New Platforms for the T-Engine
Translated and compiled by: Mohit Sindhwani (TE@Onghu)
As we neared the end of last year, T-Engine/ T-Kernel support was brought to a couple of new platforms that are now available for general sale. Key among these, were the following:
- T-Kernel on x86
- T-Engine/ Xilinx (on Power PC 405)
- Micro Teaboard (ARM7-AT91)
PMC has ported the T-Kernel to the Intel x86 architecture and it is now available under the name “PMC T-Kernel/x86”. It runs on x86 compatible CPUs including Pentium, Athlon, Geode, etc. PMC has also made a board available for running the kernel. This should make it easier to develop systems based on the T-Kernel. It was supposed to be available in the first quarter of 2007 but I don’t think it is available yet – however, it should arrive soon.
One of the main benefits of this port is that it can be used on a regular PC on VMware. Therefore, it is possible to develop on just a host PC by using this version of the kernel in a VMware environment. Thereafter, due to the platform concept, it should be quite easy to recompile and run the software on a different T-Engine.
PMC T-Kernel/ x86 (pictures from TRON Show 2007)
T-Engine/ Xilinx (Power PC405)
The T-Kernel has been ported to the Power PC core and a T-Engine is now available based on this core. The board is built around a Xilinx Virtex FPGA with a hard core Power PC 405. The system has 16MByte of Flash and 128MByte of SDRAM. It also includes LAN support as standard. At the same time, it can be connected to an external VGA monitor. In my opinion, this is a really interesting board that allows for a variety of design options to be explored. With this port being completed,
The software stack comprises the T-Kernel, T-Kernel/SE, T-Monitor, file management support, command line interface, PC Card Manager, USB Host Manager, device drivers (RTC, serial console, system disk, KB/PD, screen).
The hardware specifications of the T-Engine/Xilinx Power PC are as follows:
CPU: PowerPC 405 (300MHz) on Xilinx Virtex-4 FX60
Flash: 16 MBytes
SDRAM: 128 MBytes
Input/ Output Interfaces: USB (Host), PCMCIA, Serial, eTRON interface, headphone output, microphone input, expansion interface (PCI compatible)
Peripherals: RTC, Analog RGB output, LAN (2 ports), JTAG Interface (some functions require a connector board)
320×240 LCD, key switches and touch panel
T-Engine/PPC (original picture is at: http://www-wa0.personal-media.co.jp/pmc/pictures/teppc-v4fx.png )
Micro Teaboard/ ARM7-AT91
This is a T-Engine appliance that runs on the ARM7/AT91 processor (from ATMEL) running at 33MHz and provides a rich set of peripherals that can be used in different applications. As mentioned, this is a T-Engine appliance and so does not conform to the T-Engine kit guidelines. However, the software stack is essentially the same. The Micro TeaBoard comes with the T-Monitor, T-Kernel, device drivers, and a TCP/IP stack.
The board has 4MB of flash memory and 2MB of external SDRAM (the microprocessor itself has 8KB of SDRAM). Its interfaces include a DSUB9 serial port, 3 x UART ports, 4 x SPI, 6 timers, 4 x PWM, 4 x ADC, 2 x ADC, GPIO, LAN and a JTAG Interface. It is targeted at applications in embedded control.
Micro Teaboard/ ARM7-AT91 (pictures from TRON Show 2007)
More information on all these options is available (mostly in Japanese) from the PMC T-Engine website.