NanoPi M4V2 Kit Review – Part 2: FriendlyCore Desktop

NanoPi M4V2 Review

We’ve already seen how to assemble NanoPi M4V2 metal case kit which offers an Arm mini PC solution with support for NVMe SSD. The new NanoPi M4V2 Rockchip RK3399 SBC is an evolution of the M4 board that brings faster LPDDR4 memory and adds power & recovery buttons. Since we’ve already tested several RK3399 SBC‘s and TV boxes, I planned to focus the review on thermal design evaluation (i.e. see how well the board cools), and see how memory bandwidth evolved from LPDDR3 to LPDDR4. I wanted to do so both with Linux and Android, since I could compare NanoPC-T4 (LPDDR3) benchmarks in Android. But this requires an eMMC flash module, and I don’t own any. So instead I planned to run Armbian because of support for armbian-monitor for nice temperature chart but it’s not working just yet, so instead I’ve done all tests with FriendlyCore Desktop (rk3399-sd-friendlydesktop-bionic-4.4-arm64-20190926.img) based on Ubuntu 18.04. System Information The desktop environment will auto-login, but …

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Khadas VIM3L SBC Review with Android 9 Firmware

Khadas VIM3L Android Review

Khadas VIM3L is the first and so far only Amlogic S905D3 SBC on the market, so I first ran some benchmarks and checked system info. But it is also designed to be an HTPC, I’ll continue the review with some 4K video and audio playback testing, some gaming, and I/O benchmarks. Khadas VIM3L Unboxing As you may remember (or not), VIM3L ships either as a bare board pre-loaded with Android 9 or as an HTPC kit with the board running CoreELEC. I’ve received the bare board which also comes with two WiFi antennas. It can do much more than a simple TV box however, since it also comes with an M.2 NVMe socket (extra adapter board required), and sockets with MIPI DSI + touchscreen, and MIPI CSI camera. It’s one of the few boards with a low profile Ethernet connector, so if you ever wanted to build a farm of the board it could lead to a more compact solution. …

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X96 Air Amlogic S905X3 Android 9.0 TV Box Sells for $30 and Up

X96 Air

Amlogic S905X3 is the first Arm Cortex-A55 processor from the company, and we’ve seen it does not differ that much from the previous generation in our S905X3 vs S905X2 comparison. The Cortex-A55 cores have similar performance compared to Cortex-A53 cores., but S905X3 SoC does provide support for DDR4 memory up to 3200 MHz which may improve 4K HDR video playback and 3D gaming, as well a 1.2 TOPS NPU for AI workloads such as voice recognition. The first Amlogic S905X3 TV box launch we covered was Beelink GT2 Mini with price starting at just under $50 for the 2GB/16GB version and $70 with 4GB and 64GB RAM. Prices have now somewhat come down, but if you’re looking for a cheaper model X96 Air is now offered on Aliexpress for $29.39 including shipping with 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, while the 4GB/32GB variant is sold for $38.01, and up to $40.95 with 64GB storage. You can also spend a bit more if …

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4K Video Playback on Raspberry Pi 4 with LibreELEC (Alpha)

LibreELEC Raspberry Pi 4K

In my short Raspberry Pi 4 review, I tested 4K video output and playback in Raspbian, and sadly neither are working properly, with video output stuck to 1080p60 even after selecting 4K HDMI in the settings and yes, I double checked for “hdmi_enable_4k=1” in config.txt, while H.265 video playback is still clearly using software decode in both VLC and omxplayer. However, LibreELEC team announced support for Raspberry Pi 4 in LibreELEC 9.2 Alpha1 release based on Kodi 18.3 and Linux 4.19.x. So I downloaded LibreELEC-RPi4.arm-9.1.001.img.gz and flash it to a microSD card with balenaEtcher. The good news is that I could manually set the resolution to 3840×2160 and confirm it works with my TV, but the refresh is limited to 30 Hz maximum. Other refresh rates currently available include 23.98 Hz, 24 Hz, 25 Hz, and 29.97 Hz. The hardware is capable if 4K 60Hz, so it’s just a question of time before this is fixed. Note LibreELEC for RPi4 …

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Raspberry Pi 4 Features Broadcom BCM2711 Processor, Up to 4GB RAM

Raspberry Pi 4 SBC

Long expected, the Raspberry Pi 4 model B has finally launched, and it should not disappoint with a much more powerful Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 processor clocked at up to 1.5 GHz, 1 to 4GB LPDDR4, 4K H.265 video decoding and output support, a proper Gigabit Ethernet port, as well as USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. Raspberry Pi 4 comes with all those extra features, but the form factor remains the same, and importantly the price is still $35 for the version with 1GB RAM, making Raspberry Pi alternatives suddenly much less interesting. Raspberry Pi 4 specifications: SoC – Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARMv8) @  1.5GHz with VideoCore VI GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics System Memory – 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – microSD card slot Video Output  & Display I/F 2x micro HDMI ports up to 4Kp60 (Currently 1080p60 max. in dual-display configuration, although 2x 4Kp30 is being worked on) 3.5mm AV port with composite video (and …

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Zidoo Z1000 4K Android Media Player to Feature Realtek RTD1296DD Processor

Zidoo Z1000

Zidoo previously introduced several Reatek RTD1296 4K Android media players with their high-end Zidoo X20/X20 Pro models, followed by the lower cost Zidoo Z9S & Z10 units. The company is now about to launch yet another model based on the processor with Zidoo Z1000 4K UHD media player that should offer an option between the higher-end models and the company’s entry-level options. Zidoo Z1000 specifications: SoC – Realtek RTD1296DD quad core Cortex A53 processor with Arm Mali-T820 MP3 GPU System Memory – 2 GB RAM Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash, 1x SATA 3.0 bay for 2.5 or 3.5″ drive, 1x external SATA port Video 1x HDMI 2.0a output up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10 support 1x HDMI 2.0 input supporting PiP, stream recording, and UDP broadcasting 1x RCA composite output Decode – HDR10, 10-bit HEVC / H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, automatic …

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SEI 520 is a 2-in-1 Android TV Hybrid Set-top Box and Smart Speaker

SEI 520 Android TV Smart Speaker

SEI Robotics has showcased a new device at CES 2019 that looks like a smart speaker, and SEI 520 is indeed a smart speaker with Google Assistant support, but it also adds a digital TV tuner and a quad-core Cortex A53 processor running Android TV 9.0 operating system to allow you to watch live TV, and stream videos. Preliminary specifications for SEI 520 smart speaker: SoC – Quad core Arm Cortex-A53 processor, possibly Amlogic S905X2 System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 16GB eMMC flash Video Output – HDMI up to 4K UHD Video Decode – VP9 and H.265/HEVC Audio Output – HDMI audio + optical S/PDIF Input – Far-field microphone Speaker – No technical details provided Connectivity – Ethernet, 2T2R MIMO WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 Tuner – DVB-S2X/T2/C, ATSC, ISDBT USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port Misc – IR blaster Power Supply – 12V DC via power barrel jack The device will ship with a remote …

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A95X Plus TV Box Features Amlogic S905Y2 Processor

A95X Plus

Amlogic showcased three reference platforms based on new processors namely S905Y2, S905X2, and S922X at ICB 2018. Let’s forget about the more powerful S922X processor for now since it should be released a bit latter, but S905Y2 was integrated into a HDMI stick reference design, while S905X2 was found in a TV box reference design. We’ve also covered an Amlogic S905X2 TV box with X96 MAX model, but today I came across a model based on Amlogic S905Y2 processor instead. Meet A95X Plus.A95X Plus TV box specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905Y2 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.8 GHz (TBC) with Mali-G31 MP2 “Dvalin” GPU System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – 32GB flash, micro SD card slot (but not visible on any of the photos) Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a output with HDR, AV port (composite) Video Codecs –  VP9 Profile-2 up to 4K 60fps, 10-bit H.265 up to 4K 60fps,   AVS2-P2 up to 4K …

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