Progress on PCB Design and on Software

Updates on Schematics are being transposed to the PCB design

In February the designer analyzed the Pericom PI7C9X2G608GP PCIe Packet Switch with the direct support of Pericom staff. Now, the Pericom PCIe Packet Switch is fully tested and all the needed setup is completed, so the designer has completed the inclusion of  all required information in the updated version of the schematics and is starting to unravel the PCB. 

The designer has updated the SerDes connections following our suggestions taking into account the notes we have provided, so a new version of the schematics is expected soon.

  1. render powerpc notebook

    Donation Campaign for PCB design of the PowerPC Notebook motherboard

    €14,180.16 donated of €19,000.00 goal

Arctic-Fox 27.10.1 PPC64 in our Repo

The main contributor to Arctic-Fox – Riccardo Mottola – member of our Power Progress Community association – has released the new version 27.10.1+b0 that we have compiled and packaged in our Debian PPC64 repo. Riccardo says: “Session Store, code greatly improved compared to past releases, performance improvements in both the html engine as well as a new build system imported from Firefox. This release is definitely a great improvement compared to 27.9.19 right at start”

Arctic-Fox 27.10.1 PPC64 running on our T2080-RDB, that has the same processor as our future notebook.

Repository moved to our Power Progress Community GitLab group.

We have created a Gitlab group called Power Progress Community and we moved all our gitlab repositories under https://gitlab.com/power-progress-community. What is important to know is that all URLs have changed and any cloned repository must be rebased. If you have cloned our repositories you should update git remote origin.

Working on Unreal Engine for PowerPC64 Big Endian

We are working on a port of UnrealEngine (UE) to PowerPC 64 Big Endian. We started by forking the PowerPC64 Little Endian (PPC64le) version and we are currently trying to compile the sources. The original PPC64le port for UE 4.23 was developed by Elvis Dowson and Raptor Engineering and can be found at https://github.com/edowson/UnrealEngine/tree/4.23-ppc64le. Access to the UE4 sources requires accepting the Epic Games EULA as described in https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/ue4-on-github.

We have  modified the original scripts to compile for PPC64 Big Endian but so far, we still have to solve multiple errors leading before being able to generate a working binary. You can find our fork and ppc64 branch here https://github.com/robyinno/UnrealEngine/tree/4.23-ppc64 ( to access it you need to accept Epic Games EULA). We are building the source using both a Power9 virtual machine provided by Open OSU and OpenPower Foundation, as well as on our NXP T2080-RDB development kit using Debian PPC64 SID unstable. If you want to help us on fixing the compilation errors, you can start from our UnrealEnginePPC64 Wiki, please contact us.

A screenshot of the ongoing compilation of Unreal Engine on our NXP T2080-RDB developer kit, that has the same PPC64 Big Endian CPU of our future notebook.

PCB design updates and updated components list

As we stated in a previous article, we have already contracted ACube Systems and the PCB design work has started. This post is a first report about the work in progress in relation to the PCB design.

These days, the designer is analyzing the Pericom Switch with the direct support of Pericom personnel.

The Pericom PI7C9X2G608GP is a PCIE Gen 2 Switch that provides one upstream port supporting x4 or x1, and 4 or 5 downstream ports that support x1 operation. This chip has a Power Dissipation of 1.2 W.

In our mobo the PI7C9X2G608GP is essential as it allows to connect one 4x PCIe 2.0 controller of the NXP T2080 CPU with four 1x PCIe chips/cards: M.2 3G/LTE card , M.2 WiFi card, 1x Renesas USB3 Controller and 1x C-Media Audio chipset.

Continue reading

PCB Design Started! Carpe Diem!

Four months have passed since we started our donation campaign aimed at the PCB design and we are now at around €6500 (27%) of the goal €24000 for the entire phase 1 of the design, and we must admit that the rate of donations is slower than what we had hoped for.

Phase 1 is subdivided in two subtasks:

  • 1A) PCB Project € 19000
  • 1B) Fast SI bus simulations €5000

In other words, we reached an encouraging 34% of what is required for subtask 1A.

As we really want to speed up as much as possible the activity, we decided to formally split phase 1, and not to wait to reach €24000 to start the design of the PCB.

To do so, we signed a contract with ACube Systems (company we rely on for the design) just for subtask 1A. Doing so gives the chance to start right now the PCB design. At the time of signing the contract, we paid €6000, the amount required by the designer to start working.

Slimbook Eclipse Notebook

One of the reasons forcing us to speed up the planned activities, is linked to the availability of the Slimbook model “Eclipse” that will not last forever, very much like any other commercially available products such as the electronic components we selected during the electrical schematics design phase. In fact, the electrical schematics are customized for the pinouts of that specific Slimbook model, and the PCB design will be specifically shaped to fit in the Slimbook Eclipse chassis. Because of these constraints, we have to finish the PCB design (phase 1A), the fast SI bus simulations (phase 1B) and the prototypes (phase 2) around this summer.

We fixed the end of April 2020 as the time-limit for phase 1A, so we have 3 months left to raise the remaining €12500. As you may well understand this goal is quite ambitious, but it is necessary if we don’t want to risk to fail.

Continue reading