ANNOUNCEMENT GPUHoarder Announcement 8/31/18 - Acorn Preorder Update

Soul of Jacobeh

Staff member
Sep 10, 2018
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I’ve said this in part, but let me do the full write up of the state of ship/Acorn. Acorns are unable to be shipped today. The short summary is we have < 1/3rd of the Acorn physical boards we should - but we do have boards! Here are the reasons for the delay:

1. A very large batch of boards (1/4 of August) was built on CM error with an incorrect part, which they have eaten cost on but caused a delay on the initial batch due to both down time to fix, and limited parts.

2. Xilinx did not deliver all of the required FPGA chips within August. I believe most of the remaining chips only arrived today.

3. Linear Tech horribly botched our order for a power component. We placed order in June, notified in late July that it has not been sent on to the factory. It was placed, however on 10 week lead. They managed to expedite to within August, but due to yield issues it was delayed until mid-September. This part was also one of the shortage parts for the 1525. Through heroic efforts of our friends at Xilinx, they managed to secure one reel (enough parts to complete our August builds) and get it to us overnight last week from Asia. Unfortunately upon arrival in the US the same Linear Tech vendor ignored our request for overnight shipping and placed this reel in a consolidated UPS ground shipment which can be tracked here: 1Z643R0A0322224518 - despite every plea to UPS that we would fly someone out to intercept this part, pay to have the whole shipment expedited, etc. they gave no relief. This single part prevents the line from building the additional 2/3 of the so called August batch. That remaining volume can be produced within ~ 1 week of receipt.

4. Unfortunately the boards we do have can’t go through final test or pack to ship because we don’t have heatsinks or fans in. We have been pushing on this from our manufacturer, but have not been able to get clear information regarding shipping and/or customs clearance. This has also held back software testing, since no heatsinks means we can’t do the validation on even our own developer Acorns (an Acorn without a heatsink is a chunk of molten silicon in about 5 minutes).

5. We sourced bare PCBs from three vendors, and used two CMs in an effort to mitigate all of these kinds of issues. Unfortunately the first circuit board vendors boards were entirely rejected due to improper coverage/ exposed copper. The second batch is at CM#1, and produced the current batch of boards. The third batch of boards was delayed from an expected date to 9/11. This in addition to part reel shortages has limited out ability to run to only one production SMT line.

6. During validation testing of Acorn Nests, an issue was discovered with the main high-current 12v to 3.3v power supply for the M.2 slots aka Acorns. This issue forced us to do a second revision of those boards, which added a minimum of two week delay to Nests.

7. Secondly, and crucially, Broadcom has completely and utterly failed us on delivery of the PCIe switch chips for Nests. Despite placing 10,000+ total chips worth of orders, 5000 specifically for Nests, they have been able to provide delivery of only ~120 chips promised out of 5000 for August. We are actively working with them to address this shortage, and determine how they are going to fix their over commit. We have some other sources of stocked chips which we will use to try to meet initial Nest demand.

So what does this mean?
1. We are very very sorry for the delay. A ton of people on this end have been working very very hard to make this ship happen, and it is extremely stressful and disappointing for us to not be able to hit our date - even if we only end up week or two short. At this point, short of a magic 8 ball or deciding to make acorns two months earlier, I am not sure exactly what we could have done to prevent these upstream problems. With that said, we are actively on both our own process, and the requirements we place on our suppliers and CMs to ensure there isn’t such an issue in the future.

2. Acorns will begin shipping as soon as heatsinks and fans arrive, and the final assembly, test, and packing can be done. This should take only 1-2 days after arrival of parts. We had hoped for parts yesterday - it didn’t happen.

3. All Acorns will ship in the order the orders were placed. The same with Nests (though we are trying to consolidate where practical. If you ordered both Acorns and Nests and you would prefer either ship as ready vs waiting to ship together please let us know.)

4. We are confident at this point that all of the barriers have been resolved, and we are down to pure shipping delays and the follow-on final assembly / test time.

TL;DR; - Things will start shipping as soon as heatsinks and fans arrive + can be assembled, which could be < a week, we should still be able to ship all orders including currently placed September orders within the next ~3 weeks based on current data
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