dwelch67
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pi-zero LTS

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:23 pm

Anyone have any insight at broadcom as to how long the pi-zero product will be around? As soon as we get used to one product it becomes unavailable and obsolete, and we get to start over. I want to redo or make a new repo as mine has so much baggage with the years of different boards, not knowing to plan for a new board a year and others going away, etc. But if the pi-zero is going away that leaves the pi-3 which may or may not be around for a while but is not nearly as fun...

David

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:44 pm

dwelch67 wrote:Anyone have any insight at broadcom as to how long the pi-zero product will be around? As soon as we get used to one product it becomes unavailable and obsolete, and we get to start over. I want to redo or make a new repo as mine has so much baggage with the years of different boards, not knowing to plan for a new board a year and others going away, etc. But if the pi-zero is going away that leaves the pi-3 which may or may not be around for a while but is not nearly as fun...

David
Raspberry Pi Trading are solely responsible for the Raspberry Pi Zero..

..Broadcom own the IP for the BCM2835 SoC, and it is manufactured by a Fabrication Plant under contract.


There are no obsolete products, though there are products not currently manufactured.
Last edited by fruitoftheloom on Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dwelch67
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:47 pm

sorry fill in the blank responsible party for the product...anyone know the lifespan of the current pi-zero and pi3 products, are the one year and done, two years and done?

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:48 pm

dwelch67 wrote:sorry fill in the blank responsible party for the product...anyone know the lifespan of the current pi-zero and pi3 products, are the one year and done, two years and done?
Raspberry Pi Trading / Foundation have never ever released product road maps.....
My only "PC" is an Asus ChromeBit running ChromeOS, cloudcentric at its best !
Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288C ARM32 SoC as used in ASUS Chromebook C201 & Chromebook Flip C100PA as well as the Tinker SBC.
3 Mobile Huawei E5330 Mobile Mi-Fi

LdB
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:07 am

All you can really do is go off what Upton has said
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/raspberry-pi-future
"Then we had Raspberry Pi Two that lasted for a year, I think Raspberry Pi Three is more like a three-year product. We may tweak some peripheral bits of it at some point but probably not even that.

Instead, for Upton, the big focus for the coming years is developing the software available for all Pi devices. "
In 2015, the Raspberry Pi foundation merged with Code Club, which runs after school lessons that teach children how to code. Exposing as many children to coding is the best way to increase diversity across engineering, Upton says.
So no new hardware and mostly software for next few years.

Whether the Pi Zero around is therefore a manufacturing and marketing issue.

I have had no issues auto-detecting the various models and cpu at startup and I still think that is the easiest way to keep one single repo just makes your boot assembly file slightly bigger.

Back in the day before the VESA standard was adopted by almost everyone, we used to detect over 300 VGA cards so 4 or 5 models is not that bad :-)

dwelch67
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:00 am

Thanks for that article.

The part I didnt get and I read it twice, what hardware are they planning to run their software on. There are two parts to the foundation, one an affordable computer to either just give away or cheap enough most can buy and run on their tv sets, etc. And THEN using that computer to educate about software/programming/computers. So their software has to work on some affordable platform, is still their platform or not? Maybe they just mean they are going to make pi3's for a few years and do software, then make some new hardware. Will see.

As you know I am not interested in applications, I dont want to abstract away which pi is there and have a common application or replacement operating system or whatever other project. I want to program the MMU for this very specific armv6 core, and then for an armv7 core and then armv8 core, although the latter two are making my head hurt, I have very detailed chip and board knowledge at my day job that completely fills my brain as it is. So trying to absorb the myriad of modes and protection rules and such for the latter two arm architectures...I cant do it...really really like the pi-zero. liked the A+ as it had pins in it already could have some one buy it and just start using it with jumper wires no soldering. Wery closely related to the arms of the past, not a whole lot of these modes and features, etc..can absorb it...

Anyway, no surprise that there is no public commitment to product availability...

(very interested in your stripped down usb code BTW, on my list to read and understand and hopefully use and or roll my own based on the education)

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Gavinmc42
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:37 am

I guess they will stop supporting them as soon as we stop buying them.
As they are selling them as fast as they can make them, that could be a very long time.
I only have 4, I can think of ways to use 10 times that just in my house :lol:

The BCM2835 could be around for a very long time, well in unicorn years anyway.
It was not new when they started, but it fits the application nearly perfectly.
The over clocking seems to work, 1GHz on zero's, that's quite a bit faster than A+/B+.
We might only see Zero W's as I imagine there might be a tiny bit more profit in them.

The BCM2837 is a different animal as it is chasing the Desktop, where pretty colours, browsers and fast accelerated stuff is needed. Software improvements and tricks can give it a few more years of life.
A die shrink will extend that some, allowing for some more overclocking without heating issues?

A roadmap where the A+/B+ BCM2835's are replaced with 64bit CPU's some time in the future will free up the BCM2835.
Then we may get lots more Zero's :lol:

Are the Zero numbers restricted by BCM2835 supply, other chips or lack of factory capacity?
RPF knows, we can only speculate and suggest conspiracy theories :roll:
Some recent hints suggest a change soonish - unicorn weeks/months, not years.

The Zero PCB format looks to be a winner, much easier to use for us tinkers/hackers than the CM's.
Future ones may not be single sided or have BCM2835's 10 years from now. Or there may be more BCM283x versions as well.

If Zero's stop getting made 5 years from now, I'm sure third party versions will appear.
BCM2835- ARMv6, 1176 - just a fancy microcontroller + VC4(shh, top secret :lol: )
BCM2837- ARMv8 -64bit quad core - yippee.

That ARMv7 32bit compatibility mode on the Pi2/3, ouch my head hurts too.
Forgive me but I am going to skip that and just do pure 64bit mode.
I have no legacy software support needs.
In fact there is lots of Linux stuff I want to forget to make room for new stuff, like AI/ML/CV/NN.

I'm not worried about LTS I have no company relying on Pi's.
RPF will be making something I can use, hopefully into retirement.
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dwelch67
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:59 am

You touched on the more important question/answer which I was going to mention.
Are the Zero numbers restricted by BCM2835 supply, other chips or lack of factory capacity?
I dont think we even have to ask, if the pi is the only customer of the BCM2835 the demand would need to be at some certain level to continue to justify it or someone in management would have to sign off on it, this is for the kids we will take the loss for another year. Worse than that though is the package on package dram. Perhaps this is their dram, i assume from the markings but that doesnt mean much. If it is broadcoms dram that actually helps the pi-zero outlast the pi3, etc. But also a huge factor here is the foundry process, the foundry used to build these chips would need a certain volume to remain in production, every year or two or three we get a new process and you either need to clear the space of the oldest or least profitable one, or build a new facility (and we are a few years down the road now). But eventually you close the facility or clear the space and bring in the new. So overall demand for parts from that process for that foundry can drive availability of the BCM2835, independent of its demand. Highly unlikely they would blow the tens of millions to re-do that part for a new process, although a percentage of that part we are lead to believe is used in the parts with newer arm cores, so you could do the floorplanning and layout for the three chips we have seen on pis and save a ton with some percentage of them common.

The worst of all is the pi3s and other similar ones, the dram parts used there go obsolete very fast, way faster than the memories used in your desktop/laptop. The form factor used in dimm modules is for dimm modules or other similar designs and will go obsolete pretty quick but are replaced by x16 and x32 parts (16 bit data bus per part instead of 8 or 32 bits per part instead of 16 or 8) and/or the x8 or x16s will get double density or quad density, etc. But are all a common form factor for dimms. But the ones made for phones or set top boxes are not necessarily the same parts, can be, certainly with DDR4 that is changing if not already, I am only learning this stuff with DDR4 personally. So the dram may be the important part to first go up in cost, then become obsolete, so they would do a last time buy and when those parts are gone, well either the pi-3 gets a new layout with a new part, and some new ddr init firmware, you have to get new IP for your chip, so the broadcom chip gets a new layout as well, and is that worth the tens of millions? (probably but they may yet again suck in a new arm core, and probably build for a newer process).

So I guess my question in hindsight was assuming the parts are available does anyone know how long they are going to keep producing these two specific boards. (pi-zero and pi-3)? And the answer is no they have not really said much other than things like in that article, which sound very interesting but leave more questions than answers. Time wil tell.

Thanks very much for the comments everyone!

David

I couldnt figure it out on my own, didnt spend an eternity searching though, someone else seems to think they know.

It still uses LPDDR2 DRAM, and uses more power probably because Broadcom is still using the same 40 nm process for the BCM2837 that it used for previous processors.

and lpddr2 which is what I assume the pi2 has (can look up the numbers and brand on the back of the part)
(3) LPDDR2’s replacement by LPDDR3 adds complexities that make price drop unlikely

China’s smartphone market has been slacking for both domestic and foreign shipments. While the outlook for Q2 is conservative, LPDDR2 is showing some increasing demand in the lower-end devices due to cost concerns, especially with the adoptions of Spreadtrum’s 7731 and MediaTek’s 6571 processors. However, Samsung has basically stopped producing LPDDR2, and SK Hynix and Micron have drastically reduced their LPDDR2 production ratios. As Nanya is the only remaining memory maker that can provide a steady and large supply of LPDDR2, prices (for eMCP 4+4/8+8 in particular) will stay constant and may even rise slightly in the third quarter as demand picks up during the peak season.
this was from a 2015 article.

anyway, thanks again for playing, it was a shot in the dark and was not surprised there is nobody who knows or is willing to say anything about near or far term projections. Kinda lost my motivation to go re-work on some pi boards anyway, have a nanopi (allwinner clone not a pi) that is tempting me but...not fully engaged...

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Gavinmc42
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Re: pi-zero LTS

Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:53 am

Thanks for dram update, I had totally overlooked that.

You are right, it could be the dram that decides, it is why we got 512MB up from 256MB.
The memory market is very volatile and has been for decades.
I personally know retired Millionaires who were in the right place at the right time re dram memory.

We focus so much on the BCM28xx we forgot that other thing it needs.
Perhaps lucky for us the Pi's are sold in millions so that might keep the attention of memory chip makers for a few more years.

Have not checked the memory market for years, have no idea where it is these days.
Phones and tablets are still probably driving it. PC market stagnant?
You have me worried now, glad I'm not having to source those pains of chips.

Elpida- now Micron, LPDDR2 B8132 and B4432
Still current parts, no last time buys yet, so probably a few more years.
https://www.micron.com/products/dram/lpdram
Ok, feeling happier now, 10+ years.
Market does seem to be moving to 16Gb LPDDR4, so that will play a consideration on new BCM28??
BCM28xx parts with off chip memory might last longer, but that still quite a few years more.

I can stop worrying now and leave it to RPF to worry :lol:
BCM28xx and memory chips are the important bits, the rest of the BOM is generic or board re-designable for different power chip.
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