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Posts Tagged ‘intel’

Older Intel Atom C2000 Series Server Chips May Stop Working After a While, and There’s no Fix

February 8th, 2017 12 comments

It takes time and efforts to debugging hardware and software to get a product right, but some bugs may be hard to reproduce, or only happen over time, and it appears some Intel Celeron C2000 series processor for microservers may stop working after about 18 months, with the likelihood of problems increasing over time, due to clock signals that stop functioning.

Atom C2000 Block Diagram

This is documented in Intel Atom Processor C2000 Product Family Specification Update, with Errata AVR 54 explaining the issue:

AVR54. System May Experience Inability to Boot or May Cease Operation

Problem: The SoC LPC_CLKOUT0 and/or LPC_CLKOUT1 signals (Low Pin Count bus clock
outputs) may stop functioning.
Implication: If the LPC clock(s) stop functioning the system will no longer be able to boot.
Workaround: A platform level change has been identified and may be implemented as a workaround
for this erratum.
Status: For the steppings affected, see Table 1, “Errata Summary Table” on page 9.

The table on page 9 shows stepping “B0” suffers from this problem. The issue affects existing motherboard and server based on Atom C2000, and companies like Cisco will provide replacements:

Recently, Cisco became aware of an issue related to a component manufactured by one supplier that affects some Cisco products. In some units, we have seen the clock signal component degrade over time. Although the Cisco products with this component are currently performing normally, we expect product failures to increase over the years, beginning after the unit has been in operation for approximately 18 months. Once the component has failed, the system will stop functioning, will not boot, and is not recoverable. This component is also used by other companies.

We have identified all Cisco products that have this component and worked with the supplier to quickly put a fix in place. All products shipping currently do not have this issue. To support our customers and partners, Cisco will proactively provide replacement products under warranty or covered by any valid services contract dated as of November 16, 2016, which have this component. Due to the age-based nature of the failure and the volume of replacements, we will be prioritizing orders based on the products’ time in operation.

The good news is that a new revision of the chip fixes the issue for new processors, but there’s no fix for older ones. So if you own any such systems, and they have stopped working or become unstable suddenly, it may be the reason. You also want to check if you can get a replacement while it is still under warranty whether it works or not.

Thanks to Mike for the tip.

Categories: Hardware, Intel Atom Tags: intel, server

Intel Atom x7-Z8700 (Cherry Trail) vs Intel Pentium N4200 (Apollo Lake) Benchmarks Comparison

February 7th, 2017 9 comments

Mini PCs based on Intel Apollo Lake processors have started selling, and they supposed to be upgrades to Braswell and Cherry Trail processor. I’ve recently had the chance to review Voyo VMac Mini mini PC powered by Intel Pentium N4200 quad core processor, that’s the fastest model of the Apollo Lake N series, and of course I ran some benchmarks, so I thought it would be interesting compare the results I got with an Atom x7-Z8700 “Cherry Trail” mini PC, namely Beelink BT7 which I reviewed last year.

Both machines are actively cooled with a small fan, and storage performance is similar, albeit with a slight edge for the Apollo Lake SSD. A ratio greater than one (green) means the Apollo Lake processor is faster, and if it is lower than one (red) the Cherry Trail processor win.

Benchmark Beelink BT7
Intel Atom x7-Z8700 @ 1.6 / 2.4 GHz (2W SDP)
Voyo (V1) Vmac Mini
Intel Pentium N4200 @ 1.1 / 2.5 GHz (6W TDP)
Ratio
PCMark 8 Accelerated
Overall Score 1,509 1,846 1.22
Web Browsing – JunglePin 0.59309 s 0.52267 s 1.13
Web Browsing – Amazonia 0.19451 s 0.18459 s 1.05
Writing 8.53975 s 6.89837 s 1.24
Casual Gaming 7.96 fps 10.38 fps 1.30
Video Chat playback 29.99 fps 30.02 fps 1.00
Video Chat encoding 301 ms 196.66667 ms 1.53
Photo Editing 0.65544 s 0.45915 s 1.43
Passmark 8
Passmark Rating 846 1,052.1 1.24
3DMark
Ice Storm 1.2 23,999 23,511 0.98
Cloud Gate 1.1 2,185 2,347 1.07
Sky Diver 1.0 1,131 1,384 1.22
Fire Strike 276 267 0.97

The performance is usually faster in the Apollo Lake processor by  between 5 to 50+% depending on the tasks with video encoding and photo editing gaining the most. Browsing is only marginally faster by 5 to 13%. PCMark8 reports a 30% higher frame rate for casual gaming, but 3DMark does not how that much improvement, and in some cases not at all, except for Sky Diver 1.0 demo. Intel Atom x7-X8700 SoC comes with a 16EU Intel HD graphics Gen 9 @ 200 / 600 MHz, while the Pentium SoC comes with 18 EU (Execution Unit) of the same gen9 GPU @ 200 / 750 MHz, and should be a little faster in theory.

So based on those results, there’s a clear – although incremental – performance improvement using Apollo Lake over Cherry Trail, but depending on the use case it may not always be noticeable in games or while browsing the web.

Embedded Linux Conference & OpenIoT Summit 2017 Schedule

February 4th, 2017 1 comment

The Embedded Linux Conference 2017 and the OpenIoT Summit 2017 will take place earlier than last year, on February  20 – 24, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, USA. This will be the 12th year for ELC, where kernel & system developers, userspace developers, and product vendors meet and collaborate. The schedule has been posted on the Linux Foundation website, and whether you’re going to attend or not, it’s always informative to check out the topics.

So as usual, I’ll make a virtual schedule for all 5 days.

Monday, February 20

For the first day, the selection is easy, as choices are limited, and the official first day it actually on Tuesday. You can either attend a full-day paid training sessions entitled “Building A Low Powered Smart Appliance Workshop“, and the only session that day:

  • 14:30 – 15:20 – Over-the-air (OTA) Software Updates without Downtime or Service Disruption, by Alfred Bratterud, IncludeOS

Millions of consumers are at risk from security vulnerabilities caused by out-of-date software. In theory all devices should update automatically, but in practice, updating is often complicated, time-consuming and requires manual intervention from users. IncludeOS is a unikernel operating system that enables over-the-air (OTA) software updates of connected devices without downtime or service disruption.

The talk starts with a brief introduction to unikernels, their capabilities and how they can be very beneficial for IoT products from security, performance and operational perspectives. Then we give an overview of the IncludeOS Live Update functionality, which we use to demonstrate an atomic update of a device using Mender.io.

Tuesday, February 21

  • 10:30 – 11:20 – Bluetooth 5 is here, by Marcel Holtmann, Open Source Technology Center, Intel

The next version of Bluetooth has been released just a few month ago. This presentation gives an introduction to Bluetooth 5 and its impacts on the ecosystem. It shows new and exciting use cases for low energy devices and IoT with the focus on Linux and Zephyr operating systems.

With Bluetooth 5, the wireless technology continues to evolve to meet the needs of the industry as the global wireless standard for simple and secure connectivity. With 4x range, 2x speed and 8x broadcasting message capacity, the enhancements of Bluetooth 5 focus on increasing the functionality of Bluetooth for the IoT. These features, along with improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies, continue to advance the IoT experience by enabling simple and effortless interactions across the vast range of connected devices.

  • 11:30 – 12:20 – Embedded Linux Size Reduction Techniques, by Michael Opdenacker, Free Electrons

Are you interested in running Linux in a system with very small RAM and storage resources? Or are you just trying to make the Linux kernel and its filesystem as small as possible, typically to boot faster?

This talk will detail approaches for reducing the size of the kernel, of individual applications and of the whole filesystem. Benchmarks will you show how much you can expect to save with each approach.

  • 14:00 – 14:50 – Moving from IoT to IIoT with Maker Boards, Linux, and Open-Source Software Tools, by Matt Newton, Opto 22

In this session, developers will learn how to use the open-source tools, maker boards, and technology they’re already familiar with to develop applications that have the potential to deliver a massive positive impact on society. There are billions of devices–sensors, I/O, control systems, motors, pumps, drives–siloed behind proprietary control and information systems, waiting to be tapped into. This workshop is geared towards teaching the developer community how to use the tools they’re already familiar with to access, monitor, and manage these assets to create a potentially huge positive impact on our way of life.

  • 15:00 – 15:50 – Debugging Usually Slightly Broken (USB) Devices and Drivers, by Krzysztof Opasiak, Samsung R&D Institute Poland

USB is definitely the most common external interface. Millions of people are using it every day and thousands of them have problems with it. Driver not found, incorrect driver bound, kernel oops are just examples of common problems which we are all facing. How to solve them or at least debug? If you’d like to find out, then this talk is exactly for you!

We will start with a gentle introduction to the USB protocol itself. Then standard Linux host side infrastructure will be discussed. How drivers are chosen? How can we modify matching rules of a particular driver? That’s only couple of questions which will be answered in this part. Final part will be an introduction to USB communication sniffing. Krzysztof will show how to monitor and analyze USB traffic without expensive USB analyzers.

  • 16:20 – 17:10 – SDK in the Browser for Zephyr Project, by Sakari Poussa, Intel

Starting a development for embedded IoT system can be a tedious task, starting with the tools and SDK installations. You also need to have proper operating system, cables and environment variables set up correctly in order to do anything. This can take hours if not days. In this tutorial, we present an alternative, fast and easy way to start IoT development. All you need is your Zephyr board, USB cable and Web Browser. The Zephyr will be running JavaScript Runtime for Zephyr including a “shell” developer mode and Web USB. The Browser has the IDE where you can edit and download code to your board. No compiling, flashing or rebooting is required. During the tutorial, we have few boards available and participants can start developing applications for zephyr in 5 minutes.

  • 17:20 – 18:10 – Fun with Zephyr Project and BBC micro:bit, by Marcel Holtmann, Open Source Technology Center, Intel

This presentation shows how Zephyr empowers the BBC micro:bit devices and its Bluetooth chip to do fun things.

  • 18:15 – 19:00 – Yocto Project & OpenEmbedded BoF, by Sean Hudson, Mentor

Got a comment, question, gripe, praise, or other communication for the Yocto Project and/or OpenEmbedded technical leaders? Or maybe you just want to learn more about these projects and their influence on the world of embedded Linux? Feel free to join us for an informal BoF.

Wednesday, February 22

  • 10:40 – 11:30 – Journey to an Intelligent Industrial IOT Network, by Giuseppe (Pino) de Candia, Midokura

There are 66 million networked cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? With the use of open systems, open networking, open IOT platforms of course!

Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud while non-essential data is recycled. The system captures all flow information, current and historical.

Pino will draw from real IIOT use cases and discuss the variety of operations and maintenance tool to support proactive policy-based flow analysis for edge computing or fog nodes enabling IT and OT end to end visibility from a network perspective.

  • 11:40 – 12:30 – SecurityPI: IronClad your Raspberry Pi, by Rabimba Karanjai

Raspberry Pi has garnered huge interest in last few years and is now one of the most popular Linux boards out there sparking all kinds of DIY projects. But most of these function with the default settings and connect to the Internet. How secure is your Pi? How easy is it for someone to take over and make it part of a botnet or sneak peek on your privacy?

In this talk Rabimba Karanjai will show how to harden the security of a Raspberry Pi 3. He will showcase different techniques with code examples along with a toolkit made specifically to do that. This cookbook will harden the device and also provide a way to audit and analyze the behavior of the device constantly. After all, protecting the device finally protects us all, by preventing another dyndns DDOS attack.

  • 14:00 – 14:50 – IoTivity-Constrained: IoT for Tiny Devices, by Kishen Maloor, Intel Corporation

The IoT will be connected by tiny edge devices with resource constraints. The IoTivity-Constrained project is a small-footprint implementation of the Open Connectivity Foundation’s (OCF) IoT standards with a design that caters to resource-constrained environments. It is lightweight, maintainable and quickly customizable to run on any hardware-software deployment.

This talk will present IoTivity-Constrained’s architecture, features, APIs, and its current integration with a few popular real-time operating systems. It will end with a discussion of IoTivity-Constrained’s adaptation for the Zephyr RTOS.

  • 15:00 – 15:50 – RIOT: The Friendly Operating System for the IoT (If Linux Won’t Work, Try RIOT), by Thomas Eichinger, RIOT-OS

This presentation will start with RIOT’s perspective on the IoT, focusing on CPU- and memory-constrained hardware communicating with low-power radios. In this context, similarly to the rest of the Internet, a community-driven, free and open source operating system such as RIOT is key to software evolution, scalability and robustness. After giving an overview to RIOT’s overall architecture and its modular building blocks, the speaker will describe in more detail selected design decisions concerning RIOT’s kernel, hardware abstraction and network stack. Furthermore, the talk will overview the development and organizational processes put in place to help streamline the efforts of RIOT’s heterogeneous community. The presentation will end with an outlook on upcoming features in RIOT’s next releases and longer-term vision.

  • 16:20 – 17:10 – Graphs + Sensors = The Internet of Connected Things, by William Lyon, Neo4j

There is no question that the proliferation of connected devices has increased the volume, velocity, and variety of data available. Deriving value and business insight from this data is an ever evolving challenge for the enterprise. Moving beyond analyzing just discrete data points is when the real value of streaming sensor data begins to emerge. Graph databases allow for working with data in the context of the overall network, not just a stream of values from a sensor. This talk with cover an architecture for working with streaming data and graph databases, use-cases that make sense for graphs and IoT data, and how graphs can enable better real-time decisions from sensor data. Use cases covered will include data from oil and gas pipelines and the transportation industry.

Thursday, February 23

  • 9:00 – 9:50 – Android Things: High Level Introduction, by Anisha Dattatraya & Geeta Krishna, Intel Corporation

An overview of the basic concepts behind Android things and its structure and components is presented. Upon completion of this session, you should have a good overview of how Android Things brings simplicity to IoT software and hardware development by providing a simple and secure deployment and update model. This presentation provides the context needed for the Android Things Tutorial and other deep dive sessions for Android Things.

  • 10:00 – 10:50 – 2017 is the Year of the Linux Video Codec Drivers, by Laurent Pinchart, Ideas on Board

Codecs have long been the poor relation of embedded video devices in the Linux kernel. With the embedded world moving from stateful to stateless codecs, Linux developers were left without any standard solution, forcing vendors and users to resort to proprietary APIs such as OpenMAX.

Despair no more! Very recent additions to V4L2 make it possible to support video codecs with standard Linux kernel APIs. The ChromeOS team has proved that viable solutions exist for codecs without resorting to the proprietary options. This presentation will explain why video codecs took so long to properly support, and how the can be implemented and used with free software and open APIs.

  • 11:10 – 12:00 – Embedded Linux – Then and Now at iRobot, by Patrick Doyle, iRobot

Mr. Doyle will review the history of the use of embedded Linux at a commercial company (iRobot) and discuss the challenges faced (and overcome) then and now. While home routers and WiFi Access Point developers have enjoyed the benefits (and risks) of deploying Linux based products, that has not always been the case for other products. With the advent of low cost cell phone processors and vendor support for Linux, it is now possible to embed a Linux based solution in a consumer retail product such as a vacuum cleaner, minimizing risk and development time in the process.

  • 12:10 – 13:00 – Mainline Linux on AmLogic SoCs, by Neil Armstrong, BayLibre

Inexpensive set-top boxes are everywhere and many of them are powered by AmLogic SoCs. These chips provide 4K H.265/VP9 video decoding and have fully open source Linux kernel and U-boot releases. Unfortunately most of the products based on these devices are running an ancient 3.10 Android kernel. Thankfully AmLogic has put a priority on supporting their chips in the mainline Linux kernel.

Neil will present the challenges and benefits to pushing support for these SoCs upstream, as well as the overall hardware architecture in order to understand the Linux upstreaming decisions and constraints. He will also detail the future development plans aiming to offer a complete experience running an Upstream Linux kernel.

  • 14:30 – 15:20 – OpenWrt/LEDE: When Two become One, by Florian Fainelli, Broadcom Ltd

OpenWrt is a popular Linux distribution and build system primarily targeting the Wi-Fi router/gateway space. The project has been around for more than 12 years, but has recently experienced a schism amongst the developers over various issues.  This resulted in the formation of the LEDE project.  This split has caused confusion among the community and users. This presentation will cover what OpenWrt/LEDE projects are, what problems they are solving in the embedded Linux space, and how they do it differently than the competition. We will specifically focus on key features and strengths: build system, package management, ubus/ubox based user space and web interface (LuCI). We will demonstrate a few typical use cases for the audience. Finally, the conclusion will focus on the anticipated reunification of the two projects into one and what this means for the community and the user base.

  • 15:30 – 16:20 – Unifying Android and Mainline Kernel Graphics Stack, by Gustavo Padovan, Collabora Ltd.

The Android ecosystem has tons of out-of-tree patches and a good part of them are to support Graphics drivers. This happened because the Upstream Kernel didn’t support everything that is needed by Android. However the Mainline Graphics Stack has evolved in the last few years and features like Atomic Modesetting and Explicit Fencing support are making the dream of running Android on top of it possible. In other words, we will have Android and Mainline Kernels sharing the same Graphics stack!

This talk will cover what has been happening both on Android and Mainline Graphics Stacks in order to get Android to use the Upstream Kernel by default, going from what Android have developed to workaround the lack of upstream support to the latest improvements on the Mainline Graphics Stack and how they will fit together.

  • 16:30 – 17:20 – Developing Audio Products with Cortex-M3/NuttX/C++11, by Masayuki Ishikawa, Sony

Sony released audio products with Cortex-M3 in late 2015. Considering development efficiency, code reusability, feature enhancements and training costs, we decided to port POSIX-based open source RTOS named NuttX to ON Semiconductor’s LC823450 by ourselves, modified the NuttX for fast ELF loading, implemented minimum adb (Android debug bridge) protocols for testing purpose, DVFS in autonomous mode with a simple CPU idle calculation, wake_lock and stack trace which are popular in Linux/Android worlds. Middleware and Applications were developed in C++11 with LLVM’s libc++ which are also popular for large software systems. To debug the software, we implemented NuttX support for OpenOCD so that we can debug multi threaded applications with gdb. In addition, we used QEMU with the NuttX to port bluetooth stack and in-house GUI toolkit and finally got them work before we received LC823450 FPGA.


That’s all. I had to make choice, and did not include some sessions I found interested due to scheduling conflicts such as “Comparing Messaging Techniques for the IoT” by Michael E Anderson, The PTR Group, inc, and “Improving the Bootup Speed of AOSP” by Bernhard Rosenkränzer, Linaro.

You’ll need to register and pay an entry fee if you want to attend the Embedded Linux Conference & OpenIoT Summit:

  • Early Registration Fee: US$550 (through January 15, 2017)
  • Standard Registration Fee: US$700 (January 16, 2017 – February 5, 2017)
  • Late Registration Fee: US$850 (February 6, 2017 – Event)
  • Academic Registration Fee: US$175 (Student/Faculty attendees will be required to show a valid student/faculty ID at registration.)
  • Hobbyist Registration Fee: US$175 (only if you are paying for yourself to attend this event and are currently active in the community)

LibreELEC (Kodi Linux) on Voyo V1 VMac Mini Apollo Lake Mini PC

January 30th, 2017 13 comments

I’ve just posted Voyo V1 VMac Mini review with Windows 10 this morning, and at the end I mentioned I quickly tried to run Ubuntu 16.04 without success. Reader Piotr who also happens to be a LibreELEC together with about 65 other team members, noticed it, provided me a link to a development version of LibreELEC 8.0 (mirror link) working with Apollo Lake processors, and explained Ubuntu was not working because Linux needs updated Mesa and Intel drivers. The image is based on Linux 4.10-rc5 with the necessary drivers and Kodi 17. The changes were mostly made by FernetMenta (Rainer Hochecker), and will be merged in Linux 4.10 and Mesa 17.0. He also implemented 10-bit HEVC support that will officially be available in Kodi 18 only and found in daily builds.

So let’s try this out. After downloading LibreELEC-Intel.x86_64-8.0-devel-20170130110609-r25167-gd210441.img.gz, I tried to flash it (N.B.: no need to extract it) from my Ubuntu 16.04 PC with LibreELEC USB-SD Creator, but for whatever reasons neither the 32-bit nor the 64-bit versions of the tool would work, so I did this in a Windows laptop instead. After that I inserted the flash drive into Voyo VMac Mini, and pressed F7 to bring up the boot device selection menu to select the USB flash drive, and within a few seconds I got LibreELEC installation prompt, so this looks good. Please ignore the vertical lines in the photos below as it’s just an issue with my TV.

I selected 1. Install LibreELEC and OK to go to the next screen where I could select the installation device.

This is where VMac Mini having two storage devices becomes convenient, as Windows 10 is installed in /dev/sda (128GB SSD), but the 32GB eMMC flash in /dev/mmcblk0 is no used at all, so I selected the latter in order to have a dual boot Windows 10 / LibreELEC installation.

The installation script will then ask you twice to confirm your want to install LibreELEC and completely wipe out the target disk, and once you’ve confirmed the installation will take a few seconds, and you’ll be asked to reboot. As the system reboots, press F7 until you enter the boot device selection menu.

Windows Boot Manager should still be here (as default option), and there should also be a new “UEFI OS” option for LibreELEC. So I have tried and within a few seconds, I got to LibreELEC / Kodi 17 user interface. Success!

I went trough the setup wizard, and then configured the system to access videos on a SAMBA share. I could play 4K videos with H.264, VP9 and 10-bit H.265, although with some artifacts at the beginning of the H.264 video, but I had no audio… I went to the settings, and changes the Audio device from “HDA Intel PCH ALC296VC Analog” that probably outputs audio via the 3.5mm audio jack to “HDA Intel PCH ONK TX-NR636 on HDMI #1”, and audio worked through my TV’s speakers.

Click to Enlarge

A Rec.2020 video did not play properly (horizontal bands shown), so there are still a few issues with video playback, but it’s a development version, and I’m expecting it to improve overtime. But let’s see it HDMI audio pass-through is also working, and there are options for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD, all good!

Click to Enlarge

Oh oh! Not quite, I had no audio at all. So I checked the passthrough output device in the audio, and changed it to use TX-NR636 receiver on HDMI #1.

But did it work? The photos below may give a clue…

All popular audio formats supported by my AV receiver worked fine: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital+ 7.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1/7.1, DTS HD Master and DTS HD High Resolution. So LibreELEC is quite better than Windows in that respect. Note that Apollo Lake motherboards or mini PCs with HDMI 2.0 may not support HD audio pass-through right now, but the good news is that it could be a driver issue and Intel developers are involved in solving it.

If you are not that interested in LibreELEC, and would like to run Ubuntu 16.04 or another distribution instead this should also be possible, but you’ll have to do some work by modifying Ubuntu 16.04 ISO with a recent Linux 4.10 kernel, and possibly Mesa development branch if you’re not going to run a server image.

NexDock is Working on a Hybrid Laptop Dock for Intel Compute Cards

January 18th, 2017 5 comments

NexDock first launched a 14″ laptop dock for smartphones, tablets, and development boards via a Indiegogo campaign in 2016, where they successfully raised over $350,000, and delivered rewards to backers last September and October. With the recent introduction of the Intel Compute Card, the company has now decided to work on a new NexDock that will take Intel’s cards.

We don’t have much details right now, but the company said that beside the Intel Compute Card, it will come support interchangeable USB type-C modules, and will still support Windows 10 smartphones with continuum feature, Raspberry Pi and other devices that can be connected through a USB-C port. The second drawing also suggests the keyboard will be detachable, and you’ll be able to use NexDock as a Windows tablet.

It could be nice to have an Intel laptop with Linux or Windows, and an ARM tablet with Android, but this won’t be possible, since Intel Compute Card are unlikely to be fitted with ARM processors.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting development, as Intel appeared to target smart devices and business applications for their Compute Card when the announced it as CES 2017, but if the NexDock becomes reality, we will also find it in consumer devices, possibly around mid-2017 when the new NexDock is supposed to launch.

Intel NUC6CAYS NUC Powered by Celeron J3455 Apollo Lake Processor is now Available for $233

January 12th, 2017 5 comments

Intel unveiled plans for two Apollo Lake NUCs, respectively NUC6CAYS & NUC6CAYH, in summer 2016. The former comes with 2GB memory and 32GB storage with Windows 10 Home preloaded, while the latter is a barebone system. The company has now started to sell the Windows 10 models on Amazon US for $232.99 with free shipping (if you happen to live in the US).

Intel-Apollo-Lake-NUC-Windows-10

Here’s a quick reminder of the main specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J3455 quad core processor @ 1.5 GHz to 2.3 GHz (burst) with 12EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 250 to 700 MHz (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM RAM, upgradeable up to 8GB DDR3L-1866
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, 2.5″ SATA3 bay for 9.5mm hard drives or SSDs, SDXC slot with UHS-I support
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz, VGA
  • Audio – Up to 7.1 channels via HDMI, 3.5mm front headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker/TOSLINK combo jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45), 802.11ac 1×1 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 2x front USB 3.0 ports at the front (yellow one for charging), 2x rear USB 3.0 ports, 2x internal USB 2.0 ports via header
  • Misc – IR receiver, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 12~19V DC input (65W wall-wart power supply included)
  • Dimensions – 115 x 111 x 51 (plastic casing with inner metal structure)

Intel-NUC-HDMI-2.0-VGAYou’ll find more detailed specifications here. Intel won’t be the only company launching Apollo Lake mini PCs, as there are a few other models in the pipeline coming from China and other countries. If you are interested in Linux, note that one person managed to get hold of Voyo VMac with the intention of replacing Windows 10 by Linux, but could not as the bootloader is allegedly locked to Windows. This will most probably not be an issue on Intel Apollo Lake NUCs, but it’s possibly something to check first if you plan to purchase mini PCs from other brands and want to run Linux.

Another caveat to be aware of if you’d like to use the NUC as an HTPC is that the chip required for HDMI 2.0 output on Apollo Lake platforms may filter out some signals, and HDMI audio pass-through may or may not work perfectly.

Via NUC Blog and Liliputing

Samsung Chromebook Plus / Pro with ARM Based OP1 / Intel Core m3-6Y30 Processor to Sell for $449 and Up

January 9th, 2017 14 comments

Samsung Chromebook Pro was first discovered last October on some reseller’s website with a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor, 4GB RAM, and a $499 price tag. The company has finally announced two new Chromebooks at CES 2016 with Chromebook Pro actually based on an Intel Core m3-6Y30 “Skylake” processor, and Chromebook Plus powered by “OP1” hexa-core ARM Cortex-A72/A53 processor.

samsung-chromebook-pro-plusWe’ll that apart from the different processor, both new Chromebook have exactly the same specifications

Model Code XE513C24-K01US XE510C24-K01US
Chromebook Plus Chromebook Pro
Operating System Google Chrome
Processor / Chipset OP1, Made for Chromebooks.
Hexa-core (Dual A72, Quad A53)
Intel Core M3 Processor 6Y30
(0.90 GHz up to 2.20 GHz, 4 MB L3 Cache)
Graphic Internal Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 515
Display 12.3″ 2400×1600 LED Display (3:2 aspect ratio) with Touch Screen Panel
Memory 4GB LPDDR3 Memory (on BD 4GB)
Hard Drive 32GB e.MMC
Color Platinum Silver
Multimedia Internal Dual Array Digital Mic
Stereo Speakers ( 1.5 W x 2 )
720p HD Camera
Network 802.11 ac (2×2)
Bluetooth v4.0
Ports 1 Headphone out/Mic-in Combo
2 USB-C [up to 5Gbps*, 4K display out with optional adapter, Charging]
MicroSD Multi-media Card Reader
Input Clickpad
Touch screen
Island-type keyboard
Pen
Power 30 W USB-C™ Adapter
39Wh battery
Dimension 280.8 x 221.6 x 12.9 ~ 13.9mm (11.06″ x 8.72″ x 0.51″ ~ 0.55″)
Weight 1.08Kg (2.38lbs)
Software ※ Software can be changed without notice.
Google Play Store (Beta)
AirDroid Premium (free one-year subscription, full version)
ArtCanvas
Etc Accelerometer Sensor
Gyro Sensor

It’s very likely that OP1 processor is Rockchip RK3399, also using a 2xA72 + 4xA53 configuration, or a modified version, as Rockchip processor with Chromebooks used to have the “C” suffix, e.g. RK3288C. Charbax has a video of Chromebook Plus model showing the screen with an impressive viewing angle.

Chromebook Plus (ARM) is available now for $449 on Amazon US, while Chromebook Pro (Intel) will be released this spring at a yet-to-be-disclosed price.

Intel Compute Card is a Business Card Sized Platform for Modular & Upgradeable Computers & Devices

January 6th, 2017 5 comments

Intel has just introduced their Compute Card, the name likely originating from their Compute Stick & Module series, integrating all main components you’d find in a computer such as a processor, memory, storage, and wireless connectivity into an standardized ultra thin business card sized module that can be used in compatible devices from smart kiosks to security cameras and IoT gateways, as well as computers and laptops.

intel-compute-cardIntel has some demos at CES 2017, but has not announced any specific models yet. We still have some of the key features for the Compute Cards:

  • Processor up to 7th Gen Intel Core, memory, storage and wireless connectivity are all included in the card
  • Intel Compute Card-based device will provide the power, cooling and the optimized user I/O for that particularly solution
  • Connection to devices will be done via an Intel Compute Card slot with a new standard connector (USB-C plus extension)
  • USB-C plus extension connector will provide USB, PCIe, HDMI, DP and additional signals between the card and the device
  • Dimensions – 94.5 mm x 55 mm x 5 mm

It’s not the first time company have created compute module for upgradeability and modularity, as with, for example, EOMA68 CPU card going into a mini computer and laptop, just like BBC demo of Intel Compute Card below featuring Core-M processor.

Intel is now working with early partners such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sharp, and InFocus to develop products taking Compute Card. More details, including pricing, will be made available in Q2 2017 just before the Compute Card and compatible devices should start to hit the shelves around the middle of the year. You’ll find a few more details on Intel’s Compute Card product page and press release.