Posts Tagged ‘geekbuying’

Review of Vorke Z3 Android Mini PC with SATA – Part 1: Unboxing & Teardown

June 6th, 2017 6 comments

After Yundoo Y8 review, I’ve received another Rockchip RK3399 mini PC for review: Vorke Z3, which was sent to me by GeekBuying. Both devices are quite similar for Vorke Z3 adds an external SATA interface, and two external high-gain antennas. I was also expecting Android 7.1 Nougat on Z3, but I’ve been told the current SDK has too many bugs, so the device still ships with Android 6.0.1. I’ll start the review by looking into the hardware inside out, before reporting on my experience with the firmware in the second part in a few weeks.

Vorke Z3 Unboxing

The retail package is quite bland, but most people will probably not care a bit about this little detail.

Click to Enlarge

The devices ships with a 12V/2A power supply, a simple IR remote control, a HDMI cable, a SATA cable, and Vorke Z3 “4K media player” user manual.

Click to Enlarge

The device feels of good quality with its metal enclosure. The front panel is characterised by its long ventilation holes, one of the sides come with a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, a micro SD slot, and the SATA connector, and the rear panel features the rest of the connectors and ports: two WiFi antennas, a 3.5mm audio jack, optical S/PDIF output, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0 port, USB type C port with USB 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 (requires separate adapter), power jack, and power switch.

Click to Enlarge

Vorke Z3 Teardown

You can disassemble the device by loosening the four screws on the bottom of the case. I started with a precision screwdriver, but I had to upgrade to a larger screwdriver since the screws were too difficult to take out.

I actually damaged one with the precision screwdriver, and I could only remove three, so I had to very lightly bend and rotate the bottom cover.

Click to Enlarge

There’s no much to see here, except the RTC battery, and a sticker for “R99-V2.0” board. If we remove four more screws, and disconnect the cables to the power switch we can ckeck out the board with the processor, memory and eMMC flash covered by a large heatsink.

The heatsink is very easy to remove, and includes a large white thermal pad underneath. Rockchip RK3399 processor is connected to a “Mainstream” 32GB Samsung KLMBG4GEND-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash (250/100 MB/s R/W, 6.5K/12K R/W IOPS) which should provide very good performance, and two Samsung K4E6E304EE-EGCE LPDDR3 RAM chip (4GB RAM).

Click to Enlarge

Gigabit Ethernet is implemented via Realtek RTL8211E transceiver coupled with a SWAPNET NS892407 transformer, and while an Ampak AP6356S wireless module brings 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE connectivity to the device, and is indeed connected to the two antennas, contrary to some other devices that use dual antennas for aesthetic purposes. SATA has been properly implemented as R99 board designers leveraged Rockchip RK3399 PCIe interface with ASMedia ASM1061 x1 PCI Express to 2x SATA 3.0 ports. Other chips include Rockchip RK808-D PMIC, and Everest Semi ES8316 low power audio codec.

I’d like to thank GeekBuying for proving Vorke Z3 review sample. You can purchase the mini PC from their website for $164.99 shipped. Vorke is a GeekBuying brand so you won’t find it in many websites, but a few resellers on Aliexpress do offer the box.

Voyo VMac Mini mini PC Benchmarks with Intel Celeron N3450 Apollo Lake Processor

January 27th, 2017 5 comments

Following up yesterday’s post about Voyo VMac Mini mini PC benchmarks with Intel Pentium N4200 processor, I’ve switched to its cheaper little brother powered by Intel Celeron N3450 processor and performed the same benchmarks to compare the performance difference with the Pentium version, as well as older Braswell and Cherry Trail systems.

Click to Enlarge

I’ve run HWiNFO64 before running the benchmarks to get more details about computer, and especially the processor. Celeron N3450 is a quad core processor clocked at 400, 800, and 1,100 MHz, and up to 2.2 GHz in burst mode. It’s quite similar to Pentium N4200, except the later has a higher burst frequency (2.5 GHz), and a better GPU with 18 EU, instead of just 12 EU on the Celeron. My exact version of the processor is stepping B0/B1 with sSPEC SR2YA/SR2Z6. I forgot to comment about supported features compared to Cherry Trail and Braswell processors yesterday, and Apollo Lake processors do support some extra CPU features including RDSEED for random generators, SHA for SHA-1 & SHA-256 hashs, SMAP (Supervisor Mode Access Prevention), and MPX (Memory Protection Extensions).

Let’s move on with the benchmarks staring with PCMark 8 Home Accelerated 3.0.

Click to Enlarge

Voyo VMac mini N3450 got 1,566 points, which compares to 1,846 points with the Pentium N3450, and 1,543 points for MINIX NEO Z83-4 powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor. I have expecting a higher score here, so I ran the test again and got 1,595 points only marginally higher.

The PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0 score is more in line with the expectations as VMac Mini (N3450) achieved 935.3 points, against 1052.1 points for the Pentium N4200 model, and 845.9 points for Beelink BT7 (Atom X7-Z8700).

I’ve also run PerformanceTest 9.0 for future reference, and comparison with Voyo VMac Mini with N4200 SoC.

Click to Enlarge

Results: 998.4 points which compared to 1087.0 for N4200. The performance delta roughly matches theory, especially once we look into the details with the CPU mark also identical, but 2D & 3D graphics quite faster.

Talking about graphics performance, I also ran 3D graphics specific benchmarks with 3D Mark’s Ice Storm 1.2 (18,892 points), Cloud Gate 1.1 (2,130 points), Sky Driver 1.0 (941 points), and Fire Strike 1.1 (262 points).

Click to Enlarge

Let’s compare the results against other mini PCs & TV sticks including Cherry Trail systems such as MINIX NEO Z83-4 & Voyo V3, Braswell computers like MINIX NGC-1 and Vorke V1, as well as an Intel Computer Stick powered by Core M processor.

Click to Enlarge

Note: Ice Storm scores divided by 10, Fire Strike scores multiplies by 4 for scale.

Based on those benchmarks, the performance of Voyo VMac Mini with Intel Celeron N3450 (Red on chart) is nearly identical to the one of Vorke V1 based on Intel Celeron J3160 (Dark green on chart) both for a general computing benchmark like PCMark 8, and 3D graphics. Fire Strike however failed to run on Vorke V1. Both N3450 & J3160 SoC come with a 12EU HD Graphics gen9 GPU which may explain the similar performance for graphics. Overall the performance differences between Cherry Trail / Braswell and Apollo Lake processors are more incremental, than a big jump in performance, and for many tasks you’re unlikely to see much differences between systems, except for the more expensive Core M computers and sticks. Anyway, thats’ what I intend to find out in the review.

I’d like to thank GeekBuying for sending the sample for review, and if you are interested you can buy Voyo VMac Mini (N3450) for $199.99.

Review of Voyo VMac Mini PC with Celeron N3450 / Pentium N4200 SoC – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

January 24th, 2017 14 comments

I received my first Apollo Lake device yesterday with CHUWI LapBook 14.1 laptop,  and today I got two more with Voyo VMac Mini powered by Intel Celeron N3450 processor sent by GeekBuying, and the version powered by the more powerful Pentium N4200 processor sent by GearBest. I’ll start by checking out the hardware today, before reviewing one of the models, and comparing performance through benchmarks for both mini PCs a little later.

Voyo VMac Mini Unboxing

Both packages look identical, but the N3450 model has a sticker with basic specs, while the N4200 model did not have anything to indicate which model I received. However, GearBest left a paper inside the package confirming they sent the N4200 version.

Click to Enlarge

When I first read the markings on the package, I read “Mac Mini” instead of “VMac Mini”, so if you happen to live in a country where customs care about those things, your device may end being confiscated for trademark infringement. Note that there was no mention of “VMac mini” on the invoice or DHL package itself, so customs will only find out if they open the parcel. If you’re concerned about that maybe you could ask the seller to add a sticker to hide those words…

Click to Enlarge

GeekBuying sent the “Tyrant Gold” model as picture above, with the package including a 12V/3A power supply, a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, WiFi USB dongle (no built-in WiFi in the device), a “Specifications” user’s guide, and another document in Chinese. The lack of WiFi may be an advantage for some people who do not want WiFi at all in their device.

Click to Enlarge

GearBest sent instead the “Royal Blue” model show in the left side above. The front panel features a power LED and button, with all other ports located on the rear panel: power jack, Gigabit Ethernet port, micro SD card slot, audio jack, mini HDMI port, and three USB 3.0 ports.

You can watch the unboxing video if you are interested.

Voyo VMac Mini Teardown

I had to remove the four rubber pad on the bottom of the case, and loosen four screws. After you’ve removed the screws, simply shake the box a bit to make the bottom cover fall.

I normally use a precision screw drive to open the box, but since the screws were quite tight, I had to upgrade to a stronger screwdriver.

Click to Enlarge

Beside the RTC battery there’s not much to see on the board itself. However, you may have notice the bottom cover is attached to what looks like a 2.5″ SATA drive holding mechanism. There’s also a 9-pin SATA_CONN1 connector, as well as EDPCON1 and unsolder 40-pin connector on the board, so it could potentially be used in other mini PC with a different set of features.

Click to Enlarge

While Voyo VMac Mini does NOT support 2.5″ SATA drives, I wanted to try to insert one, and it fits perfectly with even the mounting hole aligned, so I would not be surprised to see a “Voyo VMac HDD” mini PC being sold with support for hard drives in the near future. After removing eight more screws I could access to the other side of the motherboard.

Click to Enlarge

The mini PC is actively cooled, and RAM and storage are user replaceable/upgradeable with currently SKHynix HMT351S6CFR8C-PB 4GB PC3-12800 SO-DIMM memory, and the same FORESEE FSSSDBEBCC-128G M.2 NGFF SSD used in Voyo V3 mini PC. Please note that there’s also a 32GB eMMC flash placed under the heatsink and fan together with the processor.

I’d like to thank GearBest amd GeekBuying for sending the samples for review. GearBest sells the more powerful Voyo VMac Mini (N4200) for $235, while GeekBuying sells Voyo VMac Mini (N3450) for $199.99.

Vorke Z3 Rockchip RK3399 TV Box to Launch in February 2017

December 20th, 2016 16 comments

I was expecting devices based on Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor to launch by the end of this year, that is about right now, but finally it looks like products will only start the show by the end of Q1 2017, as Firefly-RK3399 development board is scheduled to ship to backers in March 2017, while GeekBuying has started teasing us with their Vorke Z3 TV box powered by Rockchip RK3399 with 4GB RAM slated to launch in February 2017. [Update: Vorke Z3 is now up for sale for $169.99 including shipping]

vorke-z3Vorke Z3 preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with  2x ARM Cortex A72 cores at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and an ARM Mali-T860MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, external SATA interface (hopefully implemented via the PCIe interface), micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Video Decoder – 4K H.265 and VP9
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm audio port, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi up to 1200 Mbps (300 Mpbs + 867 Mbps)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB type C port (for data and power external devices?)
  • Misc – IR receiver, mechanical power switch
  • Power Supply – TBD
  • Dimension & Weight – TBD

rockchip-rk3399-android-tv-boxThe box will run Android 6.0, and currently gets about 72,500 points in Antutu 6.x with 16,519 points for 3D graphics, 25,805 points for UX, 25,905 points for CPU, and 4254 points for RAM tests. There’s hope a good Linux support on Rockchip RK3399, as Google and Rockchip are working on RK3399 Chromebooks, actively committing code to mainline kernel, and Firefly has ported Ubuntu 16.04 to their RK3399 development board with 3D graphics acceleration, and hardware video decoding is coming.

rk3399-sataPrice has now been announced yet, but for reference, Firefly-RK3399 development board with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage is now offered with all accessories for $199 on Kickstarter, and Remix IO+ TV Box also sells with 4GB/32GB configuration sells for $139 shipped, so I’d expect Vorke Z3 to sell for about the same price.

International Black Friday 2016 Deals and Coupons

November 23rd, 2016 12 comments

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 are coming up in the next few days, and while people living in the United States will surely have plenty of local deals, people living in the rest of the world can also benefit from the festival thanks to deals provided by Chinese online sellers. I’ll go through a list of event from some of the major shops for Black Friday 2016.


GearBest Black Friday 2016 will offer some discounts (but certainly not 80% off) as well as coupons:

  • US Warehouse – 10% OFF with GBNY10 coupon – Validity: October 31 – December 31
  • Site-wide (New Buyers Only) – 10% OFF with GBNEWNOV coupon – Validity: November 21 – 29
  • Site-wide – 8% OFF with GBAFFNOV coupon – Validity: November 21 – 29
  • EU Warehouse – 8% OFF with EUK10off coupon – Validity – November 11 – 29
  •  2% discount for payment by Paypal (up to $2) – Validity – November  25 – 29



Geekbuying’s Black Friday “Crazy Discount” has started on November 14th, and will last until November 27th. BLACK6 coupon will give you 6% discount site-wide, and customers who purchase $350 or more in the last three month will be able to get a 10% disctoun by sharing the promotion on their social networks. They also have various discounts for all kind of devices for example Vorke V1 mini PC for $159.99 (ands lower for a 72-hour Shopping Carnival on Nov 24), KII Pro TV box with tuner for $74.99, and so on.

Three customers who purchased items during the promotion period will also be randomly selected to respectively win OnePlus X smartphone, GeekBox TV box, and N.01 D6 smartwatch.


DealExtreme Black Friday 2016 event consists of several sub-event:

  • 10% MVP (Most Valuable Products) Refund – Validity: November 15 – 24
  • Favorite free gifts for orders over  $40 (gift value $1 to $6 depending on day). Validity: Up to November 24th
  • Brands Advantages – Mostly discounts for smartphone brands
  • Black Friday Flash Sales on November 25th only.
  • Cyber Monday with 4000+ desktop calendars given away


Finally, CyberWeek & Black Friday is taking place now in Aliexpress. Part of the activities include games from the mobile app only to win coins to exchange for $2 or $8 coupons.

The company also has promotions where you can get store coupons or discounts for categories such as Consumer Electronics or Phones Tablets & Accessories. The coupons I’ve seen range between $1 to $10.

Please free to comment if you know of other deals, or even specific deals that you’d think would be interesting to CNX Software readers.

November 11 Singles’ Day Promotions in Chinese Online Stores

November 10th, 2016 5 comments

November 11 is Single’s day in China, and just like Valentine’s day, it is used for commercial purpose to make people buy stuffs. It’s also Black Friday before Black Friday, as Chinese online stores will also offer discounts to their customers, and this remains true for stores catering to oversea customers, so you may find a few interesting deals from 11.11 day festivities around the web. I’ve gathered a few of the offers from the most popular Chinese sites catering to overseas markets.


GeekBuying has an “11.11 Carnival” that actually started on November 1st, and ending on November 12th. They have promotions changing every day, as well as some coupons such as DB1111 $15 coupon if you spent over $215.

Aliexpress calls it “11.11 Global Shopping Festival” instead. You can buy coupons for half price, and check out for products with the red SALE icon on the left of the price as shown in the screenshot below. Just don’t believe the 50% discount, and you’re likely to have just a few dollars off.


So if it’s not November 11th yet on such device, you’ll see an inflated price, but if you wait until Singles’ Day you’ll get the price shown in red.

Next up is GearBest’s “11.11 Sales Storm” which will last until November 14th, and offers flash sales for various items. Again don’t expect for miracles, unless maybe you are lucky. For example, Beelink GT1 is $55, about $1 or $2 cheaper than usual.


I could not find any specific 11.11 promotion on DealExtreme, but Banggood Singles Day event has some snap up sales, e.g. T95Z Plus for $11.11, which will be close to impossible to get since those are obviously stock limited, as well as some coupons for various caterogies, and for instance you can get an 8% discount using ele1111 for electronics category.

MK808B Pro Amlogic S905 Android TV Stick Unboxing and Teardown

April 5th, 2016 11 comments

MK808B Pro TV stick is the successor of the popular MK808B Plus and before that MK808B Android TV dongles with an upgrade to Amlogic S905 processor with 4K support. GeekBuying sent me a sample for evaluation, so I’ll start by checking the hardware before testing the device thoroughly in the full review.

MK808B Pro Unboxing

I received the stick in a package larger than I expected, but apparently about the same as the previous models (which I had not reviewed).

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

But that’s because of the included accessories: a 5V/2A power supply, a USB cable, a mini USB OTG adapter, a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, and a user’s manual.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Apart from the markings “MK808B PRO” and “4K Ultra HD”, the device looks the same as the older models.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

A mini USB port for power, and a USB 2.0 host port can be found on one end, with a micro SD slot on the side.

MK808B_Pro_mini_HDMI MK808B_PRO_OTG

A mini HDMI port on the other end, and a mini USB OTG port (hence the provided USB OTG adapter) on the other side. There are also ventilation holes on both sides of the device.

MK808 Pro Teardown

I used my favorite green plastic tool to separate the two parts of the case by starting right above the opening on top of the micro SD slot.
The first remark is that there’s very little in the way of cooling with a think and hard black sheet covering the processor and partially two RAM chips. So that probably means the stick will run slower than most TV boxes based on Amlogic S905, as they may need to limit the processor frequency to keep it cool.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

If we take it out, we can indeed see Amlogic S905 processor and two PE029-125 F1606 RAM chips (1GB in total) with some “S” logo. I’ve tried to scan the QR like code on the chip without luck, and I still have no idea which company makes these [Update: the company is SpecTek, a a wholly owned division of Micron Technology].  The board name is MK808B_S905_D16. You may also have noticed the push button on the top right corner of the board that is most likely used to enter recovery mode in order to update the firmware, and accessible via a hole on the top of the case.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The other side of the board features a 8GB SKhynix flash and a wireless module based on Realtek RTL8723BS for Wifi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

GeekBuying kindly sent the review sample, and if you’d like to order one, you could consider purchasing it from their shop for $34.99 including shipping. The stick is also listed on Aliexpress for $36 and up, and eBay for $39.99.

Black Friday 2015 – International Deals

November 25th, 2015 9 comments

While Black Friday is very much a US tradition, Chinese online retailers have made an habit to launch Black Friday, and to a lesser extend Cyber Monday, promotions discount on their sites bringing the event to an international audience. This year is no different, and have gathered some promotions that may be of interest to CNX Software readers.


I have not found specific deals on DealExtreme, but the company launched a Black Friday 2015 Lucky Draw event where you can get partial or full refunds of existing orders, as well as coupons for future order. Here are the rules:

  1. This campaign is for all DX customers.
  2. Please log in first.
  3. One play per valid order number.
  4. Valid Orders must meet the following three conditions:
    • Orders made on or after 10:00:00(AM) Oct. 28th and before 9:59:59(AM) Nov. 26th, 2015 (UTC+8).
    • Order should include one or more MVP product(s) and the order value must be more than $20.
    • Orders have been shipped or partially shipped.
  5. Present winners will be notified by email.
  6. The Coupon prizes can be used on Bidding Sales (Nov.11), Black Friday (Nov.27) and Cyber Monday (Nov.30) for MVP product only.
  7. The Order Refund prizes will be processed within seven workdays in the form of store-credit.
  8. The Surprise Gift will be shipped within seven workdays.


GearBest has also a pre Black Friday lucky draw with some coupons for grab. Rules:

  1. Enter a paid order number to get THREE Lucky Draw attempts!
  2. Paid orders must be at least $50, and payment submitted between Nov 23 (00:00 UTC) and Nov 30 (23:59 UTC).
  3. Coupons are only valid from Nov 26 (00:00 UTC) to Nov 30 (23:59 UTC).

At least two TV boxes will be covered by winning coupons:

  • Chiptrip MXV (Amlogic S805)for $28.89 with coupon
  • MXIII-G (Amlogic S812 with 2GB RAM / 8GB flash) for $49.99 with coupon
  • Beelink i68 (RK3368 with 2GB/8GB) for $59.99 with coupon

If you are not in luck, you could also use Thanksgiving2015 coupon to get 10% discount on the site. This coupon is valid until December 12th.


GeekBuying has their own Black Friday 2015 event with coupons for both existing customers and new ones.

They also have special deals for TV Boxes for example:


Tinydeal  launched discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday mostly for smartphones, tablets, and accessories.  There are also some flash sales, where for example you could get a LEAGOO ELITE 4 smartphone for just $9.99.


Chinavasion plans to run their promotion between Black Friday (Nov 27.) to Cyber Monday (Nov 30.), and they’ve already shown three product to be discounted in a blog post:


Bangood launched what they called Snap Up, where you add a product to your cart, and wait for the exact time to buy at incredibly low price, e.g. $0.01. Frustration guaranteed…

BuyForSure & Aliexpress

BuySureSure is a small company that makes and sells TV boxes via Aliexpress, and I reviewed their BFS 4KH box last year.

They are giving $5 coupon to people who purchase one of the following devices between Nov 24 – 28:

You can find more discount on the whole Aliexpress website, by checking out their Black Friday Page.

Cloud Media

Cloud Media promises up to 82% discount, and buy 1 get 2 free offers for selected products.

Cloud_Media_Black_Friday_2015But I’m not quite sure how to work, as adding 3 product to the cart still show the price for 3 devices. They do offer some small discount for their VTEN media player ($149), and you can add a WiFi dongle for just $1.9 extra (maybe that’s where the 82% discount is coming from…).  Their Open Hour Gecko is still $89, but you can add an air mouse for just $5.

OpenELEC Box

OpenELEC also has a Black Friday campaign for their OpenELEC Box based on WeTek Play, wit hthe price as low as 53.99 Euros if you buy 12 or more units. If you don’t need that many, there’s still a 10% discount bringing the price to about 80 Euros for one.

There are probably other deals, please let us know in comments. There’s also a Black Friday deals thread on Kodi forums, but mostly with link to US and UK stores.