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, …

MINIX NEO N42C-4 Pro Review – Part 3: Ubuntu / Linux

In the second part of MINIX NEO N42C-4 review (and on linuxium website), we looked at the device and the performance using Windows.  In this third part, we will look at how to install and the performance of using Linux (Ubuntu). The BIOS does not include an option to select Linux as a boot OS and a standard Ubuntu ISO written to a USB will not boot. So to install Ubuntu to the eMMC as dual-boot first it was necessary to respin a standard Ubuntu ISO using my ‘isorespin.sh’ script with the ‘–apollo’ option, and which after creating a LiveUSB using the ‘dd’ command was used to boot and install Ubuntu. First let’s remind ourselves of the hardware configuration by running some standard Linux commands:

This shows the memory will be dual-channel once the second slot (bank:1) is populated and also confirms that the eMMC 5.1 (mmc0) is running the faster HS400 interface. Headphones shows up as ‘Line Out’ …

Linux Benchmarks – Intel J3455 Apollo Lake vs Z3735F Bay Trail vs RK3399 and Other ARM Platforms

Since I’ve just installed Ubuntu 17.10 on MeLE PCG35 Apo, I decided I should also run some benchmarks comparing with other ARM and x86 Linux platforms I’ve tested in the past.I was particularly interested to compare the performance of Intel Apollo Lake processors (Celeron J3455 in this case) against higher end ARM processors like Rockchip RK3399 (2x A72, 4x A53) since systems have a similar price (~$150+), as well as against the older Bay Trail processor to see the progress achieved over the last 2 to 3 years. To do so, I used Phoronix Benchmark Suite against Videostrong VS-RK3399 results (RK3399 development board):

The benchmark first issued a warning about “powersave” governor, but I still went ahead, and once completed I change it to “performance” governor:

…and ran the tests again. All results are available on OpenBenchmarking. Let’s address the governor results first. cpufreq-info reports that powersave governor can also switch between 800 MHz and 2.30 GHz (turbo …

Intel Compute Card and Dock Hands On, Windows 10 and Ubuntu Benchmarks

We’ve recently seen Intel introduced Dock DK132EPJ for their Compute Cards, and released some pricing info. Ian Morrison (Linuxium) got sent a full kit by Intel with the dock and Compute Card CD1M3128MK powered by a dual core / quad Core m3-7Y30 processor with 4GB RAM, 128GB PCIe SSD, and Intel Wireless-AC 8265 module. You can get the full details in Ian’s post, but I’ll provide a summary of the key points here. While the compute card and dock are thinner than most product, the computer card is quite wider than TV sticks, and the dock larger than an Intel NUC. It also comes with a fan, and cooling works well with maximum CPU temperature under being 70°C. The Compute Cards do not come with any operating system, but you get to the BIOS easily, and install Windows or Linux distributions. Ian’s started with Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation, and ran several benchmarks including PCMark 8 Home Accelerated 3.0. As expected, …

ECDREAM A9 Apollo Lake HDMI “TV Stick” Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 17.04

The ECDREAM A9 is arguably the first Intel Apollo Lake ‘PC stick’ available for purchase. However, in reality it is surprisingly large, and when compared to earlier Intel Atom ‘sticks’ and mini PC ‘boxes’ it lies somewhere in between. Measuring 2.3 inches (58 mm) wide and 0.6 inches (16 mm) thick it feels almost double in size of the original Intel Compute Stick (1.5 in/38 mm by 0.5 in/12 mm) and like nearly half of a mini PC (Beelink’s AP34 is 4.7 in/119 mm by 0.8 / 20 mm). Given that you only get two USB ports, an micro SD card slot and the obligatory HDMI and power port, the large size would be better justified if an Ethernet port had also been included given other smaller ‘sticks’ have shown this is possible. However the reason for its size is due to the oversized fan and heatsink… ​ and that will be the deal-breaker for most. Because it is not …

NanoPi NEO 2 Board Benchmarks with Ubuntu 16.04.2 using Linux 3.10 and Linux 4.10

I’ve received NanoPi NEO 2 boards, add-boards and sensor modules last week, where we could see how small the boards were, and how it could be suitable for IoT projects or “hardware hacking” education.  Before testing the board with the add-ons, I have to select the image to run on the board, and currently we have two choices: Ubuntu 16.04.2 FriendlyELEC image with Linux 3.10 “legacy” kernel, or Armbian Ubuntu 16.04.2 Xenial nightly build with Linux 4.10 “mainline” kernel. So I decided to try both: dfssf nanopi-neo2-ubuntu-core-qte-sd4g-20170329.img.zip (296 MB) is the image from FriendlyELEC (previously FriendlyARM) Armbian_5.27.170401_Nanopineo2_Ubuntu_xenial_dev_4.10.0.7z (222 Mb) is the image from Armbian, which I downloaded on March 31st despite the filename including “170401” string You can flash the image with Win32DiskImager (Windows) or dd (linux) to a micro SD card the usual way, and while I’ve never personally had troubles with dd, I’ve been told Etcher was better, as it verifies the SD card after flashing, and dd …

FriendlyARM NanoPi NEO Board Benchmarks

We’ve already seen how to setup NanoPi NEO with Ubuntu Core, and while it’s mostly designed as an IoT node, for example to control relays over Ethernet or the Internet, I’ve still decided to see how it would perform under load by running Phoronix benchmarks, and then network and storage (micro SD card provided by FriendlyARM). It’s a small board, so we should expect it to heat a lot under load, especially it does not come with an heatsink by default. Also bear in mind that performance may dramatically change depending on the software implementation, and for the test, I’m using the company’s Ubuntu Core firmware. Before start the benchmark, I noticed that QTe-Demo was running in the background, probably because it was used on their other board with video output or LCD. but it’s taking some CPU usage, and is absolutely not needed here. To disable it, edit /etc/rc.local, and comment out one line as follows:

I also …

Star Cloud PCG02U Ubuntu 14.04 TV Stick Review

Star Cloud PCG02U is the first Ubuntu product from MeLE. After taking a few pictures of the TV stick and the board, I’ve tested the performance and functionality of the device. First Boot and Setup You can either connected the stick directly into an HDMI port, or using the provided female to female adapter via an HDMI cable. I’ve opted to insert the device directly into the AUX port of my Onkyo A/V receiver itself connected to my TV. Since there’s only one USB host port, USB keyboard and mouse are not convenient since it would add a USB hub, so I went with Logitech MK270r wireless mouse & keyboard combo instead. You can either used Ethernet or WiFi for Internet connectivity, and I opted for the latter for most of the review, but WiFi is also working fine. The final step is to connect the power supply into the micro USB port, and boot the device which takes around …