the Pandoras cpu?


A quick google search reveals that the ARM® Cortex™-A8 600Mhz+ CPU is getting old. The Cortex-A9 Processor and the Cortex-A15 Processor are newer and faster.


Do the newer cpus share the same size and configurations with the CortexA8 cpu? Would it be as simple as unsoldering the old cpu and solder in the new cpu in the same place?


Anyone have any pictures of a full Pandora tear down?
 

alerino

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H

hakmanplayer

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.... --- ... ----- .. .. --- .-.-. ...-
 
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alerino

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here, pal, lots of pics


let me know when you accomplish something, i wanna buy one
 

alerino

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Damn you Craig, we were about to have fun! Shame on you!


just joking, Ethereal
 

Aurekana

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More or less for those who don't get it, ARM SoCs do not usually have similar pinouts like some x86 CPUs. The OMAP3 used in Pandora has nowhere near the same number or configuration of pins as an OMAP4 or Snapdragon or any other non-CortexA8 SoC (the DM3730 is supposedly a drop-in replacement for the OMAP3530, and ups the clockrate and maybe memory).


Therefore, in order to use a different SoC, one would need to make an adapter board for it, plus add hardware to replace any functionality missing from the new chip that was present in the old, plus completely rewrite all the device drivers and kernel to handle the new configuration.
 

ethereal

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More or less for those who don't get it, ARM SoCs do not usually have similar pinouts like some x86 CPUs. The OMAP3 used in Pandora has nowhere near the same number or configuration of pins as an OMAP4 or Snapdragon or any other non-CortexA8 SoC (the DM3730 is supposedly a drop-in replacement for the OMAP3530, and ups the clockrate and maybe memory).


Therefore, in order to use a different SoC, one would need to make an adapter board for it, plus add hardware to replace any functionality missing from the new chip that was present in the old, plus completely rewrite all the device drivers and kernel to handle the new configuration.


I figured that most smaller cpus like snapdragon would not "fit", however I thought that maybe some of the newer arm processors would use the similar pinouts. It was worth the try.


The DM3730 you speak of is worth looking into. I googled it and found that it's a 1-GHz chip. I've read around in the forums that pandora can be overclocked to 800MHz so maybe that's not a huge increase in processing power. (but then again, maybe the DM3730 could be overclocked as well; Who knows?)


Would you have to rewrite device drivers if you installed this DM3730 chip?


I'm just asking because I believe that 800MHz may not be enough to emulate many PS1 games.


Since the people who make Pandoras seem to be very intimately involved in building them, maybe a "custom order" with a faster DM3730 chip would be possible if more money was involved?
 

ethereal

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I'm just asking because I believe that 800MHz may not be enough to emulate many PS1 games.
You think wrong.

I remember trying to play emulated ps1 games on my iphone (first generation) a couple years ago, and they could hardly run. Maybe some improvements made to the emulation software improved things a bit? Do you need to skip frames? Is is choppy at all?
 

Poem58

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I'm just asking because I believe that 800MHz may not be enough to emulate many PS1 games.
You think wrong.

I remember trying to play emulated ps1 games on my iphone (first generation) a couple years ago, and they could hardly run. Maybe some improvements made to the emulation software improved things a bit? Do you need to skip frames? Is is choppy at all?


Well for one thing only the resources left after iOS can be used for the emulator, while not restricted on the Pandora which I understand gave the Pandora in instant advantage over the Iphone similarly spec'd. The first PS Emu was not near complete and did have some issues, however Notaz made a new version which while I think it's still a "beta" of the emu, it apparently runs more games than not and quite well.


So it might be safe to say that Playstaion emulation will not be a problem for this system and I look forward to finally playing some Playstation games (never had one) when My unit arrives.
 

Poem58

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I'm just asking because I believe that 800MHz may not be enough to emulate many PS1 games.
You think wrong.

I remember trying to play emulated ps1 games on my iphone (first generation) a couple years ago, and they could hardly run. Maybe some improvements made to the emulation software improved things a bit? Do you need to skip frames? Is is choppy at all?


Well for one thing only the resources left after iOS can be used for the emulator, while not restricted on the Pandora which I understand gave the Pandora in instant advantage over the Iphone similarly spec'd. The first PS Emu was not near complete and did have some issues, however Notaz made a new version which while I think it's still a "beta" of the emu, it apparently runs more games than not and quite well.


So it might be safe to say that Playstaion emulation will not be a problem for this system and I look forward to finally playing some Playstation games (never had one) when My unit arrives.


Google PCSX on Pandora and you can get a good idea how much better it has gotten.
 
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Aurekana

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The DM3730 you speak of is worth looking into. I googled it and found that it's a 1-GHz chip. I've read around in the forums that pandora can be overclocked to 800MHz so maybe that's not a huge increase in processing power. (but then again, maybe the DM3730 could be overclocked as well; Who knows?)


Would you have to rewrite device drivers if you installed this DM3730 chip?

The Beagleboard-XM is an upgraded version of the original where they replaced the OMAP3530 with the DM3730 among some other changes. I haven't taken a look at their resources yet, but you might have luck finding migration advice on their forums and mailing list.
 

chris_r

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Simply put, you're not talking about resoldering just a CPU on that chip, you're resoldering the entire computer on that chip and then rewriting a lot of the software to suit the completely new computer.
 

ethereal

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The DM3730 you speak of is worth looking into. I googled it and found that it's a 1-GHz chip. I've read around in the forums that pandora can be overclocked to 800MHz so maybe that's not a huge increase in processing power. (but then again, maybe the DM3730 could be overclocked as well; Who knows?)


Would you have to rewrite device drivers if you installed this DM3730 chip?

The Beagleboard-XM is an upgraded version of the original where they replaced the OMAP3530 with the DM3730 among some other changes. I haven't taken a look at their resources yet, but you might have luck finding migration advice on their forums and mailing list.

Thank's for this post. I did some google research on beagleboards and came up with all sorts of interesting information. First off there's more then just the beagleboard, there's pandaboard, eagleboard, and countless other computersonamodule boards.


Beagleboards are not specifically designed to be used as a base for mobile gaming, but it could turn into a mobile gaming device. Most people seem to be using them in robotic devices.


Is there a specific board or drop in module that pandora uses or is it custom ordered?
 

Trey

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There are some SoCs that are pin compatible with the pandora. The problem you're going to have is removing the existing processor and ram. The Pandora uses a Package on Package. The ram is stacked on top of and soldered to the processor.


Also when you go to attach a new processor and ram (it's a two step process), you're going to have to remove any components that would be damaged like the plastic volume wheel.


It's a fair amount of work with the right tools when done in the right order. Without the right tools and when reworking a board, it's going to be very very difficult.
 
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