$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 …

An Attempt to Benchmark Entry-level x86 Boards against RK3399 & Exynos Arm Boards

Arm vs Intel C-Ray

Some Arm boards have become quite powerful, while hardware based on low power Intel processor has generally become cheaper with both architectures somewhat converging in terms of performance and price. Piotr Maliński got interested and purchased some low cost (<$150) Intel hardware to compare to mid-range Arm boards, throwing a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ into the mix as well for comparison. Those are the Intel test boards / computers: Qotom motherboard with Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB flash – $74 + shipping on Aliexpress Piesia nano ITX board with Intel Celeron N2806 Bay Trail processor, DDR3 SO-DIMM socket, SATA / mSATA interfaces – Piotr found it for around $85 on Aliexpress, but the price now jumped to over $150 plus shipping, which does not make it very attractive Generic thin mini ITX motherboard based on Celeron N3160 “Braswell” processor, DDR3 SO-DIMM socket, SATA / mSATA interfaces. $62.68 shipped on Aliexpress. MSI E350DM-E33 motherboard with “old” AMD E-350 …

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’ in …

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 freq). As …

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 …