Theater in a Box sent me not one – as expected – but two of their latest “Pure Linux” Kodi media player: ARNU Box Mach 10 powered by Amlogic S812 SoC, and ARNU Box Q based on Amlogic S805 processor. The former has a faster processor, and supports 4K, while the later is cheaper but is limited to 1080p. Today, I’ll have a look at the hardware of both devices, starting with ARNU Box Mach 10, before completing the S812 Linux box review in a few days.
The hardware specifications are pretty similar to what the rest of the market is offering:
- SoC – Amlogic S812 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2.0 GHz with octa-core Mali-450MP6 GPU
- System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
- Storage – 16 GB flash, SD card slot
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330 wireless module)
- Video Output – HDMI 1.4b up to 4K @ 30Hz, AV
- Audio Output – HDMI, AV, optical S/PDIF
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
- Power Supply – 5V/2A
- Dimensions – 126.5 x 138.3 x 24.9 mm
- Weight – ~290 grams
The main difference is with the software, as the box does not run Android, but only Linux and Kodi 15 with Cloudword installer that configures and customizes your box with add-ons curated for your country.
That’s the package for the Mach 10 box.
A closer look at the box reveals the front panel LCD display and IR receiver, and the SD card slot on the side of the device, with most ports found on the rear panel: two USB 2.0 host ports, HDMI output, Ethernet, AV port, optical S/PDIF, the 5V power jack, and external WiFi antenna.
The casing feel a bit sturdier and of higher quality than most of the TV boxes I’ve tested so far.
To open the box, the procedure seems quite standard, there are four sticky rubber pads on the bottom that needs to be removed, and four screws to be loosened.
The screws were easy to take off, but I failed to find an opening on the side between the two part of the casing, and after several attempts I simply gave up. That is until I found the technique with Mach Q box, and went back using another tool from my diassembly toolkit. The trick was to insert the tool on the left in the picture below in one of the many ventilation openings, and pull firmly.
There’s some sort of black net glued to the bottom of the case. I’m not sure why it has been placed here. Dust protection? Cooling?
I removed four more screws to completely take out the board from its case. The WiFi and Bluetooth module is the popular AP6330, and the MAC address starts with C4:4E:AC meaning that it’s one of these boxes manufactured by Shenzhen Shiningworth Technology. I’ve also taken out the heatsink to have a clear look at the top of the board.
The board name is M9&M8_v1.1 (2014/11/07), and I think I’ve seen that board name before. M9&M8_V1.0 board was used in both Eny M8S (Amlogic S812), and Rippl-TV (Amlogic S802) TV boxes, so the hardware platform has been around for a while.
RAM and internal storage memory chips are however different from Eny M8S. The box features four 4Gb SKhynix H5TQ4G63AFR DDR3 chips (2GB RAM in total), and a 16GB Toshiba THGBMBG7D2KBAIL eMMC flash, so at least storage will perform better than on M8S.
ARNU Box Mach 10 Pure Linux can be purchased for $149.99 on Theater In a Box. So far, I could not find this exact model in other stores, but of course, there are similar Amlogic S812 based models running Android such as M8S. For reference, ARNU Mac Boxes were previously called Armada Mach Boxes.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.