XU4Q Retro Gaming System Runs ODROID GameStation Turbo, Sells for $150 and Up

One of the use case for little Arm Linux boards is retro gaming thanks to open source projects like RetroPie, RetrOrangePi, Lakka, and others. To get a complete & usable system, it’s possible to purchase console kits, enclosures, or even complete game consoles running one of such emulators. This morning I’ve come accross another option, as Ameridroid is now taking pre-order for XU4Q Retro Gaming System for $149.95 and up. As it name implies, the console is based on ODROID-XU4Q, the fanless version of ODROID-XU4 board, which with its Exynos 5422 octa-core processor and 2GB RAM will be much more powerful than Raspberry Pi 3 boards, and most other boards on the market. The kit also includes OGST Gaming Console, GameSir G3w analog joystick controller, a power supply, and a 16GB microSD boot media flashed with ODROID Game Station Turbo based on Debian. If you already own an ODROID-XU4(Q) board, power supply, and one or more game controllers, you could …

Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH Review – An Intel Gemini Lake Pentium Silver J5005 Barebone Mini PC

When Intel released their latest NUC Gemini Lake mini PCs they prioritized cost over performance. As a result the processor they chose for the ‘Intel NUC 7 Essential’ mini PC is somewhat underwhelming. Fortunately they released another model in the series, the rather misleadingly named ‘Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH’ which is is actually a ‘barebones’ mini PC just needing a stick or two of RAM and an SSD for storage. It contains an Intel Pentium Silver Processor J5005 SOC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.80 GHz together with a slightly more powerful Intel UHD Graphics 605 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. Visually it is no different to the Celeron NUC reviewed earlier in that it is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ square case about 2″ tall with a distinctive front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports with the rest of the ports including two …

Vorke V5 Plus Kaby Lake Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04

The Vorke V5​ Plus​​ mini PC​ just goes to show how initial impressions can be very misleading. Arriving in a plain manila-coloured box with the protection film on the top of the ​device starting to peal​-​off the minimalist contents ​only ​included a round-pin (European?) power supply and a small B&W ‘user’ manual. The mini PC ​has an Intel Celeron Processor 3865U from the Kaby Lake mobile range which is a dual-core (dual-thread) non-turbo 1.8GHz processor. However this SoC also includes an Intel HD Graphics 610 processor capable of 4K support at 60Hz through DisplayPort, ​although only [email protected] on HDMI (1.4). Additionally ​the SoC​ supports DDR4 RAM in dual-channel configuration. The V5 Plus ​model ​which​ comes with ​both ​​memory and storage although it is sold without them as a ​barebones V5 model. Physically the V5 looks similar to a NUC and the pre-populated V5 Plus ​included a single SODIMM stick of Samsung DDR4 Synchronous 2400 MHz memory and a HOODISK 64GB …

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 …

Intel NUC7CJYSAL “June Canyon” Gemini Lake NUC Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu

The hardware specification for mini PCs has recently evolved past the traditional fixed amount of memory and storage. Now mini PCs are shipping with SODIMM slots allowing RAM expansion and a variety of M.2 or SSD combos providing flexible storage options. Recent mini PCs are also coming to market with desktop processors rather than mobile processors because there has been a gradual acceptance of the necessary inclusion of a small internal fan. In doing so not only is this addressing the key limiting factors for mini PCs but it is also redefines the very definition of a mini PC. Until recently Intel NUCs (Next Unit of Computing) were seen as small-form-factor personal computers primarily because they consisted of the traditional motherboard with a processor, included removable RAM and storage and were enclosed in a case with an external power supply. They were also sold as kits meaning they were essentially the ‘barebones’ ready to be build with separately purchased memory, …

Android based Station OS Firmware Focuses on Multimedia and Retro Gaming for ROC-RK3328-CC and Firefly-RK3399 Boards

If you’re interesting in gaming and multimedia, one choice is to run Linux based RetrOrangePi or RetroPie on your favorite development board/SBC, and soon, with the upcoming release of Kodi 18, multimedia and retro gaming will just be an app installation away in Android, and other supported operating systems, since RetroPlayer retro-gaming emulator is part of the latest – and yet-to-be-released – version of Kodi. In the meantime, if you own a ROC-RK3328-CC and/or Firefly-RK3399 board(s), you may want to try Station OS, a firmware based on Android with a focus on 4K video playback and retro gaming. The description claims that Stations OS includes “more than 20 kinds of optimization for video and games, achieve multimedia center, Kodi 4K hardware decoding, game simulator hardware acceleration, real-time cast screen display, network acceleration, perfect Root.” The firmware does not use Kodi directly, but RKMC fork instead with some improvements, and they call the game emulator “Game Station”. The company has release …

Kodi 18 Features and Improvements (FOSDEM 2018 Video)

Most Kodi users are now running Kodi 17.x Krypton that was initially released in February 2017, with the latest point version being Kodi 17.6. At the time of Krypton release, the developers had also started working on Kodi 18 “Leia” which should now be in “alpha”, and the stable release may only be a few months away although Kodi developers do not provide an ETA. What they did provide however – via Martijn Kaijser at FOSDEM 2018 – is a progress report for Kodi 18 “Leia”, as well as some insights into Kodi 19 whose development has just started. Kodi 18 has gone through a lot of cleanup with the code upgraded to C++11 standard, duplicate code and obsolete libraries removed, dropped unmaintained feature, and so on. They also moved non-core features such as audio encoders and decoders, PVR, picture decoding, etc…  to external plugins. This work resulted into 299,476 deleted lines of codes, and 387,205 added lines of codes …

Vorke V1 Plus Celeron J3455 Mini PC Review with Windows and Ubuntu

Most Intel based mini PCs use processors classified as ‘Mobile’ as these have lower thermal design power (TDP) ratings which is the maximum amount of heat generated by the processor: However, the new Vorke V1 Plus has incorporated a ‘Desktop’ processor namely the Intel Celeron J3455. On paper this processor looks like it should perform similar to the Intel Pentium N4200 processor but with a tradeoff between being a cheaper processor to purchase but more expensive to run due to the increased power requirements. Geekbuying provided a Vorke V1 Plus for review so let’s start by taking a look at the physical characteristics. The device comes in a plain box and was supplied with the ‘right AC Adapter’ for my country. The first observation is that it is quite a large device. At just over 6” square (153mm) and nearly 1.5” tall (38mm) it is the biggest mini PC I’ve seen with an Apollo Lake processor. It has a large …