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  • FireBoard800-e™ Pro Dual bus 1394b OHCI PCI express adapter

  • My Fireboard800-e™ Pro dual bus card is not enumerated properly on my system. Often, only one bus is visible. What is the problem?

    This is a known issue with some new systems/motherboards which follow a very fast boot process, especially during hot boot (restart from operating system). Some motherboard manufacturers have adjusted the loop time for the detection of attached PCIe devices to a very short value when performing restart/reset function, thus not leaving enough time for the PLX bus arbitrator/controller chip of the Fireboard800-e Dual bus card to initialize properly.

    One solution to this problem is to power off the computer instead of restarting through the operating system. In this case a more thorough boot process is followed, which leaves sufficient time for the initialization of both PCI-e buses of the card. You could also try inserting the card on a different slot for which the motherboard may dedicate more time for detection.

  • FireBoard 400™ Lynx / OHCI

  • What are the differences – and how do I choose?

    Unibrain produces two different host PCI adapters for use with an FireWire bus. Both are capable of 400Mbps speed and have full 1394 capability, but they are, nevertheless, quite different. As you may know, the typical FireWire interface consists of two integrated circuits (as well as a number of passives to support them): the PHY or Physical Layer chip, and the LINK or transaction layer chip. While there has been considerable standardization in PHYs over the last few years, LINKs with very different philosophies continue to be manufactured. The FireBoard 400™ is based on the TI TSB12LV21b LynxB LINK while the FireBoard 400-OHCI™ is based on the TI TSB12LV23/26 OHCI LINK.

    To simplify, the OHCI is easier to program, does more automatically, and is supported as a standard LINK by Microsoft under W98SE and W2000 (but not under WinNT). The LynxB is far more flexible and is capable of greater total throughput. It is supported by Unibrain under WinNT, W95, W98, W98SE and W2000. It is however; more difficult to program and is not supported with integrated drivers by Microsoft (though Unibrain can provide them). Unibrain’s commercial products: FireNet™ and FirePrint™ support both. The FireAPI™ supports the LynxB completely, but has only partial support (as of now) for the OHCI.

    Use the FireBoard 400-OHCI™ if:

    • You plan on using standard Windows software in non-critical applications
    • You do not need NT or any other OS
    • You need full compatibility with someone else’s OHCI board

    Use the FireBoard 400™ if:

    • You need maximum throughput
    • You are transmitting or receiving large blocks (> 3K)
    • You need WinNT support
    • You are planning a port to another OS
    • You need more than 8 isochronous channels
    • You need a local (on card) bus
    • You have a special or industrial application that needs maximum control & reliability
    • Your CPU is already loaded and you need auxiliary processing power with minimum PCI bus activity
      (e.g. – adjusting buffer addresses from a list.)
    • You need special PCI master capability
  • Technical comparison of Link ASIC capabilities

    TI TSB12LV21B
    TI TSB12LV23/26
    FIFO sizes: Software controlled internally controlled
    PCI XMIT Threshold: Software controlled Fixed
    PCI RVC Threshold: Software controlled Fixed
    Internal Processing
    Power: Yes No
    Local Bus: Yes No
    Zoom Video Interface: Yes No
    GPIO Lines: 4 2
    PCI Slave Capabilities: Config Read/Write
    Mem Read/Write
    Mem ReadLine/WriteLine
    Config Read/Write
    Mem Read/Write
    Mem ReadLine/WriteLine
    PCI Master Capabilities: Config Read/Write
    Mem Read/Write
    Mem ReadLine/WriteLine
    I/O Read/Write
    Mem Read/Write
    DMA Channels: 5 all purpose
    1 Asynch
    Software controlled
    8 Iso
    Context Switching: Fast – Software controllable Good – Internally controllable
    Max Block size reliably Transmitted: > 4K* 1K Asynch
    2.5K Iso