[mythtv-users] Newbie hardware purchase question

J.D. Bakker bakker at thorgal.et.tudelft.nl
Tue Mar 9 11:08:44 EST 2004

At 19:04 +0000 08-03-2004, Mark Cooper wrote:
>KMF wrote:
>>        http://www.solarpc.com/compare.html
>>   What are the disadvantages of these EPIA systems for use with
>>  Linux/Myth PVR systems?    Thanks for any help,
>While an EPIA system is a good choice, the SPVR2100m appears to use 
>an ATi 7000 as video output. This is unfortunate as ATi doesn't 
>support linux very well.

IMHO 'not very well' isn't quite fair to ATi. They do cooperate with 
the XFree86 folks, as well as offering their own drivers. I'm happily 
running a Radeon 7500 low profile PCI card on my micro-ATX Myth 
frontend (which uses a LOT less processor power than the video 
controller in the SiS chipset).

On a vaguely related note, I'm in the process of designing a new 
'open hardware' machine, targeted to run Linux (a successor to the 
LART, see .sig). This machine will not have a BIOS, at least not one 
in the '20-year IBM legacy' sense; it doesn't even have an x86 CPU. 
Trouble is, all current XFree drivers expect the BIOS to initialize 
the video chip; the BIOS usually does this by calling a blob of 
proprietary x86 code on a ROM chip on the video card. This is what 
happened when I approached three major video chip vendors:

NVidia: "We don't support that."
SiliconMotion: "We don't support that."
ATi: "Sure, we can see why you'd want to do that. We'll ask our 
engineers to write initialization code for Linux, other customers may 
well be interested in that too. If you need something to get your 
prototypes tested NOW, you can do <x> to get the card in a working 

Additionally, it looks like ATi will allow me to release schematics 
of my design without an NDA, which would definitely be out of the 
question if I'd use a chip from any of the other major players.

Do you have any horror stories about recent ATi practices (other than 
the prime example of wishful thinking engineering that is the 
All-In-Wonder) ? Seriously, I'm about to route a PCB with a Radeon on 
it, and if there are any major ATi-related gotchas this is the time 
I'd want to find out.


[not affiliated with ATi in any other way]
LART. 250 MIPS under one Watt. Free hardware design files.

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