ROC-RK3328-CC Board Review, or the Case for Fast Storage and Adequate Power Supply

ROC-RK3328-CC Board Connection

Firefly team from T-chip company has send me some of their Rockchip development boards, and we’ve already checked the provided boards and accessories, so today I’ll report my experience with one of the board: ROC-RK3328-CC also known as Renegade. I won’t test it with Android, since I have already reviewed RK3328 Android TV boxes such as Zidoo X7, and I’ve been told the team is hard at work with Android 8.1 SDK, so an Oreo image should be released in a few weeks/months. So I had initially planned to report my experience with one of the Linux images,  then show how to install mainline Linux (currently 4.17) to the board, and reports what works. However, I encountered many issues, although likely not directly related to the board or its software support, so instead I’ll write about my experience getting started with the board, and list all the issues I had so that people can avoid those – or at least …

Arm Announces Cortex-A76 CPU with Laptop-class Performance, Mali-G76 GPU, Mali-V76 8K VPU

Arm Cortex A75 based processors are only found in a few SoCs and devices, but Arm keeps on innovating, and they’ve now announced a new suite of of IP with Cortex-A76 CPU enabling 35 percent more performance, and Mali-G76 GPU with ML support and 30 percent higher efficiency and performance. SoC based on those new CPU and GPU IP will provide “laptop-class” performance, and the company also announced Arm Mali-V76 VPU with support for 8K video decoding and encoding. Arm Cortex A76 After Cortex A75, the Arm Cortex-A76 CPU is the second high performance processor core based on DynamIQ technology, and beside the 35 percent  performance gain mentioned in the introduction, it also offers 40 percent improved efficiency, as well as delivers 4x compute performance improvements for AI/ML at the edge. Highlights of Cortex A76: Architecture – Armv8-A (Harvard) with  Armv8.1, Armv8.2, Armv8.3 (LDAPR instructions only),  cryptography and RAS extensions ISA support – A64; A32 and T32 (at the EL0 …

Status of Embedded GPU Ecosystem – Linux/Mesa Upstream Support (ELC 2018 Video)

The Embedded Linux Confernce is on-going, and the Linux Foundation has been uploading videos about talks in a timely manner on YouTube. I checked out at RISC-V keynote yesterday, but today I’ve watched a talk by Robert Foss (his real name, not related to FOSS) from Collabora entitled “Progress in the Embedded GPU Ecosystem”, where he discusses open source software support in Linux/Mesa from companies and reverse-engineering support. The first part deals with the history of embedded GPU support, especially when it comes to company support. Intel was the first and offers very good support for their drivers, following by AMD who also is a good citizen. NVIDIA has the Nouveau driver but they did not really backed it up, and Tegra support is apparently sponsored by an aircraft supplier. Other companies have been slower to help, but Qualcomm has made progress since 2015 and now support all their hardware, Broadcom has a “one man team” handling VideoCore IV/V,  and …

Vulkan 1.1 and SPIR-V 1.3 Specifications Released

The Khronos Group released Vulkan 1.0 specifications in 2015 as a successor of OpenGL ES, compatible with OpenGL ES 3.1 or greater capable GPU, and taking less CPU resources thank to – for instance – better use of multi-core processors with support for multiple command buffers that can be created in parallel. A year later, we saw Vulkan efficiency in a demo, since then most vendors have implemented a Vulkan driver for their compatible hardware across multiple operating systems, including Imagination Technologies which recently released Vulkan drivers for Linux. The Khronos Group has now released Vulkan 1.1 and the associated SPIR-V 1.3 language specifications. New functionalities in Vulkan 1.1: Protected Content – Restrict access or copying from resources used for rendering and display, secure playback and display of protected multimedia content Subgroup Operations – Efficient mechanisms that enable parallel shader invocations to communicate, wide variety of parallel computation models supported Some Vulkan 1.0 extensions are now part of Vulkan 1.1 …

Arm Introduces Mali-G52 & Mali-G31 GPUs, Mali-D51 Display Processor, and Mali-V52 Video Processor for Mainstream Devices

Arm has just announced four multimedia Mali IP blocks to be found in SoC for mainstream devices: Mali-G52 GPU with 30% faster performance over Mali-G51, and 3.6x better machine learning performance Mali-G31 GPU that’s 20% smaller, and 20% more efficient than Mali-G51, supports OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan APIs Mali-D51 display processor 30% power saving, 50% lower latency compared to Mali-DP650 Mali-V52 video processor supporting 4K60/4K120 content Mali-G52 GPU Arm may have introduced Project Trillium for object detection and machine learning a few weeks ago, but the solution is better suited to premium devices, so the company’s Mali-G52 bitfrost mainstream GPU aims to fill the void for mid-range devices with up to 3.6 times faster machine learning capability over Mali-G51. Based on the first illustration, Mali-G52 will probably be coupled with DynamIQ Cortex A75/A55 processors. Other benefits of the new GPU include 30% more performance density, and 15% better energy efficiency. Mali-G52 will be clocked up to 850 MHz delivering 6.5 …

Embedded Linux Conference & IoT Summit 2018 Schedule

The Embedded Linux Conference 2018 and the OpenIoT Summit 2018 will jointly take place next month, on March 12 – 14, 2018 in Portland, Oregon, USA. The former is a “vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products”, while the latter is a “technical conference for the developers and architects working on industrial IoT”. The Linux Foundation has already published the schedule, and it’s always useful to learn what will be discussed about even for people who won’t attend. With that in mind, here’s my own virtual schedule with some of the talks I find interesting / relevant to this blog. Monday, March 12 10:50 – 11:40 – Progress in the Embedded GPU Ecosystem by Robert Foss, Collabora Ltd. Ten years ago no one would have expected the embedded GPU ecosystem in Linux to be what it is now. Today, a large number of GPUs have Open Source support and for those that aren’t supported yet, …

T-bao Tbook X8S Pro Apollo Lake Laptop is Equipped with an NVIDIA Geforce GPU

Most products based on Intel Apollo Lake processor do so to leverage the low cost and low power of the chip that also embeds Intel HD graphics removing the need for an external graphics card. But T-bao Tbook X8S Pro laptop powered by Intel Celeron J3455 Apollo Lake “Desktop” processor also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce 920M GPU which should boost graphics performance. Tbook X8S Pro specifications: SoC – Intel Celeron J3455 quad core Apollo Lake processor @ 1.50 / 2.30 GHz with (unused) 12EU Intel HD Graphics 500; 10W TDP GPU – NVIDIA GeForce 920M @ 954 MHz with 2GB RAM System Memory – 6GB DDR3 Storage – 128GB eMMC flash or M.2 SSD (unclear), micro SD card slot up to 128 GB Display – 15.6″ IPS screen with 1920×1080 resolution Video Output – HDMI output Audio – Built-in microphone, and stereo speakers; 3.5mm audio jack Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 USB – 2x …

Imagination PowerVR Series8XT GT8540 GPU Can Drive up to Six 4K Screens, Supports Hardware Virtualization

Imagination Technologies introduces PowerVR Furian architecture last year with improved performance, power and density, as well as dual cluster PowerVR Series8XT GT8525 GPU based on the new architecture, and targeting high-end smartphones, virtual reality and automotive products. The company has now introduced a quad cluster Furian GPU called PowerVR Series8XT GT8540 that can simultaneously drive up to six 4K screens at 60fps thanks to an 80% fillrate density improvement, and supports virtualization providing separation of services and applications. The new GPU mostly targets the automotive market with some new cars now requiring multiple screen support with high resolution displays for cluster, Head-Up Display (HUD) and infotainment. Hardware virtualization is equally important for automotive application, as you’ll want to separate safety-critical code, from infotainment applications for example, so if the latter crashes, the safety-critical code can still run unhindered. Each would run on separate shaders processing unit, with up to 8 different  operating systems running in their own protected space: The …