where do i find hardware development support?

Discussion created by maxreason on Dec 3, 2007
Where do I find basic hardware system development support?

I have been designing a family of advanced "vision system" products. I have designed schematics and FPGA support based on the latest "network processors", but before I commit the company to my design approach, I have been doing some "due diligence" that involves comparing my current approach with alternate component choices. I worry that companies making these "network processors" do not have a long history, and have not reliably delivered information and product when they promised. After some review of AMD64 multicore CPUs, it appears we might be better off replacing the network processor with a multicore CPU + chipset. While we find prices (and some hardware design specifications) on AMD64 CPUs are easy to find, we find ourselves seemingly blind when it comes to the complementary chipsets that support these CPUs. What gives? Where do we look?

Before I ask more detailed questions, can someone answer the above. For what it is worth, the following question I posted elsewhere provides some additional information about what we are trying to accomplish.

I will appreciate some guidance.


I am designing several advanced vision systems and want to consider phenom chips for my designs. However, I have not been able to find specifications and prices for the chipsets that seem to be the easiest and most efficient way to design these systems. Also, though the CPUs can be purchaced in dozens if not hundreds of places, I cannot find a single place to purchase chipsets like the 770, 790X, etc. What gives?

Though I am not designing a general purpose computer system, what I need to do is similar to designing a stripped-down PC system motherboard. I don't need every component a motherboard does, but I do need CPU, DRAM and gigabit ethernet ports, [I2C and PCIe and GPIO interfaces hopefully but not necessarily], and some way to interface to an FPGA that I will implement some specialized circuitry in. I suppose I can make the FPGA look like a region of slow DDR2 SDRAM, but our cyclone3 FPGA is probably far too slow support a hypertransport interface.

Anyway, the 2 main questions I need answered to begin this work are:
1: where can I find prices and buy amd/nvidia/other chipsets appropriate for the x1/x2/x4-phenom series?
2: what website and/or forum (and subsection) should I discuss system design issues like these?


A couple other less important questions that pop into mind head:
1: where can i find which chipsets support which AMD 64-bit x1/x2/x4 CPUs?
2: where can i find a graph of power-consumption versus clock-rate for x2 and x4 CPUs?

I ask the above because sometimes my applications need to perform very high-speed computations very quickly when needed, but may then have little work to perform for many milliseconds. I want to know how much I can reduce power consumption when [much] less performance is needed. I can design a circuit to lower power-supply voltage at these times if that helps (for example), or ?somehow? tell the CPU clock to dramatically slow down.