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Posts Tagged ‘ubuntu’

Partaker B4 Intel Celeron N3150 Barebone mini PC Sells for $131

June 20th, 2016 2 comments

This week-end I received Vorke V1 mini PC powered by Intel Celeron J3160 processor, and with upgradable memory, storage and WiFi as explaining in the first part of the review, and with a $160 price tag after coupon I found it to be pretty good value (Normal price is $200). But still, one person commented that it was too expensive, while another mentioned that some people may prefer to buy extra components such as SO-DIMM RAM, mSATA SSD, and wireless modules locally in order to benefit from a local warranty. So I went on aliexpress to find barebone mini PCs based on Intel Celeron J3160 processor, and I had no luck probably because the processor is relatively recent, so I refocused my search on Intel Celeron N3150 processor which has roughly the same performance, and the one of the cheapest options I could find was Partaker B4 mini PC selling for $131.49 in barebone configure with shipping by DHL.

Partaker_B4Inctel Partaker B4 barebone specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N3150 quad core processor @ 1.6/2.08 GHz with Intel HD graphics GPU @ 320/640MHz – 6W TDP
  • System Memory – 1x (or 2x?) SO-DIMM slot for up to 8GB RAM
  • Storage – 1x mSATA 3.0 connector for SSD. 1x SATA 3.0 connector for HDD
  • Video Output – HDMI and VGA
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks; ALC662 chip
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (150 Mbps) with two external WiFi antennas.
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 4x USB 3.0 ports
  • Misc – Power button & LED
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A to 6A
  • Dimensions – 16 x 12 x 4 cm
  • Weight – 2.5 kg ???

Partaker_B4_4x_USB_3.0_mini_PCThe system is said to be fanless. Sadly Inctel, the company behind the product, did not feel it necessary to post image of the motherboard in Aliexpress or the product page. I could only find the picture below on a Russian blog for the Core i3 version of Partaker B4.

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You’ll need to add your own storage and memory, as well as install your favorite operating system, to get a working system. The Aliexpress page have memory and storage options too, and if you add 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD, the price becomes $193.64, or quite close to the standard price for Vorke V1, minus an 802.11ac module and a Windows 10 license, but with more USB 3.0 ports. I have tried to find sellers of Partaker B4 mini PC with China post airmail to get a cheaper price, but all seem to be using DHL or Fedex.

Vorke V1 Braswell mini PC Unboxing and Teardown

June 18th, 2016 18 comments

Vorke V1 is a Braswell mini PC pre-loaded with Windows 10, powered by an Intel Celeron J3160 quad core with 4GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage, and two important features if you want to use it as a desktop PC: support for internal 2.5″ hard drive, and dual display support via HDMI and VGA ports. GeekBuying sent me a sample for review, and I’ll do a two part review, starting with pictures of the device, and its internal, before publishing the second part testing the performance, stability and features of the mini PC.

Vorke V1 Unboxing

There’s not much to say about the package, as it’s just a bland carton box with a sticker with Vorke V1 name, processor and memory info.

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The mini PC ships with a 19V/2.1A power supply and a power cord, as well as a mounting bracket and 5 screws for 2.5″ SATA SSD or HDD.

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The top cover is quite glossy and features a large power button.

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The front panel exposes two USB 2.0 ports, a micro SD slot, and a small window for an infrared receiver, not commonly found on Intel mini PCs. The two side has large ventilation holes, and the rear panel features the power jack, HDMI and VGA output, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone / Line out jack.

Vorke_V1_Beelink_BT7_Raspberry_Pi_2I found Vorke V1 to be larger than most devices I’ve received, so I took a picture with Beelink BT7 and a Raspberry Pi 2 board for comparison.

Normally I’d go to the teardown part now, but with Vorke V1 I have one more step to do, as I can install a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD.

Vorke_V1_Bottom_CoverTo do so, I had to loosen one screw on the bottom of the case, and turn the lid anti-clockwise to open it.

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We can see the bottom of the board with a black protection sheet where you are supposed to install the drive. While I’m here, components of interest include CO-TOP C2417NS (probably Gigabit Ethernet magnetics), ITE IT6513FN DisplayPort to VGA controller, and ENE KB9029Q C embedded / keyboard controller with 8051 MCU, 128KB flash.

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I used a thin 128GB SSD drive first, and the first step is to install the drive inside the mounting bracket with the four screws, before inserting the drive into the SATA interface, and tightening the remaining black screw in the location close to the CO-TOP IC. You can then put back the lid, making sure the two arrows are aligned as shown in the picture of the bottom of the case, before turning it clockwise, and tightening it the screw.

But for the next part of the review, I decided to scavenge a 1TB hard drive from another device, namely a Toshiba MQ01BD100.

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The drive is 9.5mm thick, while the SSD was 7 mm thick, and while I could still close the lid, there was a small gap as shown below. So it might be better to use 7mm drives with Vorke V1.
Vorke_V1_HDD_Case_GapThat’s just a minor issue, and it should not affect the performance.

Vorke V1 Teardown

In order to access the top of the main board, you’ll need to pop up the top cover with a sharp plastic tool, and work your way around.
Vorke_V1_TeardownThe first thing that came to mind is that this mini PC is modular with removable memory, storage and Wireless module. Let’s check the board in more details.

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The mainboard takes ADATA ADDS1600W4G11-8 SO-DIMM module with 4GB DDR3L RAM, Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 module with 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth, and FORESEE FSSSDBABAC-064G mSATA SSD (See pic below). We can also find an RTC battery, Realtek RTL8111GN PCIe Gigabit transceiver, ALC265 audio codec, RT5067A (not sure what it is), and Realtek RTS5159 USB card reader.

Foresee_SSDSo overall, the system has similar features to an Intel NUC, but a lower price point. The Braswell processor is cooling with a thick metal plate and a fan controller via 3 pins.

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There are also a few unused headers that would allow for some hardware hacking with UART, USB, LPC, and microphone headers.

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I found the hardware quite interesting to study, and it’s the most module low cost low power mini PC I’ve reviewed so far, with no soldered memory, storage or wireless module. We’ll have to see how well it performs under load, as apart from the fan and “heatsink” on the processor, not much else has been done for cooling. GeekBuying claims Windows 10 Home is activated in the device, and they also quickly and successfully tested Ubuntu 16.04, so I asked them whether they planned to sell a cheaper version without Windows 10 license, but there only answer was people could install the OS they wanted…

I’d like to thank GeekBuying for provide the device, and they sell it for $199.99 including shipping, but you can get that down $159.99 to with coupon VORKEV1. The  only other seller I could find is Banggood where it goes for for $199.

Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition Now Supports Desktop Mode via Wireless Display

June 1st, 2016 3 comments

Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition is a powerful smartphone running Ubuntu based on Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, 3GB RAM and 32 GB internal store. However, the main disappointment at the time of the launch was that it did not feature any physical video output interface, so convergence (desktop mode) was not available at the time, but Canonical has now implemented wireless display support with OTA11, and the phone will switch to desktop mode when connected to a WiDi adapter.

Ubuntu_Phone_Convergence

That’s what the company had to say about the release:

The latest Over-The-Air update has landed and this is a special one. We’ve introduced wireless display capabilities, which means that you can enjoy the full Ubuntu PC experience running from the latest Ubuntu smartphone, the Meizu Pro 5. And the best bit is, it will be available for all future Ubuntu smartphone and tablet devices (with supporting hardware)!

The Product Manager also shot a short video showing Meizu Pro 5 connecting to a wireless display dongle by Microsoft, maybe that one (TBC).

This new feature might finally make the phone an attractive purchase for $370 considering it could become your main computer too.

Other improvements with Ubuntu OTA11 include:

  • Smoother scrolling for the dash and apps giving a more seamless user experience
  • Better mouse responsiveness using Bluetooth when the desktop interface is displayed
  • Faster smoother graphics which improve the way content is delivered to the device
  • Automatic scaling for external monitors so the desktop display and application automatically scale to the resolution used on the external monitor

Cavium introduces 54 cores 64-bit ARMv8 ThunderX2 SoC for Servers with 100GbE, SATA 3, PCIe Gen3 Interfaces

June 1st, 2016 5 comments

Cavium announced their first 64-bit ARM Server SoCs with the 48-core ThunderX at Computex 2014. Two years later, the company has now introduced the second generation, aptly named ThunderX2, with 54 64-bit ARM cores @ up to 3.0 GHz and promising two to three times more performance than the previous generation.

Cavium_ThunderX2

Key features of the new server processor include:

  • 2nd generation of full custom Cavium ARM core; Multi-Issue, Fully OOO; 2.4 to 2.8 GHz in normal mode, Up to 3 GHz in Turbo mode.
  • Up to 54 cores per socket delivering > 2-3X socket level performance compared to ThunderX
  • Cache – 64K I-Cache and 40K D-Cache, highly associative; 32MB shared Last Level Cache (LLC).
  • Single and dual socket configuration support using 2nd generation of Cavium Coherent Interconnect with > 2.5X coherent bandwidth compared to ThunderX
  • System Memory
    • 6x DDR4 memory controllers per socket supporting up to 3 TB RAM in dual socket configuration
    • Dual DIMM per memory controller, for a total of 12 DIMMs per socket.
    • Up to 3200MHz in 1 DPC and 2966MHz in 2 DPC configuration.
  • Full system virtualization for low latency from virtual machine to IO enabled through Cavium virtSOC technology
  • Next Generation IO
    • Integrated 10/25/40/50/100GbE network connectivity.
    • Multiple integrated SATAv3 interfaces.
    • Integrated PCIe Gen3 interfaces, x1, x4, x8 and x16 support.
  • Integrated Hardware Accelerators
    • OCTEON style packet parsing, shaping, lookup, QoS and forwarding.
    • Virtual Switch (vSwitch) offload.
    • Virtualization, storage and NITROX V security.
  • Manufacturing Process – 14 nm FinFET

Cavium_ThunderX2_SKUs

Just like for Cavium ThunderX, four revisions (SKUs) will be provided to match specific requirements, with all support 10/25/40/50/100GbE connectivity:

  • ThunderX2_CP for cloud compute workloads.  Used for private and public clouds, web serving, web caching, web search, commercial HPC workloads such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and reservoir modeling. This family also includes PCIe Gen3 interfaces, and accelerators for virtualization and vSwitch offload.
  • ThunderX2_ST for optimized for big data, cloud storage, massively parallel processing (MPP) databases and Data warehousing. This family supports multiple PCIe Gen3 interfaces, SATAv3 interfaces, and hardware accelerators for data protection, integrity, security, and efficient data movement.
  • ThunderX2_SC for optimized for secure web front-end, security appliances and cloud RAN type workloads. This family supports multiple PCIe Gen3 interfaces, as well as Cavium’s NITROX security technology with acceleration for IPSec, RSA and SSL.
  • ThunderX2_NT optimized for media servers, scale-out embedded applications and NFV type workloads. This family includes  OCTEON style hardware accelerators for packet parsing, shaping, lookup, QoS and forwarding.

The processor complies with Server Base Boot Requirements (SBBR), UEFI, ACPI support), and SBSA Level 2, and will support Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and later, Red Hat Early Access for ARMv8,  SUSE SLES SP2 and later, CentOS 7.2 and later, and FreeBSD 11.0 and later.

Charbax interviewed the company at Computex 2016 in the 20-minute video below, where you can also see Gigabyte G220-T60 server with ThunderX with an Nvidia Tesla GPU (at the 7:20 mark) for “high performance compute applications”, and other servers based on the first generation ThunderX SoC.

It could not find when the SoC will be available. More details can be found on Cavium ThunderX2 product page.

How to Install PHP 5.6 (and Xibo Digital Signage CMS) in Ubuntu 16.04

May 28th, 2016 5 comments

Xibo is an open source digital signage using a client / server architecture, and in the past I wrote a tutorial showing how to use it, and ran Xibo Python client on ARM Linux TV box, but with software handling only so rendering scrolling text was not very smooth at all, and video decoding was not really possible. But now I have Star Cloud PCG02U Intel TV stick which costs just $70 shipped with Ubuntu 14.04, and that I have upgraded to Ubuntu 16.04, and I thought that would be a great low cost Xibo Linux client which should have pretty good performance. I started by installing Xibo server, only to find out that the cross-platform Python client had been phased out, with now only Windows and Android clients available.

So I canceled my plan. I still had some challenges installing Xibo server on Ubuntu 16.04, so I’ll report my experience as it may be useful to others. There will be two sections: 1. Downgrading PHP 7.0 to PHP 5.6 in Ubuntu 16.04 and 2. Installing Xibo CMS in Ubuntu 16.04.

Downgrading PHP 7.0 to PHP 5.6 in Ubuntu 16.04

Ubuntu 16.04 ships with PHP 7.0, and while it provides much better performance over previous version, the massive changes mean that some software packages are not compatible, and that includes Xibo that requires the “mysql” php module, which has been removed from PHP 7.0. So that means I had to install PHP 5.6 instead, which is not officially supported, but can be installed through a ppa.

Remove all php 7.0 packages:

Install php 5.6, apache2 and mysql, and required php modules for Xibo:

Usually, this is enough, but Apache2 will not enable php 5.6 automatically, so you need to run three more commands to enable some modules, and restart apache2:

You should now be able to create phpinfo.php file in /var/www/html, and confirm PHP 5.6 is running.

Installing Xibo 1.7.7 CMS in Ubuntu 16.04

The rest of the installation is actually standard. Download XIBO CMS, extract,. and setup the directory permissions for the CMS and media library.

You’ll also want to modify 2 lines in /etc/php/5.6/fpm/php.ini to allow for longer execution time and larger files:

Now go to your browser to access http://localhost/xibo or http://<IP_address>/xibo to complete the installation.

Xibo_Installation_Ubuntu_16.04

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The first step will check all requirements, and if that’s OK, you can click next. if not you are likely missing some PHP modules, but the instructions above should have installed all what’s needed already. The rest of the installation is pretty straightforward, but if you have issues you can check out Xibo CMS instructions.

Xibo_Ubuntu_16.04_Install_SuccessNow you can login to create a layout and schedule to played by one or more Windows or Android clients.

Updating Star Cloud PCG02U to Ubuntu 16.04 with WiFi and HDMI Audio Support

May 26th, 2016 13 comments

I completed my review of PCG02U Ubuntu TV stick a few days ago, and I was quite satisfied with the device, but since Ubuntu 16.04 was released last month, I thought it might be fun to upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu. I’m go through the complete steps including building a new kernel for HDMI audio, and the drivers for WiFi, but you should be able to install Ubuntu 16.04 for Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processor with the image made by Linuxium and a USB stick.

Star Cloud PCG02U OS Support and Warranty

Before I go through the instructions, you may want to read the conditions on MeLE’s Aliexpress PCG02U page.

PCG02U_Linux_OS_WarningThey meant Ubuntu 14.04 instead of 14.0.4, but the important part is that if something goes wrong trying alternative OS, you may lose your warranty.

Upgrade Ubuntu 14.04 to Ubuntu 16.04

Upgrading from one LTS version to the next should be easy using the update manager…

… or doing it through the terminal entirely:

However, it did not work for me, as it quickly ended with the message:

I noticed that PCG02U was still stuck on Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS, despite running dist-upgrade:

After trying several solutions, I eventually changed the Ubuntu mirror, and the steps above completed successfully with Ubuntu 16.04 running.

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At least two little problems though: I lost HDMI audio with only Dummy Output available, and while Ethernet was still working after the update, WiFi support was gone… But if you don’t need either you’re good to go.

Enabling HDMI audio in PCG02U

Luckily we already have the instructions to enable HDMI audio for Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors, all we need is a Linux 4.5 kernel and patch it. I’ll do everything inside PCG02U, and I have not used a separate build machine, which would likely be faster. Tip: you’ll need gcc 4.9 or greater. I used the instruction here and there.

First let’s build the dependencies required to build the kernel in Ubuntu.

Now let’s get the patches in a working directory

as well as the Linux 4.5.1 kernel patched for Ubuntu and the Intel Atom HDMI audio support:

Now we can configure the build:

This will ask which config files to configure for AMD64, i386, ARM and so on. We only need to edit the first one (AMD64). Once you are in the config menu, use menuconfig search function to locate SUPPORT_HDMI option and enable it. Exit and save.
CONFIG_SUPPORT_HDMI

Before starting the build add something like “+some_string” to the end of the first version number in the debian.master/changelog> file. I added +hdmi_audio string:

You can now start the build with:

However, the build did not complete for me, with the error:

I followed the instructions on askubuntu, and disabled set do_zfs = false in debian.master/rules.d/amd64.mk, and completed the build with the same command line. It took around 2 to 3 to complete the build on PCG02U, and I had a bunch of deb packages…

.. and I installed the headers and image:

Rebooted the system, which booted successfully, and I could confirm HDMI audio was back. Yes!

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But still no WiFi… and space was running now, so I did some cleaning which gave me a few gigabytes to play with:

Building Realtek RTL8723BS WiFi Driver in Ubuntu/Linux

Star Cloud PCG02U uses  a WiFi and Bluetooth module with the common Realtek RTL8723BS chip, but the driver is not currently in mainline, so it needs to be compiled separately. That part is straightforward, and only take 2 minutes or less:

That’s all and now the Wireless network is enabled:

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I had no problems connecting to my wireless router, and the module is automatically loaded at boot time. So now we have the same level of support as in Ubuntu 14.04 with HDMI audio and WiFi.

Realtek RTL8732BS Bluetooth in Linux

However, the hardware also supports Bluetooth, so it would be nice to have this enabled too, and again RTL8723BS Linux Bluetooth driver is available thanks to one independent developer (lwfinger).

In theory, it’s pretty easy:

But this did not work for me, despite Bluetooth apparently being located on /dev/ttyS4:

But the log would show a connection timeout:

Sadly, I haven’t been able to find a solution in a reasonable amount of time, and changing the baudrate from 115200 in the script to 2764800 (as shown in dmesg) does not help.

Of course everything would be so much easier if HDMI audio Cherry Trial and Bay Trial and RTL8723BS drivers would be in mainline linux, as all you would have to do would be to install Mainline linux in Ubuntu, and everything would just work. This does require some work however, but if you are motivated, lwfinger is ready to submit the RTL8723BS WiFi code to mainline if somebody takes care of all the errors and warnings generated by checkpatch.pl.

LinkSprite O-board Altera Cyclone IV FPGA Development Board Targets OpenRISC Development

May 24th, 2016 2 comments

OpenRISC project‘s goal is to create a free and open processor for embedded system that include  RISC instruction set architecture with DSP features, an open source implementations of the architecture, open source development tools and software, and simulators. You normally need FPGA board to emulate the processor before silicon is made available, so LinkSprite designed the O-board powered by Altera Cyclone IV FPGA to help with OpenRISC development and evaluation.

O-BoardO-board specifications:

  • FPGA – Altera Cyclone IV E with 22K LUT (P/N: EP4CE22F17C8N)
  • System Memory – 32MB SDRAM
  • Storage – 1MB SPI FLASH, micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 1x Fast Ethernet (RJ45)
  • USB – 1x micro USB for OTG HOST/SLAVE, 1 x micro USB for power supply, configuration, 2x UARTs, 2x JTAG…
  • Expansion connectors – 2x 70-pin headers
  • Power Supply – 5V via miro USB
  • Dimensions – 96 x 40 mm

OpenRISC_FPGA_BoardThe Wiki for the board explained how to get started with development with a Ubuntu image for VirtualBox pre-loaded with all necessary tools and files to program the FPGA and then boot Linux on OpenRISC processor emulated on the FPGA.

O-board is sold for $179 on CuteDigi store and $185 on Amazon US.

Star Cloud PCG02U Ubuntu 14.04 TV Stick Review

May 24th, 2016 9 comments

Star Cloud PCG02U is the first Ubuntu product from MeLE. After taking a few pictures of the TV stick and the board, I’ve tested the performance and functionality of the device.

First Boot and Setup

You can either connected the stick directly into an HDMI port, or using the provided female to female adapter via an HDMI cable. I’ve opted to insert the device directly into the AUX port of my Onkyo A/V receiver itself connected to my TV. Since there’s only one USB host port, USB keyboard and mouse are not convenient since it would add a USB hub, so I went with Logitech MK270r wireless mouse & keyboard combo instead. You can either used Ethernet or WiFi for Internet connectivity, and I opted for the latter for most of the review, but WiFi is also working fine.

Star_Cloud_PCG02U_Ubuntu_TV_Stick_AV_ReceiverThe final step is to connect the power supply into the micro USB port, and boot the device which takes around 20 seconds. Power consumption is a low 3.4 watts in idle mode, and 0.4 watts while powered off. The system automatically login to Unity desktop shell with user “pp” without password. But if you do need to perform some administrative tasks as root, pp password is 123456.

PCG02U_User_AccountsSo you’ll probably want to go to “User Accounts” to Unlock the settings, and either add a password to pp, or create a new user.

PCG02U_Time_DateTime is set to New Year by default, so I changed that to match my local, as well as the Clock setting to display the time using a 24-hour clock, instead of the default 12-hour clock.

PCG02U_Software_Update_Server_ConfigThe download server for updates is configured to use servers in China by default. This  will likely be slow in most countries, so you’ll want to select a server for your country, or simply use the “Select Best Server” feature.

Ubuntu_Select_Best_ServerI also disabled “Online search” and removed “Amazon” icon from the dashboard.

Ubuntu_Disable_AmazonI completed the initial setup by installing the latest updates as well as OpenSSH server:

PCG02U System Information

Now that I have a system configured to my taste, let’s check some of the system information from the terminal start with Ubuntu and Linux kernel versions:

It’s not surprising that they went with Linux 3.16 since it was the only option to get HDMI audio until recently. MeLE did use Linuxium image possibly with some modifications.

MeLE also created pp user, but I’m not sure they did other improvements.

I still had 20GB free storage after installing the latest upgrade, with LibreOffice and Firefox pre-installed.

The system reports 1.9GB memory and a 1.9GB swap partition that’s barely used.

You can only see 159 MB free memory, simply because of lot of it is used as buffer/cache, not because Ubuntu is about to run out of memory.

cpuinfo show four cores, but I’m only showing one below.

Finally, I’ve installed hardinfo mostly to confirm the previous findings.

PCG02_hardinfo

Star Cloud PCG02U Benchmarks

Phoronix Benchmark

I’ll first use Phoronix to benchmark the TV stick.

I also installed psensor to monitor the CPU tempetature.

Before running the same benchmarks that was run on several ARM Linux development boards.

You can find the results on openbenchmarking.org, but as the tests were underway, the temperature seemed under control never going above 79 C, and I soon realized that the governor was setup to “Powersave”, so I changed that to “Performance”, and ran the tests again.

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So finally we have the results for both lowpower and performance governors, and the results are not that much different. Let’s see some of the results compared to  ARM boards. Please note that “MeUbuntu 14.04.3” is actually the test for PCG02U in powersave mode.

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First Star Cloud PCG02 is faster than ARM boards in some, but not all of the tests.

PCG02U_John_The_Ripper

John the ripper multi-threaded password cracker still works best on Banana Pi M3 octa-core ARM Cortex A7 board.

PCG02U_Himeno_Benchmark_3.0But Himeno benchmark is way much faster on Intel than ARM. Himeno page mentions that version 1.2.0 “use AVX2 by default if available”, so while the test still used version 1.10, and I did not find x86 optimization in the source code, it’s quite possible the compiler makes use a SIMD instruction on Intel, but not on ARM, or that ARM NEON is not quite as good as SSE2, AVX… instructions on Intel processors.

PCG02_FLAC_Audio_EncodingFLAC audio encoding is also confirming the better performance of the Intel platform here, although the gap to ODROID-XU4 is not as wide as for Himeno benchmark. Audio encoding would also benefit from SIMD instructions so that may explain it.

Network Performance

I tested both Ethernet and WiFi with iperf.

Full duplex transfer with Fast Ethernet shows very good performance:

I repeated the test with WiFi in one direction only, and the connection seems pretty good too:

Storage performance

I install IOZone to benchmark the internal flash.

I used the command line armbian community uses to test random read and write speed initially:

Random read @ 121 MB/s and write at 70MB/s is not too bad, but I can’t explain why they are random I/O are faster than sequential ones, so I repeated the test again with basically the same results.

I did two more runs with a larger file to test sequential read and write speed more accurately.

75MB/s sequential write speed and 125 MB/s sequential read speed are rather typical values for low cost Intel platforms.

Star Cloud PCG02U Usability Testing

In the final part of the review, I’ve test some common apps including:

  • Chrome web browser
    • Multitab browser
    • Adobe flash with Candy Crush Saga game
    • YouTube playing at 1080p
  • Libreoffice with text files, spreadsheet and presentations
  • Kodi 16.1 playing 1080p60 H.264 and 1080p24 H.265 videos
  • SuperTuxKart 3D games

You can watch the user’s experience in the video below.

Basically, I’m very happy with the performance of the device for desktop tasks, as everything worked smoothly. Video playback in YouTube and Kodi 16.1 ws not 100% perfect though, but still watchable, and finally SuperTuxKart ran pretty well at around 25 fps.

Overall, I’ve very satisfied with MeLE PCG02U TV stick, especially considering the $70 price tag, and you’ve got a fully working Ubuntu device suitable for desktop tasks, although multi-tasking should probably be limited due to the 2GB RAM. I’d like to thank MeLE for providing the sample, but we should also thank Linuxium for his work on the Ubuntu for Intel Atom Z3735F devices. You can currently purchase Star Cloud PCG02U for $69.76 including shipping, except for resident of the United Stated, Canada and Mexico, because MeLE has an agreement with another reseller targeting business consumers.