Is BeagleBoard-XM (TI DM3730) good for both Hobbyist and Hardware Developer ?

Hi ,
           No doubt that the BeagleBoard-XM using DM3730 is a
wonderful piece of toy for Hobbyist (and for some professional too).

           From a hardware developer point of view, I understand that
from TI FAQ that they do sponsor some parts in the BeagleBoard to
encourage adoption but if without their sponsorship, what is the
estimated cost of small volume production (eg.100-500 unit) just in
term of Total Components Cost (eg.DM3730 and the rest...).

          It could be quite annoying and disappointing if we can only
easily buy unit of beagleboard from Digikey, learn it, love it,
customize our own board and later only find out that it is too
difficult and expensive to produce it for 100 unit or even 1000 unit
or so. Our ultimate goal is to produce a BeagleBoard-XM using Texas
Instrument DM3730 (1GHz) to replace the Intel Atom D525MW board (Dual
core 2x1.8Ghz) which is retailed at around $80 or less. Possible ?

          *Assuming we temporarily put aside the PCB Fabrication cost
& yield issue*

         Anyone, mind to share your insight or want to make some good
guess ?

Rgds,
Danny

That's $80 without memory, so factor in another $15-$20...

Regards,

Danny C wrote:

Hi ,
            No doubt that the BeagleBoard-XM using DM3730 is a
wonderful piece of toy for Hobbyist (and for some professional too).

            From a hardware developer point of view, I understand that
from TI FAQ that they do sponsor some parts in the BeagleBoard to
encourage adoption but if without their sponsorship, what is the
estimated cost of small volume production (eg.100-500 unit) just in
term of Total Components Cost (eg.DM3730 and the rest...).

As I understand it, the BeagleBoard is not "sponsored" at all by TI,
you are referring to the PandaBoard maybe?

Danny, I manufacture devices based on OMAP3530 in quantities around 100pcs per month. Believe me the Net Cost for my product is around actual Beagleboard retail cost. DM3730 costs even more! Atom boards cost cheaper and expectedly they are faster.

But! Did you see boards based on D525MW? They have either HUGE heat sink or a cooler. So Atom CPUs can’t be used in, say, tablets like Ipad or similar. Price is not the object. Probably you can buy the ultimate Android smartphone for 500-700usd, and for such price you can buy a notebook with far more performance. But here you must imagine a battery size for both of them! You can’t use x86 processors in mobile applications, the same as you can’t use mobile processor in desktop applications. You better decide what you need first: mobility or low-price solution. These are not the same

regards,
Max

2010/12/28 Vladimir Pantelic <vladoman@gmail.com>

Get your facts straight and look up the prices on the TI website. DM3730 is cheaper than the OMAP3530. A quick search on TI.com for 1k pricing gave me:
$32 for OMAP3530
$25.60 for DM3730
And only $13.75 for AM3703

For BeagleBoard, TI sells the chips to the contract manufacturer for higher volume prices through distribution. In reality, you could make your final high volume production system for less than the cost for us to make a BeagleBoard.

I work for TI, but I don’t want TI controlling the BeagleBoard project, which is why I won’t accept consigned parts where when marketing might want to move on to the next cool thing would leave us unfunded and unable to keep the prices and supply consistent for hobbyists.

I do agree with you, however, that the reason to use these devices is more about the power savings, but don’t get confused about how affordable they can be or how we are trying to run this project.

Get your facts straight and look up the prices on the TI website. DM3730 is cheaper than the OMAP3530. A quick search on TI.com for 1k pricing gave me:

$32 for OMAP3530

$25.60 for DM3730

And only $13.75 for AM3703

Jason, you have it exactly right. The price of the processor isn’t the big problem; it is the price of the memory. The cost for the Micron POP memory used on the Beagle-xM is about $60 in small quantities, which is more than twice the price of the processor and almost half the total BOM cost. Perhaps the use of external DDR2 memory will lower the cost, but the board layout will probably require an 8 layer board. I haven’t done the calculations, but I believe the use of external memory could reduce the BOM cost by $20 to $30 and I’m assuming the PCB cost would increase by $4 to $5.

Kind regards,

John

John (USP) wrote:

*From:*beagleboard@googlegroups.com [mailto:beagleboard@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *Jason Kridner
*Sent:* Tuesday, December 28, 2010 9:36 AM
*To:* beagleboard@googlegroups.com
*Cc:* beagleboard@googlegroups.com
*Subject:* Re: [beagleboard] Is BeagleBoard-XM (TI DM3730) good for both Hobbyist and Hardware Developer ?

Get your facts straight and look up the prices on the TI website. DM3730 is cheaper than the OMAP3530. A quick search on
TI.com <http://TI.com> for 1k pricing gave me:

$32 for OMAP3530

$25.60 for DM3730

And only $13.75 for AM3703

Jason, you have it exactly right. The price of the processor isn�t the big problem; it is the price of the memory. The
cost for the Micron POP memory used on the Beagle-xM is about $60 in small quantities, which is more than twice the
price of the processor and almost half the total BOM cost. Perhaps the use of external DDR2 memory will lower the cost,
but the board layout will probably require an 8 layer board. I haven�t done the calculations, but I believe the use of
external memory could reduce the BOM cost by $20 to $30 and I�m assuming the PCB cost would increase by $4 to $5.

beware, its LPDDR2, POP or not....

From: beagleboard@googlegroups.com [mailto:beagleboard@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Jason Kridner
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 9:36 AM
To: beagleboard@googlegroups.com
Cc: beagleboard@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [beagleboard] Is BeagleBoard-XM (TI DM3730) good for both Hobbyist and Hardware Developer ?

Get your facts straight and look up the prices on the TI website. DM3730 is cheaper than the OMAP3530. A quick search on TI.com for 1k pricing gave me:

$32 for OMAP3530

$25.60 for DM3730

And only $13.75 for AM3703

Jason, you have it exactly right. The price of the processor isn’t the big problem; it is the price of the memory. The cost for the Micron POP memory used on the Beagle-xM is about $60 in small quantities, which is more than twice the price of the processor and almost half the total BOM cost. Perhaps the use of external DDR2 memory will lower the cost, but the board layout will probably require an 8 layer board. I haven’t done the calculations, but I believe the use of external memory could reduce the BOM cost by $20 to $30 and I’m assuming the PCB cost would increase by $4 to $5.

The AM3517 is $15.85 and uses regular DDR2 memory and can be routed to the memory on a 4 layer board (2 signal, 2 power). See the CraneBoard for an example. It isn't high volume enough to be super cheap and it isn't really a hobbyist board, but it is a good reference for someone wanting to do BeagleBoard-like hardware cheaper.

In fact, I only use networking, mmc and the expansion port of the Beagleboard. I do not need audio, video and DSP. It is a waste of resources. But, I do need an embedded Linux board to have reasonable speed and RAM size.

-Eric

From: beagleboard@googlegroups.com [mailto:beagleboard@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Jason Kridner
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 9:36 AM
To: beagleboard@googlegroups.com
Cc: beagleboard@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [beagleboard] Is BeagleBoard-XM (TI DM3730) good for both Hobbyist and Hardware Developer ?

Get your facts straight and look up the prices on the TI website. DM3730 is cheaper than the OMAP3530. A quick search on TI.com for 1k pricing gave me:

$32 for OMAP3530

$25.60 for DM3730

And only $13.75 for AM3703

Jason, you have it exactly right. The price of the processor isn’t the big problem; it is the price of the memory. The cost for the Micron POP memory used on the Beagle-xM is about $60 in small quantities, which is more than twice the price of the processor and almost half the total BOM cost. Perhaps the use of external DDR2 memory will lower the cost, but the board layout will probably require an 8 layer board. I haven’t done the calculations, but I believe the use of external memory could reduce the BOM cost by $20 to $30 and I’m assuming the PCB cost would increase by $4 to $5.

The AM3517 is $15.85 and uses regular DDR2 memory and can be routed to the memory on a 4 layer board (2 signal, 2 power). See the CraneBoard for an example. It isn’t high volume enough to be super cheap and it isn’t really a hobbyist board, but it is a good reference for someone wanting to do BeagleBoard-like hardware cheaper.

Guys,

forget about POP! It is only Micron which changes plans every 3 months! I had to rework my product when Micron stopped the production of 152b memory! Now I switched to OMAPxxCUS packages and finally became happy! :slight_smile:
Now I have Hynix and Samsung. And I admit that they are 2 times cheaper than Micron!

Now about layers of a board. If you use OMAP3xxCBB (0.5mm balls spacing) then you will have not only 6-8 layers boards but mandatory very complex blind/buried vias and be sure that such boards are not cheap! It is quite an effort to find an appropriate manufacturer in China that can make boards for you.

So, use more simple processor packages and forget about Micron! I confirm that the use of external memory reduces the BOM cost dramatically!

2010/12/29 John (USP) <jsynesio@us-power.com>

Guys,

forget about POP! It is only Micron which changes plans every 3 months! I had to rework my product when Micron stopped the production of 152b memory! Now I switched to OMAPxxCUS packages and finally became happy! :slight_smile:
Now I have Hynix and Samsung. And I admit that they are 2 times cheaper than Micron!

Now about layers of a board. If you use OMAP3xxCBB (0.5mm balls spacing) then you will have not only 6-8 layers boards but mandatory very complex blind/buried vias and be sure that such boards are not cheap! It is quite an effort to find an appropriate manufacturer in China that can make boards for you.

So, use more simple processor packages and forget about Micron! I confirm that the use of external memory reduces the BOM cost dramatically!

Maxim, thank you for sharing your experience. I bet the trace length tuning between the OMAP and memory was very difficult because of the way TI brings out the pins on the CBB package. Any chance you can share that part of the layout with us?

Kind Regards,
John

John,

I use the CUS package. It has 0.65mm spacing between balls so you won’t have any problems in route traces out.

2010/12/29 John (USP) <jsynesio@us-power.com>