EFIKA Presentation

EFIKA Presentation

 

Introduction

The EFIKA is a motherboard created in 2005 by Genesi. It was based on the Power Architecture which covers in a broader sense some generations of Risc processors, manufactured by companies such as IBM, Freescale, the AMCC, the Tundra and others. The name EFIKA, is a word of Esperanto and it means efficient, that is sufficient! In its own way, of course….

Essentially the EFIKA is an SBC or a Single Board Computer, meaning an integrated computer that has all the necessary circuits for the operation on a single board. This is partly correct – the definition of a single Board Computer – but in the case the Efika it is necessary to add a daughtercard for image rendering and graphics. The SBC philosophy has been the dominant era of Home Micros and mighty Amiga and for this reason the Efika is also informally an Amiga-Like or a distant relative with additional skills and can install and use an Amiga-Like operating system like MorphOS and a flavour AROS along with some linux distros.

EFIKA, was not created to meet the needs of a retro community such as the Amiga, but constructed as a solution for embedded applications primarily of industrial character-driven and targeted to be affective in power consumption , flexibility and completeness without the need for additional hardware. The Amiga-Like character of Efika, came later, mainly due to the Genesi’s past, which had presented (years before) to the public models such as  Pegasos  and Pegasos2 which were  partakers of the Amiga community along with the MorphOS. operating system,

Specifications

Briefly, the main features are the following

Processor: Freescale MPC5200B PowerPC at 400 Mhz
Memory: 128MB Ram, @ 266Mhz, onboard (built-in, there is no memory slot for expansion)
1 x Ide connector 44pin (for devices 2.5 inch)
1 x PCI expansion port 33/66 Mhz, for the graphics card
1 x 10/100 Mbit Ethernet Realtek
2 x USB 1.1 ports
1 x RS232 serial port
3 outputs Audio, Microphone & line of integrated AC97 audio chip
1 x IRDA port for infrared connection
1 x standard atx power supply connection
Dimensions 153CH118 mm
BIOS: Open Firmware of Genesi
Based on the above specifications, it must be clear by now, that there is additional hardware that can be used in order to put in place a working EFIKA. So we start:

Graphics cards.

The key to make someone hold on to an Efika is to obtain a compatible graphics card because Efika alone, although SBC, has no chip for graphics. The board has a PCI connection for this reason but because of the particular timing of the PCI bus to 33Mhz but 3.3Volt and the power supply,  few choices are available. Specifically, it EFIKA can use PCI cards of  3.3V and 33MHz or AGP 3.3V or cards and 66Mhz that can be supported via an agp riser that converts pci into agp , to take advantage of the potential of a port AGP. However it is important to use a powerful graphics card so that you lower the processing volume away from the low processor power so of the graphics processing is needed for improving the speed of the machine. Also the aspiring user of Efika, must have in mind that the graphics card must be low profile for placement on the AGP riser without problems (likely a horizontal placement oversized card will be difficult or impossible to use!). In the 2007 version of the Efika Book which you can find on http://www.efika.org,  a complete list of supported graphics cards is presented. Indicative supported ATi Radeon series from 7000 to 9250, the editions of Voodoo 3 3dFX from 2000 to 5500, the SIS some models and Volari XGI.

Power Supply

The power supply to the Efika is easy and can be done through a simple ATX power supply. If EFIKA  is physically installed in an area where a standard atx power supply is difficult to fit then the solution of a PicoPSu supply is a one way street. Consumption levels in the Efika is its star feature and obviously the philosophy and the purpose for which it was originally constructed. So there is no reason for more than 80W PSU to support all functions of the system It is assumed that in full operation the motherboard consumes 9W with an ATI9250 and the hard drive! Consumption generally is favorable and not need to use  processor cooler or a  ventilator in the box.

Hard Drive

For storing things more specifically  EFIKA has an ide connector (female) in which an HD can be connected without cable, a 2.5 disk of 5400 rpm. There can also be used a CF to ide 44 pin adapter which offers lower power consumption and complete noise elimination . The problem with connecting ide in Efika is that it supports virtually nothing! That is, the manufacturer does not propose the use ide cable in the controller to remove hard away of the board for this reason there are holes in the board alligned in such way so the HD can be set  right on the board and the ide controller. Also because the controller is female, if someone tries to connect a cable should either use an ide gender changer male-male cable 44Pins either a male to female, which would be difficult to find in the market. Anyway, in theory you can use a cable of about 15 cm and not more. In this way it may be possible connected and a Slim CD / DVD in Efika.

Peripherals

The USB and RS232 allows connection of all kinds of peripherals on the condition that the operating system in use, recognizes them! Limiting factor is the speed of USB 1.1 ports and also the lack of Ps2 port for keyboard and mouse, which makes it imperative to use a Usb hub, to unleash a USB port while the other is used for keyboard and mouse. It is generally accepted that EFIKA is somewhat “picky” with different models of usb keyboards and does not recognize them easily.

Case

The issue of housing EFIKA is harder than all the issues that may be faced by a user. This is because, unfortunately,  Efika was not produced in a standard factory size (form) such as ATX, Micro ATX, mini-itx. The size is similar to that of mini-itx but does not fit into the box to support it and also there is no backplate!. Genesi, created the Open Client, which provided a small black box visibly like a Car Pc but it is quite expensive as a solution and not sold alone without the board. Beyond that, circulates a custom case, created hobbyists,  who decided to convert some other containers like mini-itx or even external 5.25 “from CD / DVD and hard drives. The box then is the reason which most users EFIKA use it “naked” or in cardboard boxes!


Operating system

Various Linux distributions can be installed on EFIKA  such as  Debian, OpenSuse and Gentoo Linux. Morphos Team is still releasing version of the Morphos operating system for EFIKA which easy to install and efficient to use one this peculiar machinery.  This feature makes the EFIKA now an integral part of the Amiga community and philosophy!

The “Bundle”

The EFIKA currently no longer produced. But in several resellers a small stock  still existed to order and some are able to order the complete configuration. Only a reseller U.S., http://www.directron.com featured and analogous case for the motherboard. The others in Europe were selling naked boards. In the basic package Efika contains only the motherboard, an Agp Riser for use agp graphics card while the manual-instructions given are perhaps too “poor”. So to make it to work, it is necessary the purchase some  of the following products:

1 ATX power supply or an external Pico ATX PSU


1 cable with switch for power switch
1 hard disk 2.5 inch


1 ATI RADEON 9250 or other low profile
USB Keyboard and mouse
1 usb storage to boot to the operating facility

1 usb hub to be able to work with multiple divices

Alternatively the following can be purchased:

Adaptor CF to IDE 44way


CF card


1 ide cable with gender changer


1 pci riser


1 pci card low profile

In the picture below you can see the whole set of my Efika prepared for construction at a later stage it is completed and comprehensive with hope for a box or custom or production when and if anyone interested to produce something similar (wishful thinking!!)

For now the Efika 5200B is supported primarily by the broad-amiga community development in regional and software through process Bounty where cringe donations for a specific project, eg the transfer of an Operating System to EFIKA. When you gather the money, the project is given to a developer when he finally delivers it to the public, take the money gathered in the bounty as a reward for his work. The way this is one of the most important and effective ways to develop applications in amiga community and gives the necessary incentive for the developer to dedicate his precious time.

More info

In the near future it is planned to publish through http://www.amigaplanet..gr, a detailed list of supported graphics cards, supported keyboards and mice, and a tutorial for the complete construction of an Efika machine probably with CD / DVD and KVM and other goodies as well as the installation of different operating systems in EFIKA. But at the moment one can obtain more information at the following links.

Useful links

http://www.genesi-usa.com

http://www.powerdeveloper.org

http://www.morphos.de

http://www.efika.de

http://www.efika.org

http://www.power2people.org/

http://en.opensuse.org/Efika102

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/

http://itlab.powerdeveloper.org/node/3

http://www.amigakit.eu

http://www.vesalia.de

http://www.directron.com / efika

 

published by “Npanag” on Amigaplanet.gr on 2009

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