Integrating XMOS processors with custom PCB board designs

Technical discussions around xCORE processors (e.g. General Purpose (L/G), xCORE-USB, xCORE-Analog, xCORE-XA).
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Re: Integrating XMOS processors with custom PCB board design

Postby Folknology » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:59 pm

Bianco wrote:XMOS plays in the high end microcontroller ball park, certainly their higher end SKUs are not optimized for cheap hobbyist/semi-professional use. And they shouldn't!. The G series are for either high volume or low volume high end products. In the first case the additional costs for PCB are negligible, in the second case, the production costs do not matter as much anyway. If those customers are happy, then it's good.
Increasing the pitch to 1.0mm would increase the package size to at least 25x25mm and it was already quite big. That said, G-series are not really recommended for new designs anyway.

To put it rude, hobbyists and semi-professional hobbyists are only good for one thing: they potentially may generate revenues in the future by convincing their work environment to use XMOS chips. They don't generate enough revenue by their own usage. To give an example: there are maybe 2 million arduinos + clones sold. Say that each AVR is sold for 2 euros, then the total revenue is about 4 million euros. This is nothing compared to the yearly revenue of 1400 million that Atmel has. And in the case of Atmel I even believe that it didn't even helped THAT much to get new design wins that they otherwise wouldn't have had. (Parallax is the only company that might prove me wrong :p).

This view may sound very economic but in the end everything is about money.

Although I agree with most of this Bianco given Xmos' high end professional focus why would they come out with such a low cost development board such as the $15 StartKit, not to mention giving away thousands of them! The Startkit also has onboard some interesting choices like a Raspbery Pi header one would not put this into the high end pro category, There is something more considered happening here than pro or hobby? I believe that what was once seen as a hobby market has expanded into something of much more value to chip vendors. Makers and open source are not just hobby but represent a new wave of product designers and producers and vendors are competing for the emerging talent that may go onto to design the next big products and getting their mind space and attention is strategic IMHO.

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Postby Bianco » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:38 pm

It's problably a matter of do what others do, to not miss the boat.

Larger microcontroller companies have been dumping cheap boards on the market for several years (TI Launchpad, STm Discovery, NXP mbed), usually at a loss or at most with little profit. I bought some MSP430 boards 3 years ago for 3.69 euro a piece, quite amazing. The point is indeed to brainwash us ;). I'm not sure how well this strategy is paying off for those companies. It has certainly been driven by the Arduino. They all want to be the next thing. While I said that the chips for the Arduino are not generating substantially revenue, having millions of cheap boards shipped is of course very good for brand recognition, certainly if the boards are made by the silicon vendor itself (unlike Arduino).
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Postby mhelin » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:53 pm

Yes but consider Broadcom and Raspberry Pi, they had sold 2000000 units by last October, guess it has become some kind of business now - wonder when we'll be able to buy the XMOS startKIT t-shirts of coffee or tee cups. Now why couldn't or shouldn't the chip vendor also start manufacturing target boards for production? In fact startKIT would make a nice prodution board just by leaving out some components like the LED's and of course the OTP should be left intact at factory. Some kind of adapter for the TP1 connector for XTAG-2 would be nice as well.

Regarding startKIT many people haven't found or read the latest version (1.2) of the startKIT hardware manual but still read the version 1.0 (what is what google finds). The last one can get from the URL ... ion=latest

It says "The xCORE-Analog A8-DEV device is only available as part of startKIT, and is
therefore not separately documented. If you are using startKIT as a target platform
and need datasheet-level documentation, you may find it useful to review the
XS1-U16A-128-FB217 Datasheet.

If you are using startKIT as a development platform and intend to run your final
application on a commercially available single tile device, it may be helpful to
review the XS1-A8A-64-FB96 Datasheet"

So those senteces also give the idea of a target platform that would be very productive for people who (like me) are mostly software oriented.
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Postby MatCat » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:26 pm

Personally I have no idea why you guys even targeted the RPI for a connection style, RPI is not that useful and I don't think it really has much of an audience, at least not one that you would think XMOS would want to be attracting.
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Postby Folknology » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:12 pm

MatCat wrote:Personally I have no idea why you guys even targeted the RPI for a connection style, RPI is not that useful and I don't think it really has much of an audience, at least not one that you would think XMOS would want to be attracting.
To be honest the RPi GPIO wouldn't exactly have been my first choice, being a secondary thought by Raspberry Pi org in the first place! However because of the popularity of the Raspberry Pi a market has grown around add-ons, I guess Xmos figured they might be able to leverage that market for experimenters a little..

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Postby Abby666 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:53 am

steven wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:28 am
For somewhat larger quantities (+10 pcs) and final designs, I'd recommend They charge a 50USD startup fee, but it is waived for reorders. Their price per sq. inch is on the low side, too. For quick quotes, they are available on MSN messenger, which according to me is a first in the industry :-P
Shipping is reasonably priced and pretty fast, seeing as they ship via DHL. Don't forget the VAT if you're not a business customer though.
Thank you for your recognition of OurPCB. Both OurPCB and WellPCB are from China, both are very cost-effective and of good quality. I hope you can have a chance to try their services!
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Postby frank85 » Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:36 am

I'll recommend another three good choices to get boards made.
1. ChinaPCBOne
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It's founded in 2006 and is a professional and integrated supplier for PCB production service from Shenzhen, China. It has a long history of making PCBs and provides one-stop service for PCB fabrication, PCB assembly and components sourcing. It can handle Double Sided, Multi layer, Flex PCB, Metal Core PCB and more.

3. Hitech Circuits
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