When I published my last post about ARM boards there were many questions and suggestions with interesting devices. Thank You all for it.
But there were also suggestions about ARM9 or ARM11 based devices. So I decided that it is good time to write what interest me now in ARM world.
But first some inventory. I had/used/have several devices with ARM cpu:
StrongARM (armv4) one:
- Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 (which took me to ARM world)
ARM920 (armv4t) ones:
- Openmoko GTA01 bv3, bv4 (s3c2410)
- EDB9301 (EP9301 cpu)
- Sim-One (EP9307)
ARM926 (armv5te) ones:
- Sharp Zaurus sl-5600 (pxa250)
- Sharp Zaurus c760/sl-6000 (pxa255)
- Sharp Zaurus sl-c3000 (pxa272)
- Sheevaplug (kirkwood)
- Atmel devboards (at91sam9263, at91sam9m10)
- ST-Microelectronics/ST-Ericsson NDK-15, NHK-15 (st88n15)
- Nokia 770 (omap1710)
- Linksys NSLU2 (ixp425 iirc)
ARM1136 (armv6) ones:
- Nokia N810 (omap2430)
- Bug r1.0, r1.2 (i.mx31)
Cortex-A8 (armv7a) ones:
- Beagleboard B7, B7, C3 (omap3430)
- Nokia N900 (omap3430)
- Nexus S (exynos3)
- Genesi Efika MX Smartbook (i.mx51)
- Freescale Quickstart (i.mx53)
Cortex-A9 (armv7a) ones:
- Pandaboard EA1, A1 (omap4430)
- Archos G9 80 (omap4430)
All of that during last 8 years. Most of my ARM live so far was around ARM926 based devices (some of them still can not be listed here) and I do not want to go there again. Kirkwood core was fastest one with 1.2GHz clock and 512MB of RAM it was really fast machine. I only missed Serial ATA in my Sheevaplug (rev 1.0) but even with hard drive on USB it was nice improvement.
Then I played a bit with ARM11 processors. Ok, they were faster than most of ARM9 cpus but I already had experience with Sheevaplug. And after few months first Cortex-a8 board landed on my desk — I got Beagleboard B7 from Bug labs as test platform for their new device. This was improvement!
I still remember my reaction when connected it to normal LCD monitor and saw it used at 720p resolution (1680×1050 was a bit hard for omap3). Moved to Nokia N900 few months later and found that fast cpu means nothing when paired with slow storage and not enough memory for system.
So today I prefer to not look below Cortex-A9 (or comparable cores like ones from Qualcomm or Marvell). Hope to play one day with Cortex-A5 (which should replace ARM926 one day) just to see how low-end armv7a cpu behave.
And wait for ARMv8 to hit market.