Pironman 5 is a fancy tower PC case for the Raspberry Pi 5 with NVMe M.2 SSD, oversized fans, RGB LEDs

Pironman 5 Raspberry Pi 5 Tower PC

SunFounder Pironman 5 is an enclosure for the Raspberry Pi 5 SBC that looks like a small Tower PC equipped with two RGB LED fans and a tower cooler with a PWM fan for cooling, and support for an NVMe SSD drive through the company’s Pironman 5 NVMe PiP HAT+ expansion board. The case also includes a small OLED information display, a power button for safe shutdown, two full-size HDMI ports, a spring-loaded microSD card socket for easy insertion and removal, an IR receiver for media center applications, and externally accessible 40-pin GPIO header so users can still play with GPIO while the Raspberry Pi 5 is inside the case. Pironman 5 key features and specifications: Designed for the Raspberry Pi 5 SBC (a board like Radxa Rock 5C could be installed instead, but software for OLED display, RGB LEDs, fan control, etc… might be an issue) Storage Pironman 5 […]

LibreELEC 12 released with Kodi 21, 64-bit Arm support for Raspberry Pi 4/5, and platforms

LibreELEC 12 Raspberry Pi 64-bit

As one should have expected after the Kodi 21 “Omega” release last month, the LibreELEC 12 lightweight Linux media center distribution is now out with many devices updated to 64-bit, including the Rasberry Pi 4 and 5 SBCs. LibreELEC 11 was released last year based on Kodi 20 “Nexus” and bringing back support for Amlogic devices. LibreELEC 12 builds on that and benefits from the new features added to Kodi 21 such as FFmpeg 6 and works on Arm platforms based on Allwinner, Amlogic, Broadcom (Raspberry Pi), and Rockchip processors, as well as generic x86 computers. It’s an easy option to create a dedicated HTPC based on a range of hardware with all the features brought by Kodi 21 media center. Since so many platforms are supported there are always some limitations for each and known problems: Raspberry Pi  – 50/60fps H.264 HW decoding may need force_turbo=1 or core_freq_min=500 in […]

Kodi 21.0 Omega released with FFmpeg 6, LG webOS support, and more

Kodi 21.0 Omega

Kodi 21.0 “Omega” has just been released with the latest version of the open-source media center adding 3,750 commits since the release of Kodi 20.0 “Nexus” on January 15th, 2023 that notably added AV1 hardware decoding in Android and x86. The new Kodi 21.0 version updates FFmpeg to version 6, adds native support for LG webOS televisions after some reverse-engineering, and implements new features such as Dolby Vision on-the-fly profile conversion in Android, native windowing in macOS that does not rely on the SDL library, and an in-game player viewer to view which game port each player’s controller is currently connected to. Most of the changes were not user-facing and instead, were under-the-hood improvements to the stability, performance, and security of Kodi. You’ll find more changes in the Kodi 21.0 Alpha/Beta/RC pre-release announcements and the complete list of changes on GitHub.  That also means Kodi v22 “P*” development has started. […]

UP 7000 SBC review – Part 2: Ubuntu 22.04 on a fanless Intel N100 single board computer

UP 7000 Ubuntu 22.04 review

The UP 7000 is a credit card-sized Alder Lake-N single board computer that can be used as an alternative to the Raspberry Pi 5 for industrial applications. AAEON sent me a model with an Intel Processor N100 CPU, 8GB LPDDR5, and a 64GB eMMC flash, and I went through an unboxing in the first part of the review, compared its mechanical design to the earlier UP 4000 and Raspberry Pi 5 SBC , and also installed Ubuntu 22.04 since the UP 7000 board did not come with any OS and would initially boot to the UEFI shell. I’ve now spent more time with the board and I will report my experience with the UP 7000 SBC running Ubuntu 22.04 in this article checking out features, performance, video playback, power consumption, and so on using the UP 4000 review with Ubuntu 22.04 I did last year as a template plus some […]

LibreELEC 11 released with Kodi 20, brings back Amlogic platforms

LibreELEC 11

LibreELEC 11 lightweight media center Linux distribution based on Kodi 20 “Nexus” has just been released with various improvements on x86 and Arm platforms. Kodi 20 was released and available for download in January with AV1 hardware video decoding in Android and x86 (VAAPI) platforms with AV1-capable GPU or VPU, FFMPEG 4.4, Pipewire support in Linux, and a few others. LibreELEC 11 enables you to have a dedicated, and fast booting, HTPC based on a mini PC, a Raspberry Pi SBC, or an Arm-based TV box with all features from the latest Kodi release. LibreELEC 11 supports Raspberry Pi 2 to 4 SBCs, 64-bit x86 hardware, various Allwinner, Rockchip, and Amlogic SBCs and TV boxes with x86, Raspberry Pi, and Rockchip hardware considered more stable and feature complete. LibreELEC 10.0 did away with Amlogic TV boxes and single board computers because of driver issues, but LibreELEC 11.0 brings Amlogic back […]

NanoPi R6S RK3588S mini PC & router review – Part 2: Ubuntu 22.04

NanoPi R6S Ubuntu 22.04

NanoPi R6S is both a mini PC and a router based on Rockchip RK3588S processor. I received some samples in November and started the NanoPi R6S review with OpenWrt/FriendlyWrt quickly testing the 2.5GbE interfaces and routing with iperf3, and it worked pretty well. But using a system with an octa-core Cortex-A76/A55 processor and 8GB RAM as an OpenWrt router only feels like a waste of resources, so I wanted to install a more versatile operating system – Ubuntu 22.04 – for further testing. My struggles installing Ubuntu 22.04 on NanoPi R6S FriendlyELEC provides various images on the Wiki either booting from an SD card, installing from a MicroSD to the eMMC flash (aka eFlasher imagers), or flashing through USB with Windows tools. I like the eFlasher images since the OS runs from the internal eMMC flash and no special tools are needed. I had just used the FriendlyWrt eFlasher image, […]

MeLE PCG02 Pro Review – A Fanless Intel Celeron J4125 / N5105 mini PC with an ultra-compact form factor

MeLE PCG02 Pro review

MeLE has launched a new ‘stick’ mini PC called the PCG02 Pro. It comes in two models featuring either a mobile Gemini Lake Refresh or a Jasper Lake processor. Both models appear physically similar however the memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB ports differ plus only the lower-powered model includes an M.2 NVMe or SATA slot. MeLE kindly sent both models for review and I’ve looked at the performance running both Windows and Ubuntu. MeLE PCG02 Pro hardware overview The MeLE PCG02 Pro physically consists of a 146 x 61 x 20mm (5.75 x 2.40 x 0.79 inches) rectangular plastic case that ‘wraps’ around a plastic inner frame. The outside of the case has a knurled or cross-hatched pattern (engineered to provide high thermal conductivity) and the inner frame has the WiFi antennas glued to it. As passively cooled mini PCs, the first model known as the PCG02 Pro J4125 uses […]

Beelink SEi12 Alder Lake mini PC review with Windows 11, Ubuntu 22.04

Beelink SEI12 Alder Lake Mini PC review

Beelink have launched their first Intel Alder Lake mini PC calling it the SEi12. Featuring a mobile 12th gen Core-i5-1235U processor it is also their first mini PC to incorporate a PCIe4 NVMe slot. Beelink kindly sent one for review and I’ve looked at the performance running both Windows 11 and Ubuntu 22.04. Beelink SEI12 hardware overview The Beelink SEi12 physically consists of a 126 x 113 x 42mm (4.96 x 4.45 x 1.65 inches) square metal case with a new and innovative waterproof fabric-covered top. As an actively cooled mini PC, it uses Intel’s Alder Lake Core i5-1235U processor which has a thread count of 12 with 2 ‘performance’ cores boosting to 4.40 GHz and 8 ‘efficient’ cores boosting to 3.30 GHz and includes Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics. The front panel has an illuminated power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a data-only Type-C USB 3.1 port, dual USB 3.1 […]