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Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
749 Views

Dear Altera, Please do not use Marvell components in your dev kits

Dear Altera, 

 

Can I please request that you do not use Marvell components in your dev kits or any other components that it is not possible to get hold of the data sheets for. 

 

The Cyclone IV GX uses a Marvell 88E1111 Ethernet PHY chip for which Marvell do not release the data sheet for unless you are going to order $$$'s of parts and are willing to sign an NDA. As there are undocumented faults in the dev kit, it is necessary to reprogram the Marvell chip to get the Ethernet connection working. This is impossible without the details of how the PHY chip works so without the data sheet you are basically stuffed. 

 

The only way to get companies like Marvell to release info on their devices is to stop purchasing their parts. Could someone at Altera therefore pass a requirement up the chain that only parts with generally available data sheets should be used in their dev kit designs. 

 

 

(For those reading this that are looking for the Marvell data sheet then a google search on Marvell 88E1111 confidential should give you a link. The legality of actually downloading what you find is for someone else to comment on)
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5 Replies
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
45 Views

Thanks for the post.. Hopefully they get the message. I agree 100% that parts in dev kits should have full datasheet availability. 

 

 

Pete
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
45 Views

I think it depends on the devices we're talking about here. In some cases (networking is one of them), the vendors are notoriously protective (there's a history behind why that is, but that's another story). 

 

Broadcom is similar to Marvell in this respect. 

 

I do agree that every effort should be made to go with parts that have readily available datasheets, but there are times when you just have to live with it. 

 

Cheers, 

 

slacker
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
45 Views

I would have thought that Altera was big enough to have a bit of clout to get data sheets released. 

 

In this case the 88E1111 is at least 10 years old and the data sheet has been available on the web for a while. Any IP contained within the data sheet would have been stolen a long time ago. By not making the data sheet available now the only people being put at disadvantage are legitimate users. It just ends up making them look stupid. 

 

(and go on, tell us the story....)
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
45 Views

I agree regarding the 88E1111. There's no reason to hold off on releasing that particular datasheet, but you'd have to take that up with Marvell. Altera's at the mercy of Marvell, or Broadcom or whomever they choose to go with and no, Altera doesn't have enough clout in this regard. 

 

The reasons for not releasing the datasheets are legal...shouldn't be a surprise...and it's just the way it is. 

 

Go look for PHY datasheets for Broadcom or Marvell. You'll find little available from their website. Broadcom, for instance, requires registration through something called "DocSafe" (NDA and Product Line Manager approval required) for most documents.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
45 Views

Where as Microchip, Silicon Labs and Micrel have their full data sheets available for 1G Ethernet PHY chips at least. 

 

Oh well, such is the wonders of designing electronics these days....
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