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My Dilemma — Parallax Forums

My Dilemma

Over the last 10 years there have been so many suggestions for features on the planned P2 successor to the P1. With great enthusiasm the forum has pitched in helping Chip with testing and software and design analysis resulting in a really great design for the P2. But that's the problem, it's still a design, it is not a P2.

My dilemma though is this; Do I cave in and throw my ideas and time and testing into the P2 stew with the possible reward that the P2 design actually incorporates some nice features that I'd like to see and know I could use? Sure, I've stocked up on different FPGA boards and ported Tachyon just so I'd have some idea about P2. Or do I refrain from joining in in the vain hope that I will have the possible reward of an actual P2?

Seeing that every new features becomes a monster of a thread and pushes the P2 silicon date further and further into the future, I must weigh that option very cautiously as no matter how good it will be it is of no use to me now, but not joining in seems to make not one iota of difference anyway.

Trouble is I'm too busy designing stuff with the only Prop we've got and I have to make do with it. I don't have the luxury of debating and thinking about features year after year. The thing though is once P2 hits the streets I am so very ready as what I am doing now I will be doing with P2 as well, you know, actually building stuff.

Does anybody actually do stuff with the P1 anymore other than breadboarding and learning? I haven't heard about any commercial projects or designs lately. I know there has been work done on tools to build P1 applications but besides demos where are those applications?

My other options are find a suitable FPGA and soup up a P1V for my needs or go elsewhere.

What do I do?

Comments

  • My other options are find a suitable FPGA and soup up a P1V for my needs or go elsewhere.

    What do I do?

    Can you do what you need with something else which is on the shelf now?
    Can you afford to wait at least a year for P2 in silicon?
    Will waiting cause lost opportunities?
    If you wait, can you risk the P2 not working in silicon?
    Would that time waiting be better spent learning to use, for instance, FPGAs?
    How sensitive to component costs are your products?
    How critical to your business plans is the P2?

    One should never underestimate lost opportunities. Waiting for the 'right' product to be available might mean that whilst your product, when it arrives, will be the best it's not much good if customers are already buying an inferior one. Getting people to change is difficult.
  • cgraceycgracey Posts: 13,407
    Stay on board. We are almost there.
  • cgracey wrote: »
    Stay on board. We are almost there.

    I hope so, I've stayed on board this long rather than slink away quietly like many.

    Now if I hear both you and Ken say "we are almost there" then that would inspire me even more.

    Now if I hear "we are there"...... :)

  • Even better if Ken shares the tracking number from the IC packaging facility. :)
  • The sad part is all the Tri-tip that Ken bought for Last September's launch party has gotten freezer burn by now!

    Maybe we can start targeting that elusive "Spring date" that Dave Hein was couting down to last year....
  • mindrobots wrote: »
    The sad part is all the Tri-tip that Ken bought for Last September's launch party has gotten freezer burn by now!

    Maybe we can start targeting that elusive "Spring date" that Dave Hein was couting down to last year....

    Yeah, Ken's not the only one with a "beef" :)


  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 870
    edited 2016-05-19 13:11
    Does anybody actually do stuff with the P1 anymore other than breadboarding and learning? I haven't heard about any commercial projects or designs lately.
    I got into the P1 a few years ago partly because I thought that the P2 was imminent. Using the P1, I built a prototype of a design that I hoped others would have interest in, with the hope of "souping it up" before release once the P2 became available. The lesson I took from that is that it's almost always ill-advised to base a design on a chip that doesn't exist (which would be obvious to most people).

    Recently, I've redesigned my P1-based prototype and discovered that I can get by with a lot less computing power (speed/pins/cogs/memory) than I thought. So, while the P2 moves ahead, I'm moving ahead with a P1 version of my project. I figure it might be ready just about the time that the P2 is ready to sample, and I can decide then whether to release the P1 version or wait for the P2. It's pretty amazing what the P1 can do, even 10 years after its release, especially when its features match the application. Still, I enjoy following the progress of the P2 and will continue to do so for as long as I believe that it is moving forward. Perhaps that's because I have a specific application in mind that can take advantage of part of what it has to offer.

    Anyway, thanks for expressing your dilemma. I'd like to say that I know how you feel, but your computing needs and ability are way above mine. But at least I'm moving forward (albeit slowly) with a potential product that is nearly a perfect match for the P1. I know the forum has quieted down a lot. That's a sign that the P2 is overdue, I guess. But I think we'll get at least half the activity back when the P2 is released (though it will take time to ramp back up).

    PS: Amusingly, when I checked the spelling of "albeit" (as I wondered if it had a space), it gave this example: "He was making progress, albeit rather slowly." That's what I just said about me! Oh, well, one step at a time. Meanwhile, Chip is chipping away (sorry). Actually, it looks like he's down to the polishing phase. It's been a long road, but it's worth it...because, like the P1, the P2 will allow lots of creative and useful things.
  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 870
    edited 2016-05-19 13:33
    though is this: Do I cave in and throw my ideas and time and testing into the P2 stew with the possible reward that the P2 design actually incorporates some nice features that I'd like to see and know I could use? Sure, I've stocked up on different FPGA boards and ported Tachyon just so I'd have some idea about P2. Or do I refrain from joining in in the vain hope that I will have the possible reward of an actual P2?

    I don't think that your hope for having a P2 in the near-term (say, under a year) is in "vain." Chip has all but wrapped up the design (unless timing or power issues gum up the works). Yes, the LUT stuff has probably added a week to the release, but one or two refinements came as a result. And finishing up the last-remaining details always takes a bit of time. Now as to whether you should share your P2 ideas, of course! I'll admit that I was tempted to say, "No, don't share them if they could significantly delay the P2." But Chip is committed to finishing soon and knows how to parse what can and cannot go into the current design. So, it would be a pity for you to suppress a potentially great idea just because it could delay things. But if your ideas involve totally reworking the busses and so on, just be prepared for Chip to say that the ship has already sailed in terms of bringing on such "cargo." I will admit that I'm somewhat shocked when I see bold ideas like going from 16 cogs down to 8 at this late stage (such a change might be enough to set me adrift), as I feel that it's better if suggestions dovetail with the current design. But you never know when someone's idea might be the way to go or might lead to something else that's good.
  • mindrobots wrote: »
    The sad part is all the Tri-tip that Ken bought for Last September's launch party has gotten freezer burn by now!

    Maybe we can start targeting that elusive "Spring date" that Dave Hein was couting down to last year....
    Maybe the launch party will happen this Fall. Hopefully Chip has filled up all that empty space that was created by going to a larger die size. Otherwise he might be tempted to add even more features. I wonder if the new P2 is approaching the power requirements of the old P2-Hot design.

  • That should go in the lament thread: All this extra time and we only went from P2Hot to P2Warm-ish!

    I still have the last "Hot" image on my DE2 - I'm ready to test that one also!!! :)
  • I think Brain's questions pretty much nailed it.

    If you can afford to wait a year or so, then it might be worth it. However if your income depends on winning contracts now then keep going with the P-1 and maybe a ARM or something else.

    Product loyalty is one thing, but when that loyalty impacts ones ability to make a living then it should be re-evaluated.





  • It is near done. I can't envision any big features at this point.

    We will most likely test the crap out of it, bug fix, etc...

  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    Peter Jakacki,
    My other options are find a suitable FPGA ...
    I was thinking about this....

    It's possible that if the market for your products can stand the expense then putting the whole show, processor and whatever peripheral logic, into an FPGA might be a very good way to go.

    FPGA's are not about to go away. There are multiple vendors. At worst if one drops out you have to redesign a board for a different FPGA.

    Provided you are not doing anything crazy demanding you have an infinite shelf life for your design effort.

  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,595
    Over the last 10 years there have been so many suggestions for features on the planned P2 successor to the P1. With great enthusiasm the forum has pitched in helping Chip with testing and software and design analysis resulting in a really great design for the P2. But that's the problem, it's still a design, it is not a P2.
    ....
    What do I do?

    Seems there is more than one answer to this, as you have many angles in this question.

    For Hardware that you have to ship tomorrow, then yes, use P1, or P1V, or XYZ.
    - but for Software Development, P2 is easily alive enough right now, to test code, as you have already been doing.

    Software has long gestation times, and getting code tested now, is vitally important to the critical path of proving the FPGA code.

    Tachyon seems a great way to get rapid code coverage, and with a bonus reference point of a wealth of P1 Tachyon code, to confirm operation.
  • potatohead wrote: »
    It is near done. I can't envision any big features at this point.

    We will most likely test the crap out of it, bug fix, etc...
    Really? I seem to remember being told it was "nearly done" a number of times before including just before the LUT sharing discussion started. What's to stop another detour like that?

  • David Betz wrote: »
    Really? I seem to remember being told it was "nearly done" a number of times before including just before the LUT sharing discussion started. What's to stop another detour like that?

    Ken
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    jmg,
    ... but for Software Development,...
    Unless one has some stringent dependence on hardware, software should be developed to be as portable as possible. That's the only way to ensure longevity of ones software investment in this ever changing world.

  • Also Chip. There are few gaps now.

    And we have vetted many ideas. Doing more will cost what we have or pose power and or routing and gate costs.

    Ripping it up wont be worth it. Neither will a significant synthesis risk.

  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,449
    edited 2016-05-20 02:10
    Does anybody actually do stuff with the P1 anymore other than breadboarding and learning? I haven't heard about any commercial projects or designs lately.

    I'm presently working on a commercial project which uses the Propeller.

    My main source of income is from Propeller programming.

    I think the P1 is still alive an well.


  • Tubular wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    Really? I seem to remember being told it was "nearly done" a number of times before including just before the LUT sharing discussion started. What's to stop another detour like that?

    Ken

    I think that it has been 2 years (or more than 1 year and half) that Ken *completely gave up* on P2 development. Two years ago he was involved and he gave some commitment dates and announcements. But given the fact that all due dates and milestones were continually delayed ... he just gave up.

  • Given the track record of P2 development timelines, I would not recommend basing any products on it until a firm stock date is given by Parallax directly. I would, however, advise on keeping track of the development and keep product development utilizing the P1, so that as others have mentioned, when a P2 is in your hands, you can be quick to market with a new version.

    As for commercial products, I know of a few recently new products that use the Propeller as of today and of the 3 embeddd products that WBA is working on, 2 are Propeller based.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,478
    edited 2016-05-20 17:21
    My only regret is that a "P0" wasn't around when I did most of my embedded micro designs from the late 70's till the mid 90's. Many of my designs were multi-micro designs, including a 2x 68705, and a 17x Z8 design.
    A simple 2/3/4 cog 8bit design by Chip would have been a killer for me :)
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    Cluso99,

    Oh yes. One of my first real work projects used five Intel 8085's. Two of which were sharing RAM. The whole thing could only keep up with the process it was controlling with the help of a bunch of counter/timers (How do you calculate standard deviation using counters?)

    A Propeller would have done all that in it's spare time.

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