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Posts Tagged ‘mini-pc’

Finally… An Android TV Stick with an Ethernet Port

September 30th, 2014 5 comments

Ever since MK802 hit the market in April 2012, I’ve been expecting HDMI TV Sticks with Ethernet ports, but it never really materialized. There have been many small TV boxes, but AFAIK none of which could simply be insert in the back of your TV. Thanks to MK802 V we now have an HDMI TV dongle, powered by Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A12/A17 processor, featuring an Ethernet port.
MK802-VMK802 V specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A12/A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 GB NAND flash (16GB optional) + micro SD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Video / Audio Output – HDMI 2.0 (male)
  • Video Codecs – MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, H.265, AVS, VC-1, RV, VP6/VP8, MVC (1080p) Sorenson Spark, MVC up to 4K2K @ 60fps
  • Audio Formats – MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, APE, FLAC, AAC, M4A, 3GPP etc
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB host ports, 2x micro USB ports (OTG + power)
  • Misc – IR extension jack (3.5mm jack), recovery button
  • Power Supply – 5V/2.5A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – N/A

This Android 4.4.2 TV dongle comes with an HDMI cable, a USB cable, a power adapter, and a user’s manual. There’s no remote control, but I’d expect most people to use a wireless keyboard, an air mouse, or their mobile device to control Android mini PCs.

MK802 V can be purchased for $119 on Aliexpress. It’s also called Unuiga U33-4R (RK3288), and there’s a version with RK3188T.

Via AndroidPC.es and Gabe, with additional links via Linuxium.

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Rikomagic Announces MK902II LE Ubuntu Mini PC Powered by Rockchip RK3288 SoC

September 25th, 2014 17 comments

Rikomagic announced their MK902II mini PC based on Rockchip RK3288 in May, and which has started shipping recently for about $130. The company have now announced MK902II LE (Linux Edition) based on the same hardware, but instead of running Android 4.4, it’s running Xubuntu 14.04 with some virtualization technique that allows it to run x86 Linux programs such as Skype, and it can even support Wine to run Windows programs.MK902II_LE

MK902II LE specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 Quad Core Cortex A12/A17 up to 1.8GHz with ARM Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, Open VG1.1, OpenCL, DirectX11
  • System Memory – 2GB (Dual channel 64 bit DRAM controller)
  • Storage – 16GB Internal eMMC with Xubuntu 14.04 preinstalled + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output- HDMI (1080p), and AV output
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV output, optical output, or external USB audio card (not included)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.
  • USB – 4x USB Host ports
  • Misc – IR sensor, recovery switch.
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Power Consumption – 2 to 5 Watts (Typical)

The device comes with an IR remote control, a USB cable for firmware updates, an HDMI cable, and a power adapter. The system is also said to boot to Xubuntu within 6 seconds. A native Linux kernel compilation takes about 10 minutes on this machine.

A video has been uploaded with the system, mostly showing web browsing experience, including playing a video from BBC iPlayer which is OK in embedded mode, but does not look so good in full screen (tearing) because there’s no video hardware acceleration in Linux, and everything is handled by software.

There are also two other videos showing a one way video call with Skype (no camera connected to MK902II LE), and Microsoft Office Word Viewer running in the device via Wine. Performance is not that great but it works.

You can access these other videos, and purchase MK902II LE on Cloudsto for 114.99 GBP including shipping. That’s about $190, or $60 more than the Android version however, but maybe that price includes the 20% British VAT too. You may also want to follow MK902II LE discussion on Rikomagic forums.

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Unboxing of Nagrace HPH NT-V6 Android TV Box with HDMI In, Rockchip RK3288 Processor

September 22nd, 2014 22 comments

Thanks to Nagrace Times Technology, I’ve got a new Rockchip RK3288 Android mini PC to play with. HPH NT-V6 model is higher end compared to the other ones I’ve received including Uyesee G1H, Kingnovel R6 and Orion R28 Meta, because it comes with 32GB eMMC, HDMI In, and a AP6335 Wi-Fi module providing 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. I’ll start by listing the device specifications, take some pictures of the device and the board, and I’ll write a full review probably next week as I have some other hardware to test first.

Nagrace NT-V6 specifications

The company provides various memory and storage options for this product, and if Linux based operating systems such as Ubuntu or Chrome OS end up being properly supported on Rockchip RK3288, Nagrace NT-V6 could end up bring a very nice mini PC:

  • SoC –  Rockchip RK3288 quad core ARM Cortex A12/A17 processor @ 1.8 GHz with ARM Mali-T764 quad-core 3D GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenVG 1.1, OpenCL 1.1, RenderScript, and DirectX11
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 (Optional 4GB DDR3)
  • Storage – 8GB flash (16, 32, and 64GB optional) + micro SD slot
  • Video Output / Input
    • HDMI 2.0 output up to 4K @ 60fps
    • AV output (3.5 mm jack)
    • HDMI 1.4 Input up to 1080p60
  • Audio Output – HDMI,  AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6335 module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x Micro USB OTG
  • Camera – 5M auto focus (optional, not included in sample I’ve received)
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver, recovery button
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions –  115 x 115 x 23 mm (excluding Wi-Fi antenna)
  • Weight – 250 grams

HPH NT-V6 runs Android 4.4, like most of the the boxes currently on the market.

NT-V6 Unboxing Pictures

The company sent me the box via DHL, and the media player can be found in the package below. The back of the package lists options for 2 or 4 GB RAM, and 8, 16, 32 or 64 GB flash, so there will most certainly be an option for 4GB RAM and 64GB (eMMC) flash.
Nagrace_NT-V6_Package
An HDMI cable (1 meter), an IR remote control requiring two AAA batteries (not included). a Wi-Fi antenna, a 5V/3A power supply, a user’s manual, and an enclosure protection film can be found in the package together with the box.

Nagrace NT-V6 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Nagrace NT-V6 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

There’s nothing on the front of the device (where the power LED and IR receiver are located), a power button and antenna connector can be found on one side, AV output, a recovery button, a micro SD slot, a full-size USB OTG port, and HDMI IN are located on the other side, and the rear panel comes with the following ports: Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 host ports, HDMI 2.0 output, optical S/PDIF, and a DC power barrel.

Nagrace NT-V (Click to Enlarge)

Nagrace NT-V (Click to Enlarge)

The top of the case is a fingerprint magnet which may be why a protective film has been included.

You can also watch the unboxing video if you please.

 HPH NT-V6 Board

Let’s open the box to see what’s inside. There aren’t any screw holding both parts of the case together, but you’ll find a small opening between the gray and black parts just below the USB OTG port, where you can insert a flat-headed precision screwdriver to start popping out the bottom of the enclosure.

Bottom of NT-V6 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of NT-V6 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board name is TRN6A V10, and it looks like I may have received the version with 4GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC based on markings on the sticker. You’ll also find ribbon connectors on the bottom left of the photo, probably for the camera interface, and maybe LVDS? You need to remove four screws to completely take out the board from its case.

NT-V6 Board (Click to Enlarge)

NT-V6 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Again, a stainless place is screwed on the top of the enclosure for power dissipation reasons, but I’m not sure how efficient that is.  There’s also a heatsink, a bit larger than in the other RK3288 boxes, on top of the quad core SoC and the RAM chips. I have not dared to unglue it before testing the device. The wireless module is indeed AP6335 for 802.11 b/g/n, 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. Samsung KLMBG4WEBC-B031 is a 32GB eMMC 5.0 flash that can achieve 200MB/s read and 50MB/s write in theory, and there’s another empty emplacement to add another eMMC flash. Just under the flash, there’s another unpopulated connector (mini PCIe?). Lontium LT8641SX is a very recent HDMI 1.4 switch chip that provides up to 3x HDMI 1.4 input channel and 1x HDMI 1.3/ 3 MHL 2.0 input channel, so it’s obviously the chip handling HDMI input here.

That’s all for today for this exciting device. The version with 2GB RAM and 16 GB eMMC is available on Aliexpress for $129 + shipping, and the one with 32GB eMMC/4GB RAM as I received can be purchased for $189 including shipping by DHL or EMS. You may also want to visit Nagrace NT-V6 product page if you want to contact the company to order in quantities.

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Review of Kingnovel K-R68 (R6) Android Mini PC

September 9th, 2014 8 comments

I’ve already listed specs, and shown a few pictures of Kingnovel K-R68 (R6) Android media player based on the latest Rockchip RK3288 quad core processor. I’ve now gone through all my usual tests, so today, I’ll write the review, going through the user interface, testing video playback, reporting one various performance benchmarks including network and storage performance, tested most hardware features, and played a few games.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

Albeit there’s an infrared remote control with the device. I’ve not used it all, especially, as we’ll see below the default user interface is the stock Android home screen. As usual, I’ve connected an RF dongle to use Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse. Before powering up the device, I’ve also connected an HDMI cable, a USB hard drive, and an Ethernet cable. Albeit there’s a power button, the device will boot automatically as you connect the power adapter, and the boot completes in just over 20 seconds.

Home Screen (Click for Original Size)

Home Screen (Click for Original Size)

The status bar is shown by default with a power (Standby or Reboot) button, volume buttons, the back, home, and app list icons, as well as an icon to hide the status bar. I’ve enabled the screenshot button in the settings. The user interface defaults to Chinese as shown in the screenshot above, so I had to go to the settings to change the language. The resolution was set to 1920×1080.

The Settings are basically the same as Uyesee G1H, but with some colorful icons on the left, instead of the usual black and white icons, and there’s no “Home” to select between launchers. The Wireless and Networks section features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and Data Usage sections, as well as a “More” section with VPN, Portable Hotspot and so on. You can choose between “Default Output” (PCM / Down-mixing), “Spdif Passthough”, and “HDMI Bitstream” (HDMI pass-through) in the sound settings, (Not tested, as I don’t have audio receiver). The Display settings include options to adjust for overscan, select HDMI, YPbPr, and “TV” (Composite) video output, as well as the resolution: “auto”, 1080p 24/25/30/50/60Hz, 720p 50/60, 720×576 or 720×480. Again it’s exactly as the previous RK3288 sample I tested (G1H). 4K options should also show if the box is connected to  4K TV, Most of the tests have been done using HDMI output, but I also tested composite and component (YPbPr) video outputs.

Composite (NTSC) - Click to Enlarge

Composite (NTSC) – Click to Enlarge

Composite (PAL) - Click to Enlarge

Composite (PAL) – Click to Enlarge

Component (720p) - Click to Enlarge
Component (720p) – Click to Enlarge

Composite works, but in NTSC mode I had a green line on the bottom, which I could not hide with the “Screen Scale” menu. I had no such problem in PAL mode.  I had the same problem with Component (YPbpr) output as with my other RK3288 device, as only the Chrominance signal would apparently be displayed. Resolutions selectable with YPbPr are only 720p, 720×576 (PAL) and 720×470 (NTSC), and there’s no option for 1080p.

About_K-R68K-R68 features a 8GB eMMC flash partitioned with a 1.91GB “Internal Storage” partition for apps with 1.53 GB free, and a 4.27 GB “NAND FLASH” partition for data. A single partition for apps and data would be ideal, but this partitioning should work fine for most people. The “About device” section reports the model number as “rk3288″, Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux kernel 3.10.0. The firmware is not rooted, and I don’t have male to male USB cable, so I could not root it via the OTG port. In this review, I won’t show a video of the settings and user interface, because it’s just the same as Uyesee G1H, apart from a different home screen (pictured above), and colorful icons in the settings menus.

Google Play Store works as expected, and I could install most apps such as ES File Explorer, MX Player, Antutu, Quadrant, Beach Buggy Blitz, etc…  and even paid apps such as Sixaxis Controller installed properly. Vidonn activity tracker app was reported as “incompatible with your device”. I also installed Amazon AppStore after downloading it via the stock browser, and loaded Riptide GP2 on the device.

I haven’t used the remote control, but the power button on the status bar only lets you reboot and put the device into standby. Press the Power button on Mele F10 deluxe also brings the same menu. The power button on top of the device can only be used to power off the device completely, and to do so, you’ll need to press it for 10 seconds. The enclosure also gets pretty hot. The maximum temperatures measured with an infrared thermometer on the top and bottom of the box were respectively 46 °C and 56 °C after running Android 5 benchmark, and after playing Riptide GP2 for 30 minutes at 1080p (right after playing a 1080p movie for 2 hours), the measured max. temperatures reached 58 °C and 77 °C…

The firmware is stable and fast. I had no reboot and hang ups during my testing. Thanks to fast eMMC, apps loading times can be impressive, for example XBMC loads in less than 2 seconds, and I never had slowdowns as experience in Uyesee G1H while installing apps. The user interface resolution is 1080p by default, but if you want some extra performance for some games for example, you can switch to 720p if you wish.

Video Playback

Contrary to Uyesee G1H, Kingnovel K-R68 comes pre-loaded with XBMC. So I played videos from a SAMBA share over Ethernet using XBMC, only switching to MX Player in case of issues. I had problems with Gigabit Ethernet again (instability), so I used a 10/100M hub between the device and my Gigabit switch (D-Link DSG-1005A), and the connection was perfectly stable. So all results are based on XBMC playback unless otherwise stated.

I started by playing videos samples from samplemedia.linaro.org, and H.265/HEVC video by Elecard:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p
    • XBMC – OK, but smoothness could be better.
    • MX Player – Video playing at an estimated 2 to 4 fps, with most frames skipped
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p
    • XBMC – Audio only
    • MX Player – OK (H/W decode)
  • Real Media (RMVB) – RV8, RV9, and RV10 – OK and relatively smooth, also not perfect like on PC (VideoLAN)
  • WebM / VP8 – OK
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container
    • XBMC – Audio only
    • MX Player – OK (H/W decode)

So XBMC can’t play H.265, no VC1 videos, and MPEG-2 play, but are not super smooth.

Next are some higher bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi – OK, no problem even in fast moving scenes
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK.
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – Audio only (That’s the VC1 codec issue in XBMC).
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK

All high definition audio codec could play (downsampled) in XBMC:

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 7.1 – OK
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – OK
  • DTS-MA and DTS-HR – OK

Sintel-Bluray.iso Blu-ray ISO file could play just fine in XBMC.

None of the 4K videos could play without issues in XBMC. The HEVC/H.265 video were all played in MX Player:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4

    • XBMC – OK most of the time, but skips about 60 frames at the end of the video (The image will freeze before the end of the video).
    • MX Player – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv
    • XBMC – Played in slow motion, unwatchable.
    • MX Player – OK
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 – OK (H/W decode), but some white “fog” appears on the black background
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 – OK (H/W decode)
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts – Plays with S/W decode (MX Player reports codec not supported by H/W).

Finally, I played some Several AVI, MKV, FLV, VOB and MP4 videos in my library. Most could play, but several had audio/video sync issues, a number of FLV videos could not play at all, and one XVID video had lot of frames skipped during playback. A complete 1080p video (1h50) could be played in XBMC without issues. Once XBMC refused to exit, as clicking on the exit button did not work at all, but I could not reproduce the issue. Overall, the XBMC experience is disappointing, but if you combine MX Player and XBMC capabilities most videos can be played.

Links to various video samples used in this review and be found in “Where to get video, audio and images samples” post and comments.

Network Performance (Wi-Fi and Ethernet)

The network test consists in transferring a 278 MB file between a SAMBA share and the internal flash, and vice versa, repeating the test three times using ES File Explorer. Wi-Fi performance is excellent and very consistent, as transfer times were all between 1m42s and 1m44s, averaging a cool 2.69 MB/s.

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s

While I’m with Wi-Fi testing, I also ran Rockchip’s “Wi-Fi display” app, but even though the display was detected by my phone and “successfully” connected, mirroring did not work at all. I tried several times, but my subsequent attempt all failed to connect at all.

As mentioned previously, I had stability problems (again) with Gigabit Ethernet, so I could only properly test Fast Ethernet performance. Using the same test procedure as Wi-Fi, K-R68 shows very good performance compared to other solutions I’ve tested.

Kingnovel_K-R68_EthernetThis test is not a pure network performance test, as it may be affected by storage write performance. Having said that, I’ve experience similar results writing to flash or USB hard drive for all devices under test.

Under Linux, you can test network performance with iPerf, and it turns out iPerf app is also available for Android. So I gave it a try using “iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d” command line. This runs a “dualtest” (a bidirectional test simultaneously) for one minute, and based on the test results, there’s definitely an issue with Gigabit Ethernet, but only in one direction (872 Mbps vs 314 Kbps), but Fast Ethernet is running great:

Client connecting to 192.168.0.107, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:  425 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.104 port 37734 connected with 192.168.0.107 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  6]  0.0-60.0 sec  6.09 GBytes   872 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-63.4 sec  2.38 MBytes   314 Kbits/sec
[  5] local 192.168.0.104 port 5001 connected with 192.168.0.107 port 51937
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.0.107, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:  136 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.104 port 37843 connected with 192.168.0.107 port 5001
[  6]  0.0-60.0 sec   654 MBytes  91.4 Mbits/sec
[  5]  0.0-60.1 sec   658 MBytes  91.8 Mbits/sec

I’ve tried different Cat5e Ethernet cable with it did not solve the issue.

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

I could easily pair K-R68 to my Android smartphone (ThL W200) over Bluetooth, and transfer a picture.

Since the firmware is not rooted, and I’m not sure how to root it, I had to skip Sixaxis test for PS3 Bluetooth Gamepad support

Vidonn X5 activity tracker suppoert Bluetooth 4.0 LE, so I installed the Android app, and successfully connected to my wristband to get the data.

Storage

FAT32 formatted micro SD card and USB flash drive could be recognized and properly mounted by the system
I’ve also connected my USB 3.0 hard drive with NTFS, EXT-4, FAT32, and BTRFS partitions, and as usual only NTFS and FAT32 could be mounted automatically.

File System Read Write
NTFS OK OK
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
FAT32 OK OK
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted

A1 SD Bench was run to benchmark the NTFS partition (/mnt/usb_storage/USB_DISK2/USB3_NTFS). The read speed was 29.47MB/s, and the write speed of 24.63MB/s, both of which are pretty consistent with the results achieved with other devices, albeit the write speed was the weakest of the products tested by a small margin.

K-R68_USB_Write_SpeedThe internal storage read and write speeds are very important to apps loading time, and overall system performance, and K-R68 excels in this benchmark, at least compared to Uyesee G1H, and Probox2 EX.

K-R68_eMMC_PerformanceThe fast eMMC write speed explains why I never felt slowdowns during my testing, contrary to what happened with G1H.

USB Webcam

Using a white brand UVC USB webcam with built-in microphone. I could test audio successfully with the Echo service in Skype, and I could see the video, but as I tried to leave a video message, the app exited.

Google Hangouts could detect the webcam (Video icon at the top right of the screen), and I could start a video call, but the webcam image was not shown.

Gaming

I’ve tested three games: Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Blitz, and Riptide GP2.

I played Candy Crush Saga with my air mouse, and used Tronsmart Mars G01 wireless gamepad in the two other games.  Beach Buggy Blitz was super smooth even with graphics settings maxed out and 1080p resolution, and Riptide GP2 was very smooth most of the time, and albeit not perfect, RK3288 devices are a massive jump in terms of playability compared to earlier generation of chip, and even Amlogic S802. I’ve also tested stability by playing Riptide GP2 for 30 consecutive minutes, and everything runs fine, but the bottom of the device can get pretty hot (Over 75 °C). Thanks to the rubber pads, it does not touch the table though. The top is much cooler at around 55 °C.

Kingnovel K-R68 Benchmark

CPU-Z app returns the exact same data as for G1H TV box, that is a Rockchip processor with four Cortex A12 cores @ 126 MHz to 1.80 GHz with a Mali-T764 processor. Only the firmware version differs.

G1H got 39,273 in Antutu 4.x @ 1080p resolution. Since them Android 5 has been released, and K-R68 got 37,428 points between Redmi Note (MediaTek MT6592) and Xiaomi Mi3 (Qualcomm Snapdragon 800). Results between Antutu 4.x and Antutu 5.x are not directly comparable.

Antutu 5 Results for Kingnovel K-R68 (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu 5 Results for Kingnovel K-R68 (Click to Enlarge)

I had no luck with Quadrant, as I was greeted with gray screen when I wanted to start the test.

I’ve run Ice Storm Extreme test in 3DMark to see if there was any improvement compared to G1H score.

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme Results (Click to Enlarge)

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme Results (Click to Enlarge)

A score of 7,531 points, is only slightly higher than than 7,278 points achieved by G1H, and is about the same as the one achieved on a smartphone based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. However many recent devices based on Qualcomm 800 and greater get a score above 10,000 or simply maxes out the test.

Conclusion

Kingnovel K-R68 hardware has massive potential with a fast processor, outstanding 3D performance, and excellent Wi-Fi and eMMC storage performance. The firmware is stable and provides a smooth experience, but if you are looking for a device well supported by XBMC, it’s not there yet. Having said that, I’ve only tested the XBMC version provided with the sample (Gotham 13.2), and there are some version that may have better support include HEVC hardware decoding such as Beyond XBMC 3.4 (beta) and an XBMC version released for Firefly-RK3288 development board.

PRO:

  • Fast new processor
  • Excellent 3D graphics performance for games
  • Stable and fast firmware.
  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance
  • Fast eMMC, both for reading and writing speeds.
  • Both 720p and 1080p user interfaces are supported
  • Video Output – 1080p support 24, 25 ,30 , 50 and 60 Hz output which may be important for some videos. 4K @ 60Hz should be supported thanks to HDMI 2.0 (not tested).
  • HEVC video decoding support
  • Webcam supported in Skype (although it did not seem to work with Google Hangouts)

CONS:

  • XBMC has too many issues: VC1, H.265 not supported, audio/video sync issue, some MPEG-2 and XVID videos are skipping frames, none of the 4K videos I used could play properly, etc…
  • Some MPEG-2 file won’t play smooth in either XBMC or MX Player
  • Potential Gigabit Ethernet issues, at least confirmed with my switch (D-Link DSG-1005A).
  • No proper power off (standby only)
  • The enclosure (bottom) can get pretty hot, with temperatures over 75+ C after long periods of 3D gaming.
  • Video output – Component only output the Luminance signal with my TV, composite (NTSC) has a green bar at the bottom, no problem for PAL.

If you are a distributor, you may want to visit Kingnovel K-R68 page for some details, and possibly contact the company. The box does not seem to be selling on e-retailer sites yet, or it’s sold under another model name. The box  appears to be sold on Geekbuying under the model name R6 for $107.99.

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MINIX NEO X6 Features Amlogic S805 Processor with Full HD HEVC Support

September 5th, 2014 12 comments

Amlogic S805 is a cost down version of the popular Amlogic S802. It features four Cortex A5 cores, and quad core Mali450-MP GPU, only support 1080p resolution (no 4K), but adds hardware decoding for HEVC / H.265 at 1080p resolution, which is not possible with his big brother. In theory, I should also support Gigabit Ethernet, but none of the upcoming media players support it, allegedly because it’s not working yet… After products by the likes of Ugoos, Eny Technology. and Geniatech, it’s time for MINIX to announce their own S805 mini PC with the NEO X6.

MINIX_NEO_X6NEO X6 Specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core ARM Cortex A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 8 GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz) with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 with HDMI-CEC support
  • Audio Output – HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm stereo audio jack
  • Video Containers – DAT, MPEG, MPE, MPG, TS, TP, VOB, ISO, AVI, MP4, MPV, 3GP, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MTS, M4V, WMV, ASF, RM/RMVB (720p only)
  • Audio Formats – MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, FLAC, ALC, APE, AAC, M4A
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 port + micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – IR sensor
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

MINIX interestingly always selects the same enclosure for all their products, probably because customers complained when they tried something different last year, and most people want a discrete enclosure, with a product that does the job. The device will run Android 4.4 Kitkat with XBMC MINIX Edition, and come with an infrared remote control.

AndroidPC.es reports the box should be available on September 22, for around $119. I could not find much more information, except it’s sold on a UK based website (Fuketo) for 79.99 GBP ($130) including shipping.

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iControlHub is An Upcoming XBMC Media Center Powered by Intel Celeron J1900 Processor

September 4th, 2014 13 comments

Earlier this week, we’ve seen MINIX NEO Z64 mini PC based on Intel Atom Z3735F that will sell for less than $150 in October. If you’d like a low power low cost Intel based fanless mini PC but with a bit more processing power, iControlHub could be an option with an Intel Celeron J1900 Bay Trail quad core processor.

iControlHub Prototype

iControlHub Prototype

Preliminary specifications for iControlHub:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J1900 processor @ 2.0 GHz (Burst frequency 2.41 GHz)  with Intel HD graphics (Max TDP)
  • System Memory – Up to 8GB DDR3
  • Storage – HDD / SSD via mSATA connector
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi with two external antennas
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 host port
  • Misc – IR in and out
  • Power Supply – 12V
  • Dimensions – 125 x 125 mm (Board)

You must be confused with the picture as HDMI out is crossed and a “5V/2A” is shown… That’s because that’s an earlier sample based on Intel CE5300, but the company decided to switch to Intel Celeron J1900. The website has not been updated, but the company apparently intends to provide an XBMC based solution that supports features such as Cloud based CCTV solution, and IR blaster. Contrary to system based on “Bay Trail-T” processors where Linux may be complicated to install, Intel Celeron J1900 is a desktop processor, so both Linux and Windows should be easily installable on the platform.

The whole discussion started on XBMC forums last January, but there has been quite a few changes since then, notably the industrial E3822 processor has been dropped, and the developers have announced their intention of release the J1900 based version released above for about $160 + VAT, probably not including RAM, and they also said the Wi-Fi antennas are not included for this price. I hope the product will come to market, but I’m not that confident.. You can visit iControlHub web page with information more or less up-to-date.

Thanks to Harley!

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MINIX NEO Z64 is an Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail mini PC Selling for $129

September 1st, 2014 13 comments

If you thought the upcoming ZBOX ZOTAC PI320 mini PC powered by Intel Bay-Trail-T Atom Z3735F quad core processor was nice and small (and powerful), but at $199, a little pricey, MINIX NEO Z64 may be what you are looking for. On On the outside, NEO Z64 looks very much like the company’s NEO X8 Android TV Box, but inside it’s powered by the same Z3735F processor with 2GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC, and it’s is expected to sell for just $129.
MINIX_NEO_Z64MINIX NEO Z64 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Burst freq up to 1.83 GHz) and Intel HD Graphics
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash  + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio Output – Analog Stereo output, HDMI
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0
  • Misc – Power button, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 13.5 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm (based on MINIX NEO X8 dimensions)

The system will support either Android 4.4 (pre-installed), or Windows 8.1 (optional) operating systems, and will be sold with power supply, and a IR remote control. It will also support XBMC out of the box, but for x86 platform it’s sort of expected. Contrary to my initial belief when I posted about ZOTAC PI320, it may not be that simple to install Linux on the platform, as it’s unclear whether any Bay Trail-T platforms are currently fully supported.

The $129 price tag, if true, if about the same price as their NEO X8 powered by Amlogic S802 quad core processor, which should have much less CPU power, less storage (8 vs 32GB), but possibly better multimedia capabilities (TBC). For example, the latter comes with optical S/PDIF output which lacks in the Intel version.

MINIX NEO Z64 has not been yet formally announced, but should be launched in the next few weeks. [Update: MINIX announced the released date should be October 2014].

Via AndroidPC.es and Fudzilla

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