Momentum Computer RM7000 Project

In 2001, a company involved in sports radar wanted to use image processing for cricket balls (bowling, third umpire etc.). The initial specification was 500 frames a second with a 1024×1024 camera. The company had already produced some industrial imaging systems using Motorola DSPs at 40 MHz. We had designed two IDT574 64-bit paper designs, however, time was now running out for sponsors who were promised ball speed detectors—a Momemtum Computer (Momenco) RM7000 evaluation board with Ethernet and a decent amount of memory was purchased around September, 2001.

The board was called the Ocelot with a RM7000 64-bit MIPS processor and a Galileo Technology 64120A chip for the MIPS SysAD/ SysCMD bus memory- and PCI interface. The dual 10/100 Mbit Ethernet chip was an Intel 82559ER and another on the PCI expansion connector—a DEC/Intel 21143. The CPU speed was 400 MHz. The Ocelot board was co-developed with PMC-Sierra—the RM7000 vendor who acquired QED for $2,3 billion.

The pre-loaded OpenBSD port disk was not purchased, nor the populated CompactPCI bus connector, as we were only interested in benchmarking and initial porting. The monitor program shipped later by a Swedish company, Opsycon. The OpenBSD port and VxWorks BSP were supplied on a CD. The monitor and VxWork BSP were enough to get the low-level drivers running. We used the same Algorithmics toolchain that ran stand-alone under Linux (not for compiling the Linux kernel). We produced the “Hello World“ equivalent, flashed the LEDs, exercised memory, booted over the network and programmed the Galileo Tech PCI chip, which was little-endian while Ethernet was big-endian. The toolchain produced big-endian code. The software archeology, a call or two to the USA for the monitor source code, plus for addressing information took a few days. We were tasked with writing a real-time kernel from scratch which management estimated would take a month maximum. A few benchmarking imaging algorithms were the ones I had previously run on the Texas Instruments TMS320C6211 and Texas Instruments TMS320C6701 DSPs. Before a proper series of tests could position the RM7000 against the DSPs, the RM7000 project was cancelled due to reduced requirements. As part of the sports radar projects, two other evaluation boards would be tested; an Etrax RISC CPU and an Ampro M2.

The board worked as promised, documentation was excellent, Momentum Computer were easy to deal with and responsive to any queries. Mercury Computer Systems acquired Momentum Computer on 7th December, 2004. The RM7000 64-bit MIPS processor was indeed an impressive processor.

The source code dates were September, 2001. The RM7000 was one of many projects during this period. The Doxygen documentation momencoRefman pdf (193 kBytes) and the gzipped tarball (momenco.tgz 20kBytes) were taken “as is” from archives.