$6 C-SKY Linux Board Reviewed, Benchmarked

C-SKY Board

The price of single board computers and development boards has really gone down in recent years, and it’s easy to find a low cost Arm based board for most project. But C-SKY Linux development board is quite different since it’s based on the little known C-SKY architecture, and the price in China ($6) is really competitive for a media capable board. If you live outside of China, the board is now sold for about $18 including shipping, and MickMake decided to buy one to have a closer look and review the board. As we covered during the announced the board is powered by NationalChip GX66058 C-SKY 32-bit processor clocked at up to 574 MHz and integrating  64MB DDR2 on-chip. Getting the board on-hand allowed Mick to get more details about the other chips included in the board namely: STMicro STM32F103 to handle all the JTAG control through a micro USB port (JTAG) CH340G USB to serial bridge to access the …

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$6 C-SKY Linux Development Board Features GX6605S Media SoC with C-SKY ISA

C-SKY Linux Development Board

We’ve got plenty of ultra low cost , media capable Linux boards in recent years, but most of those are based on Arm architecture. More recently RISC-V open source ISA has started to show up in various boards such as Sipeed M1, but none of those can play video, or at least don’t come with an hardware video decoder. C-Sky Linux development board does change that somewhat. It’s sold for about $6 (39 RMB) on Taobao, and $17.36 shipped on Aliexpress, and features Nationalchip GX6605S processor for DVB-S2 HD set-top boxes using C-SKY architecture, independent from RISC-V, although C-SKY is also a member of the RISV-C foundation. C-SKY Linux development board key features and specifications: SoC – Nationalchip GX6605S C-SKY ISA V1 CK610M 32-bit processor @ 574 MHz with 64MB DDR2 RAM, built-in DVB-S2/S demodulator Storage – 4MB SPI flash for bootloader and media player program Video Output – HDMI output up to 1080p; framebuffer resolution (for UI): 1280×720 Video …

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Bootlin Releases Open Source VPU Driver for Allwinner Processors with MPEG2 and H.264 Video Decoding

allwinner-open-source-vpu-drivers-mpeg2-h264

At the beginning of the year, Bootlin – formerly Free Electrons – launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring open source Allwinner VPU driver to mainline Linux. VPU (Video Processing Unit) drivers are used to encode and decode videos. They were successfully in raising enough money from small donors, as well as several companies manufacturing Allwinner development boards including Olimex, Pine64, Libre Computer, FriendlyELEC, and Xunlong Software (Orange Pi). The amount raised (€31,612) was enough to assign two engineers to work on the main goals, as well as some stretch goals namely support for newer Allwinner H3, H5, and A64 processors, and H.265 video decoding. The good news is the company has now delivery the first release for their work on the main goals. The photo above illustrated a demo of Kodi running with bootlin open source Cedrus VPU driver on top of Linux 4.18-rc kernel. Both MPEG2 and H264 are supported, and they’ve gone a little beyond one of their …

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Review of Ubuntu 18.04 on ODROID-XU4Q Development Board

ODROID-XU4Q

Hardkernel released their first Samsung Exynos 5422 octa-core board in July 2014 with ODROID-XU3, which at the time was really a powerful board, but also pricey at $179. Later that year, the company released a cheaper version ($99) called ODROID-XU3 Lite, which I had the chance to review with Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4. The company’s adventure with Exynos 5422 processor did not stop there, as in 2015 they released the smaller and even cheaper ($74) ODROID-XU4 board, and last year launched a fanless version of the board with ODROID-XU4Q featuring a large heatsink. More recently, the company also introduced ODROID-HC1 and ODROID-MC1 solutions for respectively network storage and clusters applications. That’s the short history of Hardkernel Exynos 5422 boards as I remember it, and that means that since 2014, or nearly 4 years so far, the company has kept updating Ubuntu and Android firmware for their board, including the just released Ubuntu 18.04 (MATE) operating system, which I’m going …

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Bootlin Wants to Bring Allwinner VPU Support to Mainline Linux (Crowdfunding)

I wrote about Free Electrons several times in the past due to their work on porting Arm SoCs to mainline Linux. Free Electrons is no more. But don’t be sad, as it’s not because they closed shop, but instead they changed their name to Bootlin due to trademark trolls. Free Electrons Bootlin intensively worked on Allwinner processors, for example working with Next Things Co. to add CHIP board to mainline Linux, or more recently adding support for OpenGL ES in mainline Linux, albeit with closed-source user space binary blobs. The company normally work with partners for their work, but for their latest initiative aiming to bring Allwinner VPU (Video Processing Unit) to the official Linux kernel there’s asking funding from the community through a Kickstarter campaign. For those who do not know, the VPU is the IP block within the SoC used for hardware video decoding of codecs such as MPEG2, MPEG4 or H264.Bootlin already showcased a demo with Cedrus open …

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BBen MN10 TV Stick Review – Windows 10, Ubuntu 17.04, Benchmarks, and Kodi

The BBEN MN10 is the second Apollo Lake device to be released in the stick form-factor and on paper looks to have a lot to offer: It features an Apollo Lake N3350 SoC, an unusual 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and is cooled by a ‘mute’ fan. The devices comes in a plain box with a power adapter, and a leaflet style manual. It also included a three-pin UK power adapter, as this was advertised as the ‘BBen MN10 Mini PC  –  UK PLUG  BLACK’. Looking at the detail specifications: We can immediately see discrepancies as the device does not have a ‘RJ45 Port Speed: 1000M LAN’ port, and was not supplied with ‘1 x HDMI Cable’ nor ‘1 x Remote Control’. Powering on the device and the ‘mute’ fan is also a miss-representation as it starts immediately and is noticeably noisy. It also runs at full speed regardless of workload so the noise is a constant reminder that …

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$69.99 Amazon Fire TV 2017 TV Box Supports 4K HDR-10 Video Playback

Amazon has just announced a new Fire TV TV box with support for 4K Ultra HD and HDR (High Dynamic Range), and a cheaper price, as it is selling for $69.99 on Amazon US with delivery scheduled to start on October 25, 2017. Amazon Fire TV 2017 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905Z quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP3 GPU System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 8GB flash Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K 60 Hz with HDCP 2.2, Doby Atmos support Video – HDR-10. H.265, H.264 Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 LE USB – 1x micro USB port for power (and optional USB Ethernet adapter) Dimensions – 65 x 65 x 15 mm Weight – 87 grams Amazon just mentions “Amlogic Quad-core 1.5GHz | ARM 4xCA53” for Fire TV processor, so it first assumed it could either be S905X, S905D or S905L since all support 4K60, …

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Voyo (V1) VMac Mini Apollo Lake Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10

Voyo VMac Mini, also sometimes referred to just Voyo V1, is an actively cooled mini PC powered by Intel Celeron N3450 or Pentium N4200 Apollo Lake processor. I’ve received samples for both, and already taken pictures of the device and motherboard. So in the second part I’ll review the mini PC checking out system info, running some benchmarks on both, and see how it performs as an entry-level desktop PC. Voyo VMac Mini Setup and System Information Setup is pretty straightforward, as you just need to connect mouse and keyboard, Ethernet, the mini HDMI to HDMI cable, optionally the included USB WiFi dongle, the power supply, and finally press the power button to get to Windows 10 desktop logged in as “admin” user in about 30 seconds. Some Apollo Lake mini PCs support HDMI 2.0 video output, but this requires a DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 bridge chip, which not included in Voyo VMac Mini’s board, so the system supports 1080p …

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