Using MangoHud to check FPS, CPU & GPU usage on a ‘hackendeck’

MangoHud

Previously I followed Valve’s documentation to build a ‘hackendeck’ using a mini PC to emulate their highly anticipated Steam Deck. Interestingly the ‘hackendeck’ uses a Linux OS, specifically Manjaro, as whilst Valve based their earlier version of Steam OS on Debian, they have now switched to being based on Arch. If the ‘hackendeck’ had just been Steam on Windows then to review gaming performance I’d just use MSI Afterburner. Until now, however, for Linux, I’ve always had to estimate the average FPS as I’ve not been aware of a good reliable equivalent. Fortunately several ‘commenters’ recommended using MangoHud, a Linux open-source Vulkan/OpenGL overlay for monitoring FPS, CPU/GPU usage, and temperatures similar to MSI Afterburner. So now I’ve been able to capture the average frame rate for the games I previously tested and I’ll present them below. MangoHud Installation and configuration The installation of MangoHud was extremely simple. First I installed […]

Experiences of configuring and using a ‘hackendeck’ homemade Steam Deck

Valve recently released information about developing for the Steam Deck if you didn’t have a Dev-Kit which is an engineering verification test build (EV2) version of their device. Included in the documentation is a suggestion to build your own Steam Deck, or ‘hackendeck’ using a mini PC. Whilst I didn’t have the exact brand they picture in the article I did have a mini PC with the required specifications so I set about following the instructions to see how it performed. Hardware Overview Valve’s documentation under ‘Performance’ states that ‘if you are really interested in finding a PC for testing that will perform similarly to a Steam Deck … there are a few options out there and then goes on to suggest a mini PC with the following ‘roughly similar specifications to a Steam Deck’: AMD Ryzen 7 3750H Radeon RX Vega 10 Graphics 16GB of DDR4 RAM This exactly […]

Beelink U59 Review – Windows 11, Ubuntu on a Jasper Lake mini PC

Coupling a German submarine with a North American lake seems a perfect match in this topsy-turvy supply-constrained COVID-19 broken world we find ourselves in but that’s just what Beelink has figuratively done by launching their new Intel Jasper Lake mini PC, the U59. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows 11 and Ubuntu 20.04. Beelink U59 Hardware Overview The Beelink U59 physically consists of a 124 x 113 x 42mm (4.88 x 4.45 x 1.65 inches) square plastic case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s new 10 nm Jasper Lake N5095 processor which is a quad-core 4-thread 2.00 GHz Celeron processor boosting to 2.90 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics. The front panel has an illuminated power button, dual USB 3.1 ports, a Type-C USB 3.0 port with DisplayPort Alternate Mode, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a reset pin-hole ‘CLR CMOS’. […]

How to upgrade a mini PC to Windows 11 and install WSL

In this short article, I show how to install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and how to force the upgrade of Windows 10 to Windows 11 in a mini PC rather than waiting for Windows to offer it. The reason I’ve coupled these two topics together is not because there is any dependency, but simply as I use WSL to help me perform administrative tasks like downloading and copying files when installing applications on Windows mini PCs. WSL installation Installing WSL has recently become so simple it is worth doing just to gain the flexibility it offers for so little effort. Now you only need to open ‘Windows Terminal (Admin)’ and enter wsl –install: then reboot for Ubuntu to start installing, during which you will be asked to create your user with a password, which finishes in Ubuntu: Further information about installing WSL can be found in Microsoft’s documentation. Now […]

Beelink SER3 Review – A good AMD Ryzen 7 mini PC… after tweaks

Beelink has just launched a new mini PC called the SER3. It is another ‘new’ mini PC using an older CPU, in this case, an AMD mobile processor. However, the performance is surprisingly good once a few tweaks are made to the stock configuration. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu together with using an eGPU. Hardware Overview The SER3 physically consists of a 126 x 113 x 40mm (4.96 x 4.45 x 1.57 inches) square metal case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses AMD’s older 12 nm Zen+ Ryzen 7 3750H Picasso processor which is a quad-core 8-thread 2.3 GHz mobile processor boosting to 4.0 GHz with Radeon RX Vega 10 Graphics. The front panel has an illuminated power button, dual USB 3.0 ports, a Type-C USB 3.0 port with Alternate Mode, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a […]

MINIX NGC-5 Review – Windows 10, Ubuntu 20.04, and external GPU

MINIX has just launched a new mini PC in their NGC range called the NGC-5. Although it uses a somewhat dated Intel eighth-generation Core i5 processor, the integrated Iris Plus Graphics 655 is notable for being one of the more powerful iGPU solutions. MINIX kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at performance running both Windows and Ubuntu together with using an eGPU. Hardware Overview The NGC-5 physically consists of a 153 x 153 x 43mm (6.02 x 6.02 x 1.57 inches) square plastic case. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s older 14 nm++ Core i5-8279U Coffee Lake processor which is a quad-core 8-thread 2.40 GHz processor boosting to 4.10 GHz with Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 655. The front panel has just a LED power indicator whereas the rear panel includes dual gigabit Ethernet ports, dual USB 3.1 ports, a DisplayPort 1.2, an HDMI 2.0a port, […]

LIVA Q1L Review – pfSense, Ubuntu 20.04, Windows 10 tested on a dual Ethernet “Ultra Tiny PC”

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) have a series of mini PCs called LIVA which includes the diminutive Q range from which the LIVA Q2 was previously reviewed. Now it is the turn of the LIVA Q1L which although announced over a year ago has just been received for review and the results from various testing are detailed below. Hardware Overview The Q1L physically consists of a 74 x 74 x 34.6 mm (2.91 x 2.91 x 1.36 inches) rectangular plastic case. It is an actively cooled mini PC that uses slightly older Apollo Lake processors and the review model came with an N4200 CPU which is a quad-core 4-thread 1.10 GHz processor boosting to 2.50 GHz with Intel’s HD Graphics 505. The front has a power button, two USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports, and one USB 2.0 port whilst the rear includes an HDMI port, two gigabit Ethernet ports, and the […]

Cincoze GP-3000 review – An expandable Xeon-based GPU computer

Cincoze GP-3000 is an expandable high-performance GPU computer. It consists of either a 9th or 8th generation Intel processor-powered embedded computer which can be expanded with Cincoze’s proprietary GPU Expansion Box (GEB) capable of housing up to dual 250W full-length graphic cards. Additional I/O expansion is also possible through the use of various modules. With a total 720W power budget the GP-3000’s additional GPU performance massively accelerates complex industrial AI and machine vision tasks. As a rugged computer, the GP-3000 has passed a series of stringent quality assurance tests and industry standards including MIL-STD-810G military standard, E-mark for in-vehicle applications, and EN50155 (EN 50121-3-2 only) for rolling stock environments. It can withstand hot and cold temperature extremes, shock and vibration, and high electromagnetic radiation. In this review, I’ll cover some performance metrics from both Windows and Ubuntu and also discuss the thermals. Hardware Overview The GP-3000 (see PDF datasheet) loaned […]