Review of Blackview MP80 Processor N97 mini PC with Fedora 39 Linux (Part 2)

After reviewing the Blackview MP80 (Processor N97) mini PC with Windows 11 in detail, we now had time to test it with Fedora 39 Workstation to find out how well it works in Linux. In this second part of the review, we’ll explain our “choice” of Linux distribution, go through benchmarks and features testing, as well as measure fan noise and power consumption, among other test

Finding a Linux distribution that works with Blackview MP80

Last year, we reviewed the Blackview MP80 model equipped with an Intel Processor N95 CPU and after the Windows 11 review, we were unable to install Ubuntu 22.04 on the machine with the company eventually telling us Linux was not supported. But several months after the review, a reader commented he could install Fedora 39 on the Blackview MP80 and that it “worked like a charm“.

We thought maybe the BIOS had been updated and since we got another Blackview MP80 mini PC with a different Processor N97 CPU and everything else equals. we decided to try Ubuntu 22.04 again, and if it failed we could always try Fedora 39.

The Ubuntu 22.04 installation started the same way as with the first MP80 we tested: Windows 11 was not detected and we were asked whether to erase the disk and install Ubuntu.

Blackview MP80 N97 Ubuntu 22.04 install failed

When we did that in August 2023, it wiped out Windows 11 as expected, but Ubuntu would not start either, and reinstalling Windows was a pain. So we aborted this little test and gave another with Debian 12 ISO. We could see the UEFI USB flash drive in the BIOS and selected it as the boot device, but after waiting for a little while the system just booted to Windows 11.

Our latest attempt to install Linux on the Blackview MP80 was with Fedora 39 Workstation. The installation went smoothly, and we could boot to Fedora normally after the installation.

Blackview MP80 mini PC N97 Fedora 39

It was not 100% clear during the installation process whether Windows would survive, but we were delighted to confirm we had a working dual boot system with Windows 11 and Fedora 39 on the Blackview MP80 N97 mini PC! So we can carry on with the review.

Fedora 39 system info on the Blackview MP80 (Processor N97)

Blackview MP80 Processor N97 Fedora 39 Linux System Info

Going to Settings->About shows we are running Fedora Linux 39 (Workstation Edition) on the “Shenzhen DOKE electronic co. LTD MP80” mini PC with a quad-core Intel N97 processor with 16GB of RAM and 512.1GB  of storage.

We can find more details from the command line:


Fedora 39 is using a very recent Linux 6.6 LTS kernel. The rootfs is only 237GB in size because Windows 11 Pro is also installed on the mini PC.

Inxi utility provides further information:


The Processor N97 CPU can reach up to 3600 MHz in Turbo mode, the two Gigabit Ethernet ports are showing up, as well as the Realtek RTL8821CE WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless chip. The CPU temperature is shown to be 56°C at idle.

Blackview MP80 M97 benchmarks in Fedora 39

At this point, we would normally run sbc-bench.sh, but the script only works with Debian-based distributions using the apt package manager. [Update: We could run the latest version of sbc-bench.sh in Fedora 39 as follows:


Output:


The ambient room temperature was around 24°C.
]

We then benchmarked the Blackview MP80 (Processor N97) mini PC in Fedora with Geekbench 6.2.2.

MP80 Processor N97 Geekbench 6.2.2 Linux

The mini PC achieved 1,251 points in the single-core benchmark, and 3,141 points in the multi-core test. This compares to 1,233 and 2,453 points respectively in Windows 11 Pro.

We started testing GPU performance with Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 where the Intel N97 mini PC achieved 16.0 fps on average and a 404 score at 1920×1080, while in Windows 11, the average FPS was 18.1.

MP80 Processor N97 Unigine Heaven Benchmark4.0 Fedora

Next up was YouTube 4K and 8K video playback with both Firefox and Chromium web browsers.

Let’s start with Firefox.

Blackview MP80 Fedora 39 4k p30 firefox

Streaming at 4Kp30 worked well with 54 frames dropped out of 12,845.

Blackview MP80 Fedora 39 4k p60 firefox

Problems started at 4Kp60 with the video being choppy and 1,751 frames dropped out of 3,879, or around 45% of frames were dropped.

Blackview MP80 Fedora 39 8k p30 firefox

But switching to 8Kp30 was a disaster with the video being unwatchable and an amazing 999 frames were dropped out of 1,016!

Blackview MP80 Fedora 39 8k p60 firefox

We tried 8Kp60 for fun too, and the result was unsurprisingly similar…

We repeated those tests in Chromim with 0 frames dropped at 4Kp30 while playing the video for 5 minutes, and 4Kp60 was somewhat watchable with still 957 frames dropped out of 12,262 (7%).

Blackview MP80 Fedora 39 8k p30 chromium
Chromium 8Kp30 (4320p)

8K videos were not watchable with around 45% of frames dropped at 30 fps, and 63% at 60 fps.

Blackview MP80 Fedora 39 8k p60 chromium
Chromium 8Kp60 (4320p)

So 4K YouTube video playback is better in Chromium, and 8K videos are unwatchable on either. We’re not sure convinced 8K matters that much on this type of hardware, but if it does, then Windows 11 is the best OS for the MP80 with barely any dropped frames up to 8Kp60.

Back to Firefox to test web browsing performance with Speedometer 2.0.

MP80 Processor N97 Speedometer 2.0

That’s 152 runs per minute and if we look at the detailed results there are some variations between each iteration with the score ranging from 142.4 to 158.0 runs per minute.

MP80 Processor N97 Speedometer 2.0 10

Storage performance (SSD)

Let’s now test the performance of the 512GB SATA SSD that comes with the mini PC using the iozone3 utility:


309 MB/s read speeds and 403 MB/s sequential reads are fine for a SATA SSD, but fairly lower than what we’d get with mini PC equipped with NVMe SSDs. For comparison, CrystalDiskMark in Windows 11 reported 557 MB/s and 504 MB/s respectively

Networking (Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 5)

We’ll test Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 5 using iperf3 but with a different testbed comprised of GL.iNet GL-MT6000 “Flint 2” router, a laptop running Ubuntu 22.04 (IP address: 192.168.8.249), and a USB-C dock with gigabit Ethernet.

Let’s start with Ethernet.

  • Download

  • Upload

  • Full-duplex


Gigabit Ethernet works very well. Time to test WiFi 5 connected to the Flint 2 router’s 5 GHz SSID and placed less than one meter from the MP80 mini PC.

  • Download

  • Upload


The transfer rates are fairly constant but on the low side with 109 Mbps download speed and 120 Mbps upload speed. For reference, the Blackview MP80 Processor N97 delivered 266 Mbps (UL) and  255 Mbps (DL) in Windows 11, but that was done with a different testbed using Xiaomi Mi AX6000 router.

Stress test and CPU temperature

Let’s now test cooling in the Blackview MP80 by running a stress test on all four cores in the intel Processor N97 and checking the CPU temperature with psensor (hard to install in Fedora, and we finally used those instructions) and the CPU frequency with sbc-bench.sh since monitoring mode works OK in Fedora…

Blackview MP80 N97 temperature Fedora Linux Stress Test

The CPU frequency stabilizes at around 79C after a while, and the CPU frequency to 2,900 MHz, and there’s no obvious CPU throttling due to overheating.

Fan noise

The mini PC has a very quiet fan in normal use and it only becomes audible under heavy loads, but nothing too bad.

We measured the noise with a sound level meter placed approximately 5 cm from the top case:

  • Web surfing – 39.0 – 42 dBA
  • Stress test on 4 cores – 41.5 – 46.3 dBA

The meter reports 38 – 39 dBA in a quiet room.

Blackview MP80 N97 power consumption in Fedora 39

We finally measured the power consumption with a wall power meter:

  • Power off – 0 Watt
  • Idle – 7.5 – 8.0 Watts
  • Video playback – 24.0 – 26.3 Watts (YouTube 4Kp60 in Firefox)
  • CPU stress test – 23.0 – 24.5 Watts

Note: The mini PC was connected to WiFi 5, one USB RF dongle for a keyboard and mouse combo, and a VGA monitor through an HDMI to VGA adapter during the measurements.

Conclusion

The Blackview MP80 mini PC can work with Linux, but not Ubuntu 22.04 and Debian 12, and we had to switch to Fedora 39 Workstation editor for the review. Everything works fairly well except 8K video playback on YouTube, and 4K 60fps is not perfect either.  If you intend to watch YouTube videos in Linux we recommend 1080p60 resolution, or switch to Windows 11… It does come with two GbE ports so in theory it could be used as a soft router, but we haven’t tested it, especially other systems such as the iKOOLCORE R2 would be better suited to networking applications.

The Blackview MP80 does cut on some features found in other Alder Lake-N mini PCs for instance, it relies on an M.2 SATA SSD instead of an NVMe one, there’s no USB-C port for data/video, and networking is limited to Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 5. But that means it’s one of the cheapest Intel mini PCs around, and Blackview sells it for $189.98 on Amazon with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD as reviewed here.

CNXSoft: This article is a translation – with some additional insights – of the original review on CNX Software Thailand by Suthinee Kerdkaew.

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7 Comments
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tkaiser
tkaiser
26 days ago

> we would normally run sbc-bench.sh, but the script only works with Debian-based distributions using the apt package manager.

Nope. And Fedora support for lazy people has just been added 🙂

https://github.com/ThomasKaiser/sbc-bench/issues/88

Willy
Willy
26 days ago

I’m always amazed to see how modern distros manage to be so fat while still not providing usual commands by default such as openssl. When your distro uses several GB of space, it’s probably not a 300 kB binary that will make a difference. However if they want to save space, they’d rather try to figure where the space is used and how often the associated files are used by their target users…

tkaiser
tkaiser
26 days ago

The dnf fail to install anything is related to missing ‘powercap-info’ command for which no powercap-utils package exists in Fedora.

I checked name of all missing packages but powercap-utils slipped through yesterday since me testing on ARM in a VM and you on a real Intel box.

tkaiser
tkaiser
26 days ago

Should be fixed.

In case of unavailable packages on Fedora now something like this should be printed by the package manager: ‘Error: Unable to find a match: powercap-utils’

Though this package will only be tried to install on Debian/Ubuntu anyway in the future…

Vall
Vall
26 days ago

From the review:
> Idle – 7.5 – 8.0 Watts ???

Why the “???” at the end of that line?

Khadas VIM4 SBC