Qualcomm SoCs and SBCs


veloknight

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Oct 1, 2016
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Hey all,

I just noticed on the Wikipedia page for the Adreno GPU that Freedreno supports full OpenGL (up to 3.1) on a variety of different Qualcomm SoCs. There are even some commercially available SBC computers from Qualcomm. I'm posting out of ignorance and curiosity - both about how viable these SBCs (like the DragonBoard 410c) are for DIY light gaming setups and whether this makes Qualcomm a promising potential vendor for future Pyra logic boards. Despite the FreeDreno driver generally being at a much better state than most of the competition, I don't see many SBCs or gadgets using Qualcomm systems - is there some common issue (high MoQ requirements, hard-to-acquire blob firmware, etc.,) that is behind this?
 

pyrat

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May 20, 2016
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Well, EvilDragon hinted he had an eye on IMX 8 QuadMax which is by Freescale, but they were bought by NXP and now I think Qualcomm has bought or is buying or will buy NXP.
That one did not have an Adreno GPU for Freedreno but a Vivante for a possibly upgraded future Etnaviv.
For Qualcomm, Blobs and NDAs may be concerns. MOQ maybe too, I don't know. But Lkcl said some 410 are accessible in detail. I think those have a badly isolated modem that poses threats.
The Pyra design might do better with a modem-less CPU (I think they're on different boards already, and one only wants to upgrade the CPU board).

[FWIW the EOMA-68 project is currently looking into RK3288 (Rockchip was accused of GPL violations, I believe, and documentation is secretive but leaked, but the fact there's the veyron speedy chromebook supported by libreboot gives hope about RYF, but the MALI GPU makes 3D accel proprietary) and Nexell/Samsung s5p681 whose linux support is alledgedly bad. But maybe its MALI-400 is supported by Lima ? I don't really know if those are better than OMAP 5432, other than number of cores, they're just more powerful than A20 ]

I think for now the work is finishing the CPU board, and supporting software, and in the future one can see what processor is available without blobs and with free software for all drivers.

 

veloknight

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Oct 1, 2016
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It's the MOQ requirements I think.
Good (and sad) to know, thanks.

Well, EvilDragon hinted he had an eye on IMX 8 QuadMax which is by Freescale, but they were bought by NXP and now I think Qualcomm has bought or is buying or will buy NXP.
That one did not have an Adreno GPU for Freedreno but a Vivante for a possibly upgraded future Etnaviv.
For Qualcomm, Blobs and NDAs may be concerns. MOQ maybe too, I don't know. But Lkcl said some 410 are accessible in detail. I think those have a badly isolated modem that poses threats.
The Pyra design might do better with a modem-less CPU (I think they're on different boards already, and one only wants to upgrade the CPU board).

[FWIW the EOMA-68 project is currently looking into RK3288 (Rockchip was accused of GPL violations, I believe, and documentation is secretive but leaked, but the fact there's the veyron speedy chromebook supported by libreboot gives hope about RYF, but the MALI GPU makes 3D accel proprietary) and Nexell/Samsung s5p681 whose linux support is alledgedly bad. But maybe its MALI-400 is supported by Lima ? I don't really know if those are better than OMAP 5432, other than number of cores, they're just more powerful than A20 ]

I think for now the work is finishing the CPU board, and supporting software, and in the future one can see what processor is available without blobs and with free software for all drivers.
Wow, this is really interesting, thanks. My big interest in Qualcomm (and I guess Vivante too) is that according to their respective wikipedia pages, many of their GPUs support full OpenGL (I'm not sure if that's etnaviv or the proprietary driver in Vivante's case), which obviously is pretty exciting from a gaming perspective. Lima seems to be pretty effectively stalled to me. I like free graphics drivers (especially on arm boards where firmware and booting can be tricky), but I'm not a stickler and the main interest here is full OpenGL support.

Too bad about Freescale, but maybe the Qualcomm purchase will take long enough that we'd be able to get in an order? Fingers crossed, anyways.
 

WizardStan

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Good (and sad) to know, thanks.
Minimum orders are a bitch to small projects. The only reason he was even able to get the OMAP5 was by not getting any support agreement, which is part of why there's been so much difficulty getting it working.
 

veloknight

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Minimum orders are a bitch to small projects. The only reason he was even able to get the OMAP5 was by not getting any support agreement, which is part of why there's been so much difficulty getting it working.
Hrm. What's the form factor / interface of the CPU-board? I see existing Systems on Module out there for purchase and it doesn't seem like they have any minimum orders - would it be possible to create an adapter of some sorts, so ED could buy boards that are already available (in, idk, Q7 or one of the smaller COM Express sizes)?
 

levi

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It's a custom designed interface, although one that will be publicly documented, and made out of commonly available parts. It might even have been published already - I've not been checking - or we may need to wait for the layout files to derive it from.

Making an adaptor might be tricky, since we're very tight on space there between the mainboard and the battery. But the idea is that third parties (probably the chip makers themselves) could release new boards in that spec, in case the Pyra becomes massively popular.
 

veloknight

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Oct 1, 2016
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It's a custom designed interface, although one that will be publicly documented, and made out of commonly available parts. It might even have been published already - I've not been checking - or we may need to wait for the layout files to derive it from.

Making an adaptor might be tricky, since we're very tight on space there between the mainboard and the battery. But the idea is that third parties (probably the chip makers themselves) could release new boards in that spec, in case the Pyra becomes massively popular.
Interesting, thanks for the information. I've been wondering about that for a while, but couldn't find anything beyond the wiki page for the CPU-board. I get why - especially in a system as small as this one - you'd want a custom interface and form factor, but it is a shame that it means any boards will have to be customized. I suppose if you found a very small module and could create an adaptor that "wrapped around" it instead of adding another layer of daughterboards it might work?

If anyone has the spec, would you mind sharing? I'm especially interested in the space dimensions.
 
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