Parallella design files shipped to manufacturer!
It took longer than expected, but the first revision of the Parallella board has been sent off to the manufacturer and we will have the first 10 Parallella boards built up and ready for testing by April 15th!
We are clearly running behind schedule, and we apologize! The main reason for the delay has been unexpected challenges involved in reaching the $99 price point. Producing a $99 single board computer may not be that difficult if you are shipping millions of units (you can buy a $50 Android smartphone today), but with only 6,300 Parallella boards shipping, our cost challenges were immense. Much gratitude goes out to the component manufacturers who really “got it” (Xilinx, Analog Devices, Intersil, Micron, Microchip, Samtec all deserve special thanks). Without their help we would be losing $100 per board!
We spent close to two months optimizing the design for cost (ie reducing component counts and scouring the data-books for inexpensive high quality alternatives) in order to get within striking distance of the $99 price target. Unfortunately there wasn’t much that could be done about the complexity of the board layout due to the abundance of high speed differential routing, 0.8mm pitch BGAs, and tight component placement. The Parallella is now a 12 layer board with aggressive line and drill hole dimensions.
The schedule slippage is VERY painful for all of us but in terms of product features the Parallella project is coming together even better than we could have hoped. The thought of having actual Parallella boards in hand in a few weeks is very exciting!
Later this week, Roman will be publishing the FPGA HDL source code and boot image source code on github and Yaniv will be releasing an improved driver library. There are a lot of incredibly talented developers within the Parallella community and we are hopeful that many of you will have the time and interest to give us valuable feedback once the code is released.
There are still some big challenges left, but we can now see the finish line up ahead!