Archive

Posts Tagged ‘debian’

Olimex Announces Availability of TI AM3352 and Rockchip RK3188 SoM and Evaluation Boards

February 19th, 2015 No comments

Olimex showcased prototypes for both Texas Instruments Sitara AM3352 and Rockchip RK3188 system-on-modules and evaluation boards in May 2014. However, development and production took a bit longer than expected, and the company has just announced availability of the platforms now.

Rockchip RK3188 CPU Modules and Kit

RK3188-SOM-EVB with Baseboard and RK3188-SOM

RK3188-SOM-EVB with Baseboard and RK3188-SOM-4GB

RK3188-SOM-EVB kit specifications:

  • RK3188-SOM-4GB System-on-Module with the following key features:

    • SoC – Rockchip RK3188 quad core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.6GHz with Mali-400MP4 GPU
    • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
    • Storage – 4GB Flash + micro SD slot
    • Debugging – 4-pin UART connector
    • Misc – Reset and Recovery buttons, 3x status LEDs
    • Dimensions – 55.88 x 81.28 mm
  • Video Output – HDMI output + LCD output
  • Connectivity – 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • USB – 4x USB Hosts, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Expansion Connectors
    • LCD connector for LCD-OLinuXino-XX LCDs
    • 2x UEXT connectors
    • 2x 40 pin GPIO connectors
  • Misc – RTC with backup battery
  • Power Supply – 6-16 V via power barrel; LiPo battery;  micro USB OTG
  • Dimensions – 138 x 85 mm
You can find some documentation for RK3188-SOM on the Wiki, and there’s also a page for RK3188-SOM-EVB which remains empty for now. Hardware design files will be released at least for the baseboard.
RK3188-SOM, RK3188-SOM-4GB (with 4GB flash), and RK3188-SOM-EVB can be purchased on Olimex’ RK3188 product page for respectively 50, 57, and 70 Euros, which discount available for larger quantities.

TI Sitara AM3352 CPU module and Evaluation Kit

AM3352-SOM-EVB with Baseboard and AM3352-SOM

AM3352-SOM-EVB with Baseboard and AM3352-SOM

AM3352-SOM-EVB kit specifications:

  • AM3352-SOM-4GB system-on-module with the following specs:
    • SoC – TI Sitara AM3352 Cortex-A8 processor @ 1 GHz
    • System Memory – 512MB DDR3 memory
    • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash + micro SD slot
    • Debugging –  4-pin UART console
    • Misc –  status LEDs, Reset button
    • Dimensions – N/A
  • Video Output – VGA D-Sub connector, LCD header
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100M Ethernet ports
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion Headers / Other I/Os
    • CAN driver
    • 2x UEXT connector for Olimex compatible modules
    • 4x 40-pin headers (0.1″ pitch)
  • Misc – 7x buttons for Android, status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 6-16V via power barrel
  • Dimensions – N/A

There’s nothing in the Wiki about AM3352 boards yet, but Android and Debian will be supported, and you can have at look at the SoM schematics (PDF) and baseboard Eagle files.

AM3352-SOM and AM3352-SOMEVB can be purchased for 37 and 60 Euros on Olimex’ AM3352 product page. Industrial temperature version of the SoM can be manufactured on request for 5 Euros more, at an order  of at least 100 pieces.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

HiSilicon D02 Server Board Supports up to 64 ARM Cortex A57 Cores

February 16th, 2015 10 comments

HiSilicon has showcased their latest server SoC and board at Linaro Connect Hong Kong 2015, with up to two processors with 32 Cortex A57 cores @ 2.1GHz, 8 DIMM DDR3 slots (up to 128 GB RAM), 12 SATA ports, 4 PCIe slots, 10GbE / GbE ports.

HiSilicon_D02D02 board specifications:

  • SoC – Hisilicon PhosphorV660 Hip05 with 16 to 32 ARM Cortex-A57 cores @ up to 2.1GHz and 1MB L2 cache/cluster, 32MB L3 cache
  • System Memory – 2x Memory channel 4x DDR3 DIMM(4x DIMM per processor)
  • Storage
    • 12x SAS 3.0 ports @ 12 Gbps (8 for the first processor, 4 for the second).  SAS port are compatible with SATA drives. You may want to read SAS vs SATA post for more details about SAS.
    • 2x SPI Flash 158Mb BIOS/UEFI
    • 1Gb NorFlash
  • Connectivity – 2×10/100/1000Mbit/s Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2x xGE SFP+ ports (10Gb/s)
  • Expansion – 2x 8x PCI express interfaces per processor (4 in total)USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Debugging – 1x UART interface, 1x ARM Tracer connector, 1x JTAG interface
  • Misc – RTC battery
  • Power – ATX power supply
  • Dimensions – 305 x xyz mm (SSI-EEB/E-ATX Compatible). xyz = 330, 257, 272, 264, or 267 (Not sure yet)

The board can run Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, or Fedora. The company has released a hacking manual for D02 board, where you can find more details, and learn how to build the kernel, and hack around with Grub and UEFI among other things.

For example, provided you’ve already installed the right development tools,. including Aarch64 toolchain, you should be able to build the kernel for the board as follows:

git clone  https://github.com/hisilicon/estuary
cd estuary
export ARCH=arm64
export CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu-
make hulk_defconfig
make -j8
make ./hisilicon/hip05-d02.dtb

Binary files can also be downloaded directly from https://github.com/hisilicon/d02_binary.

Charbax filmed a demo of the board running Ubuntu, Linaro LAVA server, and LXC (Linux Containers). The board currently come with Hip05 SoC with 16 Cortex A57 cores, but in a couple of months, the version with 32 cores will come out, and and Linaro engineers working on ARM64 server should get their hands on several boards.

Via ARMdevices.net

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Orange Pi Plus Development Board Gets Upgraded to Allwinner H3 Processor

February 8th, 2015 8 comments

Orange Pi boards were recently launched with a form factor similar to the Raspberry Pi Model B+, and featuring Allwinner A20 and A31s processors. Orange Pi Plus was initially fitted with Allwinner A31s processor, but Shenzhen Xunlong Software has now decided to use the latest Allwinner H3 quad core processor instead for this model, adding better CPU performance, and H.265 video decoding up to 4K @ 30 fps, likely at the cost of a slower Mali- 400MP2 GPU against the PowerVR SGX544MP used in Allwinner A31s.

Orange_Pi_Plus_Allwinner_H3_640px

Click to Enlarge

New Orange Pi Plus specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.6 GHz with ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, SATA interface (via a USB to SATA chip), unpopulated  8GB eMMC on the back of the board (despite picture, see comments section)
  • Video Output – HDMI, AV port
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI Interface
  • Expansions – 40-pin Raspberry Pi Model A+/B+ (mostly) compatible header with 28 GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, CAN, I2S, SPDIF, LRADC, ADC, LINE-IN, FM-IN, and HP-IN
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
  • Misc – IR receiver; Power, reset, and u-boot buttons; Power and Ethernet LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via barrel jack or micro USB OTG
  • Dimensions – 112 x 60 mm
  • Weight – 60 grams

Orange_Pi_Plus_Allwinner_H3_Back

I would not put too much faith in the Gigabit Ethenet claims, as Allwinner H3 SoC only supports 100M Ethernet.

The board is said to support Android 4.4 , Lubuntu, Debian, and “Raspberry Pi” image. However when I visit the Download section of Orange Pi website, I can only see the Android image for Orange Pi Plus, and the file name reads “sun6i_android_mars-a31s.rar”, which clearly is for the older board based on Allwinner A31s. Orange Pi also has a github account, but it’s empty. That’s OK, as there must be something in the Wiki… but unfortunately all documentation is about Orange Pi’s Allwinner A20 board. There’s nothing about the new Orange Pi Plus in the forums either. All that to say the hardware might be ready, but there’s nothing yet with regards to documentation and firmware images.

Orange Pi Plus sells on Aliexpress for $59 including shipping, but I would not rush to purchase the board yet based on the lack of documentation and software, because as it stands you’ll just get a pretty brick. Further information should eventually be published on Orange Pi Plus product page.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Linaro 15.01 Release with Linux 3.19 and Android 5.0

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Linaro has just announced the first release of the year with Linux 3.19-rc3 (baseline), Linux 3.10.65 and 3.14.29 (LSK), Android 5.0.2, and Ubuntu Linaro Utopic.

Changes seem to have focused on ARM, Qualcomm, and HiSilicon hardware platforms such as Juno, and IFC6410, and some work has been done on Debian ARM64 rootfs.

Here are the highlights of this release:

  • Linux Linaro 3.19-rc5-2015.01
    • GATOR topic updated to version 5.20.1
    • builddeb topic: fixes for the dtb files location changes in 3.19 (vendor subdir introduced)
    • updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT (FVP Base and Foundation models, and Juno support)
    • updated topic from Qualcomm LT (IFC6410 board support)
    • updated topic from HiSilicon LT (Hi36xx, HiP04, and X5HD2 families support)
    • updated LLVM topic (uses the community llvmlinux-latest branch)
    • Included ILP32 patch set v3 rebased on 3.19-rc5. Initial tests using syscalls LTP tests are done: msgctl07 stalls when using ILP32 userland (no stall with LP64 userland).
    • config fragments updated:  audit.conf added to enable the audit feature testing on ARMv8; vexpress64: enabled devices used on Juno; Linaro builds of AOSP 15.01 is released
  • Android builds have been updated to 5.0.2
  • Juno firmware has been updated to 0.10.1
  • Linaro OpenEmbedded 2015.01
    • integrated Linaro binutils 2.25-2015.01
    • fixed linux-dummy after shared workdir changes in oe-core
    • updated linux-linaro(-stable) recipes
    • cleaned up overlayed recipes
    • added image recipe for ILP32 with LTP included
    • fixed GCC-4.8 builds
    • fixed LNG x86 machines
    • added workaround LAVA-isms with shell prompt
    • updated GATOR recipe to 5.20.1
    • upstreaming – fixed libgpg recipe in oe-core
  • Linaro Ubuntu 15.01
    • updated packages: Juno firmware 0.10.1, linux-firmware (include firmware needed for Linaro Community Builds), LSK 3.10.65/3.14.29 and linux-linaro 3.19-rc5 kernels
  • CI bring up: UpdateCapsule functionality testing
  • Debian x86_64 kernel/rootfs build with NFS support
  • CI bring up: audit enabled build
  • Add Debian ARM64 rootfs

You can visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1501/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB, LMB (Linaro Member Builds), and community builds, as well as Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain components.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Online Labs pBox (C1 Node) is a mini ARM Server with 4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports, mSATA and mPCIe Slots

January 30th, 2015 10 comments

Online Labs, a subsidiary of Iliad (free), recently launched hosting services with dedicated ARM servers based on Marvell processor with modules they call C1. The company has decided to design a baseboard (pBox) for C1 module, and, as I understand it, plans to sell it to the public. It’s an exciting development for those who are looking for affordable and tiny purpose built Linux ARM servers.

pBox_ARM_mini_Server

Preliminary C1 Node / pBox mini server specifications (based on C1 specs and bits of information gathered online):

  • SoC – Marvell Armada 370/XP quad core ARMv7 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 256 MB NAND flash + mSATA slot + eSATA port + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion – mini PCie, 1x 20-pin header for expansion (no details yet)
  • Debugging – 20-pin JTAG connector
  • Power Supply – Power barrel (5V?)

C1_ARM_mini_Server_Board

Supported operating systems should be the same as on the hosted instances including Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10, Debian Wheezy, Gentoo, Fedora 20, and so on. You can watch the 3D render video of the board below to check out the mSATA and mPCIe slots under the board.


Availability has not been announced yet, except it’s expected shortly. The company also teased us with the message “time to upgrade your #RaspberryPi”, so it should be competitively priced too.

Via Vik and Sebastien BENOIT.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

$60 MarsBoard Rockchip PX2 Development Board Runs Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, or Android 4.4

January 10th, 2015 No comments

Haoyu Electronics has made a new board similar to their MarsBoard RK3066, but instead of using a CPU module with Rockchip RK3066, they’ve used the industrial version of the chip called Rockchip PX2 dual core Cortex A9 processor.

MarsBoard PX2 Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

MarsBoard PX2 Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board is also comprised of a baseboard and CPU module (CM-PX2), and based on the name of the pictures it’s using the exact same PCB: CM-RK3066 SoM, and SOM-RK3066 baseboard, but they simply replaced RK3066 by PX2, and increased the NAND flash capacity to 8GB.

  • CM-PX2 Computer-on-Module:
    • SoC – Rockchip PX2 dual core ARM Cortex A9 @ 1.4 GHz + Mali-400MP4 GPU
    • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
    • Storage – 8 GB NAND
    • Power Management Unit – TPS659102
    • Misc – TX indicator LED use for debug, Power Indicator LED
    • 10/100M Ethernet PHY – LAN8720A
    • Connectors – 2x 100- pin for baseboard connection, 40-pin connector (unsoldered)
    • Dimensions – 70 x 58 mm
  • SOM-RK3066 Baseboard:
    • Storage – micro SD card socket up to 128 GB
    • Video Output – HDMI A Type socket, LCD + capacitive touch interface
    • Audio – Headphone and speaker output, microphone (not soldered), Audio Codec IC ALC5631Q
    • Connectivity – RJ45 10/100M Ethernet
    • USB – 4 x USB 2.0 Host port, Micro USB DEBUG port (via CP2102), Micro USB OTG port
    • Misc – IR Receiver (not soldered), CR1220 battery holder for RTC, VOL+ (Recovery Key), VOL-, ESC, and Power Keys
    • Expansion Port – 2x 20 pin headers
    • Power Supply – 5V/2A
    • Dimensions – 105 x 78 mm
SOM-RK3066 Baseboard (Click to Enlarge)

SOM-RK3066 Baseboard (Click to Enlarge)

The schematics in PDF are available for both the CoM and baseboard, but the latter is also claimed to be open source hardware, and you’ll find a license file, and a DSN file in the company’s server, but no PCB layout, BoM, and other required document. Images (Ubuntu 14.04, Debian 7.7, openSUSE, Android 4.4.2), source code (Linux kernel, and Android SDK), as well as tools and documentation can be found on the download page. There you’ll notice a single image is provided for both PX2 and RK3066, so both processor are not only pin-to-pin compatible, but also software compatible.

MarsBoard PX2 is sold with a USB Wi-Fi dongle based on RTL8188EU for $60 + shipping on hotmcu.com. MarsBoard PX2 is not the only Rockchip PX2 available, and Rayeager PX2 board is another option for $99 that includes a Wi-Fi + BT module on-board, and a SATA port (via a USB to SATA chip) among other things.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Orange Pi Development Boards Are Raspberry Pi “Clones” based on Allwinner A20 and A31s

December 22nd, 2014 30 comments

After Raspberry Pi, Waxberry Pi, and Banana Pi boards, here come another fruit-named board with Orange Pi. There are actually three models, with Orange Pi and Orange Pi mini based on Allwinner A20, and Orange Pi Plus powered by a quad core Allwinner A31s processor.

Orange_Pi_Board

Orange Pi Board Description

I’ve drawn a comparison table with the specifications for the three models. Please note that Orange Pi Plus full specifications have not been released yet, so I don’t have all details.

Orange Pi Mini Orange Pi Orange Pi Plus
SoC Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 processor up to 1GHz with Mali-400 MP2 GPU Allwinner A31s quad core Cortex A7 processor with PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
System Memory 1 GB DDR3
Storage 2x micro SD slot + SATA NAND Flash + micro SD slot + SATA TBD
Video Output HDMI, AV, and DSI I/F HDMI, AV, VGA, and DSI I/F HDMI, AV, and DSI I/F
Audio I/O HDMI, AV, and MIC HDMI, AV, and MIC HDMI and AV
Connectivity Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211E/D) + Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n + optional Bluetooth Ethernet + 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
Camera Parallel 8-bit I/F CSI connector CSI connector
USB 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG 4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB OTG
Expansion 40-pin header 26-pin “R-Pi” header
18-pin extended interface
Misc Rest, power, and u-boot buttons
Power, Ethernet, and user LEDS
IR receiver
Rest, power, and u-boot buttons
Power, Ethernet, and user LEDS
IR receiver, RTC battery interface
Rest, power, and u-boot buttons
Power, Ethernet, and user LEDS
IR receiver
Power * 5V/2A via DC jack* 5V via micro USB OTG port * 5V/2A via DC jack
* 5V via micro USB OTG port
* Li-Po Battery
* 5V/2A via DC jack
* 5V via micro USB OTG port
Dimensions 94 x 86 mm 112 x 60 mm N/A
Weight 45 grams 60 grams N/A
Price + Shipping $42.11 $51.31 $76.37
Orange Pi Plus Board

Orange Pi Plus Board

Orange Pi boards appear to be software compatible with Banana Pi, and Banana Pi M2 boards, with support for Android 4.4, Debian, Ubuntu, Raspbian, and Scratch, and Orange Pi website is a close copy of lemaker.org, one of the companies promoting the Banana brand. They even have the same “Apply for Orange Pi“, where you can apply for a free board if you have a project, or want to help with Orange Pi “community”.

Orange Pi boards can be purchased for $42 to $76 including shipping on Shenzhen Xunlong Software Aliexpress store, which also includes cheap accessories such as a $5.90 camera.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

CubieTruck Metal Case Kit Getting Started Guide and Review

December 21st, 2014 4 comments

I’ve received CubieTruck Metal Case kit just over a month ago, but just like for Ubuntu on ODROID-XU3 Lite, the board could not get HDMI EDID info from my Panasonic TV, which led to a crash at boot time. CubieTech has now fixed the issue, so I’ve finally been able to complete the review with Cubieez (Cubie Easy) distribution, pre-installed on the board, and based on Debian 7.6. You can get the full hardware specs on my previous post, but the kits is comprised of four parts: CubieTruck development based on Allwinner A20 dual core processor, a rugged metallic enclosure, a 128GB SSD, and a 5,300 mAh battery acting as a UPS. I’ll start by showing how to setup the board, test SATA and Gigabit Ethernet performance,  check if the battery acts as expected, try to use the board as a desktop replacement with LibreOffice, Chromium, and so on, and run Phoronix Benchmark. I’ll also explain how to mvoe the rootfs from NAND flash to SSD to extract more performance from the kit.

Getting Started with CubieTruck Board

Even though the board is pre-loaded with Cubieez 2.1, it’s still good to know how to flash the image by yourself, and do the initial setup.

There are some tutorials for CuebiTruck, but the one dedicated to Cubieez is completely empty at the time of writing.

But the important part is to know that the firmware can be found @ http://dl.cubieboard.org/model/cubietruck/Image/Cubieez/ with images for HDMI or VGA output, and NAND flash or SD card boot.

So this is what I had to do to reflash Cubieez (Cubieez 2.2 has been released since then, probably with a fix with my HDMI issue):

wget http://dl.cubieboard.org/model/cubietruck/Image/Cubieez/cubieez-hdmi-v2.1/cubieez-ct-nand-hdmi-v2.1.img.7z
7z x cubieez-ct-nand-hdmi-v2.1.img.7z

You’ll need LiveSuit (Linux or Mac), or PhoenixSuit (Windows) to flash the firmware, which you can download here. I’ve already explained how to install LiveSuit to flash firmware on A80 OptimusBoard, and the procedure is the same for all Allwinner devices. Once the installation is complete simply run:

~/Bin/LiveSuit/LiveSuit.sh

And load the uncompressed image (cubieez-ct-nand-hdmi-v2.1.img) as shown below:

LiveSuit_CubieTruck

Now connect a micro USB to USB cable between your computer, and CubieTruck OTG port, press the FEL button on the right side, power on the kit, and flash should complete automatically.

Then you can just reboot the board, and it should boot into LXDE, unfortunately for me, it did not work that way, and all I could see was the boot log on my HDMI TV.  So I asked some help on CubieBoard Google group, and got some help one or two days later pointing me in the right direction. However, it may have been better to ask on Cubieforums.com, these forums are more active than on Google group.

Nevertheless, the issue was a segfault reported in /var/log/Xorg.0.log:

[    47.423] (II) FBTURBO(0): using /dev/fb0
[    47.423] (WW) VGA arbiter: cannot open kernel arbiter, no multi-card support
[    47.423] (**) FBTURBO(0): Depth 24, (–) framebuffer bpp 32
[    47.423] (==) FBTURBO(0): RGB weight 888
[    47.423] (==) FBTURBO(0): Default visual is TrueColor
[    47.423] (==) FBTURBO(0): Using gamma correction (1.0, 1.0, 1.0)
[    47.424] (II) FBTURBO(0): hardware:  (video memory: 16200kB)
[    47.424] (**) FBTURBO(0): Option “fbdev” “/dev/fb0″
[    47.424] (**) FBTURBO(0): Option “SwapbuffersWait” “true”
[    47.427] (II) FBTURBO(0): processor: ARM Cortex-A7
[    47.429] (EE) FBTURBO(0): Unknown EDID version 0
[    47.429]
[    47.430] Backtrace:
[    47.430]
[    47.431] Segmentation fault at address 0x8
[    47.432]
Fatal server error:
[    47.432] Caught signal 11 (Segmentation fault). Server aborting
[    47.432]

The bold line showed that my TV did not return EDID information, and fbturbo did not check for this case. So CubieTech sent me an updated fbturbo_drv.so, which I copied to  /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/, and I was finally able to access the login prompt in LXDE. I believe this fix must be included in Cubieez 2.2 image.

You can login with cubie / cubieboard, or root / cubieboard. I normally prefer running the system as a user, and run sudo when needed, so I logged in with cubie user.

Cubieez

Cubieez LXDE Desktop (Click for Original Size)

Cubieez features LXDE running on top of Debian 7.6 with Linux 3.4.79, and the default resolution is set to 1080p50, but you can click on Monitor Settings to change the resolution as needed.

The README recommends to run cubie-config in LXTerminal the first time, so let’s do that.

Cubie_configExpand Filesystem is only used for SD card images. Internationalisation Options lets you change the locale, timezone, and keyboard layout, and you can change the hostname, and enable/disable SSH in Advanced Options. Once you;’re done, select Finish, and you may have to reboot.

You’ll probably want to install some packages with apt-get or the Software Center, but the repositories are set to Spanish mirror, and changing the mirrors to one in your country may speed up download a lot. Changing from Spain to Thailand, increased the download speed with apt-get by 10 times in my case.

You can find the list of mirrors @ https://www.debian.org/mirror/list, once you have found the right mirror for your country, edit the source list:

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

And replace

deb http://ftp.es.debian.org/debian stable main contrib non-free
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-updates main contrib non-free

by your country’s mirror. For example:

deb http://ftp.th.debian.org/debian stable main contrib non-free
deb http://ftp.th.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-updates main contrib non-free

Finally refresh the system with:

sudo apt-get update

You may want to install your favorite programs, for example:

sudo apt-get install libreoffice gimp nautilus

I found some XMBC binaries for an earlier version of Cubieez, that you need to extract to the root of the system. You have to install some dependencies, then run XBMC as shown below:

sudo apt-get install libssh-4 libmicrohttpd10 libtinyxml2.6.2 libyajl2 liblzo2-2 libpython2.7 libpcrecpp0 libhal1 libhal-storage1
/allwinner/xbmc-pvr-binhf/lib/xbmc/xbmc.bin

But unfortunately XBMC will crash, so this version is not suitable for Cubieez 2.1/2.2.

Finally, the SSD included in the kit is not partitioned nor formatted, so it’s also something you’ll want to do, but I’ll explain that in the next section.

SSD SATA Performance and Gigabit Ethernet

CubieTruck is certainly not one of the fastest ARM Linux system currently available, but its SATA interface and Gigabit Ethernet port could make it one of the best platform for storing and moving data around.

First let’s prepare the SSD for testing. Most people will make a single partition, but since the SSD may be use for Android SATA testing as well in the future, I’ve create two partitions, one formatted with NTFS and the other with EXT-4. To create the partitions, start a Terminal windows in CubieTruck, and type:

sudo fdisk /dev/sda

Now create primary partition(s) with by selecting ‘n’,  and type the start and end of the partition. If you want a single partition, that’s easy as fdisk will select the start and end for you, and you can just press enter to confirm the choice. Finally press ‘w’ to write the partition table and exit.

Format your partitions are needed, and in my case:

sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sda1
sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2

The SSD is now ready. Let’s mount the partitions:

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/sda1
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/sda2
sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1
sudo mount -t ext4 /dev/sda2 /mnt/sda2

In Linux, I’m normally using Bonnie / Bonnie++ to benchmark storage device:

sudo apt-get install bonnie++

By default, bonnie will write a file with double the size of your RAM to perform its testing, which is a way to reduce the influence of the cache, and provide more accurate results.

bonnie++ -d /mnt/sda1
Version  1.96       ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
Concurrency   1     -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine        Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP  /sec %CP
cubietruck       4G     3  13  8726  12  8640  14   424  99 50567  28 787.3  56
Latency              2352ms    1824ms    1807ms   21041us   17141us    2591ms
Version  1.96       ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
cubietruck          -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
files  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP
16  1321  15  3549  19  1788  13  1344  16  3756  19  1769  14
Latency              5620us   10305us   49666us    8780us    8080us    5673us
1.96,1.96,cubietruck,1,1418961485,4G,,3,13,8726,12,8640,14,424,99,50567,28,787.3,56,16,,,,,1321,15,3549,19,1788,13,1344,16,3756,19,1769,14,2352ms,1824ms,1807ms,21041us,17141us,2591ms,5620us,10305us,49666us,8780us,8080us,5673us

bonnie++ -d /mnt/sda2
Version 1.96 ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
Concurrency 1 -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP /sec %CP
cubietruck 4G 85 99 36310 30 23916 26 464 98 179457 89 1199 115
Latency 164ms 1974ms 214ms 39690us 15721us 104ms
Version 1.96 ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
cubietruck -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
files /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP
16 5738 56 +++++ +++ 10671 82 8671 84 +++++ +++ 10397 83
Latency 891us 2857us 3987us 4931us 125us 5187us
1.96,1.96,cubietruck,1,1418828957,4G,,85,99,36310,30,23916,26,464,98,179457,89,1199,115,16,,,,,5738,56,+++++,+++,10671,82,8671,84,+++++,+++,10397,83,164ms,1974ms,214ms,39690us,15721us,104ms,891us,2857us,3987us,4931us,125us,5187us

Since bonnie output is not always easy to read, I’ve run the last line with bon_csv2html to have prettier results in HTML, also including the results for the NAND flash (bonnie++ -d /) as comparison.

Cubietruck_SSD_NAND_BonnieYou can check the full Bonnie++ results including sequential and random create results.

Sequential Output is write speed, and Sequential Input is write speed. Most of the time, Block speed is the important metric here. So first we see a large difference in performance between NTFS and EXT4 read and write speed on the SSD with respectively 8.7 MB/s and 50.5 MB/s for NTFS versus 36.31 MB.s, and 179.45 MB/s for EXT-4. That means CubieTruck can read data at 180MB/s from the SSD, or about 6 times faster than the typical performance of a USB 2.0 drive, and faster than the USB 3.0 drive connected to my Ubuntu computer (AMD FX8350) which achieves 115 MB/s read speed in the same test on its EXT-4 partition. As a side note, the maximum performance I’ve ever got from another ARM device via USB 3.0 was about 48 MB/s with ODROID-XU3 Lite, but this was in Android, and an NTFS partition, and with another tool (A1SD).

The NAND flash used in CubieTruck is also much slower than the SSD, writing at 6.4 MB/s and reading at 19.46 MB/s, and that’s why if you purchase this kit, you should probably move the rootfs to the SSD.

I’ve also tested raw Ethernet performance with the command line: iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d. Unfortunately Cubieboard Gigabit Ethernet performance (full duplex) is not that good, albeit still faster then Fast Ethernet.

CubieTruck_Gigabit_Ethernet_iPerf

Throughput in Mbps

Battery Life, Monitoring and UPS Function

This kit comes with a 5,300 mAh battery that’s mainly used as a UPS. So I’ve tried to disconnect the power while in used, and the system runs as expected. Once the battery is depleted, and the system off, as soon as the power comes back the system will boot again, so that part is also good in most cases, but not all…

I always wanted to check the battery life, to see how long the board could run on batteries. In my Ubuntu computer, I can run “last” to check the last power on./off event, bit with this firmware, it won’t work, complaining that /var/log/wtmp is missing. So instead I installed uptimed:

sudo apt-get install uptimed

Once I left the battery discharge over night, and after 3 hours, I assumed it was fully charged, and in idle mode, the battery lasted two hours. I had only connected the HDMI cable, an Ethernet cable, and connected to the board with SSH.

We can check the record uptimes with uprecords:

uprecords
     #               Uptime | System                                     Boot up
----------------------------+---------------------------------------------------
     1     0 days, 03:20:26 | Linux 3.4.79              Fri Dec 19 09:59:28 2014
     2     0 days, 02:00:40 | Linux 3.4.79              Fri Dec 19 13:20:32 2014
->   3     0 days, 00:08:11 | Linux 3.4.79              Fri Dec 19 15:31:12 2014

However, afterwards I had a doubt whether I had a full charge or not, so let it run all day, and tested it again, and this time, the battery lasted for over four hours and 20 minutes, meaning the first time, the battery was not fully charged, and it might take many hours to charge the battery:

uprecords
     #               Uptime | System                                     Boot up
----------------------------+---------------------------------------------------
     1     0 days, 07:43:48 | Linux 3.4.79              Fri Dec 19 14:31:12 2014
     2     0 days, 04:26:36 | Linux 3.4.79              Sat Dec 20 11:51:35 2014
     3     0 days, 04:12:17 | Linux 3.4.79              Sat Dec 20 16:20:07 2014

LXDE desktop will not run the system run on batteries (or I missed that), but you can monitor the battery status, health, voltage and more with sysfs:

cat /sys/class/power_supply/battery/health
Good
cat /sys/class/power_supply/battery/status
Discharging
cat /sys/class/power_supply/battery/voltage_now
3729000

So that means your program, or a script, could detect when the battery is charging or discharging, check the health status and/or voltage, and decide to run in lower power mode, and cleanly turn off the system when the voltage drops too low.

More options can be found on power_supply_class.txt kernel documentation.

Installing Debian rootfs to the SSD

Have we’ve seen above the read speed of the SSD is about 9 times faster than the NAND flash, and the write speed nearly 6 times faster, so you should really move the rootfs to the SSD, unless you have specific reasons not to do so. Another advantage will be the increased space for programs.

Let’s check the rootfs usage n the NAND flash first:

cubie@cubietruck:~$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
rootfs 6.9G 2.8G 3.9G 42% /
/dev/root 6.9G 2.8G 3.9G 42% /

So we have a 6.9GB rootfs out of the 8GB flash, with 3.9GB free after I installed a few programs.

The rootfs is located in /dev/nandb partition, and you’ll want to move it to /dev/sda1 (in my case /dev/sda2, but I’ll use sda1 in this section, as it’s what most people will do). I’ll assume here that you have already partitioned and formatted the SSD as specified in the SSD SATA performance section.

First we have to copy the rootfs in the NAND flash to the SSD partition:
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/nandb
sudo mount -t ext4 /dev/nandb /mnt/nandb
sudo mount -t ext4 /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1
cd /mnt/nandb
sudo cp -a . /mnt/sda1

Then we have to tell the system the root filesystem is located in the SSD, by changing uEnv.txt located in nanda partition of the flash:

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/nanda
sudo mount /dev/nanda /mnt/nanda
cd /mnt/nanda

sudo vi /mnt/nanda/uEnv.txt

Where you’ll need to change:

nand_root=/dev/nandb

by

nand_root=/dev/sda1

Now unmount the partitions, sync, and reboot

umount /mnt/sda1
umount /mnt/nand*
sync
reboot

After login, you can check that the rootfs is now on the SSD with close a 120GB partition (in my case 60G since I have two partitions):

cubie@cubietruck:~$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
rootfs 59G 2.9G 53G 6% /
/dev/root 59G 2.9G 53G 6% /

Using CubieTruck Metal Kit as a Desktop PC

Just like I did with ODROID-XU3 Lite and Ugoos UM3, I’ve tried to use this Linux computer as a desktop computer, and shot a video with:

  1. Boot time from SSD: 42 seconds. Note that the LED on the front panel take about 10 seconds to lit up.
  2. Checking UPS function by disconnecting the power
  3. cubie-config utility for setup
  4. List of installed applications
  5. LibreOffice (Writer)
  6. Chromium – Multi-tabs, YouTube (embedded / full screen; VP9 / H.264/AVC1), and Candy Crush Saga (Flash game) in Facebook
  7. Video Playback with GNOME Player
  8. Power off

CubieTruck (Cubieboard 3) can be used as a desktop computer for Office tasks, but web browsing may become an issue with high CPU usage in Chromium, and watching YouTube video amounts to torture. Video playback (software decode) appears to be relatively OK up to 720P using GNOME player, but 1080p/H.264 video are not watchable. There are now VPU driver for Allwinner A10/A20, but these do not seem to be in use in this image, same for Mali drivers for 2D/3D GPU acceleration.

Phoronix Benchmarks

I’ve also run some of Phoronix Test Suite benchmarks:

sudo apt-get install php5-cli php5-gd php5-gd libpcre3-dev
wget http://phoronix-test-suite.com/releases/repo/pts.debian/files/phoronix-test-suite_5.4.0_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i phoronix-test-suite_5.4.0_all.deb

After configuring batch test, I’ve run MP3 encode, 7-zip compression, and Apache server tests:

phoronix-test-suite batch-benchmark pts/encode-mp3 pts/compress-7zip pts/apache

Contraty to ODROID-XU3 Lite, where compress-7zip failed because of a lack of memory, all three tests could complete successfully. I find Openbenchmarking website very confusing to use, and I did not find a way to compare to old results. So I included CubieTruck NAND, CubieTruck SSD, and ODROID-XU3 Lite in the picture below.

Cubietruck (NAND / SSD) vs ODROID-XU3 Lite (Click to Enlarge)

Cubietruck (NAND / SSD) vs ODROID-XU3 Lite (Click to Enlarge)

You can also click on the pages on OpenBenchmarking for Cubietruck (NAND), CubieTruck (SSD), and ODROID-XU3 Lite (eMMC) for full details.

I was not expecting the SSD to make much difference with the MP3 encoding, and 7-zip compression benchmarks, but I though it would yield a significant increase in performance for the Apache test. I was wrong, as the Apache test only improved from 771.6 requests per second to 785.20 rps, so it must mean this benchmark is not a I/O bound test. As should be expected ODROID-XU3 Lite is much faster for both MP3 encoding (45 seconds vs 165 seconds), and Apache (2382 rps vs 785 rps).

CubieTruck Metal Case kit includes CubieTruck board, a 120GB SSD, a 5,300 mAh battery, a rugged metallic enclosure, a 5V/2.5A power, and relevant cables. It can be purchased for $169 on Seeedstudio, or 149 Euros exc. VAT on EmbeddedComputer.nl.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter