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Update to accelerator board project 'Buffee'
The open source accelerator board project "Buffee" started by Renee Cousins and Tim Wacker consists of an adapter board which is connected to the processor socket of an A500, A1000 or A2000 and has a SoC of type Octavo OSD335x-SM inclusive 512 or 1024 MB RAM ( reported).

In their latest blog entry the developers has announced that a beta charge of 60 Buffees been ordered. Unfortunately the alpha version of the board did not perform well enough. Therefore in version 0.5 of the board a 'GreenPAK' SPLD (simple programmable logic device) was added: By that it is "ensured that on this version every signal that is not bound to the SPLD, is bound to the PRU (Programmable Realtime Unit) which is almost as good as the SPLD, just not quite as fast".

Changes of version 0.5 of the Buffee project:
  • Flash SPI data lines were swapped (this is possible to fix on the alpha)
  • Made Flash SPI lines length matched to ensure good data up to 104MHz
  • Power rails changed to support down to 2.7V (alpha will brown out at 4.5V)
  • JTAG had no system reset only target reset (makes debugging annoying)
  • CLK pin may work either as an input or output (improved TF1200 support)
  • A few extra passives that weren’t needed were removed
  • Switched to lower-profile headers to make Buffee the same height as a 68000
  • And added the GreenPAK for some simple programmable fun
  • Fixed the silkscreen to align with the BGA orientation
The developers offer four options for users already having the alpha board:
  • 1. You can fix the data lines and the alpha will still run in the TF1200.
  • 2. We can send you a new PCB and you can try and swap it yourself or source the CPU.
  • 3. You can send it back and we’ll try and replace the PCB for you.
  • 4. We can send you a TSSOP GreenPAK and you can try and bodge the alpha yourself.
The developers recommend taking the first option. And explain it: "Yes, it’s possible to remove and replace a BGA chip, but on the SAME chip, it’s likely to result in catastrophic damage to the inner components of the CPU. And while the GreenPAK bodge is in theory possible, it would be fragile and very difficult to do correctly as at least one of the pads from the BGA is required and not brought outside of it’s footprint."

Finally they report that due to "all the chip-shortages, we’re actually just barely coming in under the MSRP with almost no margin left. Also, we’re stuck with a six week build time as there are some lead times we have to absorb." (dr)

[News message: 11. Jun. 2021, 07:19] [Comments: 0]
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