ErvKosch
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:40 pm

Is there a drop date on the specs? The reason I ask is if you're targeting an end of November release date is has to be soon. Its almost the end of the September and I would figure minimum of 6 weeks to do the first run.

So if today was the drop dead date on the specs and you placed your first order then the first or second week in November would be the soonest you would get the boards. Then you would have to package and ship them.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:10 pm

Not as far as I know.
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Michael
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:14 pm

Gleaned from other posts on the forum, the information was that the team are finalising board layout in the next couple of weeks and then doing a beta run of up to 50 boards. The nature of the beast is that unless the team are incredibly luckly, there will be a couple of minor hardware bugs that will require at least one further beta run. Then there will be a period of ramp up / stock piling to ensure sufficient quantities for the launch.

IIRC the boards are being manufactured in the UK, so transit time isn't significant (there were less than 15 working days between the alpha board design being submitted for manufacture and the boards being delivered back to Cambridge).

And before anyone gets excited, I'm pretty sure all the beta boards are allocated - they won't be offered for sale no matter how much you beg :D

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:18 pm

*sigh*

We're a bunch of unlucky beggars, ain't we!

Fingers crossed that any problems with the beta boards are simple ones!

(Will there be pics of the beta boards when they come in, with dimensions???)
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:10 pm

Quote from Michael on September 27, 2011, 22:14

IIRC the boards are being manufactured in the UK, so transit time isn't significant (there were less than 15 working days between the alpha board design being submitted for manufacture and the boards being delivered back to Cambridge).



While eavesdropping at Maker Faire I heard mention of the assembly location being Manchester

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liz
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:26 pm

Yes, there will definitely be pictures when the beta boards come in - better still, I'll be posting dimensions on the main page as soon as the artwork is finalised (i.e. before we have actual hardware). No drop date yet - it happens when it happens. Ukscone is right - manufacture will be being done in Cheshire, by Norcott Technologies (one of our trustees, Pete Lomas, is a founder and the Group MD of Norcott. He's one of the two guys who has been killing himself over the BOM, reviewing the schematics, costing everything, working on lowering component pricing and so on - the guy deserves a medal). The alpha boards were made in California, and shipped back to us in the UK, so the betas should be with us in a shorter timespan; the work that Pete and Gert have been doing over the last couple of months has involved a lot of simplification of the schematics too, so the boards should be very quick to produce.
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:50 pm

I'm sorry this is slightly off-topic, but Liz mentions component prices and I have a small question here. The Raspberry PI B model use a SMSC LAN9512 chip for LAN/2xUSB. Does anyone have any idea how much a LAN9514 (LAN/4xUSB) would cost extra in raw components? My personal guess is that a retrace of the board and new masks would be the most expensive part, not really the hardware (chip and connector) itself.

This is not a feature request for A/B, but I just feel only two USB port is too little for many applications and if you have to supply a USB HUB anyway you might as well go for just one USB port. Mostly I'm just curious about the economics as I'm clueless.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:59 pm

I think the main problem is the impact it has on the size of the PCB. The reason the PCB ended up being credit-card size rather than flash-drive size is mainly due to the number and size of the connectors.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:42 pm

Okay, but is the credit card size important? There is no standard cases for this anyway. Personally I'd rather have a slightly larger (and then more expensive) board with all connectors on the same edge (and four USB :-). Worst possible solution will be a PCB with connectors randomly distributed at all edges.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:49 pm

Larger = more silicon = more expensive. Connectors all on one side = more routing (and possibly more layers) = more expensive. Buying additional parts = more expensive. Even *placing* additional parts = more expensive. You've got to remember that low cost is of paramount importance because we're trying to get the device into the hands of as many people who can't currently access computing as possible. Much of the work the hardware guys have been doing over the last couple of months has been to do with cutting costs as low as a single penny out of the alpha layout.
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:11 am

I certainly do understand that four USB ports will cost more than the double of two USB ports (due to increased complexity). And that routing all connectors to the same edge isn't neither trivial nor cheap. But as an end user the board price may end up being the minor expense in a final system. If I have to buy adapters to re-route signals and power adapters to useful places and somehow integrate a USB HUB this might *easily* cost the same as the price of a B model by itself. And then it actually makes more sense to make a C model that costs 5-10 USD more but have four USBs and single-edge connector row. After all this principle made the ATX motherboard layout popular for the last 15+ years.

But I have no idea if the 5-10 USD premium for this is realistic.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:44 am

a 5-10 increase definitely would *not* be realistic. While I don't know how much the Lan9514 would be, I do know that lining up all the connectors on a single edge is just not feasible :( The over arching issue here being that it's not just the cost of redoing the entire board from the ground up (which would indeed be quiet the set back at this point in the game), it would cost a ton more of money as the number of layers on the board would have to drastically increase to allow for a single side layout. Also, I'm not sure if I'd be so bold to say that a single-edge connector is what made the ATX motherboard popular... but I digress

As for the cost of a USB hub, there's two factors. The first is are we talking adding a powered or unpowered usb hub here? If it's unpowered then we're actually talking about less than $3. If we're talking powered... well if you need a powered hub I'm not sure if the r-pi would give you the juice you need for 4 usb devices all drawing power from it. :?

The second issue the target audience really doesn't need more than two usb ports. Now now, before I get lots of flak for that statement and cries of "This is all the things *I* use therefore everyone needs more than 2 usb ports". I'm only talking about the target audience. For the purposes of getting a device into the hands of children to allow them to learn programming, all you need is a mouse and a keyboard. For all of us hobbyists who need more... well if we have the disposable income to buy an r-pi then we just need to suck it up and shell out the extra $3 bucks to get more ports because we have the disposable income to do so.
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:17 am

I'm not arguing not to make the A and B models. Not at all. I'm arguing to make a C model more feature rich for those of us willing to pay a premium (and I'll happily subsidize a couple bucks to an A model). When you can get the USB HUB you link to for 3$ (I'm not asking for a powered USB HUB, I just ask to switch one chip with another in the same series: LAN9512 -> LAN9514) then it can easily be added the for $3 too and probably less - but then some overhead to more complex board layout. $5? Works for me.

I'm not asking for weird stuff like PS/2 connectors or VGA connector. These are ancient technology anyway and best forgotten. I'm just looking for useful board that can handle a typical user situation: USB keyboard, USB mouse, USB disk/stick and, well one spare port, maybe for a wifi dongle.

And a single edge connector row is frankly a must to make anything practical.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:18 am

There's a whole array of special requests (there's a dedicated thread for those ^^)
- more ports (SB, Ethernet, SATA, expansion slot...)
- more RAM
- VGA
- Wifi/bluetooth
- ports position
- USB power
- PCB color
and more.

It's hard to know which are really important, and which aren't, and the forum is not a very good place to poll users, since most forum users are hackers, and the foundation is targeted at kids and schools. Eben has come out and said VGA is a priority because even though (or because ?) it is becoming obsolete, there's a lot of it around, especially in schools and as second-hand, ultra-cheap stuff that's perfect for the target market. Even though I personally don't give a damn about VGA, I think it makes a lot of sense for the Pi. If I were them, the second generation would add VGA and integrate the UC+PSU inside a (removable for hardware students) keyboard+trackpad/ball combo, old-school style.

What I'm trying to say is: for us hackers, the Pi is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. The specs for a first generation are set; the second generation is at least 6 months away, and probably won't move "our" way, unless the foundation decides to diversify, which is a remote chance. We should take the limitations of the Pi as a challenge and a source of fun, not whine or argue about them. There's plenty of other computers (efika, slimfit, sheeva plugs...) that can do a lot more for not much more money. Look at the "alternative to Pi" thread: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....ostid-8631

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:37 am

i'm just curious but i was pondering the raspi to day and all things connectors and i wondered about the feasibility of rather than populating the pcb with the various connectors but just making an edge connector ala pci/isa/sbc? i'm wondering if the savings in connectors would be mitigated by the need to add layers and increase the size of the pcb (and what would it do to reliabilty and speed of peripherals attached to the edge connector?)

[this is from a software bod not a hardware guy and obviously i'm not asking for this i'm just kind of curious]

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:59 am

I have a feeling that I won't have a R Pi in my hands until December or later. I'm Having the feeling that this gem will sell out before I even get to order one.

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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:45 am

All the special requests for additional features remind me of the Voltarian quote "Better is the enemy of good". What the Pi is, is a demonstration that an effective computer can be built from parts that are not "traditionally" (in the sense that the Wintel hegemony would understand) regarded as essential for a PC, that will provide a suitable environment for experiment and teaching, targetted at children and is familiar enough in user interface terms that it won't scare them off. That is a GOOD computer.

BETTER is what the suggestions address. However, there's no point in letting what can be seen as aesthetic considerations, ie arranging all the ports along one edge of the PCB, more expensive substrate colours for the PCB, get in the way of providing the facilities at the lowest possible cost. If we in the "hobbyist" community want a nice neat little box for our Pis, then we're going to have to break the soldering irons out, and use copper strip (vero)board and a bit of wiring to rearrange the ports to our liking and accept a larger case size in consequence.

As has been pointed out above, there are alternatives to the Pi that provide some of the improvement suggestions. However, a GUI Sheevaplug retails at about £124 in the UK and the GUI Dreamplug at about £160. The Dreamplug in particular hits nearly all the targets listed in obarthelemys post above with a premium of about £140 (say $220) over the Model B. Nice, but not realistic. At that price, we're in the territory of saying "Let them use Netbooks".

I think the Pi team are going in the right direction by sticking to "good". "Let them eat Pi"! :-)
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:00 am

Well said Jongoleur

We mustn't forget the target audience.

For anyone wanting more connectors etc have a look at the BeagleBoard, BeagleBoard-xM or the PandaBoard - see the photo here for a quick reference:
http://adventuresinsilicon.blo.....rd-xm.html

The biggest drawback at the moment is price but operating systems etc should be similar and therefore stuff you write for these should be easily ported to the Pi when it ripens/cooks.
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Michael
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Re: Is there a drop dead date on the specs yet?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:38 am

As the original question has been answered and this thread has gone seriously off-topic and is covering the same ground as other threads, I'm going to close this thread. Please follow-up in What have we missed?

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