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

hackendeck

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’. […]

Beelink U59 Celeron N5095 Jasper Lake mini PC ships with up to 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD

Beelink U59 is a Jasper Lake mini PC based on an Intel Celeron N5095 15W quad-core processor that ships with 8GB RAM and a 256 GB M.2 SSD for $279+ on Amazon or Banggood, or $349+ with 16GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The mini PC offers two 4K HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, WiFi 5, as well as four USB 3.0 ports, and supports one 2.5-inch SATA drive up to 7mm thick. Beelink U59 specifications: SoC – Intel Celeron N5095 quad-core Jasper Lake  processor @ 2.0GHz /  2.9GHz (Turbo) with 4MB cache, 16EU Intel UHD Graphics; 15W TDP System MEmory – 8GB or 16GB DDR4 2,933 MHz Storage – 256GB or 512GB M.2 SATA SSD with up to 500MB/s read speed. Support for 2.5-inch SATA drives (7mm thick max). Video Output – 2x HDMI 2.0 ports up to 4Kp60 Audio – 3.5mm audio (headphone & microphone) […]

Beelink LZX – A Zhaoxin KX-6640MA based x86 Mini PC you may never see

Beyond Intel and AMD, there are other x86 processors in the wild from DM&P and Zhaoxin. We’ve written about the latter in a QNAP NAS earlier this year, but now it turns out there’s also a Zhaxin-based mini PC with Beelink LZX based on a Zhaoxin KX-6640MA quad-core x86 processor that showed up on Shopee Indonesia for 3.86 million Indonesian Rupiahs, or about $270 US. The computer comes with 8GB RAM by default but supports up to 64GB, as well as dual M.2 NVMe and SATA III storage,  two 4Kp60 capable HDMI ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and more. Beelink LZX specifications: SoC – Zhaoxin KX-6640MA quad-core processor @ 2.1 GHz / 2.6 GHz (Turbo) with 4MB cache, C-960 Graphics (support 4K HD); TDP: 25W System Memory – 8GB DDR4 RAM upgradeable to 64GB via two SO-DIMM memory slots Storage – 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD, additional M.2 2280 slot for NVMe […]

LibreELEC 10.0 minimal Linux OS for media playback released with Kodi 19.1

While most TV boxes and SBCs nowadays ship with or support a version of Android, people who just want the best viewing experience may prefer to switch to a Linux distribution such as LibreELEC or CoreELEC. The good news is that LibreELEC 10.0 has just been released with Kodi 19.1 and Linux 5.10 LTS. LibreELEC 10.0 is said to work well for Allwinner, Rockchip, and “Generic” Intel/AMD devices, while the Raspberry Pi 4 release’s codebase is rather new, and there may still be a few rough edges. Support for the previous generation Raspberry Pi boards has been dropped, and there’s no support for Amlogic platforms as CoreELEC already provides good support. Since LibreELEC 10.0 is based on Kodi 19.1, it benefits from the same features as Kodi 19 “Matrix” release including AV1 video decoding, a new skin, HDR support, and more. LibreELEC 10.1 support a wide range of single board […]

Beelink GKmini Review – An Intel Celeron J4125 mini PC reviewed with Windows 10 Pro, Ubuntu 20.04

Beelink have recently released another small form factor (SFF) design similar to the traditional Intel ‘NUC’ called the GKmini which they have provided for review. Available as a fully configured Windows 10 Pro mini PC means it can be up and running straight out of the box. Hardware Overview The Beelink GKmini physically consists of a 115mm x 102mm x 43mm (4.53 x 4.02 x 1.69 inches) rectangular plastic case. It is an actively cooled mini PC and uses Intel’s 14 nm J4125 Gemini Lake Refresh processor which is a quad-core 4-thread 2.00 GHz processor boosting to 2.70 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics 600. The front panel has a power button, a headphone jack, two USB 3.0 ports, and a ‘CLR CMOS’ pinhole that leads to a button which when pressed clears the CMOS. The rear panel includes the power jack, dual HDMI ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, a further […]

Linux 5.12 – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

Linux 5.12 release was expected last Sunday, but Linus Torvalds decided to release one more release candidate, namely Linux 5.12-RC8, to “make sure things are all settled down“, so the latest Linux kernel is now expected this weekend.  Tihs should not yield any significant changes, so we can check what’s new in Linux 5.12, notably with regards to Arm, MIPS, and RISC-V architectures often used in SoC’s found in embedded systems. Around two months ago, the release of Linux 5.11 added support for Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) and Platform Monitoring Technology (PMT), AMD “Van Gogh” and “Dimgrey cavefish” graphics processors, MIPI I3C host controller interfaces, and much more. Some interesting changes in Linux 5.12 include: Added support for ACRN hypervisor designed for IoT & embedded devices Added support for Playstation DualSense & Nintendo 64 game controllers, as well as Nintendo 64 data cartridges Dynamic thermal power management via a […]

Beelink Expand X USB dock turns your phone into a computer

Beelink is better known for its Intel mini PCs, so the first time I saw Beelink Expand X I thought it was a mini PC somehow fitted with a smartphone stand…  But instead, it’s a USB dock for your mobile phone or tablet, that comes with a  foldable stand to use your smartphone into a computer by connecting it to a monitor, USB keyboard & mouse, and maybe throw a USB hard drive in the mix to complete your setup. Beelink Expand X specifications: Video Output – 1x HDMI port up to 4K UHD resolution USB 1x USB Type -C input port to connect to the host device (data, video, audio) 1x USB Type-C port for power/charging 2x USB 2.0 host ports 1x micro USB port to connect a PC Mode switch button Foldable stand for smartphone or tablet Dimensions – 120mm (length folded) x 65 x 13 mm (Full […]