i gained some experience with ARM and especially with STM32 MCU models.Now i wanted to start learning x86_64 architecture and my initial goal was going towards it. Is there any good development boards and Debugging solutions available on market. what i mean is, affordable solution which does not require billions of investments, NDAs and other corporate world stuff in order to get my dirty hands on intel CPU with a debugger.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Shopping questions are off-limits on Stack Exchange sites. Possibly some here may be able to give you some ideas. \$\endgroup\$ – user105652 Aug 11 '20 at 1:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VTNCaGNtdDVNalUy it is not a shoping question, it is a question regarding why it is so hard to find anything related to x86 dev boards, and how to obtain one \$\endgroup\$ – Anton Stafeyev Aug 11 '20 at 1:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ "how to obtain one" makes it a shopping question. Still, we will help if we can. \$\endgroup\$ – user105652 Aug 11 '20 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Edison module was discontinued but you might be able to find some. You can check out the documentation etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Aug 11 '20 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VTNCaGNtdDVNalUy How to obtain in tearms of is "it even possible" :) \$\endgroup\$ – Anton Stafeyev Aug 11 '20 at 2:01

A development platform for x86_64 is called a "personal computer" or "virtual machine"

The latter is particularly helpful if you are doing odd things at kernel level which might cause a crash, as you can run something like qemu in a mode which instruments the target VM. Otherwise you might need hardware that supports a solid low-level interface, eg, something like an actual UART to use with a tool like kgdb.

For ordinary user mode development-under-an-os of course, you can simply target the machine you posted your question from. That's even viable for kernel module development if you don't do anything too odd, though perhaps at the cost of the occasional forced reboot.

Technically chipmakers like AMD and Intel probably provide boards to industrial partners for the evaluation of brand new CPUs, but those are practically irrelevant to you, and precisely the kind of unobtainable, NDA-laden things you are trying to avoid.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer, but it is the evaluation board i am looking for :) god damn corporate bullshit :) \$\endgroup\$ – Anton Stafeyev Aug 11 '20 at 3:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's really no logical reason for you to you to want one; you're clearly not about to start designing a custom board with such a processor, and your goals of "learning x86_64 architecture" and "to get my dirty hands on intel CPU with a debugger" are better served by commodity hardware or a VM. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Aug 11 '20 at 3:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a very good reason i need it, the point is to have a physical device and a debugging probe. And yes, i would like to build my own board with x86 processor in it. But looks like it is impossible to do :) \$\endgroup\$ – Anton Stafeyev Aug 12 '20 at 2:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry... But no, you're not going to build a board, and the insistence on hardware points to a missing understanding yet to be outgrown - your claimed "reason" is simply mistaken. For an STM32, sure, have at it. But those aren't the problems which x86_64 solves, and those aren't the approaches viable for working with it. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Aug 12 '20 at 2:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Eg. "Edison" was always about integrating a compute module and never about a chip on a board. And "Edison" is extinct, because the only problem it ever actually solved was the lock-in suffered by those who designed around it. Any viable small-shop use of x86_64 is done via an existing motherboard or embedded motherboard, potentially augmented by custom mPCIe/USB/SATA etc peripherals. And none of this is really justified for "learning" at all when commodity hardware and virtualization do a better job at "already own it" cost. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Aug 12 '20 at 2:33

Practically, get a motherboard from any of the manufacturers, (Asus, Acer, Gigabyte etc) and build a PC around it.

You may find motherboards in smaller form factors, ITX, Mini-ITX and so on that are more useful in custom systems; but probably lower performance or more limited in expansion slots.

There is no lower level "EVM" unless you go back to about the 80186 era because there really isn't a history of designing the chips themselves into embedded systems.

You may find motherboards dedicated to embedded systems e.g. with VME bus form factors, and ruggedised for industrial applications - but these will be vastly more expensive than commodity PC motherboards.

Or virtualise a sandbox on your existing PC per the other answer.


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