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Posts Tagged ‘arm’

$135 Redmi Note 4 Helio X20 Deca-core Smartphone Includes a 4,100 mAh Battery

August 25th, 2016 5 comments

A few months ago I wrote about sub $200 ARM Cortex A72 Android smartphones, but Xiaomi is now further lowering the price point with their Redmi Note 4 powered by Mediatek Helio X20 processor with 16GB storage, a 5.5″ display, a 13MP camera, and a large 4,100 mAh battery selling for just 899  RMB (~$135).

Xiaomi_Redmi_Note_4Redmi Note 4 Specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek Helio X20 (MT6797) deca-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.1 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 2.0 GHz, and 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.4 GHz and ARM Mali-T880MP4 GPU @ 700 Mhz
  • System Memory – 2 or 3 GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB or 64 GB storage + micro SD slot up to 128 GB (shared with dual SIM slot)
  • Display – 5.5″ capacitive touchscreen, 1920×1080 resolution; 2.5D curved glass
  • Cellular Connectivity – 4G+ / 4G / 3G / 2G ; dual SIM slot for Nano and micro SIM cards
  • Connectivity – 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/A-GPS
  • Camera – 13MP rear camera with phase-detection autofocus, 5MP front camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Audio – Speaker, microphone, and 3.5mm audio jack
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, hall sensor, fingerprint sensor
  • Battery – 4,100 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 151 x 76 x 8.35 mm
  • Weight – 175 grams

The phone will run Android (MIUI 8.0), and ship with a charger and USB data cable, a pin, warranty cards, and a quick start guide. For some reasons, the CPU and GPU frequencies are lower than the one advertised on other model, but I don’t know if it is because of honesty, or a desire to reduce power consumption.

As you’ve must have noticed from the specifications there’s also a 3GB/64GB model, and it’s selling for 1199 RMB (~$180). The phone is only available in China for now, but it will soon sell online worldwide like the other models. More details can be found on Redmi Note 4 page (in Chinese).

Via Liliputing and MIUI forums.

U-Boot Now Supports UEFI on 32-bit and 64-bit ARM Platforms

August 11th, 2016 17 comments

Intel/AMD x86 based computers now boot via a standard UEFI binary, which can load grub2, allows you to update the command line as needed, or select different version of the Linux kernel. On ARM everything is a little more complicated and messy, as bootloaders such as U-boot need to support different configurations formats.

Raspberry_Pi_UEFI_GRUB2_U-BootAlexander Graf has been working on implementing UEFI support in U-boot, and it’s now supported by U-boot mainline and enabled by default for 32-bit and 64-bit ARM platforms, but not x86-64 (yet). That means you should now be able to boot any ARM boards supported by mainline U-boot through UEFI. Alexander gave a presentation about his work at an openSUSE event in June, and demonstrated u-boot with UEFI, and GRUB2 support with an openSUSE image running on a Raspberry Pi board.

Thanks to David for the tip.

Intel Smartwatches are Hot! So Hot, They May Burn Your Skin

August 5th, 2016 2 comments

Low power in constrained spaces is a tricky business, even for ARM based SoCs with the Qualcomm 810 overheating saga a few months ago. Now it’s time for Intel to feel the heat, as the company has has to recall Basis Peak smartwatches / fitness trackers due to potential overheating causing skin burns.

Intel_SmartwatchJosh Walden – senior vice president and general manager of the New Technology Group at Intel Corporation – stated:

On behalf of the Basis Science team, I want to personally apologise for this situation, we know that many of you love using your Basis Peak watches and have made them part of your daily lives, and we are very sorry for the disruption this will cause you, we had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem, unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren’t able to develop such a solution without completely compromising the experience.

The watch sold for $234 in the US and €244 in Europe, and Intel will offer a full refund to customers.

Interestingly enough, the watch was not based on one of Intel low power processors, but Silicon Labs  EFM32 Wonder Gecko ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, which should be features in many other designs, so the overheating issue was likely caused by the overall system design, rather than the MCU itself.

Via Electronics Weekly

Development Resources for Realtek “Ameba” RTL8710, RTL8711, and RTL8195 WiFi SoCs

August 1st, 2016 18 comments

We were made aware of a potential ARM based ESP8266 competitor last week with Realtek RTL8710 WiFi modules selling for about $3.5 shipped per unit, and under $2 per unit for larger orders (100+ pieces). Hardware is good, but for a platform to be successful, or even just useful, you also need software support. So I started doing some research into IoT-Tech BBS and asked ICStation for an “SDK” for the module they sold.

802.11 nxn with NFC RTL8710 Module

RTL8710 single band 802.11n (1×1) and NFC Tag Solution block diagram

I ended up on this forum post providing an “Realtek RTL8710 SDK” via Baidu (password: brwp), which turned out to be about the same as the Google Drive link provided by ICStation, and only contain minimal documents, as well as cracked Windows IAR Embedded Workshop and JLink tools. There are also some more technical details in Chinese only in another forum post, and well as B&T RTL8710 module datasheet (PDF).

However, if you don’t read Chinese that’s pretty challenging, and you may not want to use cracked software for development. I’ve soon come to the conclusion that RTL8710 was part of Realtek “Ameba” family also including RTL8711AF/AM and RTL8195AF, with the latter used in Ameba Arduino IoT board ($25), and supported by Ameba IoT community, where you’ll find both a “Standard SDK” and an “Arduino SDK” with several documents to get started.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The comparison table above shows that RTL8195AM and RTL8711AM support 2MB SDRAM + 512KB SRAM, while RTL8711AF & RTL8710AF only support 512KB SRAM. The not-so-good news here is that the Arduino SDK currently relies on the 2MB SDRAM lacking in the cheaper versions of the chips, and that’s the reason given by Realtek for the lack of implementation on RTL8710/RTL8711. The good news is that Realtek confirmed that the “Standard SDK” based on FreeRTOS and LWIP supports RTL8195, RTL8711 and RTL8710 processors.

Ameba_SDK_Architecture

Ameba SDK Software Architecture

You can freely download the standard SDK after registration on Ameba IoT community website, and you’ll find source code (component folder), documentation, sample code (project folder) and tools for Windows, as well as Android and iOS configuration apps (source + apk binary).

Realtek_Ameba_SDKYou may have noticed that the SDK name ends with “without NDA” which unfortunately means some documents – such as RTL8710 datasheet – are not publicly available at this time. However, Realtek has noticed the interest raised by their low cost WiSoCs, and hopefully the company will decide to become more open, at least for RTL8710/8711 to allow the community to fully leverage WiFi IoT modules based on Realtek low cost wireless processors.

Ameba IoT community appears to focus on their Realtek RTL8195AM based Ameba Arduino board right now, but you can always try to get more details or help in their forums. Alternatively, “dpape” has very recently created RTL8710 forums, and #rtl8710 IRC channel where interested developers and users can share ideas and more information about Realtek RTL8710/RTL8711 solutions.

Linux 4.7 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

July 25th, 2016 7 comments

Linux 4.7 is out:

So, after a slight delay due to my travels, I’m back, and 4.7 is out.

Despite it being two weeks since rc7, the final patch wasn’t all that big, and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners. There’s a couple of network drivers that got a bit more loving. Appended is the shortlog since rc7 for people who care: it’s fairly spread out, with networking and some intel Kabylake GPU fixes being the most noticeable ones. But there’s random small noise spread all over.

And obviously, this means that the merge window for 4.8 is open.Judging by the linux-next contents, that’s going to be a bigger release than the current one (4.7 really was fairly calm, I blame at least partly summer in the northern hemisphere).

Linus

Linux 4.6 brought USB 3.1 superspeed, OrangeFS distributed file system, 802.1AE MAC-level encryption (MACsec), and BATMAN V protocol support, improved the reliability of OOM task killer, and more.

Linux_4.7_Changelog

Linux 4.7 most noticeable changes include:

  • Support for Radeon RX480 GPUs
  • Parallel directory lookups –  The directory cache caches information about path names to make them quickly available for pathname lookup. This cache uses a mutex to serialize lookup of names in the same directory.  The serializing mutex has been switched to a read-write semaphore in Linux 4.7, allowing for parallel pathname lookups in the same directory. Most filesystems have been converted to allow this feature.
  • New “schedutil” frequency governor –  There are two main differences between it and the existing governors. First, it uses information provided by the scheduler directly for making its decisions. Second, it can invoke cpufreq drivers and change the frequency to adjust CPU performance right away, without having to spawn work items to be executed in process context or similar, leading to lower latency to make frequency changes.
  • Histograms of events in ftrace –  . This release adds the “hist” command, which provides the ability to build “histograms” of events by aggregating event hits. As an example, let’s say a user needs to get a list of bytes read from files from each process. You can get this information using hist triggers, with the following command command:

    other data can also be retrieve by using fields found in /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/syscalls/sys_enter_read/format. The output will look like:

    More more details check ftrace documentation and related LWN article.
  • EFI ‘Capsule’ firmware updates –  The EFI Capsule mechanism allows to pass data blobs to the EFI firmware. The firmware then parses them and makes some decision based upon their contents. The most common use case is to bundle a flashable firmware image into a capsule that the firmware can use to upgrade in the next boot the existing version in the flash. Users can upload capsule by writing the firmware to the /dev/efi_capsule_loader device
  • Support for creating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP – USB/IP allows to share real USB devices over the network. Linux 4.7 brings the ability to create virtual USB Device Controllers without needing any physical USB device, using the USB gadget subsystem. For what purpose? For example, for improving phone emulation in development environments, for testing USB and for educational purposes.

Some of ARM specific improvements and new features include:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner A13/R8 – Display Engine support
    • Allwinner A10/A20 – S/PDIF Support
    • Allwinner A31/A23/H3 – DMAengine improvements for H3 audio support
    • Allwinner H3 – USB support (multi-reset line support delayed til 4.8)
    • New hardware supported
      • Tablets – Dserve DSRV9703C, Polaroid MID2809PXE4, Colorfly e708 q1, Difrence DIT4350
      • Boards – Olimex A20 OLinuXino LIME2, Xunlong Orange Pi 2, Orange Pi One, and Orange Pi PC
  • Rockchip:
    • Thermal management – Rockchip driver support for RK3399, RK3366
    • Added Rockchip RK3399 clock and reset controller
    • Pinctrl – Support the .get_direction() callback in the GPIO portions
    • New RK3399 device tree support
    • Added Rockchip DisplayPort PHY support
    • Added Geekbuying GeekBox, RK3399 Evaluation Board, mqmaker MiQi SBC
  • Amlogic
    • Added Meson GXBB (S905) pinctrl support
    • Fixed memory nodes on Vega S95 DTS
    • Added Hardkernel ODROID-C2, Amlogic Meson GXBB P200 and P201 development systems
  • Samsung
    • Added Samsung ARTIK5 evaluation board
    • Added generic exynos bus frequency driver
    • Added pinctrl driver for Samsung EXYNOS5440 SoC
    • DTS updates & fixes:
      • Fix s5p-mfc driver probe on Exynos542x Peach boards (need to provide MFC memory banks). On these boards this was broken for long time but apparently no one enabled this driver till now.
      • Fix creation of debugfs entries for one regulator on Exynos4210 Trats board.
      • Fix probing of max8997 MFD driver (and its children) because of missing interrupt. Actually the current version of the driver probes (just without interrupts) but after switching to regmap and regmap-irq, the interrupt will be mandatory.
      • Cleanup regulator bindings on Exynos5420 boards.
      • Support MIC bypass in display path for Exynos5420.
      • Enable PRNG and SSS for all Exynos4 devices.
      • Add PL330 DMA controller and Thermal Management Unit to Exynos 7
      • Enable accelerated AES (Security SubSystem) on Exynos4412-based boards
      • Enable HDMI CEC on Exynos4412-based Odroid.
      • Add regulator supplies for eMMC/SD on Odroid XU3/XU4.
      • Fix DTC unit name warnings.
  • Qualcomm
    • Qualcomm IPQ4019 support in pinctrl
    • Change SMD callback parameters
    • 96Boards HiKey based on the Hisilicon Hi6220 (Kirin 620) gets an overhaul with a lot of devices enabled in the DT.
    • Added Qualcomm IPQ4019 “Internet processor”,  Arrow DragonBoard 600c (96boards) with APQ8064 Snapdragon 600
    • Device tree changes:
      • Add additional nodes for APQ8064
      • Fix APQ8064 pinctrls for i2c/spi
      • Add MSM8974 nodes for smp2p and smd
      • Modify MSM8974 memory reserve for rfsa and rmtfs
      • Add support for BQ27541 on Nexus7
  • Mediatek
    • Added  CPU power cooling model to Mediatek thermal driver
    • Added Mediatek MT8173 display driver, DRM driver, and thermal controller
    • Added MIPI DSI sub driver
    • 4GB mode support for Mediatek IOMMU driver
    • DTS updates:
      • add pinctrl node for mt2701
      • add mt2701 pmic wrapper binding
      • add auxadc binding document
  • Other new ARM hardware or SoCs – LG1312 TV SoC, Hisilicon Hip06/D03, Google Pixel C, NXP Layerscape 1043A QDS development board, Aspeed AST2400/AST2500, Oxnas 810SE (WD My Book World Edition), ARM MPS2 (AN385 Cortex-M3 & AN399 Cortex-M7), Ka-Ro electronics industrial SoM modules, Embest MarS Board, Boundary Devices i.MX6 Quad Plus Nitrogen6_MAX and SoloX Nitrogen6sx embedded boards, Technexion Pico i.MX6UL compute module, ZII VF610 Development Board, Linksys Viper (E4200v2 / EA4500) WiFi router, Buffalo Kurobox Pro NAS, samtec VIN|ING 1000 vehicle communication interface, Amazon Kindle Fire first generation tablet and ebook reader,  OnRISC Baltos iR 2110 and 3220 embedded industrial PCs, TI AM5728 IDK, TI AM3359 ICE-V2, and TI DRA722 Rev C EVM development systems.

MIPS architecture changelog:

  • Add support for relocatable kernel so it can be loaded someplace besides the default 1MB.
  • Add KASLR support using relocatable support
  • Add perf counter feature
  • Add support for extending builtin cmdline
  • seccomp: Support compat with both O32 and N32
  • ath79: Add support for DTB passed using the UHI boot protocol, remove the builtin DTB support, add zboot debug serial support, add initial support for DPT-Module, Dragino MS14 (Dragino 2), and Onion Omega
  • BMIPS: Add BCM6358 support, add Whirlwind (BMIPS5200) initialization code, add support for BCM63268
  • Lantiq: Add support for device tree file from boot loader
  • Add basic Loongson 3A support
  • Add support for CN73xx, CN75xx and CN78xx
  • Octeon: Add DTS for D-Link DSR-1000N
  • Detect DSP v3 support
  • Detect MIPSr6 Virtual Processor support
  • Enable ptrace hw watchpoints on MIPS R6
  • Probe the M6250 CPUand the P6600 core
  • Support sending SIG_SYS to 32bit userspace from 64bit kernel
  • qca: introduce AR9331 devicetree
  • ralink: add MT7628 EPHY LEDs pinmux support
  • smp-cps: Add nothreads kernel parameter
  • smp-cps: Support MIPSr6 Virtual Processors
  • MIPS64: Support a maximum at least 48 bits of application virtual

For even much more details, you can check out Linux 4.7 changelog with comments only generated using git log v4.6..v4.7 --stat. Alternatively, and much easier to read, you can head to kernelnewbies.org to learn more about Linux 4.7 changes.

Orange Pi PC Board is now selling for $8.57 Shipped (Promo)

July 15th, 2016 51 comments

[update: the flash sale is over]

Orange Pi PC is an ARM Linux development board based on Allwinner H3 processor, that is relatively popular thanks to its low price/features ratio, and decent Linux support mostly thanks to the combined work of linux-sunxi and armbian communities. The board normally sells for $15 + shipping on Aliexpress, but GearBest appears to have a promotion for $8.57 shipped.

Orange_Pi_PC-Promotion

Before you go ahead with any purchase. You’ll notice the board is shown for $9.23 in China and US-LA warehouses, but $24.35 in their European warehouse. The price (china warehouse) goes down to $8.57 once you had it to the cart. It could be a genuine promotion, but it could also be a mistake. If the latter, you’ll get a refund or possibly a voucher of the same value for future purchases.  I’ve asked my contact at GearBest, but no answer yet. GearBest confirmed it is a “big promotion” lasting as long as there’s stock. The page has been updated and the price is now $8.57 from the China warehouse only.

Thanks to Thomas for the tip.

Micrium µC/OS RTOS Is Now Free for Makers and Startups

June 24th, 2016 1 comment

According to UBM embedded market study for 2015, Micrium µC/OS real-time operating system only came second after FreeRTOS when the company asked close to 1,000 engineers and managers around the world which operating systems they were currently using in their embedded products. The OS appears to be particularly popular in Asia, and the results are all the more impressive considering it’s a commercial operating systems.

Operating Systems used in Embedded Systems (UBM Survey)

Operating Systems used in Embedded Systems (UBM Survey)

But Micrium decided to bring more people on board by announcing a free version called µC/OS for Makers targeting hobbyists and startups (<$100k revenues) in February earlier this year. The real-time operating system includes a preemptive multitasking real-time kernel with optional round robin scheduling, has a low footprint (6K to 24K bytes code space, 1K+ bytes data space), support various types of targets including ARM Cortex-M and Cortex-A based MCU and processors such as STMicro STM32,  NXP Kinetis, Cypress PSoC5, etc.., as well as Atmel AVR, TI MSP430 and many others.

The Maker version of the OS excludes the CAN module, Building Blocks and the Graphical UI library, but comes with USB, TCP/IP, Modbus, and file system stacks. A summary of the different licenses for µC/OS-III is shown in the table below.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

You can find more information on Micrium Maker page, or directly download it  (free email registration required) to try it out on your own platform or board.

Via 43oh.com

ARMv8 64-bit Processors To Replace Intel Xeon and SPARC64 Processors in Some Supercomputers

June 21st, 2016 5 comments

There’s been some news recently about Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer which nows top the list of the 500 fastest super computers with 93 PFLOPS achieved with Linpack, and is comprised of 40,960 Sunway SW26010 260 core “ShenWei” processors designed in China. But another interesting development is that ARMv8 are also slowly coming to supercomputers, starting with TianHe-2 super computer which is currently using Intel Xeon & Xeon Phi processors and second in the list, but according to a report on Vrworld, the US government decided to block US companies’ sales (i.e. Intel and AMD) to China as they were not at the top anymore, and also blocked Chinese investments into Intel and AMD, so the Chinese government decided to do it on their own, and are currently adding Phytium Mars 64-core 64-bit ARM processors to expand TianHe-2 processing power. Once the upgrade is complete Tianhe-2 should have 32,000 Xeons (as currently), 32,000 ShenWei processor, and 96,000 Phytium accelerator cards delivering up to 300 PFLOPS.

Japan K-Computer with Sparc 64 Processor

Japan K-Computer with SPARC64 Processors

One other report on The Register explains that the next generation of K-Computer, currently using Fujitsu SPARC64 processor, will instead feature Fujitsu ARMv8 processors in Post-K super computer in 2020 delivering up to 1000 PFLOPS (or 1 Exa FLOPS).  Details are sparse right now, but we do know Fujissu “has optimized the processor’s design to accelerate math, and squeeze the most of the die caches, hardware prefetcher and its Tofu interconnect”.

Post-K_ARM_Supercomputer

More details will likely be offered during “Towards Extreme-Scale Weather/Climate Simulation: The Post K Supercomputer & Our Challenges” presentation at ISC 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany later today.

Thanks to Sanders and Nicolas.

Categories: Linux, Processors Tags: arm, armv8, Linux, server