Well, not many black suits here, I can promise you that.
It's all quite simple; Excito was founded by us four guys who wanted a decent home server ourselves, when there was non on the market.
Regarding the CPU, we reviewed quite many processors and vendors, Freescale PPC, Freescale ARM, Intel X86, Marvell ARM etc. I know you are very performance- and feature-oriented here, but there are a few additional parameters we have to consider when choosing:
- price (of course). Since competitors are popping up, we need to be competitive. It may seem like a small portion of the product, but it isn't when you include the surrounding parts that comes with a more complex processor. More expensive memory, faster busses require a more complex circuit board etc. etc.
- Linux support. We don't have the manpower to make all the OS port and drivers ourselves, we need a platform with good reputation and solid Linux ports.
- Vendor style. Some vendors aren't very interested in cooperating with small players like us, they put all their power to support the high-volume companies. We need to have good support from the vendor in case we would run in to some kind of problem (which always happens btw).
- Product maturity. Designing with a brand new processor is asking for problems. Datasheets for these products are more or less a result of their design specification, as the product matures (silicon bugs are discovered), the errata section grows. A small company like ours can't take too large risks, so a reasonably mature, proven platform and processor is important.
Regarding the technical aspects, throughput speed and built-in interfaces were the most important to us. Gb Ethernet MACs, SATA, PCI, High Speed USB and an internal CPU bus architecture that can feed these interfaces without major bottlenecks is of course crucial.
All this put together, we ended up with Freescale MPC8313E as first choise. And as I said in another thread, Freescale is continously releasing new processors. We are following that closely, and will upgrade when it's suitable.
I hope that was enough detailed answer.