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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 19 2019, @12:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the Good-Fast-Cheap...pick-two dept.

Let's say you've got something that needs to be computerised at a slightly higher level than an Arduino, with the computing part costing less than about $100-150, and ideally less than $50 (think Beaglebone, Odroid, PCEngine, Pi and clones, Pine, etc). It looks like the only choice is between ARM at the low end and x86 at the high end. Everything else has fallen by the wayside: The last MIPS-based product was the Ci20/Ci40 from 2015 and neither the hardware nor software have been updated since, PowerPC is out there but only as high-priced SBCs and good luck finding a distro that supports it, Sparc is left with Fujitsu working on it for mainframes, and RISC-V is still a glint in everyone's eye - the few SBCs based on it cost more than a low-end server, and despite various enthusiastic press releases I can't see any timeline where I can get a $50 RISC-V device that performs the same as a $50 ARM-based one. And then there's the software support, once you leave the x86 world you've got, outside of various specialised RTOSes, Linux. A very few systems have one or two of the BSDs, often in a hit-and-miss manner, but that's it.

Has Linux + ARM/x86 killed everything else?

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  • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday February 20 2019, @04:32AM (3 children)

    by driverless (4770) on Wednesday February 20 2019, @04:32AM (#803861)

    The C-Sky is kinda gutless, about the same as a cheap STM32 board, you're rather limited in terms of what you can do with it, the linked board has 64MB of RAM and 8MB of flash which is going to be painful if not impossible for self-hosted development. Loongson is also pretty hard to get hold of outside of China, and from what I've seen, outside of the Lemote, the ones available to outsiders are typically on multi-hundred-dollar server boards.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20 2019, @06:04AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20 2019, @06:04AM (#803884)

    That is pretty much dead on. The Russian one mentioned is the Balkal T1 and is also several hundred dollars. []
    There are also the MediaTek MIPS router boards that are sometimes configured like an SBC, but again you are limited to OpenWRT or similar. Not really any consumer level boards outside of x86 and ARM that would be good candidates for self hosted development.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday February 20 2019, @07:12AM

      by driverless (4770) on Wednesday February 20 2019, @07:12AM (#803908)

      The Baikal would be kinda cool, merely to say that you're running a Russian-sourced CPU that most people have never heard of. I looked at getting one via some Russian friends just for the coolness factor but they said you pretty much need to be a Russian speaker to work with it, in that all the tech info and support forums are Russian-only. Also, EUR500 is a lot to drop on something like that...

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday February 20 2019, @07:14AM

      by driverless (4770) on Wednesday February 20 2019, @07:14AM (#803909)

      Also the fact that the RTC is powered by Po210 instead of a battery was a bit of a concern...