Radxa Zero SBC – A powerful quad-core alternative to Raspberry Pi Zero W

Radxa Zero

Radxa Zero SBC follows Raspberry Pi Zero W form factor, but thanks to an Amlogic S905Y2 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at up to 2.0 GHz offers much higher performance, which Radxa says corresponds to about 70% of Raspberry Pi 4 CPU performance. The tiny Arm Linux board comes with up to 4GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, and either AP6212 or AP6256 wireless module. plus all interfaces from Raspberry Pi Zero W, but with a twist as the mini HDMI port is replaced by a micro HDMI port, and USB-C ports are used instead of micro USB ports. Radxa Zero preliminary specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905Y2 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz with Arm Mali-G31 MP2 GPU System Memory – 512MB RAM, 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – MicroSD slot, optional 8GB or 16GB eMMC flash Video Output – micro HDMI port up to 4Kp60 Connectivity Ampak AP6212 […]

Rock Pi 4 Plus SBC gets Rockchip OP1 processor, eMMC flash pre-loaded with Twister OS Armbian

Rock Pi 4B Plus

The low-cost Rock Pi 4 SBC was unveiled in 2018 with a Rockchip RK3399 processor, up to 4GB RAM, and Raspberry Pi 3 form factor. Rock Pi 4 Plus builds on the relatively popular single board computer with an upgrade to Rockchip OP1 processor, which is a higher performance RK3399 SoC typically used in Chromebooks and ASUS Tinker Board 2. The new board also adds 16 to 128 GB eMMC flash, instead of relying on an optional eMMC module, and will come pre-loaded with Twister OS Armbian lightweight desktop OS based upon Armbian Focal 20.04.1 LTS (aarch64) for Rockchip RK3399-based SBCs. Four variants of Rock Pi 4 Plus share most of the same specifications: SoC – Rockchip OP1 big.LITTLE hexa-core processor with  2x Arm Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4 GHz, a Mali-T864 GPU with support OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL, DX11, and AFBC, and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 – […]