Pine64 mailbag – PinePhone postmarketOS Edition, PineCone BL602 board, and Pinecil soldering iron

Pine64 community was pretty busy last year with the launch of several products. Recently I’ve received a couple of packages with some of those products, namely PinePhone Community Edition: PostmarketOS, PineCone WiFi & BLE IoT board based on BL602 RISC-V SoC, and Pinecil soldering iron also based on a RISC-V chip for control, but this time GD32V generic-purpose MCU. I’ll most show what I have received without going into too many details, except for PinePhone which I have already set up and used for one hour or so. PineCone BL602 board I received PineCone at the end of last year in a separate envelope with the board only. There’s not much to it with the BL602 processor offering WiFI and Bluetooth, a USB-C port for programming and power, and a few I/Os. The board is interesting as it is the first RISC-V IoT board with wireless connectivity built into the chip. There’s an SDK, but it’s not yet an easy-to-use […]

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Sainsmart Genmitsu 4030 review – Unboxing, mods, and first cuts

Karl here. This will be a long one but I haven’t had this much fun with a product review in quite some time. I don’t consider myself a complete noob with CNC routers but I have only scratched the surface. Learning new things really drives me and being able to make more permanent things is very satisfying. I have some experience with the Sainsmart 3018 CNC router. I had a lot of fun with it but the build volume was on the smaller side so really limited on what can be done with it. I still recommend it as a starter CNC router and as a good stepping stone to get your feet wet and the Genmistu PROVerXL4030 as the next step. I was able to make some cool things with the 3018 and I hope now to take it to the next level with the Genmistu 4030. Before we get started here are the important specs: Working area – […]

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

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 […]

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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Max mini PC review with 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD

Back in 2018 MINIX Introduced NEO J50C-4 Windows 10 Pro mini PC based on Intel Pentium J5005 Gemini Lake processor and fitted with 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash. It never got released in this configuration, as due to Gemini Lake processors shortage the company relaunched it with a 64GB eMMC flash in 2019. Since then, the company launched the NEO J50C-4 Plus with a 240GB SSD and 4GB RAM, which I did not review. But now the Hong Kong company has introduced a new model with NEO J50C-4 Max equipped with 8GB RAM and 240GB SSD. I’ve just received a sample, but since the design and specifications are the same as the earlier NEO J50C model except for the SSD and RAM capacity, I’ll focus this mini review on the main differences, and small issues I had last year. NEO J50C-4 Max Unboxing The package looks familiar… And so are the specifications except for the 8GB DDR4 (upgradeable to […]

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Cincoze GM-1000 Embedded GPU Computer Review

Cincoze GM-1000 is an industrial embedded GPU computer. It is highly expandable including supporting an embedded MXM GPU. As a rugged computer, it can either be passively cooled or actively cooled with add-on fans. It can support an operating temperature ranging from -40°C – 70°C and is also able to survive being dropped or hit with a vibration/shock tolerance of 5G/50G. It is marketed as having all the features required for a compact, reliable, and high-performance computing system for field applications in machine vision, image processing, and artificial intelligence. In this review, I’ll cover some performance metrics from both Windows and Ubuntu and also discuss the thermals. Hardware Overview The model loaned by Cincoze for review came with an Intel Core i7-9700TE which is an eight-core 8-thread 1.80 GHz Coffee Lake-R processor boosting to 3.80 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics 630. It also came with an NVIDIA Quadro Embedded P2000 MXM module installed, 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVMe […]

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BBC Dr Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit review – Tynker visual programing and MicroPython

The BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit was announced at the end of November 2020 with the goal of teaching IoT to young kids. But one day,  I noticed the postman left a package on the ground right next to my house’s gate for some reason. I had no idea what it could be until I read it was from SiFive on the package. So here I am about to review BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit! The package actually included two small packages with one being an “expansion board”… HiFive Inventor Coding Kit Unboxing We’ve already written about the specs in the announcement post, but here they are again for those who forgot it’s based on SiFive FE310 RISC-V microcontroller and ESP32 for WiFi and Bluetooth. Let’s open the thinner “expansion board” package first. It’s actually the HiFive Inventor board – aka the mainboard – that comes with a getting started guide as well as a USB-C […]

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NanoPi R4S SBC preview with OpenWrt and Ubuntu Core

Rockchip RK3399 powered NanoPi R4S router SBC launched at the beginning of the month, and FriendlyELEC kindly sent a review sample to CNX Software. I intended to test thermally performance, Ethernet, and USB like I did for NanoPi R2S and NanoPi NEO3,  but Armbian is not available right now, so I could not use some of the tools I normally used right now. So instead, I tested the board/gateway with the image from FriendlyELEC. First FriendlyCore based on Ubuntu Core 20.04, but there some issues which we’ll detail in this preview, so I then switch to FriendlyWrt built upon OpenWrt 19.07 which works better, but I still encountered some problems. That’s just to say it might be better to wait a little longer until Armbian images are released, or until FriendlyELEC fixes some of the shortcomings. NanoPi R4S gateway unboxing Before testing the software, let’s see what I’ve received. NanoPi R4S SBC inside its metal enclosure together with a 16GB […]

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Ender 3 Pro 3D printer in late 2020 – Build and first prints

Karl here. How does the Ender 3 Pro 3D printer stand up in late 2020? The short answer is pretty well. With just a few minor gripes it is a solid printer. According to All3dp the Ender 3 Pro came out in September 2018. Over 2 years ago. It is the successor to the most popular 3D printer: the Ender 3. I usually don’t do any research so I won’t be influenced by other reviewers but I did in this case so I could see what the differences are between the Ender 3 and Pro versions. It has been upgraded to a Meanwell power supply. Better mainboard layout. Wider extrusion for the bed to ride on, which should make the bed more stable. If you have done any research on 3D printers I would say it is impossible not to have heard about the Ender 3. With its low price, print quality, and community support I can see why it […]

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