Android RISC-V progress update, emulator support, and roadmap to 2023

Android 12 RISC-V

We’ve first covered Alibaba T-Head work on Android 10 for RISC-V in January 2021, and later that year they started selling the T-Head RVB-ICE dual-core RISC-V board with GPU for software development. The company has now provided an update for Android 12 RISC-V port, instructions to build Android RISC-V to run it in an emulator,  as well as a 2022-2023 roadmap. Alibaba T-head is working on hardware platforms, which appears to be similar to T-Head RVB-ICE board, with the following minimal specifications: CPU – At least Dual-core XuanTie C910 (rv64imafdcv) processor GPU – Compatible with OpenGL ES and OpenCL VPU – HW Video/Picture codec Neural Network Accelerator System Memory – 4GB or more DDR Memory Display – MIPI/HDMI Audio – Multi-Channel Audio output & input Camera – ISP with support for multiple MIPI CSI lanes USB interface(s) They built upon the work done on Android 10 to add support for […]

QEMU 7.0 released with support for RISC-V KVM, Intel AMX, and more

QEMU (Quick EMUlator) is an open-source emulator used to run OS or programs on various architectures such as Arm, RISC-V, and many others when you don’t own specific hardware, or for quick testing. The developers have released QEMU 7.0 a few days ago with over 2500 commits from 225 developers. New features include support for RISC-V KVM and vector extensions, Intel AMX (Advanced Matrix Extension), improved flexibility for fleecing backups, various new features for Arm, and many more. QEMU 7.0 highlights listed by the developers: ACPI: support for logging guest events via ACPI ERST interface virtiofs: improved security label support block: improved flexibility for fleecing backups, including support for non-qcow2 images ARM: ‘virt’ board support for virtio-mem-pci, specifying guest CPU topology, and enabling PAuth when using KVM/hvf ARM: ‘xlnx-versal-virt’ board support for PMC SLCR and emulating the OSPI flash memory controller ARM: ‘xlnx-zynqmp’ now models the CRF and APU control […]

Lakka 4.0 game emulator released with LibreELEC 10.0.2 and RetroArch 1.10.1

Lakka 4.0 is the latest release of the game emulator based on LibreELEC 10.0.2 and RetroArch 1.10.1 frontend GUI for LibRetro game emulators cores. While Lakka was initially designed for Raspberry Pi boards in a way similar to RetroPie, it also works just fine on many other Arm platforms and PCs. Main changes to Lakka 4.0 compared to version 3.7: Build system based on LibreELEC 10.0.2 RetroArch updated to 1.10.1 Cores updated to their most recent versions superbroswar: added new libretro core sameduck: added new libretro core Mesa updated to 22.0.0 Mainline kernel updated to 5.10.103 (PC, Amlogic, Allwinner, NXP) Raspberry kernel updated to 5.10.95 Most arm devices switched to aarch64 Rockchip RK3288, RK3328 and RK3399 switched to mainline kernel 5.10.76 Added support for additional Allwinner and Amlogic devices (not tested on our side, as we do not own many of these devices) Nintendo Switch: complete rewrite of the port […]

Phytium D2000 ARMv8 Mini PC runs Linux, supports gaming with Box64 emulator

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 […]

ODROID-N2+ review with Ubuntu 21.10 using Wayland and Panfrost

ODROID-N2+ was launched in July 2020, but I only got the Amlogic S922X Rev C SBC recently with Hardkernel wanting me to test their latest Ubuntu 21.10 image with the Panfrost open-source GPU driver. ODROID-N2+ Kit Unboxing Let’s start by checking out the kit I received from the Korean SBC manufacturer. The package includes ODROID-N2+ single board computer fitted with a 32GB eMMC flash module, a 12V/2A power supply with an EU plug adapter, an 80mm fan kit, and a USB 3.0 to eMMC reader. ODROID-N2+ is now only available with 4GB RAM, as the old ODROID-N2 with 2GB was deprecated, and we get four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 video output,  Gigabit Ethernet networking, and a 40-pin GPIO header with the board cooled by a larger heatsink attached to the bottom of the board. Fan installation, first boot, and system information As we’ll see below the fan is not […]

Raspberry Pi CM4 handheld console looks like a Nintendo Switch Lite

StonedEge and Dmcke5 have come up with an incredibly well-designed Raspberry Pi CM4 handheld console that looks like a Nintendo Switch Lite “clone”, and that can run Dreamcast and PSP emulators at full speed using RetroPie. The RetroLite CM4 The design includes a 5-inch display, speakers, all buttons, joysticks, and D-PAD controlled via a custom Arduino board, a micro HDMI port to connect an external display, and a 4000 mAh LiPo battery charged over the USB Type-C port, and it seems to work, albeit we are told there’s still some more work to do. RetroLite CM4 specifications include: Linux capable SoM – Raspberry Pi CM4 Lite module with custom copper heatsink and fan Storage – MicroSD card slot All-on-one PCB with Arduino for inputs, TI bq24292i for battery management controlled via a PIC16F15234 MCU, and backlight boost converter circuitry Display – ~5-inch LCD IPS screen Audio – Stereo speakers User […]

Box86 is an x86 Emulator for Raspberry Pi and other 32-bit Arm platforms

Last week, we wrote about Raspberry Pi 4 Vulkan project status and future plans, and one person commented they are currently trying to get dxvk to work Box86, and that CNX Software should write about the latter. Cool, but what does that mean? dxvk is an open-source Vulkan-based implementation of D3D9, D3D10, and D3D11 for Linux,  and Box86 is a Linux userspace x86 emulator that works on 32-bit Arm targets like the Raspberry Pi SBC. Nice, and I remember I ran x86 Linux and Windows on Raspberry Pi a few years ago using a closed-source commercial program called Exagear, but having an open-source solution is even better. That means 64-bit Arm is not supported at all, and Box86 can not even be built for Aarch64 targets. Since many x86 games require OpenGL, as opposed to OpenGL ES, Box86 works best in conjunction with gl4es. By installing Box86 on Raspberry Pi […]

QEMU 5.0 Supports Recent Armv8.x Features, Cortex-M7 CPU, Host Directory Access, and More

QEMU (Quick EMUlator) is an open-source emulator that’s great to run programs on various architectures such as Arm, RISC-V, and many others when you don’t own proper hardware. The developers have now released QEMU 5.0.0 will plenty of new features and such as support for Armv8.1 to Armv8.4 architectures, Arm Cortex-M7 processor, various changes to MIPS, PowerPC, RISC-V, s390… architectures, support for accessing a directory on the host filesystem from the guest using virtiofsd and more. There have been over 2800+ commits from 232 developers, so the list of changes to too long to write here, but some of the highlights include: Support for passing host filesystem directory to guest via virtiofsd Support for ARMv8.1 VHE/VMID16/PAN/PMU, ARMv8.2 UAO/DCPoP/ATS1E1/TTCNP, ARMv8.3 RCPC/CCIDX,  ARMv8.4 PMU/RCPC Added ARM Cortex-M7 CPU support New Arm boards: tacoma-bmc, Netduino Plus 2, and Orange Pi PC Allwinner SoC model now wires up the USB ports TPM support for […]