Saturday, July 13


Daily News Stuff 13 July 2019

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Wait Is That New In Box I Just Paid $300 For One Used On eBay And I Had To Replace All The Capacitors In The Power Supply Edition

Tech News

  • Facebook's $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke. (The Verge)

  • You know what else is an embarrassing joke? The Verge. (The Verge)

    Mastodon's Nazi problem is that Mastodon is run by Nazis.

  • Apple shut down their Walkie-Talki Apple Watch app because it was more of a walkie-talkie-anyone-can-listenie app.  (Ars Technica)


  • PCIe 4 might actually work on X470 after all wait no it won't.  (AnandTech)

    It's still unreliable and is supposed to be disabled, but some BIOS updates out there do enable it.  That will be fixed.

    Not unreasonable to consider reliability over a questionable performance benefit.

  • Get started in quantum programming with Q#.

    Then wait 30 years for a quantum computer you can actually buy.

  • Want to port Deluxe Paint to your Amiga-like but not Amiga-compatible system? The source is now up on GitHub.

  • Want to build an Amiga-like but not Amiga-compatible system?


    STMicroelectronics' STM32H750VBT6 is just the thing. It has:

    • A 400MHz Arm Cortex M7 CPU core
    • 16KB each instruction and data cache
    • FPU with single and double precision
    • DSP extensions
    • MPU (memory protection unit - not the same as a demand-paged MMU)

    • 128KB flash* on bus D1******
    • 512KB user RAM** on bus D1 (with 64-bit access)
    • Two 128KB RAM banks on bus D2  perfect for double-buffered or dual-playfield video at resolutions like 640x200 or 470x270
    • 64KB fast instruction RAM
    • 128KB fast data RAM (these are wired directly to the CPU)
    • 32KB additional RAM on bus D2
    • 64KB additional RAM on bus D3
    • 4KB of battery-backed RAM also on bus D3
    • All internal RAM has SECDED ECC

    • QSPI for easily attaching cheap external flash
    • Memory controller for SRAM, SDRAM, PSRAM, and NAND and NOR flash
    • 4x 12C
    • 4x UART
    • 6x SPI
    • 2x SD card controllers
    • 2x CANbus controllers
    • 2x USB controllers - one USB 1.0, one USB 2.0, no super-speed here
    • 10/100 Ethernet MAC
    • HDMI-CEC which is not HDM video, just the control signal
    • S/PDIF
    • MDMIO

    • 3x 16-bit ADC with up to 36 input channels
    • 2x 12-bit DAC
    • 2x handy built-in op amps
    • Quad 8-channel digital signal filter
    • Temperature sensor

    • Display controller with dual playfields, alpha blending, and dual 256-colour palettes
    • JPEG hardware codec (no, not MPEG)
    • A blitter (they call it DMA2D but it's a blitter) with its own colour palette for pixel operations
    • A camera interface

    • 22 timers across three timer units
    • Real-time clock
    • Two complex interrupt procesors handling over 250 possible interrupt channels
    • 4 DMA controllers - not 4 DMA channels, but four separate DMA controllers

    • CRC generate / check unit
    • AES and TDES encryption
    • MD5, SHA-1, SHA-2 and HMAC
    • Random number generator

    I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

    It costs A$10.91 qty 1, in stock for immediate delivery.  I checked and in 10K quantity it's just US$3.37.

    It's basically an Amiga 1000 on a chip except running about 400 times faster.  The 7.16MHz 68000 in the Amiga could generally execute one instruction per 8 cycles; the Cortex M7 can do up to two per cycle, and is clocked more than 50 times higher.

    I completely overlooked the existence of this part because the memory configuration is unusual for an MCU.  The PIC32MX has 256KB flash and 64KB RAM (for A$6.65); this has half as much flash but 16 times the total RAM.

    There's a version with 2MB flash but at $19.61 it costs nearly twice as much and I was looking for parts below $15.  But that QPI interface will wire straight into a 16MB NOR flash chip costing A$2.28, or if you need even more, a 128MB SLC NAND chip for A$3.37.

    There's also a developer board for the version with 2MB flash available for A$40.45 (US$27).  The one I found available doesn't have the crypto module probably so that they don't have to deal with export restrictions to naughty bad countries, but it seems to have everything else, including a working Ethernet port.

    The "problem" with this is that it seems to solve all the hardware problems.  There's no longer any clever use of the CPU to handle sprites or DMA to stream the video from a line buffer - which as it turned out wouldn't have worked anyway due to priority conflicts, so maybe that's a good thing.

    Having two independent USB controllers is nice, because it means you can have one connected to a PC for debugging and the other running local peripherals like the keyboard and mouse.  If that doesn't sound important, consider trying to develop keyboard and mouse drivers without it.

    * The original Amiga had 256KB of ROM.***

    ** The original Amiga had 256KB of RAM*****

    *** Actually, the original original Amiga - the one I had**** - had 64KB of ROM and a tiny daughter board with 256KB of RAM. You had to boot a ROM disk first before booting the computer.

    **** I still have it, but it's been upgraded twice. First I put in a full set of ROMs, which gave me an extra 256KB of RAM; then later I replaced the motherboard with a clone with gave me new ROMs and an updated chipset and a full 2MB of chip RAM.

    ***** Actually, the original Amiga had 512KB total RAM because the ROMs weren't ready when it shipped (see above), and most units were shipped with a 256KB RAM expansion cartridge so it had a total of 768KB of which you could only use 512KB until you bought a set of ROMs and installed them.

    ****** D1, D2, and D3 are power domains.  D1 is the CPU itself, D2 is communications, and D2 is reset, clock, and power.  So if you're running on batteries you can put the whole of domain D1 to sleep and have it get woken up again on a keypress or a timer signal.

  • The Black Ice MX has another STMicro Cortex M7 MCU - the F730 as opposed to the H750 - and a Lattice Ice40 FPGA.  (Tindie)

    Just 256KB flash and 64KB RAM on the MCU, but there's another 2MB each of external RAM and flash.  $59.  I was looking at that FPGA to go with the H750 last night, but I think Intel (Altera) would be better for my purposes.

  • If you'd rather not build your own Phoronix has been benchmarking the Raspberry Pi 4 and comparing it to other boards.

  • If either of those options are too fast for you maybe this Z80 system is more your speed.  (Tindie)

    Like an S100 that shrank in the wash, it has a passive backplane into which you plug the CPU board, memory board, serial board, clock board, and so on.  8 and 12 slot backplanes are available.

    Like real S100 systems it gets expensive fast.

Video of the Day

It looks like a typical run-down old second-hand computer store on the outskirts of town.  It is a run-down old second-hand computer-store on the outskirts of town, but it's not exactly typical: It occupies the entire building, including the shop front, several rooms of office space above, and a 38,000 square foot warehouse behind, filled 20 feet deep with stacks of old computers.

Disclaimer: Insert Tab Thingy in Slot Whatever.  Or don't.  I'm outta here.  (Instructions Written on a Friday.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:02 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 1236 words, total size 10 kb.

1 Editor is inserting all kinds of garbage in the HTML of a post I'm trying to edit. Mostly "Data offset Key" tags and spans and such.

Posted by: Mauser at Sunday, July 14 2019 12:09 PM (Ix1l6)

2 Hmm.  Did you copy and paste something from another site?

Lots of sides have crap like that in their HTML, and if you copy and paste it will try to include all those nasty tags.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, July 14 2019 05:53 PM (PiXy!)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

57kb generated in CPU 0.0213, elapsed 0.3604 seconds.
58 queries taking 0.3482 seconds, 343 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.