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K1 Plus Amlogic S905 TV Box Review

November 28th, 2015 10 comments

Videostrong KI Plus is one of the first Amlogic S905 TV boxes to be launched on the market, and it also happens to be one of cheapest model selling for around $45 on various sites, and it’s even available for $39.99 on GearBest for Black Friday / Cyber Monday. I’ve posted the specifications and pictures of the device previously, and after updating the firmware, I’ve finally completed the review.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

As usual, I’ve connected a whole bunch of cables and peripherals to the device to make the power supply can handle it, including a USB hard drive, a USB webcam, a USB keyboard, a USB hub with two RF dongles for Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad and MeLE F10 Deluxe air mouse, as well as a HDMI, optical audio and Ethernet cables, and a speaker connected to the 3.5mm AV jack and powered by one of the USB port of the device. Turn on the power, and the device will boot automatically (no need to press the power button), with a typical boot taking around 48 seconds.

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

The launcher is quite basic, which can be advantage for a TV interface, with the time, a list of customizable shortcuts which including IPFox and Private Live TV by default, and 5 icons on the bottom for Kodi 15.2, Explorer file manager, the list of apps, settings, and a web browser. There are also some icon on the bottom right for networking and storage. IPFox asks you to scan a QR code to buy something, and Private Live TV will download an IPTV plugin and work out of the box with various TV channels including Sky Sports F1…

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

I quickly tried one of the streams and it worked OK.

The settings’ user interface is basically the same as found as on Android 5.1 Amlogic S812 TV boxes such as WeTek Core, minus some features like automatic frame rate switching.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The most interesting settings include:

  • Network – WiFi, Ethernet, and VPN configuration
  • Display
    • Screen resolution: Auto, 480p-60Hz, 576p-50Hz, 720p 50/60Hz, 1080i 50/60Hz, 1080p 24/50/60Hz, 4K2K 24/25/30/50/60Hz or SMPTE
    • Screen position
    • Screen rotation (middle port, force land, original)
  • Sound – System sound (On/Off), and Digital sounds (Auto detection, PCM, HDMI or SPDIF)
  • Preferences – HDMI CEC (But not working: “This remote device does not support CEC”), and Play back settings with “HDMI self-adaption” On/Off. I don’t really understand what that means…

I had no problem to connect to my WiFi router, and setting video to 4k2k 60Hz also worked perfectly via Onkyo TX-NR636 AV receiver or LG UHD TV. However, the box did not always keep my video output settings, often falling back to 1080p50. I only tested the AV port by connecting it to my speakers, and it worked fine with both HDMI audio and stereo audio outputted at the same time.

About_Mediabox_K1_PlusYou can get to Lollipop Android settings by selecting More Settings. Bluetooth is not built-in into the device, and is completely missing from the settings, so even if you decided to connect a Bluetooth USB dongle it would not work. All other usual settings appear to be here including Printing, Language & input, accessibility and so on. A single 4.66GB partition is used for both app and data with around 4.21GB free space.

The “About Mediabox” section reports KI Plus model running Android 5.1.1 on top of Linux kernel 3.14.29. There’s also a link to the Update&Backup app in this section, but OTA firmware update is not enabled. The sample was sent to my by a manufacturer (Videostrong), and they probably rely on their customers to handle this. This firmware is not rooted by default.

The IR remote control work pretty well, and I could use it reliably as far as 10 meters. The IR learning function is also doing its job and I could program with TV’s remote control Volume, power, and TV input keys. I have no used the remote that much since I prefer using MeLE F10 Deluxe remote control in Android that’s much more user friendly that IR remotes. Since the status and notification bars are missing, I had to use the Home key on the IR remote during testing…

Google Play Store did not work well at all the first time, with most application being incompatible with this device. That’s why I delayed the review, and after installing a new firmware, everything works pretty well. Applications that require telephony, Bluetooth, and GPS can’t be installed, but that’s fine, as well as the ones which can’t be installed where I live (country limitations). Finally I installed Amazon Underground to load and play Riptide GP2 3D racing game.

Power handling has been implemented correctly as I could cleanly power off the device with either the power button on the unit and the remote control. The remote control can also be used to power on the device. There’s no standby mode, so the device will fully boot each time you turn it on.

For those interested in power consumption, I’ve done some measurements both without USB devices, and one USB hard drive in two modes:

  • Power off – 1.3 Watt
  • Idle – 3.2 ~ 3.4 Watts
  • Power off + HDD – 1.3 Watt
  • Idle + HDD – 6.1 ~ 7.4 Watts

There’s still some residual power used in power off mode, but at least the USB ports are turned off.

Temperature is under control most of the time, except possibly when playing games. I measured 42°C and 53°C on the top and bottom of the enclosure after running Antutu 5.7, but after playing Riptide GP2 for about 15 minutes the temperature went up to 50°C and 62°C, and I noticed a lower frame rate in the game.

After updating the firmware, the first impressions were quite good, as despite its low cost, the system was responsive, and stable, which everything from networking to video output working fine, except for video output changing randomly? after a power on.

Video Playback on KI Plus

I usually playing videos from a network share over Ethernet and using whatever Kodi version is pre-installed on the device. So far none of manufacturers have used Kodi from Google Play, and Videostrong is no exception. So I have some Kodi 15.2 app in the device with various add-ons.


For some reasons, the resolution is shown as 1280×720 @ 60Hz in the System information when the video output is set to 4k2k-60Hz, and despite the framebuffer being set to 1920×1080 as we’ve seen with some of the screenshots above.

Kodi_1280x720But when I went ahead with testing videos samples found on linaro website, I realized something was clearly wrong:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny) – 480p/720p/1080p – Letterboxed
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container –  1080p – Letterboxed
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 1080p – Letterboxed
  • VC1 codec (WMV) – 1080p – Letterboxed
  • Real Media (RMVB), 720p / 5Mbps – OK
  • WebM / VP8 – OK
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container (1080p) – Letterboxed
  • WebM / VP9 (no audio in video) – OK

So while all videos could play, most of them would be letterboxed.

So with this bug in mind, and my contacts telling me either Amlogic had not spent much resources on Kodi this time, or that many patchsets were still submitted to Kodi to fix Amlogic S905 support, I decided to give up on Kodi on this device, and instead do all my testing with Video Player app in Android. That means you’ll either need to wait for Kodi 16, or go with the daily builds.

Later, I still decided to give Kodi a try with the “reliability” test, playing a 2-hour 1080p movie… and I worked just fine, with a some 3800 skipped frame reported by Kodi’s log overlay maybe because the mismatch between video output and video frame rate. So I was confused, until I saw the video output bug kicked in to force video out to 1080p50, and the System info reported 1920×1080 @ 50Hz…

Amlogic_S905_1080p_kodiSo that means Kodi 15.2 pre-loaded in the box works at 1080p resolution, but has a bug at 4K. VideoStrong should provide a 4K TV to their developers…

I did not re-test the videos at 1080p in Kodi 15.2, as I’m expecting 2 to 3 more Amlogic S905 TV boxes, and I’ll ahve plenty of opportunities to test Kodi on Amlogic S905, so instead I’ll report results in Video Player, using Ethernet, unless otherwise stated.

Linaro samples, plus Elecard H.265, and a low res VP9 video:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny) – 1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container –  1080p – OK
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV) – 1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB), 720p / 5Mbps – OK
  • WebM / VP8 – OK
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container (1080p) – OK
  • WebM / VP9 (no audio in video) – OK

I started to see some issues, when I switched to some higher bitrate videos :

  • ED_HD.avi – Blackscreen
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – Video OK, but no audio
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – Could be smoother, and no audio
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – Not very smooth (played from USB hard drive, as Fast Ethernet could not handle this file).

The audio issues are probably due of the lack of DTS and Dolby licenses, and I could confirm it in the audio test below.

Video PCM Output HDMI Pass-through S/PDIF Pass-through
AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1 No audio OK (Dolby D 5.1) OK (Dolby D 5.1)
E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1 No audio OK (Dolby D 5.1) OK (Dolby D 5.1)
Dolby Digital+ 7.1 No audio No audio Audio Formats Not Supported over S/PDIF
TrueHD 5.1 No audio OK (TrueHD 5.1)
TrueHD 7.1 No audio  OK (TrueHD 7.1)
Dolby Atmos 7.1 No audio Continuous beep and Dolby D 5.1 shows in AVR
DTS HD Master No audio DTS 5.1 only DTS 5.1
DTS HD High Resolution No audio DTS 5.1 only DTS 5.1

So if you don’t have AV receiver you are out of luck to get any audio, unless you use Kodi, which may not work that well right now, or some other app that also decoded DTS and Dolby by software.

One of the main selling point of Amlogic S905 SoC is support for 4K video including 10-bit HEVC, and it’s doing a pretty good job, as long as you play from a USB hard drive:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK from USB HDD, but buffering a lot from network.
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – OK, but no audio.
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) –  OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – OK from USB HDD, but buffering often from network
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – OK
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – 3 to 4 fps
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video) – OK from USB HDD (first time ever!), but buffering from network, or even stopping in some instances.
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – Audio/video synchronization issues, and the video could be a little smoother
  • Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps) – Excellent video decoding, but no audio…
  • Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC) – Perfect from HHD, but buffering a lot from SAMBA share.
  • Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate.ts (10-bit H.265 from DVB-S2 stream) – Most of the time OK, but it will freeze and the same exact point every time for several seconds. (tested on USB drive only)

You can watch a demo with most of these files via the post entitled “H.264 & H.265 4K Video Playback on Amlogic S905 Android TV Box“. While VP9 and H.264 @ 60 fps are not supported by current revision of S905 processor, I understand a new revision of the silicon should support VP9.

Video Player reports “can’t play this video” when I try to play Blu-ray ISO files such as Sintel-Bluray.iso and amay.iso, so I think it’s just not supported by the app. 1080i MPEG2 video samples (GridHD.mpg & Pastel1080i25HD.mpg) played OK, but Hi10p had the same artifacts issues as on Kodi on Amlogic S812, and lacked the subtitles.

I’ve played some stereoscopic 3D videos to see if the system could decode them (my TV does not support 3D):

  • bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (1080p Over/Under) – OK
  • bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (2160p Over/Under) – Audio only (Would require a dual 4K decoder)
  • Turbo_Film-DreamWorks_trailer_VO_3D.mp4 (1080p SBS) – OK

Lack of DTS/Dolby support was the main issue when I played several H.264, DViX/XVid, VOB, MKV, and MP4 movies, as many did not play audio at all, and Video Player app can not handle FLV videos, nor IFO files (although VOB is OK).

I installed Antutu Video Tester 3.0 manually, and the score (906 point) is pretty good, although not quite as high as on Amlogic S812 devices (1,000+ points).

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

If you are using premium video streaming applications such as Netflix, it might be important to check whether the level of DRM support, or whether any DRM is actually installed. This could easily be checked thanks to DRM Info app.

DRM_info_K1_PlusAnd sadly, even the basic Widewine security Level 3 is not installed. As a reminder, Widewine Level 1 is required for HD and UHD video playback.

Visit “Where to get video, audio and images samples” post and comments section for links to video samples.

Network Performance (Wi-Fi and Ethernet)

A 278MB file is transferred between a SAMBA share and the internal storage three times using ES File Explorer in order to test WiFi and Fast Ethernet performance. But during the first test,  I only did it twice because the transfer rate was stable but stuck at 130 KB/s during the whole transfer, and it took over 30 minutes for each transfer. Clearly the worst result ever, and at the time my phone could transfer the same file at over 2MB/s. But I tried again, before publishing the results, and the results are much better @ 3.45 MB/s , but I can’t explain what happened…

Performance in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Amlogic S905 SoC can support Gigabit Ethernet, but K1 Plus is only fitted with Fast Ethernet components, and file transfer performance is under average at about 6MB/s (48 Mbps).

Performance in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

It looks better while using iperf with “-t 60 -c -d” to test dual duplex transfer for 60 seconds, with a very good Fast Ethernet performance.

Throughput in Mbps

Throughput in Mbps

iperf output:

Miscellaneous Tests


Bluetooth is not support by KI Plus.


FAT32 (micro SD card), NTFS, & exFAT (USB hard drive) partitions could all be mounted, but the same bug as on Amlogic S812’s Android 5.1 firmware meant the free space was wrongly reported as 10MB, making the NTFS and exFAT partition basically read-only.

File System Read Write
NTFS OK Not really (10 MB free space)
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
exFAT OK Not really (10 MB free space)
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted

I had to skip USB storage benchmarks, but I could still check out the internal storage with A1 SD bench app, which reported 22.71MB/s read speed and 8.67 MB/s write speed.

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Clearly not the best performance, but it was to be expected for a $40 products, and I have not found it to affect the performance of the device much.


I have never seen Candy Crush Saga on device expect when using SoC with Mali-400 GPU, and it played without issue on K1 Plus ising an air mouse. Beach Buggy Racing felt a little sluggish, and once I boosted the graphics settings to “high resolution” it started to become choppy, and at time the game seems to be slow to respond to gamepad inputs. Riptide GP2 was about the same story, but it started pretty well, then set the graphics setting to high resolution, and the game was quite not as smooth, and the game even exited/crashed once. Furthermote, I noticed the frame rate to get worse, the more I played, so the GPU must be throttling when the SoC gets hot, leading to performance degradations. So Amlogic S905 does not seem the best platform for gaming, and better stick with the more powerful Amlogic S812 or Rockchip RK3288 SoCs.

K1 Plus Benchmarks

Before running any benchmarks, let’s see what CPU-Z detects…

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The app does not know Amlogic S905 processor, but it probably detects an ARM Cortex A53 quad core processor clocked between 100 MHz and 2.02 GHz, coupled with an ARM Mali-450MP GPU. The model is called KI Plus (p20x), the board p20x, the UI resolution is set to 1920×1080, there’s 807MB total RAM in the system, and 4.66GB internal storage. It’s running an aarch64 Linux kernel version 3.14.29 as reported previously.

I had already run Antutu 5.7.3 to compare Amlogic S905 and Rockchip RK3368 performance, but following the firmware update, I ran it again, and it yielded a marginally higher score of 29,167 points.

Please also find Vellamo 3.0 and 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme results below for reference.


Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge


It’s quite amazing that you can now get an Android TV box with 4K video playback and HDMI 2.0 support for about $40. However, there’s still work to be done, as while their a good based with a reasonably good user interface, and surprisingly smooth video playback at 2160p resolution using Video Player app, the pre-installed Kodi 15.2 version was unusable at 4K resolution with most videos letterboxed, DTS and Dolby licenses are missing, there’s no DRM installed at all, and various other bugs need to be fixed.


  • Recent Android 5.1 OS firmware that is both responsive and stable
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 2160p 60Hz; 24/25/30/50/60 Hz refresh rates supported; AV port (tested with speakers)
  • Impressive 4K H.265 (10-bit) and H.264 video playback in Video Player app
  • Dolby 5.1, DTS and TrueHD audio pass-through is working.
  • Proper power handling
  • IR remote support IR learning function, and has a good range (>10 meters)
  • 4x USB ports
  • Very good value for money (once issues can be resolved)


  • Pre-installed Kodi 15.2 version does not work well for 2160p video output is selected (1080p output looks better); automatic frame rate switching is not working either.
  • HDMI – Dolby Digital 7.1+, DTS HD and Atmos pass-through not working; CEC not working; Video output resolution set in settings is not always used at next power on.
  • Missing DTS and Dolby support for PCM output
  • No DRM installed, even Widewine Level 3 required for SD playback on relevant apps.
  • WiFi performance may be erratic (TBC), very good sometimes, and near stall speed at others.
  • 3D games such as Beach Buggy Racing and Riptide GP2 are not playing very smoothly, and performance may degrade with play time (and higher heat).
  • No option to show status and notification bars, no Download icon in app list.
  • Lacks Bluetooth support
  • USB hard drive partitions (NTFS / exFAT) reported as having 10MB free only, basically rendering the partitions read-only.

There are also IPTV apps that depending on your point of view can be PROS or CONS, and OTA firmware update is missing, but this may be due to Videostrong being a manufacturer, and not a brand, so they rely on their customer to handle firmware updates with their own servers and branding.

Videostrong was kind enough to send this first Amlogic S905 box sample for review, and if you are a distributor or resellers, you could contact the company via their Alibaba product page. Individual can purchase K1 Plus (aka Ki Plus) on retail sites starting at $39.99 including shipping on GearBest, GeekBuying, eBay, Amazon US, Aliexpress and others.

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Graperain Introduces G8916 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoM and LTE Mobile Development Board

November 27th, 2015 No comments

Qualcomm applications processors used to be found mostly in consumer devices like smartphones and tablets, but recently the company has expended their use to the embedded space, and for example, we’ve seen Snapdragon 410 64-bit ARM processor used in DragonBoard 410c board, Intrinsyc Open-Q 410 SoM, Inforce 6309 SBC, and today I’m going to have a look at Graperain G8916 system-on-module that’s also integrated into a 4G/LTE mobile development platform.


G6916 CPU module specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) quad core Cortex A53 processor @up to 1.4GHz with Adreno 306 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 (2GB optional)
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC 4.5 flash (16 and 32GB optional) + micro SD support up to 128GB via I/Os
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, FM, NFC/RFID, GPS/GLONASS with 4x on-module antenna connectors.
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • TD-LTE – B38/B39/B40/B41; FDD-LTE – B1/B2/B5/B/B26
    • TD-SCDMA -B34/B39
    • GSM – 850/900/1800/1900
    • CDMA – 1x/EVDO BC0
  • Audio – Unnamed Audio codec with signals for two microphones, headset and speakers
  • Other I/O via half through holes around the module:
    • 4x I2C, 1x PWM, 2x ADC
    • 2x SIM card
    • 1x SD card
    • 1x USB OTG, 2x USB host
    • 20x GPIO
    • Camera – MIPI-CSI up to 12MP rear camera, and 5MP front-facing camera.
    • LCD interface up to 1920×1800
  • Power Supply – N/A
  • Dimensions – 56.5 x 40.5 mm
Snapdragon 410 SoM Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Snapdragon 410 SoM Block Diagram (Best Resolution I could get from them).

The hardware specifications should be for reference only, as the company has very poor documentation about their module, and exact details, e.g. LTE frequency bands, differ from document to documents. There’s absolutely zero information about software support, so I had to ask again, and they support Android 4.4, and no other operating systems for now.

The company also has a mobile development platform (M9) using the module.Graperain_Snapdragon_410_Mobile_Development_Platform

Snapdragon_410_som_development_board No details technical could be provided in time for this article however.

G8916 module sample price is $115, and less in quantities. More details, but not that many, might be found on Graperain G8916 SoM page.

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How to Update Firmware on Amlogic S905 TV Boxes

November 24th, 2015 6 comments

Videostrong has just sent me a new firmware for K1 Plus mini PC based on Amlogic S905 processor. The procedure is basically the same as for previous Amlogic devices, but I’ve still documented the step to follow an update. Please note that devices from decent brands should have OTA updates implemented, so it may not be needed, except for the cheapest devices, or in case of network issues.

The firmware update procedure below can be done in any computer, including the Android TV box itself. The firmware is specific to K1 Plus, so if you have another TV box, you’ll need to change the download link to the firmware for your device.

  1. Download the firmware file (e.g. K1 Plus 2015-11-23.rar)
  2. Extract the compressed file to the root of a micro SD card, or on any other external storage.
    You should have a few files as shown above, including a zip file (please don’t uncompress that one). The name and number of files will depend on the firmware. Note that the SD card does not need to be empty, also it might be better to check files from previous firmware updates are not located in the root of the device.
  3. If you’ve done so in another computer, connect the micro SD card or external storage (USB) to the TV box.
  4. Start the Update & Backup in the TV box
  5. If Online Update does not work, then click on Select in the app, and it will scan for .zip files on all your external drives.
    Amlogic_Firmware_ScanningSelect the zip file corresponding to the firmware you’ve just downloaded.
  6. If you want to keep your apps, settings and media files, make sure Wipe Data and Wipe Media are not checked, then click on Update.
  7. At this stage it will ask you to confirm you want to “Start the OTA update”.Amlogic_S905_Local_Firmware_Update
  8. Click Update, and your TV box will reboot, and start the update shortly showing the Android update animation
  9. Be patient, and after a while your system will reboot, update Android app, and load the Android Home Screen. You are ready to go.

If you need to update because the system does not boot properly and can’t access the Update&Backup app, you may have to press the firmware update/recovery button before powering up the device, so that it automatically detect the firmware in the micro SD card or USB drive. You can check Amlogic S802 firmware update instructions to find out more details about that specific procedure, which should remain the same for Amlogic S905/S912.

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MINI MX 4K Android Media Player Unboxing and Teardown

November 23rd, 2015 15 comments

I received my first Amlogic S905 TV box last week with K1 Plus, and although I have not reviewed it yet due to some issues with Google Play, I’ve run some benchmarks on the Amlogic S905 platform, which some people mentioning that results could have been impacted by the small heatsink leading to CPU throttling. The good news is that I know have a new Amlogic SD905 TV Box to play with as GearBest sent me Beelink MINI MX TV box. Today, I’ll take a few photos of the device and the board, before hopefully publishing the full review early next week.

Beelink MINI MX Unboxing

I received the package via DHL, and thanks to its low price I did not have to pay custom duties or VAT.

The package does not show any specific brand, only Mini MX 4K Movies products, as well as the specifications on the back.

Beelink MINI MX and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Beelink MINI MX and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The box ships with a 5V/2A power adapter, a simple IR remote control requiring two AAA batteries, an HDMI cable, and a quick start guide in English.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The device is quite thinner than some of the other TV boxes I’ve reviewed recently. The front panel has a small circular window for the power LED, while one of the side comes with a micro SD slot, and a USB port. The main ports can be found in the rear panel with an optical S/PDIF port, Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connector, HDMI 2.0 output, , another USB 2.0 host port, and the power jack.

Beelink MINI MX Teardown

There aren’t any screws holding the two parts of the case together, so you need some rigi and sharp plastic tool to pop up the parts.

The WiFi antenna is on the board itself, so I had nothing to break this time.., and there’s no heatsink on the processor, but instead heat dissipation is done via a themal pad glued to a metallic plate fastened to the top of the case, which should provide better cooling than the tiny heatsink found in VideoStrong K1 Plus.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The back of the board has nothing much, expect the recovery/firmware update button on the top right of the picture, and a 4-pin header for the serial console, on the right side.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Since they own Beelink brand, it’s no surprise to reading the board was made by Netxeon, with the board name reading S95_V2.0_20150909. Two Samsung K4B4G1646D-BCMA DDR3 chips bring 1GB RAM to the device, while FORESEE NCEFAT28-08G NAND? flash takes care of the 8GB internal storage. Ampak AP6212 wireless module adds Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz WiFi 802.11 b/g/n to the device, and Pulse H5007NL magnetics and Reatek RTL8211F Ethernet transceiver confirm Gigabit Ethernet support.  Beside the 4-pin serial console header, there are also 6 solder points to connect a JTAG debugger.

I’d like to thank GearBest for sending a review sample. If you are interested, you could purchase Beelink MINI MX from their website for just $40.79 including shipping with BEELL coupon. Alternative shopping options include GeekBuying ($44.99), eBay, Amazon US ($55), and a few others.

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Amlogic S905 Source Code Published – Linux, U-Boot, Mali-450 GPU and Other Drivers

November 19th, 2015 16 comments

Amlogic has an open linux website where they regurlarly release GPL source code, and with Amlogic S905 devices coming to market, they’ve released a few tarballs at the beginning of the month including Linux 3.14 source code, U-boot source code, and Mali-450MP GPU kernel source code (obviously not userspace), as well as some other drivers for WiFi, NAND flash, PMU, TVIN, etc…
Amlogic_S905_Linux_MenuconfigLet’s get to the download links:

I quickly tried to build the Linux source. If you’ve never build a 64-bit ARM kernel or app before, you’ll fist need to install the toolchain. I installed the one provided with Ubuntu 14.04:

Now extract the tarball and enter the source directory:

At first I had a build failure due to a missing directory, so I created it, and use the default config for Amlogic S905/S912 (in arch/arm64/configs), before building the Linux kernel.

and it ended well:

So that’s a good starting for anybody wanting to work on the Android or Linux kernel…

Unrelated to Amlogic S905/Meson64, but I’ve also noticed some OpenWRT packages and rootfs  on Amlogic website that was released a little earlier this year. So either some people are using Amlogic Sxxx processors with OpenWRT, or Amlogic is working on a router chip that I missed. Probably the former.

Thanks to Olin.

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AndroMeda Box Edge Brillo Starter Board Features Marvell IAP140 Processor, 96Boards Form Factor

November 16th, 2015 No comments

Google announced Brillo, a new operating system based on Android and targeting the Internet of things, at the end of October. The company also disclosed that ARM, MIPS and x86 architectures were supported via respectively TechNexion Pico-i.MX6UL system-on-module and PICO-DWARF baseboard, MIPS Creator CI-40 board, and Intel Edison development board. A few days later, Marvell announced Andromeda Box, an IoT platform supporting Brillo and Weave, based on IAP140, a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 application processor for the “Edge” version, and ARMADA 385 dual core Cortex A9 processor for the “Connect” version, but without the full details.

AndroMeda_Box_EdgeAndroidMeda Box Edge is now listed on Arrow and Arrow websites, where it is sold for $74.99. If the board looks familiar, it’s because it clearly follows 96Boards form factor, but instead of officially being supported by Linaro, it has been designed specifically as a Google’s Brillo development platform with the following specifications:

  • SoC – Marvell IAP140 quad core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2GHz with Vivante GC7000UL GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL and DirectX.
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR3 @ 667 MHz
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC 4.5.1 flash + micro SD slot (SD 3.0 UHS-I)
  • Connectivity
    • 2.4 GHz WiFi 802.11n 1×1 / Bluetooth 4.0 combo radio (88W877) with on-board antenna.
    • 802.15.4 microcontroller (88MZ100) with on-board antenna.
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio –  headphone jack, PMIC/Audio codec combo chip (88PM886)
  • USB – 2x USB host port, 1x micro USB port on board, 1x micro USB port on expansion board
  • Expansion headers
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector with UART, SPI, I2C, I2S, 12x GPIOs, Power signals
    • 60-pin HS (High Speed) Expansion connector with 4-lane MIPI DSI,  USB, 2x I2C, 2-lane and 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Misc – 4 LEDs, power reset, and download buttons,
  • Power – 4.5V to 18V
  • Dimensions – 85 x 54 mm

AndroMeda_Box_Edge_BoardThere’s very little information about IAP140 processor on the net, but several pictures of the board show Marvell PXA1908 processor, so IAP140 could be a cost-down version without LTE support.

You can find more information about the board by reading the Quick Start Guide or Hardware Manual, and access Brillo BSP on github.

I could not find any details about AndroMeda Box Connect, but I would not be surprised if it included Solid-Run ARMADA 385 microSOM used in the company’s ClearFog router boards. More details about AndroMeda Box initiative should soon surface on the official website, now just a placeholder.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip!

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Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa-core Processor to Feature Custom ARMv8 Cores and Mali-T880 GPU

November 12th, 2015 1 comment

Samsung Exynos 7420 processor is at the top of benchmark charts for smartphones, but the company is still pushing for more performance and power efficiency with their upcoming Exynos 8890 processor that promises 30% improvements in performance, and 10% in power efficiency.

Samsung_Exynos_8_OctaWhile Exynos 7 Octa was made with ARM’s own Cortex A53 and A57 cores, Samsung did not go with Cortex A72 in 8890, but instead decided to design their own ARMv8 cores and coupled for of these with four low power ARM Cortex A53 cores, and a Mali-T880 GPU. Samsung also included a LTE Rel.12 Cat.12/13 modem that enables speeds up to 600Mbps DL (Cat.12) and 150Mbps UL (Cat.13), and the processor will be manufactured using 14nm FinFET process technology. Excluding the custom cores, and the manufacturing process, this configuration is similar to the recently unveiled Huawei Kirin 950 processor using four Cortex A72 cores and TSMC 16nm FinFET+ technology instead.

Mass production of Exynos 8 Octa processor should start before the end of the year.

Via Liliputing

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Categories: Samsung Exynos Tags: armv8, samsung, smartphone

Huawei Kirin 950 Octa-core Processor Comes with 4 Cortex A72 Cores, 4 Cortex A53 Cores, and a Sensor Hub

November 5th, 2015 5 comments

Smartphone based on MediaTek Helio X20 (MT6797) processor with 10 cores including two Cortex A72 cores should start shipping next month, but MediaTek will soon be joined by another Asian company with a mobile SoC with Cortex A72 cores with Huawei that has recently demonstrated their Kirin 950 Octa-core processor with four Cortex A72 coers and four Cortex A53 cores, achieving over 82,000 points in Antutu 5.6 (why an older version?) on a reference board.


For reference the top 10 Antutu scores so far in 2015, only got as high as ~77,000 points fro Meizu Pro 5.  Since the benchmark was run on a reference, it’s possible the score will drop once it’s in a tighter package.

Some key features of Kirin 950 processors:

  • CPU – 4x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.3 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.8 GHz
  • GPU – ARM Mali-T880MP4 GPU @ 900 MHz
  • Co-processor – i5 sensing co-processor / sensor hub (As low as 6.5 mA)
  • Dual 14-bit Dual ISP 960/s with standalone DSP
  • 5 Mode LTE Cat6 Modem
  • Memory – LPDDR3/4
  • Peripherals – USB, HSIC, SDMMC, DMAC…
  • 4K video support
  • Process – TSMC 16nm FinFET+

Kirin 950 Block Diagram

The company also mentioned that they decreased power consumption by up to 60 percent (compared to their processor using TSMC 28nm Process) thanks the 16nm FinFet+ manufacturing,  its new i5 co-processor that “consumes” 6.5 mA instead of 90 mA on the previous i3 co-processor, lower power consumption GPS (Fused Location Provider) and more.

Kirin 950 processor might be found in Huawei Mate 8 smartphone which could possibly launch on November 26

Via Liliputing, Mydrivers, Anzhuo, and Android Central

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