SD14 Hardware

June 8, 2008 11:00 am

 So, as I pointed out in the last post, you can find great things just by poking around the firmware with the hex editor looks at strings. I’m looking to find out what hardware the SD14 has in it. I’ve heard reports on DPreview and elsewhere that the SD14 has a Blackfin DSP. Lets see if I can corroborate that.

At Offset 0×093993 we find:

THe BF561 manual notes that a larger lock count may be necessary when changing the voltage significantly

Complete with typo and all. I thought those Sigma guys were Japanese, what are they doing typing their notes in English? Perhaps its easier. Perhaps there is another reason. That would be a reference to the Blackfin  BF 561 DSP. The DSP is a dual core chip with a “High data throughput tailored for the needs of imaging and consumer multimedia applications.” Looks like we found our chip.

The Blackfin site has links for all the technical documentation and even development evironments for the BF561. Get reading, this is the brains behind the camera. But is it the only chip?

Not quite. Looking near the end of the file (offset 0×0DFAC8), we see the following:

SDK for DSC: Copyright (c) 2003 MegaChips Corporation

Further down, we that perhaps this is called the DSC 131. You can also see references to an FPGA throughout the file. Neither of these chips are FPGAs, so there is at least another chip in there we don’t have an ID for.

Lets go Googling. This page from Planet Analog is interesting. It tells us that the SD14 has inside:

A couple observations from this:

  • The FPGA must be loaded with some sort of executable. Can they update this?
  • This camera has 2.5Gb of RAM!
  • What is run on the  MegaChips chip?
  • Whats run on the  Blackfin?
  • How is it all coordinated? I’d suspect that there is some form of OS on this camera.
  • How is all of this “booted?”

At least the observations from the firmware are confirmed :-)

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