Beelink X45 Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04/18.04

Beelink X45 Board

The Beelink X45 mini PC is now available, and Lightinthebox.com have provided a unit for review. It is very similar in style to Intel’s latest NUC Windows mini PC, the NUC7CJYSAL reviewed earlier. However it contains an Intel Celeron Processor J4105 SoC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.50 GHz together with the Intel UHD Graphics 600 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. It is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ by 4” case about 1¾” tall with a front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports and a headphone jack with the rest of the ports including two HDMI (2.0) ones at the rear: The specifications include: A key point to note is the Beelink X45 comes with 64GB eMMC with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 4GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) with space and connectors for both an mSATA and SSD. Starting with a …

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MINIX NEO J50C-4 Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

MINIX NEO J50C-4 Wireless Keyboard Mouse

Intel Gemini Lake processors and associated have been products  available for several months, and although I’ve published several Gemini Lake reviews, those were courtesy of Linuxium, which means MINIX NEO J50C-4 is my very first Gemini Lake mini PC. We’ve already looked at the hardware and accessories in MINIX NEO J50C-4 Pentium J5005 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Windows Remote, M.2 SSD, and Teardown, and focused on MINIX NEO W2 remote control in a separate review post.  So in the second part of the review, I’ll focus on my experience with Windows 10 Pro, before likely publishing a third part about Ubuntu / Linux in a few weeks. Initial Setup, BIOS, and Booting MINIX NEO J50C-4 from the M.2 SSD The review will be a little different than usual since I’m on the road, and as a result I did not take all my accessories with me to travel light. I also had to find a room with …

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RockPro64 RK3399 Board Linux Review with Ubuntu 18.04 + LXDE

RockPro64 Heatsink Ports

Let’s do one more RK3399 Linux review using Pine64 RockPro64 development board. After shortly checking out the hardware, I’ll test Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic” LXDE on the board, test 3D graphics acceleration, video playback, USB storage and network performance among other things on the board. RockPro64 Board Unboxing The board came in a cardboard package, and the sticker made it clear I had received the 2GB LPDDR4 version. Even after FriendlyELEC NanoPi M4 announcement, Rockchip ROCKPro64 is still the cheapest RK3399 development board around, so it should come as no surprise that the board does not come with any accessories by default. Another way to keep the price low was not to include any built-in storage apart from SPI flash, so instead most people will either boot from micro SD card or an eMMC flash module both of which need to be purchase separately. Another cost-saving is the lack of built-in wireless module for WiFi and/or Bluetooth connectivity, which makes sense …

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Review of Firefly-RK3399 Board with Android 8.1 Firmware

Firefly-RK3399 Review Android 8.1

Last week, I tested Android 7.1 on NanoPC-T4 Rockchip RK3399 SBC, and this week, I’ve given a try at Android 8.1 (Beta) on Firefly-RK3399 Board. Since it’s still a beta version, I’m expecting some issues and we’ll have to see how it performs at this stage of development. Firefly-RK3399 Kit Assembly I had to do some assembly before starting the board.  It took me some 30 minutes to complete, so I’ll quickly go through the steps. Beside the default kit, the company also sent me a fansink ($7.9) and an M.2 to SATA board + required cable ($16) which will be part of the assembly instructions. The first step is to peel off the protective films on both sides of the acrylic case. I then fastened my own 2.5″ hard drive with four screws provided in the default kit. I then installed the M.2 to dual SATA adapter board in the M.2 socket on the top of the board, inserted …

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Acer Aspire 3 A315-41G (AMD Ryzen 7 2700U) Laptop – Installing Ubuntu 18.04 and “Hidden” M.2 SSD Socket

Acer Aspire 3 A315G-41 Ubuntu 18.04

Everyday I’m using a tower PC running Ubuntu 18.04 to take care of this blog, but when I travel it’s obviously not so convenient, so a few years ago I bought an  Acer Aspire E5-421G laptop powered by an AMD A4-6210 processor with 4GB RAM, 512GB HDD, and a 14″ display. I installed Ubuntu on the laptop and it works, but with 4GB RAM, it’s not always usable while multitasking. For example I can run Thunderbird and Firefox, but if I ever make a Skype call for example, the system becomes unusable, and I have to close one of the programs. Tasks like video editing are also quite slow on the machine. So since I’m going to travel in a few weeks, I decided I needed a new laptop. My requirements were 8GB RAM,  SSD and HDD support, a 15″ display, the ability to run Ubuntu 18.04, and possibly a processor with a performance close to the AMD FX8350 processor …

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NanoPC-T4 Review with Android 7.1 Firmware

NanoPC T4 Connected

NanoPC-T4 is one of the many Rockchip RK3399 SBCs now available, and as we’ve seen in the “unboxing review” the company sent me two samples. So far, I’ve been reviewing RK3399 boards with Linux distributions in posts such as “Checking Out Debian and Linux SDK for VideoStrong VS-RD-RK3399 Board” and more recently “AIO-3399J Development Board Review with Ubuntu 16.04“. But in this NanoPC-T4 review, I’ll switch to Android, specifically Android 7.1, as I’ll soon try Android 8.1 on Firefly-RK3399 which might make for an interesting comparison between the two versions of the OS, before switching to Linux with Pine64 RockPro64 board which I received yesterday. First Boot with NanoPC-T4 Development Board I had already assembled  the board in the first part of the review, so I just added the two WiFi antennas, the optional USB to serial debug board, and connected various accessories and cables from left to right: USB keyboard and mouse, HDMI cable to 4K TV,  USB 3.0 …

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AIO-3399J Development Board Review with Ubuntu 16.04

AIO-3399J WiFi, Heatsink, USB Firmware Update

Regular readers will know that Firefly team sent  me several of their Rockchip boards for evaluation, and I started with a review of ROC-RK3328-CC development board powered by Rockchip RK3328 processor. This time, I went with the high-end AIO-3399J board comprised of a features-packed baseboard and a Rockchip RK3399 system-on-module. Just like with the previous review, I’ve decided to focus on Linux support, in this case Xunbuntu 16.04, and I’ll do an Android review on the company releases Android 8.1 for Firefly-RK3399 board. First Boot with AIO-3399J Board Before booting the board, I inserted the heatsink, and connected the provided WiFi antennas. I also connected some devices and cables, including a mouse,  the male to male USB cable to the top USB 3.0 (OTG) port for firmware update, a HDMI cable to my TV, and Ethernet cable, as well as the serial debug board. The final step was to connect the 12V power supply, and I immediately got output to …

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96-Core NanoPi Fire3 Boards Cluster is a DIY Portable Solution to Teach or Develop Distributed Software

96-Core NanoPi Fire3 Cluster

Nick Smith has been messing around with clusters made of Arm boards for several years starting with Raspberry Pi boards, including a 5-node RPI 3 cluster, before moving to other boards like Orange Pi 2E, Pine A64+, or NanoPC-T3. His latest design is based on twelve NanoPi Fire3 boards with 8 cores each, bringing the total number of cores to 96.  The platform may not be really useful for actual HPC applications due to limited power and memory, but can still be relied upon for education and development, especially it’s easily portable. Nick also made some interesting points and discoveries. It’s pretty with shiny blinking LEDs, and what looks like proper cooling, and the cluster can deliver 60,000 MFLOPS with Linpack which places it in the top 250 faster computers in the world! That’s provided we travel back in time to year 2000 through 🙂 By today’s standard, it would be rather slow, but that’s an interesting historical fact. Nick …

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