How One Line of Code Tripled Allwinner A20 SATA Write Performance

Allwinner A20 SATA Performance Patch

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you may remember that all linux-sunxi community work aiming at improving u-boot and Linux software support on Allwinner processors started with Allwinner A10 processor found in MeLE A1000 TV box back in 2012, which at the time provided an interesting alternative to Raspberry Pi board that was in short supply at launch time and several months after. One of the most interesting feature found in Allwinner A10 single core Arm Cortex-A8 processor was its SATA interface, and Allwinner A20 was announced a few months later with a dual core Cortex-A7 processor and virtually the same peripherals as Allwinner A10, including SATA. However when I  tested CubieTruck board connected to a mechanical drive, I noticed sequential SATA performance was fine for reads (~180MB/s), but writes were fairly slow at around 36 MB/s. Other people complained about it, and some looked into it, and at one point it appeared the maximum SATA write performance …

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Volumio Motivo is a Gorgeous Audio Streamer Powered by SOPINE A64 SoM

Volumio Motivo

Volumio is a well-known Linux based open source music player for Raspberry Pi, UDOO, Cubox-I, Beaglebone Black, and other single board computers. Some companies even made audiophile boards with support for Volumio including Khadas Tone high-resolution audio board for VIM/VIM2 SBC’s, and the tiny VoltaStream ZERO following Raspberry Pi Zero form factor. But Volumio team has decided to make their own hardware with Motivo, an awesomely looking audio streamer designed in collaboration with Yottamusic engineering firm, and Design Narratives industrial design company. Motivo was introduced at High-End Munich, the world’s biggest Hi-Fi trade fair, and Pine64 posted some photos in a tweet claiming it was powered by their SOPINE A64 system-on-module. The full details about the device have not been published at the time of writing, but we can still derive some of Volumio Motivo specifications and key features from the photos and a few bits of public information: System-on-Module – SOPINE A64 with Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, up …

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Linux 5.1 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.1 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 5.1: So it’s a bit later in the day than I usually do this, just because I was waffling about the release. Partly because I got some small pull requests today, but mostly just because I wasn’t looking forward to the timing of this upcoming 5.2 merge window. But the last-minute pull requests really weren’t big enough to justify delaying things over, and hopefully the merge window timing won’t be all that painful either. I just happen to have the college graduation of my oldest happen right smack dab in the middle of the upcoming merge window, so I might be effectively offline for a few days there. If worst comes to worst, I’ll extend it to make it all work, but I don’t think it will be needed. Anyway, on to 5.1 itself. The past week has been pretty calm, and the final patch from rc6 is not all that …

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Allwinner Tablet SoC Roadmap 2019 – 2020

Allwinner A-Series Roadmap 2019 2020

Both Rockchip and Amlogic have some pretty interesting processors coming down the pipe with for example Rockchip RK3588 Cortex A76/A55 or Amlogic S922D Cortex A73/A53 SoCs both featuring an neural processing unit (NPU) for AI workloads acceleration at low power. The companies also have updated entry-level quad Arm Cortex-A55 processors with RK3530 and S905X3 models which are planned to launch later this year. But this made me wonder what was going with Allwinner since the company got really quiet, except for the “launch” of renamed processors for a specific business unit. That’s the only company among the three to have yet to announce a Cortex-A7X 64-bit Arm processor. The good news is that the company has released a roadmap of sort for their A-Series processors for tablets. The less good news is that very few details are available for the processors except for one: Allwinner A50 – Quad core Cortex-A7 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU, GMS certification. Suitable …

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Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server Launched with Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 Board

Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server

Olimex works on open source hardware boards, while the FreedomBox Foundation has been developing FreedomBox, a free and open source private server system, since 2010 with the goal of empowering regular people to host their own internet services, like a VPN, a personal website, file sharing, encrypted messengers, a VoIP server, a metasearch engine, and more. When you mix open source hardware, open source software, and a bit of Internet freedom it gives birth to a product called “Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server” based on Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 board and running FreedomBox software. Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server specifications: SoC – Allwinner A20 dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU @ 1.0 GHz  with dual-core Mali 400 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3 Storage – microSD slot fitted with 32GB class 10 card loaded with FreedomBox, SATA data and power connectors, 2KB EEPROM for MAC address and custom data Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p60 USB – 2x USB …

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Allwinner MR133 Processor Targets Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Allwinner MR133

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a new processor from Allwinner, so today I got curious and visited the company website hoping to find maybe some news about the first Cortex-A7x processor from the company. But instead I found something else intriguing with the new Allwinner MR133 processor specifically designed for “SLAM/VSLAM intelligent robot sweeper solutions”. In other words, Allwinner has just launched a processor for robot vacuum cleaners… Allwinner MR133 key features and specifications: CPU – Quad-core Arm Cortex-A7 processor @ 1.8GHz with 32KB L1 I-cache + 32KB L1 D-cache per core, 512KB L2 cache, low-power CoolFlex power management architecture GPU – Arm Mali 400MP2 with support for OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1, Direct3D 11.1, OpenVG 1.1 Memory I/F – 32-bit DDR4/DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR3/LPDDR4 Storage I/F – eMMC 5.0 flasj, compatible with eMMC 5.1, support Full Disk Encryption(FDE) 8-bit TLC/MLC/SLC/EF NAND flash, supports FDE LDPC/80-bit BCH/1024bytes Video Engine – H264 HP encoder 1080p @ 60fps, JPEG encoder up to 4096 x 4096 …

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Linux 5.0 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.0 Changelog

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.0: Ok, so the last week of the 5.0 release wasn’t entirely quiet, but it’s a lot smaller than rc8 was, and on the whole I’m happy that I delayed a week and did an rc8. It turns out that the actual patch that I talked about in the rc8 release wasn’t the worrisome bug I had thought: yes, we had an uninitialized variable, but the reason we hadn’t immediately noticed it due to a warning was that the way gcc works, the compiler had basically initialized it for us to the right value. So the same thing that caused not the lack of warning, also effectively meant that the fix was a no-op in practice. But hey, we had other bug fixes come in that actually did matter, and the uninitialized variable _could_ have been a problem with another compiler. Regardless – all is well that ends well. We have more than a …

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FOSDEM 2019 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM 2019

FOSDEM – which stands for Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting – is a free-to-participate event where developers meet on the first week-end of February to discuss open source software & hardware projects. FOSDEM 2019 will take place on February 2 & 3, and the schedule has already been published with 671 speakers scheduled to speak in 711 events themselves sorted in 62 tracks. Like every year, I’ll create a virtual schedule based on some of the sessions most relevant to this blog in tracks such as  open hardware, open media, RISC-V, and hardware enablement tracks. February 2 10:30 – 10:55 – VkRunner: a Vulkan shader test tool by Neil Roberts A presentation of VkRunner which is a tool to help test the compiler in your Vulkan driver using simple high-level scripts. Perhaps the largest part of developing a modern graphics driver revolves around getting the compiler to generate the correct code. In order to achieve this, extensive …

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