There are probably hundreds if not thousands of single board computers out there now, but one thing that always bothered me was that with ARM-based Freescale or STM-based SoCs, the vendor (usually) provides enough data for you to not only design your own board, but you can usually even get the BGA chip off of an online electronics parts distributor, such as Farnell, Digikey, Mouser, etc.
But for x86 parts, I can’t seem to find such an “openness”. Intel does provide a lot of documentation, but not really on the “pin #523 is responsible for signal X and has timing characteristics Y” level like the ARM guys are on. Furthermore, I can never seem to find the Celeron or Atom BGA chips anywhere except Ebay, which isn’t exactly very available.
But nonetheless, x86-based SBCs do exist - so my question is… how did they do it? I mean, the x86-based SBC manufacturers/designers: Where do they get the datasheets from in order to do the motherboard layout, the chip bringup, and most importantly where do they actually buy the chip itself?
I suspect the answer is “if you have to ask, you can’t get it”, but does anyone have experience with designing any products based on Intel embedded x86 processors? Did you have to sign a billion papers before getting anything? do you have to have a sales contact to get even a single BGA chip in your hand?