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 …

Running out of RAM in Ubuntu? Enable ZRAM

htop-zram

Whenever I ran out of RAM on a Linux system, I used to enable swap memory using the storage device to provide an extra bit of memory.  The main advantage is that it’s does not require extra hardware, but come at the cost of much slower access, and potential issues or wear and tear, unless you only use it temporary. This week-end, I compiled Arm Compute Library on ODROID-XU4Q board, and the first time it crashed because the system ran out of memory, so I enable swap on the eMMC flash module to restart and complete the build successfully. However, I was told it would have been better to enable ZRAM instead. So what is ZRAM? Wikipedia explains: zram, formerly called compcache, is a Linux kernel module for creating a compressed block device in RAM, i.e. a RAM disk, but with on-the-fly “disk” compression. So it’s similar to swap, expect it operates in RAM and compresses memory. It’s also possible …

How to Run Chrome OS in Android Emulator

Chrome-OS-Emulator

While it’s possible to run the open source Chromium OS in your computer or a virtual machine, AFAIK there was only was way to test Chrome OS: purchasing an actual Chromebook, or other device running the operating system. But this week-end, I read the news that Chrome OS was now available in Android Studio, and you can run in Android Emulator while emulating a Pixelbook, so I gave it a try by following the instructions on Android Developer website. If you haven’t done so already, we first need to install Android Studio. I’m running Ubuntu 16.04 in my computer, but this will also work in Windows and Mac OS X. After download the IDE zip file, we can extract it… and then open a console, go into “{installation home}/bin” and run the program:

After a few seconds, we got into Android Studio 3.1.2 welcome screen. We can now click on Configure, and select SDK Manager… … and SDK Update …

Newport GW6400/GW6404 Arm SBC Comes with 5 Gigabit Ethernet Ports, 2 SFP Fiber Ports, and 4 mPCIe Sockets

Gateworks-Newport-GW6400

Gateworks introduced their Newport SBC family based on Cavium Octeon TX Dual/Quad Core Arm processors at the end of last year, and the company has now announced the availability of the higher end models of their networking single board computers with Newport GW6400 & GW6404, which  provide four mPCIe sockets for expansion, five Gigabit Ethernet ports, and in the case of GW6404, two optional SFP cages for fiber connections. GW6400 / GW6404 specifications: SoC GW6400 – Cavium OcteonTX CN8120 dual core processor up to 800MHz GW6404 – Cavium OcteonTX CN8130 quad core processor up to 1.5 GHz System Memory GW6400 – 1 GB DDR4 DRAM GW6404 – 2 GB DDR4 DRAM Storage – 8 GB eMMC Flash , micro SD card slot, serial configuration EEPROM Connectivity 5x GbE Ethernet ports GW6404 – Up to 2x optional SFP fiber ports (redirect of one or two of the RJ45 ports to SFP connectors) USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports up to 5Gbps …

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 …

Armbian History, Infrastructure, and Progress Report

Armbian-Services

Many of us rely on Armbian Debian and Ubuntu images for our cheap Arm development boards since they usually offer better support than vendor supplied firmware images. The community has just updated Armbian website, but the thing that caught my eye in the announcement was a link to a 45-minute presentation by Igor Pečovnik, working full-time on the project, that details the history about Armbian, and provides a relatively recent progress update as it was made at BalCCon – Balkan Computer Congress in November 2017. I’ve embedded the video further below, but first I’ll provide summary of the key point made during the presentation. It all started with Cubieboard (A20) as Igor was trying to fix some issues, and learn how to improve software support on the board. Several people joined his efforts on Cubieboard forums, and eventually Armbian website launched in mid 2014 running on the Cubieboard then ODROID-XU4 board as interest and traffic increased. The main motivations of …

Review of Ubuntu 18.04 on ODROID-XU4Q Development Board

ODROID-XU4Q-Review

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 …

Hardkernel & Libre Computer Release Ubuntu 18.04 Images for ODROID-XU4/3 & AML-S905X-CC Boards

Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” LTS operating system was released just last week, and at least two Arm board companies have independently released Ubuntu 18.04 images for their boards. First, Hardkernel has released an Ubuntu 18.04 MATE image for their Exynos 5422 powered ODROID-XU4(Q), ODROID-XU3 (Lite), ODROID-HC1, and ODROID-MC1 boards/kits. The ODROID Ubuntu image comes with the following key features: Linux 4.14.37 LTS GPU hardware acceleration via OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.2 drivers for Mali T628MP6 GPU FFMPEG/ffplay with hardware accelerated H.264 decoder X11 armsoc display driver with 2D acceleration GPU accelerated Chromium browser (WebGL contents and YouTube 720p plays well) Kodi 17.6 can play H.264 1080p/60fps BigBuckBunny sample video. (Note: no h.265, no 4K in Exynos-5422 processor) WiringPi and other GPIO/SPI/I2C/ADC/I2S tinkering libraries are available. KVM & Docker More stable and performant USB 3.0 and Gbit Ethernet drivers The company sent me a kit based on ODROID-XU4Q board to review Ubuntu 18.04 on the platform, so I’ll write a …