Originally Posted by Photon
I have a feeling the only way a card like this will see the light of day is if buyers accept "Individual Computers accept no responsibility for inserted components, card has been testing with this CPU and memory specs". It would save test-time, handling/ordering and outlay for him and reduce his commitment, which might make it happen
Nope, it might not make it happen, it might even make it illegal. Customer rights are clearly outlined in Europe, and the basic idea behind these EU directives is that nothing at all may be sold with no warranties. You have to guarantee that a device is fit for a certain purpose, and plain renaming the purpose does not get you around the laws.
There has been a case in Germany where a "clever businessman" wanted to sell light bulbs as "heat bulbs". Essentially the same that you're trying here: He claims that the purpose is to produce heat, not light, so he wanted to get around the "energy-saving lamps only" directive for any light bulb over 75W that has been in place since last year. Guess what - he failed in court.
I would most probably fail the same way if I declare a card "for viewing purpose only".
Originally Posted by Photon
Even within the type he could support a quite narrow range of RAMs and there would still be thousands of stores that would have it in stock.
Starting from DDR, memories must run at a minimum frequency, and the number of pins to talk to these chips gets higher due to some signals being differential (some even bidirectional-differential, which is not available on any 5V-tolerant CPLD).
However, it does not make sense to use DDR, because their first-access-penalty is not faster than the first-access-penalty of 200MHz SD-Ram, which is what I'm using on my new accelerators. However, it took me ages to dig up that type of memory. Many SD-Ram vendors have specified 200MHz types, but they have never brought it to the market. Even though I'm not running the chips at 200MHz, they still save me a cycle here and there, which would be impossible with off-the-shelve 166MHz types.
Even though I have designed the ACA1230 and ACA1231 cards with as little user options as possible, they still cause an enormous amount of support work. Seeing that even the battery for the RTC causes support work, I would NEVER let the user exchange anything critical like a CPU or memory. Here's where EU laws come in again: If the user has the possibility to make a mistake and it's technically possibe to avoid damage, then the product designer must do it. For me, this would mean that I'd have to build a sensing circuit that automatically sets CPU core voltage if you're upgrading from 68040 to 68060. This would be assimung that I'd include an 800,- EUR tool with every card, because without a PGA-18 puller, you WILL scratch and dent the CPU socket, which essentially de-values the card.
Imagine someone buys a card without a CPU, inserts something that he just happens to have, and then finds out that the card doesn't do what he wants. EU laws permit him to send the card back within 14 days without even saying why - a short note like "please refund" is enough, and the reseller has to take back the card. Can you imagine the kind of hassle if the reseller has to take back a card with a scratched CPU socket? Can you imagine how many customers would accept a card with a scratched socket in the first place? None at all.
I would think that only one person that's reading here has access to a PGA-18 puller. None of the resellers I'm working with has such a tool, and I'm pretty sure that none of them will buy something like that. Is that a bad thing? Surely not. Those of you who are now thinking that EU directives are holding us back should reconsider their opinion. EU directives protect the customer, and it's good that way. You're getting a product that's guaranteed to be fit for the purpose you've bought it for. And if you later find out that you got the wrong idea about the product in the first place, you don't lose any money. To avoid that situation, vendors and resellers must be as honest and as precise as possible in their product description.