Dragonbox is now taking pre-orders for a “Phytium D2000 ARMv8 Mini PC” with an octa-core 64-bit Arm processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB NVMe, and an AMD Radeon RX550 GPU that makes it powerful enough to play older PC gaming like Crysis through Box64 x86_64 emulator, the 64-bit version of Box86 x86 emulator compatible with Raspberry Pi and other 32-bit Arm platforms.
If the Dragonbox name sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the community that developed the Pyra handheld Linux game console/PC, except now they are offering a mini PC based on Phytium D2000 processor based on the same FTC663 Armv8 cores as found in the earlier Phytium FT2000/4 processor, with both Pythium SoC specifically designed for desktop PCs, contrary to most other Arm SoCs on the market.
Phytium D2000 mini PC specifications:
- SoC – Phytium D2000 ARMv8 octa-core custom Armv8 (FTC663) desktop processor @ 2.3 – 2.6 GHz with 8MB L2 Cache (2MB per dual-core clusters) and 4MB L3 Cache; 14nm process; 25W TDP; 1144-pin FCBGA package (35×35 mm)
- GPU – AMD Radeon RX 550 MXM 3.0a graphics card with 2GB VRAM
- System Memory – 16GB DDR4 RAM
- Storage – 512GB NVMe SSD inserted into to M.2 slot
- Video Output – HDMI 2.0b 4k/60Hz
- Networking – Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port
- USB – 5x USB-A 2.0 ports, 1x USB-A 3.0 port
- Power Supply – 60W external PSU
- Dimensions – 225 x 187 x 47mm
HKEPC has more details about the SoC itself with the octa-core processor equipped with 34-lanes for PCIe 3.0 interfaces (2x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x1), and dual Gigabit Ethernet making it suitable for desktop computers, notebooks, industrial computers, and network security equipment like firewalls. Most of the slides are in Chinese, but I also understand the Phytium D2000 octa-core processor is pin-to-pin compatible with Phytim FT2000/4 quad-core Arm SoC, so existing designs for the older chip should be easily upgradeable.
Back to the “mini PC” that’s not exactly that mini, especially when compared to Raspberry Pi 4 and ODROID-N2 boards, but it’s not surprising considering they had to have a case that can take a graphics card.
The main developer of Box64 and Box32 emulators, ptitSeb, got hold of an early sample, installed Ubuntu 20.04.3 on the computer, runs some WelGL demos, as well as Box64 emulator running Factorio. I also noticed a YouTube account under the same “Boiling Steam” uploaded a video with the mini PC running Ziggurat, Warcraft 3, and Crysis via Box64 with the latter apparently also showing the FPS (16 to 22 fps), CPU, and GPU utilization with MangoHud open-source utility.
If you’re interested you can join the pre-order for 470.59 Euros on the Dragonbox store. Note that it’s more like a group buying though, as if there’s not enough demand by December 10th a refund will be provided. If demand is high enough, then shipping is expected to start on December 17th.
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.
The price is OK I guess , not cheap but I’ve seen more expensive ARM board and this one has GPU even.
I’d like an option without GPU.
The question is what is the performance of this one, does anyone know if there are any benchmarks ?
There’s the video showing games with FPS, but that’s emulated. Otherwise the HKEPC article provides some numbers for the processor: In terms of performance, Feiteng’s official data shows that the performance of “PHYTIUM D2000” has been greatly improved. It achieved 18.7 GB/s in the Steam test, an increase of 6.8% compared to the previous generation product, and the Spec2006 INT test score was 97.45, which is an improvement compared to the previous generation product. 76.8%, the Spec2006 FP test score was 94.62 points, an increase of 70.15% compared to the previous generation product, and the Unixbench test score was 4396.2%,… Read more »
Some 7zip or Geekbench scores would mean more to me. Hopefully someone can test this.
The best way is to ask on DragonBox forums, because nobody else has it.
Actually, I would not be surprised if it’s an off-the-shelf mini PC from China to which they added RAM, storage, and graphics card, but I could not find it on sites like Alibaba yet.
7-zip numbers on Reddit.
Memory performance is not that great and there’s some sort of AES/crypto acceleration: https://github.com/ThomasKaiser/sbc-bench/issues/26
Does this mean there are working ARM64 drivers for the RX550 now, and it could theoretically be used with other SoCs provided they have PCIe available?
If they can address a gpu, yes. Probably RK3588 would be the best candidate. Then we will see if it’s a good idea or not (they may performs poorly)
Ptitseb got armbian working on his pythium since armbian got UEFI capabilities yesterday.
How does an unknown company make a custom arm core?, i thought it was quite expensive to get a licence to create custom cores?
It’s expensive to use custom cores based on the arm microarchs. They only took the ISA license and made everything from scratch, that’s why they aren’t cheap neither haha tons of development
Because it is ARM CHINA. google up on the drama. lols
I dont really know how much this impact on licensing, but it is still a good read
Second, the company has been making supercomputer custom cores for quite some time now. they have necessary the talent and cash.
Or check the Arm China article @ https://www.cnx-software.com/2021/08/31/arm-china-appears-to-be-fully-independent-from-arm/
I forgot you did a post on it. hahaha….
Jean, let be honest, that doesn’t have any relation with pythium. Pythium would be a thing without arm china clash against main arm. Pythium didn’t took the arm microarchs (like any other maker that use them as base for custom cores) neither his gpus. They just took the arm isa license (quite cheap) and made everything else from scratch.
Phytium is not an unkown compagny they produce arm based supercomputers for Chine (Tiahne) and amongst the most powerful supercomputers in the world. They also have amongst their shareholders a number of big chineese compagnies
I just got confirmation from xiaoji that the Phytium can support up to 32 gigs of RAM via it’s 2 SODIMM slots!
Got my phytium. Running armbian uefi on it.
The 60W power brick is insufficient. Swapped it for a 90W and it’s been quite impressive. Peak power draw 71W when I pounded it
It’s a neat device. It has potential.
> Running armbian uefi on it
Will you then fix /etc/armbianmonitor/datasources/soctemp pointing to the wrong sysfs node (the SSD)? Most probably not, right?
Asides that really hard to understand the excitement around D2000 and a laptop GPU. Neither inexpensive, nor energy efficient, nor powerful (the single-threaded performance is pretty lame).
yeah looks like it’s pointing to the nvme node thanks.
I’m foolish enough that despite its deficiencies, it brings me joy. Will be interesting to see how it stacks up against Rock 5
oh.. second hwmon is pointing to gpu.. so yeah i guess blind on cpu temp for now….
> it brings me joy
Asides using another ISA what’s the point of this box compared to real Mini PC (that are smaller and most probably also more energy efficient when combined with a proper PSU)?
I mean, it even shares one of the valid concerns wrt x86: an exploit-ridden firmware allowing for malware persistence called UEFI.
It still brings me joy because I think it’s a cool computer.