The 5 best Intel & AMD single board computers for makers

Best Intel AMD single board computers for makers

A few weeks ago, we wrote a list of what we consider to be the top 5 most powerful Arm SBC’s and development kits, and this time around we’ll cover x86 SBC’s powered by Intel or AMD processors. But this time around, instead of focusing on the most powerful x86 single board computers which would lead to unaffordable, industrial Xeon SBC’s, we’ll be looking into the 5 best boards designed for makers. That means affordable pricing, I/O headers, and community support. The list is in no particular order. Rock Pi X – x86 on the cheap If you ever wanted the cheapest possible x86 board, Atomic Pi SBC $35 price tag was hard to beat, but it was only cheap because it was sourced from a failed robotics project, and not very convenient to use. But now in 2021, the cheapest x86 SBC that can run Windows is clearly Rock Pi X starting at $39… That price tag is for […]

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

Linux 5.12

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 subsystem that allows the power usage of groups of devices […]

Rock Pi X Review – An Atom x5 SBC running Windows 10 or Ubuntu 20.04

Rock Pi X Review

The ROCK Pi X is the first x86 SBC (single board computer) from Radxa and resulted from repeated enquiries about running Windows on their earlier ROCK Pi 4. The ROCK Pi X comes in two models (Model A and Model B) with each model having either 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of RAM and either 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of eMMC storage. Additionally, the Model B includes WiFi and Bluetooth together with supporting Power over Ethernet (PoE) although this requires an additional HAT. Both Seeed Studio and Radxa provided samples and in this review, I’ll cover some performance metrics from both Windows and Ubuntu and also discuss the thermals. Rock Pi X Hardware Overview The ROCK Pi X is similar in size to a Raspberry Pi board… but with slightly different ports and port locations even when compared to the Raspberry Pi 4. It is physically slightly larger than its specification size (85 mm x 54 mm) as the ports […]

Linux 5.10 LTS release – Main changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V architectures

Linux 5.10 release

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.10: Ok, here it is – 5.10 is tagged and pushed out. I pretty much always wish that the last week was even calmer than it was, and that’s true here too. There’s a fair amount of fixes in here, including a few last-minute reverts for things that didn’t get fixed, but nothing makes me go “we need another week”. Things look fairly normal. It’s mostly drivers – as it should be – with a smattering of fixes all over: networking, architectures, filesystems, tooling.. The shortlog is appended, and scanning it gives a good idea of what kind of things are there. Nothing that looks scary: most of the patches are very small, and the biggest one is fixing pin mapping definitions for a pincontrol driver. This also obviously means that the merge window for 5.11 will start tomorrow. I already have a couple of pull requests pending – you guys know who you […]

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

Box86 x86 emulation Raspberry Pi

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 4, or other Arm boards like many of the Rockchip […]

Rock Pi 4B or Raspberry Pi 4 based mini PC runs RISC OS Cloverleaf (Crowdfunding)

RISC OS Cloverleaf Puma mini PC

First released in 1987 by Acorn Computer Ltd, RISC OS was the first operating system designed to run on ARM processors, and specifically on the company’s Archimedes personal computer. I don’t think I had ever heard about the operating systems until it was ported to the Raspberry Pi SBC by RISC OS Open Ltd (aka ROOL) who manage the publication of RISC OS source code. But there’s also a separate project called RISC OS Cloverleaf which aims to further develop the open-source operating systems, and just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund software development, and they also offer two mini PCs running RISC OS Cloverleaf with namely Cloverleaf Puma powered by a  Rock Pi 4B SBC, and Cloverleaf Kitten featuring a Raspberry Pi 4 board. Cloverleaf Puma / Kitten key features and specifications: SBC Cloverleaf Kitten – Raspberry Pi 4 with Broadcom BCM2711 SoC, 4GB DDR4 RAM Cloverleaf Puma – Rock Pi 4B with Rockchip RK3399 SoC, 4GB DDR4 RAM […]

Giveaway Week 2020 winners announced

Giveaway Week 2020 Winners

CNX Software’s “Giveaway week 2020” took place last week with 7 different prizes including three MINIX accessories (USB-C hubs and USD PD charger), M5Stack Atom Echo ESP32 based programmable speaker,  Miniware DT71 smart tweezers, and two SBC’s namely RockPi 4C and Ryzen Embedded based DFI GHF51. All people had to enter was to leave a comment with the country to which the parcel would have to be sent. With the help of, we now have selected and confirmed winners which all happen to come from the US or Europe this time around: MINIX NEO Storage Plus USB-C Hub with 480GB SSD – Marc, USA Miniware DT71 Smart Tweezers – xdcc_master, GERMANY MINIX NEO C-G USB-C Multiport Adapter – Barnaby, UK RockPi 4C SBC – Garrett, USA M5Stack Atom Echo ESP32 Speaker – Venet, ITALY MINIX NEO P2 100W USB-C Charger – Michal, SLOVAKIA DFI GHF51 Ryzen Embedded SBC – Dean, UK Curious minds may also check out the results […]

Giveaway Week – RockPi 4C SBC

RockPi 4C vs Raspberry Pi 4

The first, but not last, SBC of Giveaway Week 2020 is RockPi 4C single board computer equipped with a Rockchip RK3399 processor coupled with 4GB RAM, and featuring HDMI and DisplayPort for dual 4K monitor setups, as well as Gigabit Ethernet, WiFI 5, Bluetooth, USB 3.0/2.0 ports, etc… The board closely follows Raspberry Pi 4 form factor, so without thinking too much about it I thought I could just use it with CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 laptop. However due to small mechanical differences, and a different position of the processor impacting cooling, I quickly realized this would not work. Since I did not have time to review yet another RK3399 SBC, I thought I might as well as give it away, as I’m sure somebody will find a good use for it. Note the board does not come with any accessories, so you’ll have to get a MicroSD card, USB-C power supply, and other usual accessories. You’ll also probably want […]